The Mystery of the Missing Dustpan


My son lost our dustpan last week.

This is the second dustpan he has lost.

I do not know how these things happen. There really is no logical explanation, but my dustpan is lost just the same.

One day, I pulled out the broom, dustpan and mop and attacked the kitchen floor with cleaning vigor.

Then my son ‘swept’ the floor and ‘mopped’ it himself in a little game of pretend cleaning.

I, of course, did not stop this child because a little tiny boy who thinks chores are fun could grow up into a responsible adult.

So what if he just pushes the broom around the kitchen to no effect?

It’s adorable.

That is, it’s adorable until you put the broom back in the closet and realize the dustpan is MIA.

I mean, really, how well can you hide a dustpan?  It’s such an awkward shape and it’s too large to fit into most of the drawers and stashing places around my kitchen.

I shrugged it off at first, figuring it would just turn up as I cleaned later that day, or week, or whatever.

It has not!

Last time this happened (yes, there was a last time), I broke down and bought a new dustpan the following week.  This time, I kept hoping I’d find the top secret hiding place where he is stashing these things.  Then, maybe I’d have two dustpans and new-found knowledge to help me prevent this crisis in the future.

Of course, now I’m truly appreciating the full value and utility of a really good dustpan.  Without it, I was sweeping my kitchen floor dirt onto a piece of cardstock paper, until I finally broke down and paid the $1 for a new one….again.

And I’m thinking how many days I just swept my kitchen floor without giving that dustpan a half-second of thought or appreciation.  I just used it.  It’s a cheap, plastic tool, and I had no idea how much easier it made my life.

What have you been overlooking?

What have we been taking for granted, using without gratitude or appreciation or even worship?

What have we been grabbing out of our storeroom Christian closet and putting to work without fully valuing its impact or purpose?

I read Paul’s words today:

The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know ( 1 Tim. 2:1 MSG).

Maybe you’ve been taking a spiritual gift for granted or you’ve trudged into church on Sunday or even just skipped the service and opted for a morning nap.

Perhaps your Bible is dust-covered and serving as a nightstand paper weight.

Or maybe you’ve stopped writing notes of encouragement to others or calling your friend or your sister and sharing a cup of coffee.

We do this.  We get busy.  We grow complacent.  We do what we’re supposed to do without passion or joy just because it’s what we’re supposed to do.

We grab the appropriate tool, use it, and stash it back in the closet for the next cleaning day.

But I return to Paul’s words about prayer and I start here today.

I’m thankful for prayer.  I want to acknowledge the power of it, the blessing of it, the gift of it.

I want to pray first, not second, not after I’ve tried everything else, not as a last resort or in one desperate act of hopelessness.

Pray first.

I want to pray about everything, not just what’s spiritual and holy or big enough to garner God’s attention.  Everything.  Every minor annoyance and daily need, every concern over my children, each new day and all it brings and the ministry God lays at my feet.

The disciples watched their resurrected Savior ascend into heaven and heard His command to wait for the Holy Spirit.  They walked down off of that mountain and journeyed straight to Jerusalem.

13 And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying… 14 All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer… (Act 1:13, 14 ESV).

They went right to prayer.  They devoted themselves to it.  They lingered there.

Then, filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter delivered the sermon of all sermons.

Mac Lucado writes:

For ten days the disciples prayed. Ten days of prayer plus a few minutes of preaching led to three thousand saved souls.  Perhaps we invert the numbers. We’re prone to pray for a few minutes and preach for tend days.  Not the apostles.

The disciples didn’t pray for a preaching service.  They just prayed.  They treasured God’s presence, recognized His power, and acted because of His Spirit in them.

Pray first.

Pray for everything (yes, including the missing dustpan).

Pray for everyone.

Pray all day.

Pray, not for God to make things happen your way, but for God to be at work His way.

Just pray.

What have you been overlooking?

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

14 thoughts on “The Mystery of the Missing Dustpan

      • reubenkerrlostsonsreturning says:

        i’m posting a blog tomorrow which i’d love you to look at. just cos it’s so different from the life you lead with your children. i should warn you – it’s not an easy read. it’s called “that searing loss.” Keep writing the good stuff. Especially about family – it gives me a window into what is going on. thank you heather.

  1. Cindy says:

    What a beautiful post. Your story of the dustpan also reminds me of the importance of God’s grace and forgiveness..without it, we just keep sweeping the “dirt” of our lives from this corner to that one – never able to fully be rid of it.

  2. Melissa says:

    Beautiful post. Thanks for the reminder to think about the things in my life that I am thankful for, but, overlooking. I need to pause and thank God all throughout the day, for His mercy and His blessings.

  3. Nina Newton says:

    Hi Heather! Just stopping by to let you know that this post will be featured on the Ruby blog tomorrow, Monday, June 29. Hope you can come on over and visit some of the other team members, and please share with your readers and followers that you are over at Ruby this week. Thanks so much for sharing your writing with the Ruby community! Nina @ Ruby for Women

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