Everyday there is more washing than you imagine. True. And the baby uses more clothes and cloths than you ever thought was possible. When my babies were very little this chore was a little overwhelming, although I have always enjoyed caring for my family in this very practical way. I knew I had to find a positive spin on this task and this is what I did…
I prayed that God would give me joy in this repetitive task.
I prayed for wisdom to know how to parent.
I prayed for insight to know how to pray!
And God came through.
Every little shirt, little sock, singlet and facecloth was an opportunity for me to bless my little ones. A sock reminded me to pray that their footsteps would lead them to great things, that they would bring Good News where they went and that they would stay on the path of righteousness all of their lives. As a mother, I had the great privilege of bringing my children to their Heavenly Father in prayer every day and I used these everyday things as prompts.
(Our son wore a lot of socks – sports, school, tramping and everyday socks all seemed to be different and require a specific style of socks. He never left the house without my KNOWING that God would guide his steps.)
Singlets (vests) cover their backs and hearts and chests. Over the 18 years that I did their washing* as I looked at the singlets, I prayed for God’s protection over their hearts, that they would chose to write His Word in their hearts, and I would be prompted to help them learn the best way to do this. I prayed that God would ‘have their backs’ supplying them with solid friendships, with protection and with provision to the end of their days. I prayed they would keep warm and supple physically, and to Him. I prayed for clear chests during infections, healing for asthma, for sound sleep and for great digestion. I prayed over their skin and their lung capacity and fitness. I prayed against smoking and interference from drugs. You name it – as God brought it to mind, through those little singlets, I prayed.
Over their shorts and trousers I prayed for robust opportunities, for God to take them places where they would learn to rely on Him and that I would have the courage to en-courage them in this. I prayed for play-mates and specific play-dates. God prompted me to pray that their pockets would be always be able to be inspected – no thing would need to be hidden from us or from Him. Later I prayed for tests and exams, for grace and favour in the way they were seen as they ‘sat’ these tests in these pants or skirts. Surely His Goodness and Mercy did follow them.
Their jumpers and cardigans reminded me to pray for them in all seasons of weather, and seasons of their Christian walk. I prayed God would release colour and warmth into their lives, that pattern and routine would bless them, and I thanked God for the people in their lives who loved them and cared for them (and gave us the clothes!) When they were at high school, I prayed for true self-worth and self knowing. I prayed for grace and favour in dealing with teachers and peers and I prayed that our loving God of Truth would guide and guard their interactions with others, while wearing these clothes.
For my daughter, each little and big dress was a chance to pray for her femininity, for her growth as a woman of Christ and for the joy of deep womanly friendships. I prayed for her beauty to be internal as well as external ( I’m her mother – OF COURSE I THINK SHE IS BEAUTIFUL), for her clothing choices to be thoughtful. I prayed against the spirit of this world who aims to warp self image and I prayed against any self destructive behaviours ever becoming attractive to either of my children, or their friends. I prayed that my son would look at girls correctly and that his eyes for his eventual bride would be directed by the Lord Himself.
Their little shirts and tops reminded me to keep them clean and tidy, so they would learn the value of self-respect first and respect for others as they grew up. Valuing the importance of self control, I prayed for their attitudes and their influence in the world beyond my home, where they would wear these clothes. I loved that time where His insight showed me His care over these details.
And mostly, any hats or caps, any scarf or gloves, reminded me to pray for their salvation as they went into the world. That the helmet of salvation would protect their thoughts and guard their minds as they were growing to capacity.
And on a more intense note, I prayed over their underwear (at all ages). Initially I prayed for their safety, that no one would ‘interfere’ with them. I prayed for the correct thinking about sex and I prayed for purity. I prayed for great excitement and fun when they married and could enjoy this part of their lives. I prayed for urinary health and protection from the kidney diseases that rack my own body in this area, which may be hereditary. Seeking forgiveness was often on my lips as I asked God to heal them from ANY hereditary diseases or familial curses, passed down. I begged God for their fertility to be in His hands and for this to be a joy to them. I also prayed for their future wife and husband, respectively, knowing she and he were probably alive somewhere already and God would bring them together at the right time. For their future spouses, I have already spent years praying for their salvation and their walk with our loving Jesus. And for them as married couples, to live in Godly homes, walking in holiness. And to enjoy each other in every manner.
My washing usually started my day and was often my quiet moment alone with God, thanking Him for these children we loved outrageously, knowing full well He loved them even more. It was and remains such a privilege and a pleasure to be His daughter and their mother at the same time. So, I bless you all in these most important roles.
*Both of our children received a washing basket at 18 as they took over responsibility for this part of their lives. I continued to wash their laundry for them at High School as I wanted to be consistently and intentionally prayerful, but I also saw how busy they were. This was my service to them. Oh, I still pray for them, of course, but I valued those daily, weekly prompts to specifically bring them before God. I PRAY you do too.