Blessed Dishes.


The view from my side of the world...

I ring out the wash cloth after dipping in soapy water.  I sulk to the sticky kitchen table and start wiping.

“You know, I feel like a hampster in one of those plastic wheels.  All day I clean.  All day!  I clean, clean, clean.  I wash dishes, what?  Five times a day?  I organize dishes, I wash them, I dry them, I put them away, I take them out again… I make a meal and start all over.  Argh!”

Back to the sink, dip cloth, ring it out, and now the counter tops.  My husband just looks up, smiles slightly, and keeps scrubbing the pot in his hands.

“I mean, seriously!” I continue.  “It’s all I do.  It’s practically my unpaid occupation!  I clean half-done crafts, I pick up toys, books, games, play-doh… I scrub toilets, I vacuum – like 4 times a day now that we have Molly (our 85lbs Golden Retriever Pup).  I do dishes.  That’s what I do.  I should have gotten a degree in soap suds or something.”

He snorts and shakes his head.

I shake mine too, finally stopping myself from further outburst.  And then – I quit ranting long enough to allow my mind to wander in the silence of our little country home full of sleeping kids.  I start thinking about the Mamas out there who don’t have a kitchen. Mamas who don’t have warm walls around them and safe places to play with their sweet babies.  Mamas who can’t wash dishes in the sink because there is no running water.  Mamas who may not even have dishes to do because there was no food to cook.  And then I start clearing plates and looking at all the waste the kids had left behind.  Mashed potatoes, corn, carrots, half of a buttered tea biscuit, almost a full piece of chicken breast.  My eyes well-up as I realize the amount of food I scrape into the green bin could be enough to feed a starving child a bigger meal than he’ll get in a week.

The conviction hits me like a freight train and I hunch over the table, allowing the tears to flow – the emotions to hit me.  The way you smack someone on the cheek who’s passed out, that’s the way they hit me. “Wake up, Cass!” (Smack.)  ”CASS!  WAKE UP!!!” (Smack, smack, smack!)

Once again I’m reminded of my own immaturity and where I’m truly standing on this journey of life.  Not even close to ‘there’.  I complain and grumble when I tidy up at the end of a busy day.  And I fail to realize what that means.  It means I say no to God’s blessing in my life.  That I choose to heave a juvenile ”whatever” to all He has given me.  (And it’s then when I am brought to my knees for the grace over me and thankful for humble women who teach so freely.)  And thankful too that life is a journey and we get second chances.  And third, fourth, fifth…

I have so much more than I’ll ever need.  I can run warm water to wash our dishes.  I have a warm, clean kitchen filled with artwork from our kids, spices, teas, delicious goodies, and happy family memories.  I have electricity.  I have a fridge full of healthy, fresh food I can reach in and give my child when he is hungry.  I have clean drinking water to offer my daughter when she is thirsty.  I’ve never had to feel my heart burst and turn violently inside my chest while I watch my children cry in pain because they are starving and their Mama has no food to give them.

This may not sound like the kind of thoughts that would fill me with anything but extreme sorrow.  And I do feel sorrow – I weep for all the families who live in poverty and especially those Mothers who simply cannot provide the basic necessities for their children.  I pray for them and we help them, but not enough.  We could do more.  Always more.  And starting with this – having the humble respect to be THANKFUL for what I have.  Not greedily and ignorantly whining because I have chores to do.

I want this feeling to last – the wide-eyed dish-doing realization that I am so weak and so selfish and also so underservingly, richly given-to.  I want to live in light of all I have, not all I don’t have.  I want to grip for dear life at the whispered prayer for God to help me remember all the Mamas who are equal to me in every way, deserving all I’ve never deserved to have.  To give to them freely and openly.  To never ever take a simple task like ‘doing the dishes’ for granted.  The fact that I can and need to do the daily chore of ‘washing up’ makes me deeply and immeasurably blessed in so many ways.

So yes, these stacked up, mucked-up, caked-on plates are indeed, Blessed Dishes.

This post was shared at:
• Homestead Barn Hop
• Soli Deo Gloria
• Domestically Divine
• Gratituesdays
• Titus2sdays
• On Your Heart Tuesdays
Living Well Wednesdays
Homemaking Link-Up
• Works for Me Wednesday
• Welcome Wednesdays
Big Family Fridays


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  1. says

    I hate to say that I’ve had those thoughts. I’ve got a PhD in suds, scraping plates, and scrubbing. Now I have the rest of my life to live out my degree. But it means I have food and a family to dirty up those plates. Ok, so they dirty up a ton a day, especially when everyone’s home on weekends..but they have something to eat and are not starving. They just may not like what they have on their plates. I can totally relate to the whole routine day after day, as it seems like it’s all we do somedays is stand in the kitchen.


  2. says

    I love this. It is SUCH a good reminder. I had a similar experience yesterday that I need to blog about. The only thing I would replace in your post is turn dishes to laundry. :)

  3. says

    very thoughtful post – thanks. Don’t forget those sippy cups and full plates will turn into cleaner plates and bigger cups as those kiddos continue to get older and eat more (and you’ll wish for a sippy cup just one more time).

  4. says

    Wonderful post. When I was growing up my mom had a plaque in her kitchen that I memorized over many sinks of dirty dishes. “Thank God for Dirty Dishes they have a tale to tell, while other folks are hungry we are eating rather well, through health and home and happiness we shouldn’t want to fuss, for by this stack of evidence God’s very good to us.”

  5. Kathy Sykes says

    That is why I am so glad to have found communities like this one that gives me perspective on LIFE. It is so easy to forget how truly BLESSED we are. And Lord thank you for my home, dishes, clothes, and every other gift you have given me and I will (try) NOT to complain!

  6. Hailey says

    Thank you for this. I too, find myself complaining and cranky about my daily “non-productive” routine. Just added a whole new list of thank you’s to the prayer list:)

  7. Sarah Vaughan says

    I have come to the same conclusion about dirty dishes being a blessing, because they can’t be dirty unless there is food to make them dirty. But then time passes and my stubborn nature falls into ungrateful habits again. So that really is the prayer–never losing our gratitude and perspective. Thanks for the reminder.

  8. Lisa says

    Wow this is just the slap in the face I needed this morning. I haven’t been feeling good so I slept in today, when I woke up the sink is full of breakfast dishes, counter full of remnants of cereal, sugar and split milk,, dried eggs and ketchup. I was feeling annoyed, “can’t they clean up anything?”. They did all that so I COULD sleep in, they’re able fend for themselves even though I haven’t been to the market in a couple of weeks, there’s still plenty for them to eat. So what if I wash a few dishes and clean the counter, like you mentioned I have the hot running water and necessary cleaning supplies. But more than that I have a healthy, loving,, able bodied, active family. God has been so good to me. I pray I am able to keep this perspective.

  9. Amcrazied says

    This is perfectly said! It made me have the chills and really truly think about what I have and how much more thankful I should be for all of it. I get down sometimes because I seem to do the same things almost everyday being a stay at home mother and really I am just taking it all for granted. I want this to be etched in my mind so I don’t forget EVER how grateful I should be instead for all that I do have to do everyday and all that we have to care for our children with. Thank you for this it is exactally what I needed to read and think about:)

  10. says

    Indeed…the life of a mother. I look back and think about how all I’ve ever wanted to be was a mother. I didn’t realize at the time I was also signing up to be a maid, short order cook, referee, counselor, laundromat, nurse on call, etc. I get into those funks…A LOT! It would be easier to have a full time job OUTSIDE of the house. Then I get smacked back to reality and my blessings….we are truly blessed!!

  11. Melinda says

    Sometimes I avoid the dishes. I know for a fact that God does some amazing work there in my life. I feel the holy spirit so much there. I truly have that love hate the dishes thing but so thankful that God knows where to find me. My girlfriends and I at church joke maybe just maybe Cleanlyness is next to Godlyness! Sorry If i spelled that wrong. God Bless Our Dirty Dishes!

  12. Kelly @ The Nourishing Home says

    I just LOVE this post! Thank you so much for sharing your heart. Our dishwasher broke about a month ago and we haven’t been able to afford to fix it yet, so I have been handwashing mounds of dishes and so I can really relate! I’ve been thinking a lot about what you shared as I’ve been washing mounds of dishes and am SO THANKFUL to God for clean water and also that He has gifted me with being able to be at home with my family and not having to work outside the home FT! Blessings to you, Kelly

  13. says

    Fantastic. I’ve had that kind of moment before and it sure does make you feel small, doesn’t it? The hard part is holding on to it, and to the global perspective. Thanks for sharing your thoughts so beautifully.

  14. says

    Did you have hidden cameras in my home today? This is so true! If I could only find the joy of picking up the junk everyday. I know I should be grateful for the junk to pick up and the family to pick up after. Thank you for such a thought provoking reminder. Stopping by from WLWW.

  15. Ro elliott says

    hi neighbor…oh so thankful when He clears our vision…and don’t ever forget what you do really matters…at times the small seeming nothingness of motherhood…no amount of $ can replace what you do…
    Blessings as you clean and care for your home with thankfulness in your heart…

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