Ministry Lessons Learned from the Laundry Room

Posted by | November 04, 2019 | Family, Pastors' Wives, Spiritual Walk | No Comments

I love the title of today’s email/blog and I am looking forward to sharing a series of four under this title with you from one of our pastors’ wives here at CfP, Patti. I believe these will be a blessing to you and very practical.

I have been doing laundry for decades now.

While still a teenager at home I took on the responsibility of doing my own laundry. As a teenager away from home working at a summer camp I discovered doing laundry in a public place; a Laundromat. Once married, I took on the responsibility of not only my own personal clothing laundry, but that of my new husband as well as all the various laundry needs of owning a home. Sheets, towels, curtains, rags, throw carpets, it seemed like every time I turned around there was a new category of laundry. Then kids came along and with each new body in the house the laundry pile seemed to double and triple in front of my eyes. Having laundry “done” was no longer a thing. It was an ever growing, never ending task set before me.

There were years of hanging the laundry on the clothesline to dry in the sun. There was the rediscovery of Laundromats to do the heavy stuff like quilts and rugs to give our home machine a break before it broke under the load.  My husband and I have shared the task over the years, but it has mostly remained under my watchful eye to keep up with.

Then one by one it was time to teach the growing kids the art of doing laundry. Now they are all out of the house and it is just the two of us again.

What have I learned over the years from the laundry room that has helped me in this life of ministry?

The first thing I think of is a load that is overloaded.

How to detect it before the washing machine spills water all over the floor?

How to avoid the temptation of filling the washing machine with way more than its capacity?

The ministry life is like a floor full of laundry that needs to be done. You have a limited amount of time, resources and energy to accomplish it all. The tendency is to cram as much into this one life as possible all at the same time.

Not wanting to miss an opportunity to serve, we tend to say yes too often and to too many things at the same time.

The result in ministry life is much like what happens in the laundry room. We hum along just fine for a bit and feel pretty good about accomplishing a large load of “to do’s” and not leaving a single opportunity untouched. Then just like an overloaded washing machine, the load is too big, too heavy and just too much for one machine, one person.

And then the tell-tale signs appear…a trickle of water from under the machine dampens the floor. Then a puddle appears, then rolls across the floor and then you find yourself just trying to sop up the water as fast as you can before it goes any further towards damaging walls and woodwork.

In ministry life it is much the same, A trickle of missed details appear, then the consequences leak into other projects, rolling through our thoughts, our sleep, our contentment, and chaos breaks out when we can’t keep up. We may stop the puddle just before it reaches a point of damaging relationships, or perhaps not. We have a mess on our hands. We have disappointed those around us and we feel we have failed.

The lesson learned from the laundry room on how to avoid an overload is this…

Planning…

Your time, your gifts, your responsibilities and your resources.

Understanding that we can accomplish much in this life of ministry is a joy.

Trying to do it all at once is a disaster waiting to happen.

When we look at all the things in front of us, plan first to inquire of the Lord what it is He has for us to do. Don’t just jump in and start doing.

To avoid an overloaded washing machine is a good thing to do.

To avoid an overloaded life of ministry is a good thing.

Ecclesiastes says there is a season for all things under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 NIV

A Time for Everything

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.”

Take heed of this and plan your ministry life accordingly.

– Patti

One of the hardest lessons for those of us in ministry to learn is that it is okay to say, “No!” I wish we had all learned that early in ministry and our ministry journeys could possibly look different.

We are here to walk with you on your ministry journey so please let us know how we can help.

About Rodetta Cook

Rodetta Cook has been a pastor’s wife for over 40 years. She and her husband, Ron, have actively served the Lord together in ministry during the entire time and are co-founders of Care for Pastors. She understands the expectations, loneliness and how hard it is to find balance in ministry as a pastor’s wife. Rodetta also leads the pastor’s wives initiative at Care for Pastors called The Confidante and ministers to hundreds of wives each week. She strives to share blogs with other pastors’ wives that will help them in their ministry walk.

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