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  • Writer's pictureKathleen Knapp

Washing Machines and Grace

Updated: Jun 28, 2022

I heard the screeching noise and smelled the burning fumes as I was stepping into the shower. I knew right away that the washing machine was stuck. I rushed into the laundry room to stop the machine. The room was filled with the burning smell of an overworked motor. I opened the lid to find it full, very full! I called my son to come and help me pull the cold, heavy, wet clothing and sheets from the machine onto the floor.

As I looked in horror at how much he had pushed into the machine, I yelled at him about his laundry lessons ~ “too much, too heavy, why are there so many jeans in here, you put your sheets in, too! haven’t I told you before…..?” I tried to be diplomatic, but I was failing amidst my frustration; standing in cold water in my bare feet; sorting out the heavy, wet laundry.

Afterwards, while the rescued laundry continued with the window opened to let in cold, fresh air the machine lurching on, I stood in the shower crying. My son has autism and sometimes the ‘simple’ life lessons take time and repetition in his efforts for independence and autonomy. Sometimes my patience and understanding are in short supply. Instead of being a ‘good mother’, I had chastised him out of anger. My tears reflected not just my frustration, but also my guilt. “He’s trying his best. I shouldn’t have yelled.”

The still, small voice of the Holy Spirit spoke to me…..”have you never made mistakes? Have you never forged ahead on your own without listening? Have you forgotten instructions? Have you never failed? Yet, you’ve been forgiven. You’ve always been shown grace and mercy”

I was reminded of the bible story when a man forgiven his debt turns around and demands repayment of a debt owed him. “Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?” Matthew 18:33

Thank you Father for your grace in my life. Thank you Jesus for forgiveness and for showing me grace. Please help me to be more graceful and understanding with my son and with others. I am so thankful for my son and all that he is learning as he grows into the strong and independent young man that God has planned for him to be. I am so thankful to be his mother and thankful for the grace and strength given to me during these frustrating times.

Afterwards, we hugged. I asked him to forgive me for yelling. He helped me clean up the mess. We calmly talked about future strategies to plan the laundry size more efficiently and how to improve his skills. He is learning and so am I. I am not perfect, but I am trying. So is he, and together we’ll make it. One load of laundry at a time - with grace!

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