God is a washing machine. God is a bottle of mouthwash. God is in the conflict.

Writer’s block and fear

Today is the earliest I’ve been up in weeks.

I’ve found myself retracing steps – remembering what works and what doesn’t.

It’s difficult to continue down a path that is constantly new.

It isn’t comfortable – just like this blog.

I became fearful I had or would run out of ideas and in turn out of words.

I know it’s a lie.

On my writing desk is a Maya Angelou quote:

“You cannot use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”

But the lie is still before me.

It’s seductive. It provides me an out. When a lie is believed as truth, it is acted on as truth.

I traced back. I remembered that if I want to continue as a writer, to continue this journey, I must actively place my butt in a chair, pen in hand. No excuses. I must choose to give up some television time. I must choose to go to bed and get some rest and get up and moving the next morning. I really need to use futureme.org and give myself some encouragement when I hit a writing lag.

So this morning I’m up early and well-rested. (Thank you, Melatonin.)

Just before waking, I dreamed of Hawkett (my character for the novel I am writing). Dreamed of how I wanted to keep him out of conflict’s way. Because I was holding conflict back from Hawkett his story was boring. Uneventful. Hawkett isn’t who he is intended to be because he has not struggled to get what he wants.

Donald Miller, author of several inspiring books, writes in A Million Miles in a Thousand Years that a story is about a character who wants something and overcomes conflict in order to get it.

I also dreamed of washing machines and mouthwash. A weird combination, I agree, but these were a source of conflict for me on separate occasions.

I realized for my character Hawkett conflict was necessary. It must happen. For me too, conflict is necessary. Conflict allows opportunity for transformation. It gives us a chance to choose. Will I become bitter? Will I become better?

Washing machine woes

For nearly seven months, I have been without a washing machine. For seven months, I packed up my stanky laundry and spent a day at my mum’s – washing, watching her cable, and eating her food. A sweet deal for sure. But seven months, seriously. I was beyond grateful for mum’s open arms but I was ready to find/purchase/steal a washer.

I decided to set out and purchase a washer. I went to a nearby place that had washers. I picked out the least expensive. Stood in front of it for 15 minutes and walked out of the store empty-handed. I wasn’t supposed to get a washer. I felt it in me. Instead of being impatient and impractical, I walked away and scored some points in the Fruits of the Spirit’s Patience category.

An hour later my dear friend and mentor sat across from me at a birthday party and I told her about the washer and my plans to go out and look some more. She just looked at me in amazement.

“You don’t have a washing machine?”


“What?! I’ve got a washing machine for you. It’s yours. You know the one from the tearoom? We aren’t going to sell it because the dial is broken. But it works. And it’s yours.”

I am not even kidding.

Next morning, I had a fully functioning washing machine with a beautifully wonky dial. It is perfection.

God is a washing machine. He is willing to take the lowliest form in order to show me His divine timing, presence, and sovereignty. Nothing is wasted. Not a broken washing machine. Not walking in a store and leaving because you heed His voice. Not a washing machine with a wonky dial. Every time I use my washing machine, I see God:

God teaching me endurance.

God teaching me patience.

God teaching me perseverance.

God is my washing machine.

Luxuriant mouthwash

God also is a bottle of mouthwash. Seeming innocuous, right, a bottle of mouthwash? It seems hardly significant, except it is.

Growing up in my wild ruckus of a family there was a hierarchy to oral hygiene products.

Toothbrush and toothpaste: Essential

Floss: Use what the dentist gave you and make it last for six months, mister.

Mouthwash: Non-essential. No, nuh-uh, not gonna happen.

Mouthwash was a pure luxury item. I love mouthwash, probably because it was so rare, like discovering a unicorn.

So as an adult, I bought mouthwash like it was going out of style. I stocked up and rinsed twice daily.

However, six months in to unemployment and mouthwash was once again ranked as non-essential. I rationed and held on to my mouthwash for as long as possible and then one day it was gone. I had an empty bottle.

And you know what?

While at my mum’s doing laundry, my mum proudly displayed her winnings from some drawing at some retirement thingamajig. In her hand, a bottle of beautiful, luxuriant mouthwash.

“You want this?”

“Oh. Yes!”

I could’ve puddled on the floor, but I didn’t.

This was hardly a coincidence.

God is a bottle of mouthwash. A bottle that said He cared even about mouthwash. A bottle that said He was overseeing every aspect of my life. It was all important to Him.

Each time I get ready to rinse, I see that bottle of mouthwash and I see God.

God is my bottle of mouthwash.


From a washing machine to mouthwash to my story

Whenever I have doubts and I do –

Whenever I long for the easier road and I do –

I look at my washing machine.

I look at my bottle of mouthwash.

And God is before me. Ever present. Ever caring.

Loving me before, during, and after a conflict.

God will take the unlikeliest of shapes and forms to whisper or shout:

You are mine.

I love you.

Live your story.

I am in it with you.



  1. Beautiful posts Keeks. I’ve been avoiding anything beyond the moment of conflict in my writing lately, without even noticing. This open my eyes too. When we avoid the conflict, we avoid the overcoming. We avoid the victory. We avoid the testimony (which is the story).

    “I must choose to go to bed and get some rest and get up and moving the next morning.” Bullseye. I did better this week than I have for a month, but today was not the best of days. I does help to know that there might be someone else who struggles with that – that not everyone else is a morning person who automatically does their best at (or before) the break of dawn. Thanks.

    1. Oh my gosh Alicia! You nailed it: “When we avoid the conflict, we avoid the overcoming. We avoid the victory. We avoid the testimony (which is the story).” I’ve been writing around the conflict for my character for days, seriously, he had the most inactive, passive existence. Yesterday, though, I finally dropped the weight on him. I can’t wait to see his transformation.

      Hang in there with the sleep thing – such a struggle! I am right there with you!

      P.S. Have you heard anything else about the Quitter breakfast? I was so excited to hear from Jon Acuff, I had trouble sleeping (again!).

  2. You are such a wonderful writer! I love reading your thoughts! 🙂 I LOVE the quote you wrote! I needed to see that! I feel your washing machine story is the story with us with a home. I just keep telling the Lord, “ok, i’m waiting patiently.” But on the inside i’m freaking out! Still waiting patiently for his word & provision. And until then I continue to grow in patience, peace, & character.

    1. Christa! I hear you! We are not alone and God sees you. I love your willingness to wait patiently.

      Thanks for the kind words and encouragement! It is much needed!

  3. Kristen Honey. Loved your Post. As you know, my dental work is just about complete in a week or two, and I have a DRESSER DRAWER Full of “FLOSS”. You are welcome to ALL of it. My hygenist gives me a new one every 3 months at check-ups, so I will probably have a good supply left when I take the big trip. LOL

  4. Pingback: Enough | Keeks

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