May 9, 2012

The Reset Button

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lam. 3:22, 23).
I was exhausted.  The top half of me was splayed across the top of my washing machine as I cried, pleaded with God, and attempted to start and restart the spin cycle. I had started the machine numerous times—sometimes on hot and sometimes on warm water. But the washing machine would still not spin water out of the bedding.
It was 8:30 p.m. I had forgotten to switch my son’s comforter and bed linens to the dryer, and he was already supposed to be in bed. There were no other clean sheet sets or blankets, either. The moment I remembered that long-forgotten load, I ran to the basement laundry room and breathlessly opened the washing machine, only to find the clothes had lots of company—a great deal of water.
In panic and desperation I thought that if I tried a different load it might kick the machine into muscle memory or something. So I transferred Daniel’s sopping-wet covers to the large enameled white sink next to me, and put my daughter’s bedcovers inside the swamp-besieged GE nine-cycle, two-speed wash/spin combo machine. After adding detergent, I started it up, just sure my plan would work. It hummed along beautifully until it reached the spin cycle. It sure sounded like it wanted to cooperate, but it didn’t.
2012 1513 page31Now my daughter’s bedding lay submerged in gallons of water, and my son’s—which I had hand-squeezed out—was drying as fast as a puddle on a cold, wet day. I tried everything in my own strength. I prayed, and I begged God to help me, hoping to hear the miraculous washer spin faster and faster, but it didn’t.  I felt totally defeated.
I’m not sure what it was that made me lift my head up at the moment I did, but when I looked up, my eyes rested on a word by a washer knob—“Reset.”
Suddenly I realized the load must have been off balance, triggering an automatic shutoff mechanism in the machine. All I had to do to get the machine to spin was turn the knob to “reset.” It was that simple.
I remembered my young-adult days when I had made many bad choices. I realized that I still felt a lot of shame from that time. I had never really fully accepted God’s forgiveness. I thought too of the times I hadn’t been patient enough with my children, or hadn’t been a very good listener to my husband. I realized how much guilt I was carrying around. It felt as heavy as Daniel’s extremely wet blanket.
Then I realized that there was a very good reason for this washing machine mishap.
It occurred to me that I had not been accepting of God’s grace. The verses from Lamentations 3:22, 23 popped into my head: “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
I guess these are moments we all have. Sometimes getting those truths to really blossom into life-changing epiphanies takes supernatural intervention. For me, God chose to use my washing machine.
I don’t know what kind of wet blankets you are trying to lug around or wring out. They might be big, or they might be little. But 2 Corinthians 5:17-19 tells us: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here! All this from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them.”
It’s not our determination that gets us where we need to be. It’s God’s grace. Now I am  “reset button” happy. But more important, I know whom to go to when I’m feeling weary and broken from my own humanness. I can accept His forgiveness and start all over with a fresh slate. I just have to turn the button to “Reset” and accept His unfailing mercy and embrace the new morning.
Kristin Smith lives in Northern Virginia and greatly enjoys being a stay-at-home mom and military Chaplain’s wife. She holds a master’s degree in Journalism/Public Relations and loves to write. This article was published May 10, 2012.