The Laundry Mat
Learning to Trust God as Provider
Someday last week the snow was falling outside my bedroom window while I sat with a cup of coffee and my bible. Seemed like the perfect peaceful morning, right? Little would anyone know that I had just washed my face for the third time just to keep my eyes from getting puffy from crying. I am not unfamiliar with tough seasons in life. In fact, they seem quite normal at this point. What I have found to be even more familiar is the presence of God in the midst of the trying times. Nothing builds relationship quite like vulnerability and transparency, and God has seen it all with me. And He has been, and I’m convinced always will be, devoted to staying close even in the bad. What’s more is I’ve been able to watch Him show up and change things around for my good, on more than one occasion.
Why then would I doubt that He can and will do it again in this current trial? I rarely ever doubt. But sometimes I do worry. Ok, sometimes I actually freak out, let’s just keep it real. The tears this particular morning were a combination of worry, freak-out, and thankfulness. They were basically the sum of all the feelings hitting all at the same time leaving me ugly girl crying all over my dog. And then, so sweetly, so gently I was reminded of one of my personal favorite testimonies of all time: The laundry mat and rent money.
Several years ago, before I ended up in snow covered Ohio, I was going through what we can call “A lean season” in Los Angeles. If you’ve ever lived in LA, you probably have experienced financial struggle at some point, and if you haven’t well… God bless you. I was working multiple part time jobs, still trying to audition as often as possible with little luck booking, and attempting to transition into self-employment as a personal trainer. If I wasn’t working, I was studying, or stuck somewhere in traffic. My bank account was the lowest it had been in a long while and to top it off, my debit card was hacked by someone who decided to spend the little money I had on some website buying “adult” items. Really God?!
It was in the middle of my ranting frenzy, perhaps temper tantrum, that my roommate told me to get out of the house and suggested I go do my laundry at the laundry mat down the street from our apartment. Which probably was best for both our sake. If I couldn’t clean up the rest of my life in the next two hours, at least having my clothes washed would be a good step in the right direction. I packed my laundry in my car, drove a block down the street, literally, and walked into the downy scented building with my clothes, my journal and bible, and a worship playlist downloaded on my phone. I spotted a washer and begin to fill it when suddenly I got this internal nudge to switch my clothes to a different washer, two spots down. I went with the feeling and transferred the clothes.
“You care more about me than the birds of the air and the Lilies of the field. I am your daughter. I need you to provide. Please show up Father. Please show up.”
As my clothes started their cycle, I picked a spot to journal and read. Blasting worship in my headphones, I begin to write out my concerns and worries. I wrote out my prayers, begging God to show up and provide for me. My rent was due in 3 days, I didn’t have enough to cover it. I was about $430 short with no paychecks coming in and I was low on groceries and gas. Tears dripped off my cheeks and hit the pages of my journal as I wrote, leaving ink blotches where my words were. I opened my bible and read Matthew 6:25-34 and begin pray it back to God. I repeatedly said, “You care more about me than the birds of the air and the Lilies of the field. I am your daughter. I need you to provide. Please show up Father. Please show up.” I needed the reminder that I will always be provided for and I was determined to remind God of His own word to take care of me.
After 37 minutes, my clothes were done. I walked over, looking like a hot mess I’m sure, and begin to unload my damp laundry into a cart. On the second transfer, a roll of money fell out of the washer landing at my feet. My eyes popped about half way out of my head and scrambling, I frantically picked up the money and stashed it in my pocket. I loaded my clothes quickly into the dryer and ran out to hide in my car and count the cash. I unrolled a couple one hundred-dollar bills, some twenties, and singles. The total amount was about $487! Trembling I immediately called my best guy friend and explained the entire story. His advice was to keep it and pay my rent because he believed that God answered my prayer and miraculously provided. I couldn’t disagree, I believed it too. But I needed to be honest. I needed to make sure it was mine to keep. Ending the call, I returned to the laundry mat and knocked on the owner’s office door.
Trying hard to play it cool, I cautiously asked, “Sir, did anyone happen to report losing a sum of money? I, um, I found some money and will return it if it was reported.”
He tilted his head curiously and asked how much I had found. Not wanting to divulge that information, I simply replied, “I prefer not to disclose that. But I am willing to hold onto it and leave my contact information. If someone comes in to report a large sum, you are welcome to give them my contact and if the amount matches, I will return it in full.” A grin spread across his tan face. Ever so calmly he replied, “We are not responsible for lost or stolen items. If you find it, you keep it. You found it. It’s yours.” And with that, he turned and walked away leaving me shaking and stunned. Again, really God?!
My clothes couldn’t have dried fast enough. I felt like Charlie from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory after finding the last golden ticket. I just wanted to run straight home like a mad woman. God had showed up! He showed up in a laundry mat in a very real and tangible way. He saw me. The praise dance and tears that came that afternoon were not enough to express my gratitude. I deposited the money, tithed, and paid my rent. Oh yeah, and I bought groceries. Then I told everyone I knew about God’s faithfulness to me. To this day, whenever things get “lean” I am reminded of that moment, just like I was last week. I even jokingly often pray, “Father, do you want me to go do my chores? Some laundry maybe?”
Truth is, even in my frustrations, I fully believe that God WILL show up. I believe that He is good and He does good. I believe that He is working things together for my good. This recount is only one of many testimonies I could share. And I know that I’m not an exception! I know that everyone can experience this goodness because, well, if I can, anyone can. If you are going through a tough season, I encourage you to turn toward God and not away. To lean in and pray and actually expect Him to listen and respond. If God can pay my rent from a washing machine, He can take care of your needs because He is a good Father. “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matthew 6:26 NIV)