There is a time every morning when the house quiets of calls for missing socks and more milk for cereal. When I mom-selfishly drink in the quiet for just a few minutes (ok 30 minutes). Normally it is my coffee or Bible time, but sometimes it means I can have a bath without prying eyes or questions or “Did-you-see-my?”s. It is then that I notice the streak.

The brown streak of soap scum, hard winter grass, potting soil and red sand. And as I reach for the sponge and detergent I bend down in cleaning prayer over the ring-around- evidence of afternoons spent in the garden chasing cricket balls and friends and sunlight.

As I scrub I thank Him for legs strong enough for running, lungs healthy for laughing and even crying and bare feet tender but ready for a sacrifice to thorns as they boldly explore.

I often forget to say thanks. Not to others but to Him who made us all. I teach my (His?) children in sleepy prayers to find three things to thank Him for… yet I forget. I forget that He says to give thanks in all circumstances (all?). I forget that He bent over bread and wine and thanked His Father for the horror to come. I forget that the God who made the universe with a Word can surely bring good from what seems irredeemable.

So when I clean the bath, I remember. I remember to thank Him for what could be an irritation and it slowly seeps into the rest of my life. For the easy things and, reluctantly, for the hard.

A book by Merlin Carothers, Power in Praise, explains how he thanked God for a green traffic light one day while in a hurry. The quiet Voice whispered, “Would you have thanked me for a red one too?”. He didn’t have an answer. Sometimes neither do I.

But I’d like to think dirty bath prayers are a start.