The Catholic Blog

At the Sink and Struggling

Posted on 2/19/2018 by Stacy Mal
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Trying to the big jobs ourselves....

I’d like to share a little something that came to me in prayer this morning.

I had a vivid flashback of my daughter. She had been telling me for quite some time that she was big enough to start doing chores like her older sisters. She wanted to start doing the dishes – specifically washing, loading, and unloading the dishwasher. I looked at her, so small at the time. She couldn’t reach the cabinets on her own, but she assured me she could, with a stool.

I hesitated. The dishes were glass and her hands were so small. The pots were heavy, and her arms were so thin. The pans were crusty, and she was so… well, inexperienced. But…. one day, I let her do it. I handed over the sponge, for no other reason than because she wanted desperately to prove that she was a big girl. The sink at the time was overflowing. But she pulled up the stool and got after it. She got wet. She stained her clothes. She worked up a sweat scrubbing and rinsing and climbing.

So many times, the helicopter mom in me wanted to just relieve her of the struggle… to take over the sink. She was not enjoying herself at all. But this was what she wanted – to be a big girl. I knew she would be proud of herself when she was done. So, I restrained myself because I knew she was learning. I let her continue, but I stood close by. Every so often I handed her a towel, wiped off her shirt, or lifted her just one more inch so she could place the glass on the top shelf.

It took much longer for the dishes to get done that day, but they got done. Not everything was put exactly where it was supposed to go. Not all the grime was off the pan. The dishwasher racks were not orderly. But the sink was empty. And my exhausted daughter was smiling. I hugged her tight. “Well done, kiddo.” I said.

Now, perhaps you’re wondering why this came to mind in prayer today. Well… it was God who called it to my mind. He showed this incident to me because He wanted me to know this is how He sees me. This is how He sees all of us believers, actually.

You see, we Christians “profess” a lot of things. We claim to be “big believers,” capable of big things. We want to be great saints and counted among the elect. We want to be His chosen ones, made in His image, worthy of the crown. 
Our Heavenly Father looks upon us – we are so small and inexperienced in the divine things, but because we want it so badly, He hands over the “sponge.” He steps back to see what we’re made of and we come face to face with our “sink.” We come face to face with a struggle, with suffering. Maybe it’s financial, or an illness, a heartache, a failed relationship… whatever it is, it seems mountainous. We don’t enjoy it at all. But, in order to be great saints, we must follow in the big footprints of Christ – up Calvary, with a cross.

So, the Father restrains Himself from taking it away completely because He knows how proud we will be when we get through this. He knows how the experience is shaping us, teaching us, molding us. So, He stands close by, hands us the towel of grace, wipes our tears, and lifts our hearts.

Sometimes it takes much longer to get through it than we hope. Sometimes we don’t exactly “nail it” in terms of how we endure the suffering. The pieces of our life aren’t exactly stacked orderly. Some of the “grime” of our pain still lingers. But with His grace, we get through it, exhausted, smiling. And in the end, the God of the universe will embrace us and say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

For those of you who are in the thick of it, who are “at the sink” so to speak, and struggling… remember you’re getting there. This moment is just another dish. But this work is proving what you’re made of. Keep chiseling away, friend. Keep “getting after it.” You’re making amazing progress. 
Oh, and God is not absent. He is close by, watching and assisting you when you need it most. He is smiling, and He is proud of you.

Peace be to all of you…. <3