There are many layers to our lives as moms, whether we are battling to keep the romance in our marriages or guiding children safely through childhood and adolescence. Many women must sort through medical issues, hormones, aging, ministry, declining parents, and challenging relationships. Others chauffeur kids to a host of activities and events, volunteer at school, and help with church functions. It feels like there isn’t time to delve into deep social and moral issues. We fear we can’t add another thing to our over-stacked lives. How are we going to change the world?
You may be surprised to know that you’re already involved in shaping others’ life philosophy every time you stand at your kitchen sink. You are making a statement to everyone who sees you—and sometimes even to those who don’t.
God’s Creation of Home and Family
When you stand at the kitchen sink, you are saying that God’s creation of home and family matter. For a woman to prioritize her family is a statement of philosophy. Standing at the sink is an action that backs up that philosophy.
For many of us, the kitchen sink is ground zero for making a difference in the world.
When you wash dishes in front of children, you instill in them that the daily routines of homemaking are important in a woman’s life (1 Timothy 5:14). Boys see an image of mom that will guide them when they look for a woman to shine in their future home (Proverbs 31:27). Girls see the beauty and dignity of keeping homemaking a priority (Titus 2:5).
Our world needs the message that the God-created family unit of dad and mom and kids is the most important institution for any social system. And even if a mom finds herself in a situation where she is parenting alone, she is still changing the culture by influencing her children with these biblical principles.
When you stand at the kitchen sink, you are saying that feminine nurture matters. Much has been said about roles in the home and the liberation of women. But I think of what Stormie Omartian said in her runaway bestseller, The Power of a Praying Wife:
I don’t care how liberated you are, when you are married there will always be two areas that will ultimately be your responsibility: home and children. Even if you are the only one working and your husband stays home to keep the house and tend the kids, you will still be expected to see that the heart of your home is a peaceful sanctuary – a source of contentment, acceptance, rejuvenation, nurturing, rest and love for your family.
She nailed it. Men and women both know that “a woman’s touch” makes the home. I like her words here: “the heart of your home.” That’s you, ladies. Your husband may be affectionate, thoughtful, even a good cook and a phenomenal force with the vacuum cleaner, but you are the heart. Everybody knows that. And when you stand at the kitchen sink, the world feels right for your family.
Order in a World of Chaos
When you stand at the kitchen sink, you are saying that order matters. Our world—politically, socially and morally—is in chaos. And every corner into which we can bring order is a testimony that we were created for structure and rhythm. When the dishes are done and the counter is clear, order is restored.
Typical moms can’t march into the Capitol building and fix what’s wrong with our nation’s policies; we can’t get into a squad car and roar into the inner city to fight crime; we can’t sail to other countries and revolutionize their corrupt governments or correct their human rights violations; we can’t walk into our local churches and heal all the wounds and give everyone perfect understanding. But we can stand at the kitchen sink and declutter the world there. We can fight the battle for decency and sensibility and beauty there.
The Next Thing Matters
When you stand at the kitchen sink, you are saying that what is in front of us matters. Elisabeth Elliot called it “the next thing.” Do the next thing. I am lured by the big battles, but I must not forget the little ones. Life is a hierarchy of needs. We cannot move to the higher planes until the foundation is properly laid. God does not expect us to ignore the battle in front of us for one down the street.
God does not expect us to ignore the battle in front of us for one down the street.
The next thing might be the breakfast dishes. If so, take care of them and move outward from there. When we build incrementally on faithfulness, we can be assured that we are not neglecting the foundation. God cares about the little battles; they are the stuff of our service to Him. The parable of the talents that Jesus told illustrated this, and the commendation that the faithful servant received may be the one with which moms will be blessed someday: “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much” (Matthew 25:23).
Ground Zero For Making a Difference
The kitchen sink matters. For many of us, it is ground zero for making a difference in the world. I have prayed over growing children and grieving friends and world catastrophes while standing there; I have counseled my son and daughters with my hands in soapy water; I have heard God speak to my heart in a whisper as I prayed about my marriage or my church while I rattled the dishes in the sink.
Don’t overlook the significance of this routine. You make a statement every time you stand at your sink. God knows it. Satan knows it. Your family knows it. Others may not. But the change you make will be real all the same.