Washing My Son’s Feet

I’m lying on my sister’s couch, huddled under a soft, blue blanket, trying to beat the chill from hours out  in the forest this morning. 

I can hear the boys playing in the backyard, my dad is sitting on a chair close by, watching the rumbling and laughing from behind the window pane.

I can’t keep my eyes open.  I doze off, waking now and then when a boy comes in and slams the patio door.  It is peaceful amidst the chaos, and I love hearing the cousins enjoying each other’s company.

Josiah comes in for a few moments, and he tells me he’s going to need to wash his feet when he’s done playing.  I realize he left his shoes inside for this round of play, choosing to feel the plush green grass between his toes – he loves that feeling.  And what Josiah does, Elijah often does, so there will be two pairs of boy’s feet to wash.  But for now I doze off for a few more minutes.

Finally it’s time to come in for dinner.  Boys are hungry anyways.  My sister and I decide these boys should head up to the bathtub – now.  She gets the towel and turns on the water and the boys step into the ceramic white bowl.  I can see the dirt mixing in with the clear water, making mud that drains away.

I start to give them the soap to wash their own feet, then I catch this glimpse of a moment waiting to be lived.  This time it’s not hard to choose to live it.  I wonder – when was the last time I washed my son’s feet?  Bathtimes are long gone, and these toes are kept clean by their hands instead of mine now.  I don’t think I’ve ever just washed their feet.  I WANT to be Jesus in these next few moments.  Will they pick up on it – the washing of the feet – just like Jesus with his disciples?  When they came inside with dirt on their toes, when they were getting ready to sit down to a meal together? 

Josiah says it as I start to wash.  “Just like Jesus.”  I smile, I am instantly blessed right down to the core.  He gets it.  His faith is so quiet sometimes, he doesn’t say much about God sometimes, it’s just his way, and he gets it.

Thank You God for giving me this chance to wash my son’s feet.  May I do this in so many ways in their lives as they grow.  Help me to keep teaching them, showing them, living out for them, more of You.

I never thought I’d find so much joy in washing dirt and muck from between a boy’s toes.  Motherhood truly is a wonder.


  1. Anna, this leaves me in tears, after a hard week of mothering. Thank you for the reminder of what motherhood truly is. Not accomplishment. Not immediate success. Not self-glorification. *SERVICE.* Tomorrow, I hope to wash my daughters’ feet. Figuratively. 🙂 Well, actually, maybe literally too – it’ll be bath night! 🙂


    • Thank you Audra! Mothering is such a process, isn’t it? You’re right – so hard to “measure” how we’re doing. But once in a while I see it – the young men my boys are becoming. And if I just… keep… going in Him, keep growing in Him, keep listening for Him – I trust He is taking these boys where He wants them. I’m so glad to be one of the biggest parts of that, even in the hard days, weeks, months! Blessings on you and your little girls tomorrow.


  2. Love it, love it, love it. Thanks for sharing. I can feel it right deep down in my soul. I use to love washing my son’s dirty feet after playing outside all day at camp. Hugs and kisses to all of you.


    • Hi Brenda:
      I love to hear from you. I remember you telling me about how mucky Chris would get, and how you knew he’d had a good day by how dirty he was! Did Jesus think about what a good day the disciples had as he washed the dust from their feet? Did he think about all the ministry that happened on the dusty roads, the fun they had together as they ministered, and this washing of feet might also be His way of rejoicing in that? Did he ponder the good and the fun in the layers of dust, as He also pondered the love and sacrifice and cleansing needed to remove the dirt of sin from our lives? HHmmm…


  3. …stopped by from Ann’s. I grew up in a denomination that practiced feet washing at communion — I miss that. Isn’t there something intimate and authentic about the act? I love how you acted on that silent nudge and served your boy. God will work that into his soul.


    • I was never much interested in washing someone’s feet, never practiced the ritual in faith environments, don’t really like feet much. One couple I know washed each other’s feet at their wedding. Such a sense of love and service involved…. I continue to learn so much on this journey of faith and motherhood.


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