Folding laundry is my favorite household chore. I love sitting in the middle of a big pile of clothes, quietly turning the chaos into something neat and tidy. That pile represents life, my changing, busy life, and the little arms and legs that fill it up with so much love.
There was a time when the only clothes to fold were my own. Then I met and married my husband, and I remember what joy I took in the simple task of putting his clothes away at the end of the week. After being apart for most of our engagement, the fact that I was close enough to him to fold his socks seemed like pure bliss. Every time I did the laundry, I rejoiced because God had given me the gift of a godly husband.
Shortly after we were married, I found myself washing tiny baby clothes, and folding them neatly into piles while I wondered what this new little person would be like. And then she was born and spit up on everything and I thought I would never again see the end of the laundry hamper! She was so tiny and fragile that she didn’t fit into anything we had bought for her. I found some preemie clothes and dressed my little girl like a doll.
Soon there came another baby, and another. My pile grew bigger, and new little baby clothes got lost under toddler jeans and little girl dresses. I learned to pray over my children as I folded their clothes. I thought about each one, and I took those quite moments to praise God for the abundant blessings He had given me. What would my life be without those tiny baby socks and dozens of burp cloths?
When the twins were born, I gave up all hope of keeping up with the laundry. I felt successful if everyone had enough clean clothes to wear on any given day. Who cares if it matched!
It was astonishing to see five little stacks of laundry, all lined up and ready to put away. Overnight, I had nearly doubled the number of children under my care. Every time I folded one of those little matching outfits for my twins, I was brought to my knees in gratitude (and a little fear, quite honestly). I was reminded of how God had protected me during my pregnancy, and how we thought we had miscarried the baby, only to find out there were two healthy, beautiful boys growing inside. Just seeing their baby socks brought me right back to the hospital, when I held those boys in my arms for the first time, feeling completely and utterly overwhelmed by God’s goodness to me.
It is true, I will never see the end of the laundry pile, but that’s part of the blessing. The day after my father died, I was helping gather the family’s laundry for some friends to wash. I remember finding the shirt my dad had worn on the last day I spent with him. He had tossed it in the hamper without a thought. I found it there, crumpled up like he’d just walked out of the room. Only he wasn’t coming back, and from that day on, there were no more extra-long jeans to try to fold in such a way so they fit in the drawers. There were no more pilot’s shirts for my mom to starch and iron just right.
Maybe that’s why I feel such gratitude when I iron Jeff’s shirts or fold those endless pairs of grass-stained jeans. I know how much I have been given. That big pile of t-shirts and mismatched socks represents all the little arms and legs that have my heart, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.