New "Sandals"

Yesterday we said goodbye to two dear, old, faithful friends:

These are my Israelite sandals

"I led you 40 years in the wilderness; your clothes and 
the sandals on your feet did not wear out; ...
so that you might know that 
I am the LORD your God.
Deuteronomy 29:5-6

I still remember the day my fiance called and told me he wanted to buy us this washer and dryer. He was living in Texas and had already moved into the apartment we would live in as newlyweds. I was in Georgia getting ready for the wedding.

I was one of those college kids that was talked into signing up for a credit card and fortunately I had used it responsibly up to the point. So I had a little bit of credit history. James, on the other hand, had nothing on his credit report. So he decided it would be a good idea for us to buy a new washer and dryer for our apartment on credit. He went to Sears and picked out a pair of Kenmores, called and asked for my opinion, and opened a Sears charge account to pay for our first investment as a couple.

I remember when I visited him in November that he proudly showed me the apartment and then took me out onto the balcony, opened a double-door closet and showed me the new Kenmore washer and dryer.

As of this week, we've been using this same washer and dryer for approximately 23 years. They've survived 8 moves, some of those long distance and others just down the road. They've washed and dried everything from work clothes to baby clothes, rugs to table cloths, shower curtains to linens, money to important receipts and papers.

For some time now, I've been hankering for a new washer and dryer. Every time the washer starts banging around and chugging across the floor due to inoperable balance problems, I want to kick it and put it out of its misery. But these two appliances have cleaned and dried our family's clothes faithfully and well without fail. I knew the day would come when we'd get replacements, but at what cost? I longed for shiny new appliances, but I didn't want to pay the cost.

And then early this week I found out that a military couple in our church was about to put their washer and dryer in storage while they moved overseas...unless someone wanted to buy them. 

Facebook conversation insued:

"What kind of washer and dryer do you have? And how much would you want for them?"

"They're one year old Maytags, front loaders. We'd like to get $1,000 for them."

Hmmm. Not a bad price at all for practically a new washer and dryer. But still, there was that price I'd been dreading paying for appliances. I went to see them and, sure enough, they were beauts. But we didn't really have $1,000 to fork over right now.

"We'll think about it and get back with you. Thanks so much for showing them to me."

The next morning I put clothes in my old steady, sturdy, long-lasting Kenmore again. I suppose these will do a little longer. They still work. They still clean. They still dry. $1,000 is a great price, but not if you don't have $1,000.

Then I checked my e-mails.

E-mail from friend with the Maytags to sell:

"We've thought about it and we'd like for you and Pastor James to have the washer and dryer for $500. And you don't even have to pay us right now if you don't want to."

Don't you just know that the Israelites were mighty thrilled when they finally got to get some new sandals on their weary feet? I know they were pleased as punch that those sandals had lasted them for 40 years, but I also know, from experience mind you, that they were thrilled to lace up some new ones and wiggle their toes in the latest style!

We are so thankful for the generosity of this young couple who chose to bless us with a new washer and dryer. Yes, we certainly and willingly forked over the $500. But as far as I'm concerned, they really gave us these new appliances. Who ever heard of getting Maytag frontloaders gently used for a year for $500?

The funny thing is, we could have bought a new washer and dryer the same way we bought the first ones - on credit. We could have bought them a long time ago. But we didn't need to. It's decisions like that that have enabled me to stay home with my kids instead of going back to work full-time. Little sacrifices like that have made a huge difference in our family life.

It's also decisions like that which have allowed us to see God work on our behalf time and again. Do you think I see these appliances a little differently because of they way they came to us? You betcha, I do. I see them as gifts from God - blessed, timely gifts. And I see that sweet couple as people who made themselves available to be used by God to bless someone. I pray that God blesses them mightily for their generosity.

I dashed out to Target yesterday afternoon and bought the new detergent I needed for my new High Efficiency washer. Then I came home and put in my first load - towels and sheets, a much bigger load than I ever could have put into my temperamental 23-year-old Kenmore that banged across the floor with its incurable balance disease..

Oh, did I neglect to mention that we'd had them 23 years?!?

I swear, the first load came out fluffier and sweeter smelling than any load I'd done in years.
I actually enjoyed folding the towels and sheets and putting them in the linen closet.

In fact, I'm enjoying laundry altogether again. I just want to wash and dry everything in my house!

Maybe my zeal for doing laundry will wane, but I don't really think so. And I know I will always appreciate this washer and dryer even more because of how God provided it for us.


Father, thank you for my new washer and dryer. I know they are truly gifts from You. I want to pledge to You today to enjoy serving my family with them. I won't leave loads sitting in the washer for days and I won't pull out just one item at a time from the dryer until only a few socks remain. I'll diligently keep my family's clothes and linens clean with these wonderful new appliances.

And Lord, thank you for 23 years of good service from the other appliances. Like the Israelites' sturdy sandals, their longevity indeed showed me that You are the Lord, my God. You have always provided for us and You always will.

But it's so good to put on "new sandals" today!

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