Originally posted August 2008
Getting our entire family to church on Sunday morning is a miracle nothing short of Moses and his Red Sea crossing. The weekly arrival of the DeGraaf Family at our house of worship is generally preceded by a full blown “tribulation” (complete with gnashing of teeth, and beasts with ten horns and seven heads). It’s a period of suffering that only the strong survive.
I used to have a much higher standard for our pre-church prep, but over the years, my expectations have been on a steady decline. When we had our first two sons, our typical American family of four looked the part — boys in dress pants with creases down the center, buttoned up shirts and hair combed neatly to the left.
Today, my only request is that our tribe of 5 wear clothes — no holes and no dirt. Ok, at least I draw the line at wearing dirt to church.
I will never forget one Sunday morning when the Devil definitely was trying to keep us home that day! We got up late and as my husband got into the shower, he asked me if I would find him a pair of clean underwear. “Sure thing,” I said and assured him that there was a load of clean underwear andsocks in the dryer.
No socks and underwear in the dryer (they were towels). No clean undies on top the dryer or in the pile of clean clothes that were half stacked and half scattered on the couch. (I really need to stop folding laundry while watching TV. It’s an exercise in futility as the stuff gets knocked down, folded again, and yes, even knocked down once more. )
I was running out of options as Ron was running out of hot water………….Now what?
I did what any quick-thinking and resourceful woman would do, I shuffled through the dirty clothes and found the “cleanest” pair of dirty underwear that I could. I shook them and neatly folded them in exactly the same way I have been folding Ron’s boxer/briefs for almost two decades. They looked a little stretched out, so I pressed extra hard to try and iron out a few of the wrinkles and placed them on the closed lid of the toilet seat next to the shower.
“Here you go, babe.” I said without another word.
I continued scrambling to get the rest of the gang in the mini-van. It was complete chaos (which has become our normal). Some of the boys were fighting, others couldn’t find matching socks, one was still sleeping. Somehow, we managed to all get in the van for the 15 minute ride (I swear I could walk on fire!)
Ron was quiet for the whole ride with his lips all bunched up in a knot and a furrowed brow. We were about a minute’s ride away from church and I turned to him and said, “What’s wrong?”
He said, “These underwear aren’t clean are they?” He was so ticked. I actually had all but forgotten about that small minor detail of the morning as I replied, “NO THEY ARE NOT!” and lifted up my shirt and said, “What are you complaining about, I am wearing MY SWIMSUIT!” (I really couldn’t find ANY clean underwear!)
I was pretty sure that God was more concerned about the condition of our hearts and not so worried about the the fact that Ron was worshipping in his dirty undies and that I had my swimsuit on! After all, God has a sense of humor!!