the dirty work

Huisvrouw met mattenklopper / Housewife with carpet-beaterphoto © 2009 Nationaal Archief | more info (via: Wylio)


i stumbled (literally, over a Matchbox car – anyone who can relate?) into the kitchen this morning, only to be confronted with what long days full of too busy for housework can do.


if it’s true that cleanliness is next to Godliness, then my floors are  a ready metaphor for my heart – they need washing with the water of the word.


baby on hip and coffee in hand, i settled in on the couch with a boy in his pajamas, and i looked for daily manna in a toddler bible


and came away full.


for the story was of Naaman, his leprosy caricatured and cartoonish alongside his aristocratic finery and gallant steed.   a man who, like many parents i know, was pointed toward sanctification by a tiny child.  a man who, like that confounding creature who meets me in the mirror, heard God’s instructions and found them:  unappealing.  not quite what he’d had in mind. perhaps a little beneath him.


the waters of the Jordan and the stack of dishes by the sink collide … and pride bubbles up through skin, searing like leprosy’s scars.


the work that God has given us to do is always – always – part of who He is calling us to be.  even – no, especially – the dirty work.


so often we see painted on closed eyelids the God call of Africa missions, of book jackets boasting our photo, of our name as an impressive Google search.  and when we open those same eyes, to the realities of kitchen piled dirty and baby teething fussy and life as mess mess mess, our pride tells us that this faith walk should be something … well, MORE.


then Jesus speaks.


and he tells us truth, hard-to-swallow and the only one that will satisfy:  that it’s in the low that he raises us high.


God may use your life

to do big things

but not until

you’re faithful with the small.


and so, with flesh far more dirty than floors, i take up this mop – take it up as daily cross – and try to use it for his glory.   how absurd that reads, as i type it,  but it is truth.


here’s hoping, dear friends, that this weekend you are empowered to do those things that are earthly small and Kingdom huge.




  1. Terri Williams

    Love it!!! Thank you for challenging me to be more … do more for God and others today!

    • keLi

      It is a challenge, isn’t it? I tend to think the “everyday” challenges can sometimes be the most difficult to overcome — maybe because I don’t pray over them as fervently as I do the “biggies.”

  2. Melissa@one thing

    Oh yes…and you know what I think? Even the Africa trips and book jackets…its still just daily, tiny, steps towards Jesus. Just a few scribbled words at a time. No great moments (at least we never know when we are living it!). My husband has been building this ministry and hes been asked to speak all over lately, but we laugh and think, its just the next moment lived for Jesus. That is all we have to teach…
    Off to clean my kitchen!

    • keLi

      yes, Melissa, this is wisdom. each place we’re called becomes its own ordinary — and God is so often waiting for us to meet Him in those ordinary moments.

  3. shelley

    So very true! Kel, been meaning to tell you that I thought about this post during our service this past Sunday. He spoke about how one of the most amazing verses in theBible comes out of Genesis about how God wanted to create mankind in His image and His likeness. He challenged us to see God’s image in every person and we would find purpose in all tasks no matter how small or mundane.

    • keLi

      that’s good stuff, Shell. i need to hear it, because my eyes are so broken. how amazing it will be one day when the scales fall away and we see as God sees …