What Plunging a Toilet Taught Me About Prayer

Categories parenting, religion

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Today I plunged the toilet instead of praying. I mean, I wanted to pray. I was going to make some coffee, sink into my happy chair, wrap up in my favorite throw, and spend some much needed quiet time with Jesus before my kids got up for school.

That was the plan.

But as I passed the bathroom I saw the toilet seat up with a plunger dangling precariously out of one side. Someone started to plunge it and left without finishing the job. I had a decision to make, leave it to my husband or take care of it myself. I thought, no big deal, I’ll take care of this quickly and still have plenty of time to pray. But it wasn’t a quick job. I’ll spare you the details, but I will tell you that it did require multiple plungings followed by a few heart stopping flushes.

By the time I finished, my prayer time had slipped away from me faster than the clog down the toilet. It was time to get the kids up for school.

I was now officially in a bad mood. This is not how I wanted to start my day. I wanted to start it by warming my hands around a hot mug of coffee, breathing in the steam, not holding my breath and splashing around in poop water. Honestly, I was mad at God and I told him as much. “What the heck God? Nothing is impossible for you, so why do place obstacles in my way? Don’t you want me to pray? I mean, geeze.”

As I was headed down the hall to wake up the kids I sensed the words, “That was your prayer.”

When I felt those words, the resentment left me. I realized I wasn’t really mad that I didn’t get to pray. I was mad because I didn’t get my quiet cozy morning. I wasn’t missing the prayer; I was missing the comfort. God gave me a different way to pray this morning. I could choose see it in a different perspective. I didn’t get to start the day the way I wanted to, but I do think I got to start the day the way God wanted me to.

I made a sacrifice of my time this morning for the people that I love. And yeah, I think that counts as a prayer. I offered it up. And I changed my words to God, “This morning I sacrificed my quiet time and comfort. I did something I didn’t want to do for my family. It’s a small sacrifice but you can have it and do whatever you want with it.”

Lord, I might not make it to our morning coffee date on the regular.  But I promise to take these distractions, these sufferings, these disruptions of motherhood and offer them up as my prayer.

So please know…

When I spend the morning surrounded by mounds of laundry, folding and folding – this is my prayer.

When I hit snooze over and over because I’m bleary eyed from taking care of a sick kiddo in the middle of the night – this is my prayer.

When I spend an extra few minutes in my bed snuggling with one of my precious children – this is my prayer

When I stop to clean up cat vomit on the way to the coffee machine – this is my prayer.

When I wake up extra early to help a child finish a homework assignment they just couldn’t handle the night before – this is my prayer.

This season of life doesn’t always lend itself to quiet, prayerful mornings. But that doesn’t mean we can’t pray. We can take all those things that seemingly distract us from prayer – cleaning, cooking, taking care of kids, and even plunging toilets – and offer them up as prayers.

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