Lessons from the Laundry Room Floor


On occasion, I find myself lying on the floor in my closet because it's the only place in my house where I can hide from everyone. There's a bit of desperation in these moments. I enter the closet, maybe with a pillow or blanket, perhaps even carrying a box of Kleenex or chocolate contraband, and I immediately prostrate myself on the ground. It's a fitting physical representation of how I'm doing at these points, given that they occur when I'm flattened in terms of energy and emotional output.

I'd like to take you back to such a moment that happened several weeks ago, maybe several months ago. (I honestly can't recall. I still haven't regained an accurate sense of how time passes since Covid struck.) Regardless, in some semi-distant past, I was having a doozy of day. Everyone in my household, myself included, was off-kilter, and I was the recipient of the brunt of one daughter's sustained poor attitude. My patience was exhausted. I knew I should address her disrespect and snarkiness, but I didn't have the words or emotional capacity to engage.

I was beyond tired; I was lay-on-the-floor weary and discouraged. So, that's what I did. I had been in the laundry room folding a load of darks, so I simply shut the door, pushed the laundry basket aside, laid down on the linoleum, and owned the fact that I had nothing left in the tank. I was tapping out.

From that prostrate position, I began to pray. I can't recall the exact words, but I asked God to intervene, to work on my daughter's heart, to help her with the myriad of feelings and issues she was experiencing that caused her to lash out at others. I asked Him to bring healthy conviction to her. I leveled with God that I've tried to instill values, teach good behaviors, help my kids process challenges, and model faith through my words, attitudes, and actions, but I was stuck. It's not like I'm unwilling to engage in hard parenting talks and necessary discipline, but in this particular instance, I had no more energy. I had no more words. Even if I did, I doubted they'd be effective if I spoke them to her.

God
, I asked, would You speak to her?

After some time, I had prayed out most of my angst and anxiety. I wiped my eyes, stood up, finished folding the load of laundry, and went on with my day. Nothing externally had changed, but my soul felt somewhat lighter.
 

Friends, this doesn't always happen after a come-to-Jesus-from-the-floor moment, but within twenty minutes after I left the laundry room, my daughter came from her bedroom to find me. "Mom," she began, "I'm sorry that I had such a bad attitude earlier."

I hadn't said anything to her to prompt her apology. I had said it all to God instead. At that moment, I was awestruck and humbled. I still am as I recall the story. It had been such a clear and immediate response to my prayers that I couldn't possible miss the connection.

It's a good reminder that before I talk to my kids about their behaviors and attitudes that need to be improved (because these corrections and training periodically do need to happen), I first need to talk to God. Let Him pave the way. Let him guide my words, prep their hearts, or even as in this case, bring them to a place of correction before I try to get them there myself.

Before I talk to them about them, I'm reminded to talk to God about them.

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