Foot-washing update

So I wrote a few days ago about Mercy and Aaron refusing to let me wash their feet in an attempt to act out the bible story we had just read. Yesterday we had Mercy’s best friend here, and at one point Mercy turned to me and said: “Mommy, let’s play Jesus and his disciples.”

I wasn’t sure what exactly that meant, as there are different stories we like to play, but she clarified: “Mommy, be Jesus and wash our feet.”

“Okay,” I said, and I had the kids sit on the edge of the futon once again.

I went into the bathroom, filled my basin, and got a towel and when I came out the three were lined up with big eyes and great anticipation.

I decided to start with Mercy, so I knelt down in front of her and started to wash her little foot with my water and hands. As I washed her, I told her why I was doing this and that she should do the same thing for other people. She listened, still, eyes locked with mine the entire time.

Next it was Aaron’s turn, and as I moved the basin over to him and started to wet his feet, I realized that there was another set of small hands tending his other foot. I hadn’t even noticed her getting down, or kneeling beside me. She was sober about her task, and looked up at me repeatedly for affirmation.

We finished Aaron’s feet and moved on to Mercy’s best friend, and this time Aaron came down to his knees to help as well. I sat at little Elena’s feet, my two kids on either side of me, and we bathed her feet together.

I loved the way that, for Mercy and Aaron, Jesus’ command to do what he did was not taken as some theoretical event saved for a later time or place. It was immediate, practical, physical. And so, so simple.


  1. Action in the immediate – how inspiring and encouraging. 🙂 As a Mom, I teared up reading this post….thanks for sharing it!

  2. WOW… what a really amazing moment that turned into! I hope they remember it, if not you must retell it when they’re older.

  3. i’m so glad you are writing these things down, specifically about mercy. that girl has such insight into life – whether interpreting other people and languages, or spiritual things. as she should, she just goes for it, and seems to almost always get the spirit of the thing right. it will all make a lot of sense when she is older and is an amazing spiritual leader, preacher, minister like her mom and dad! i think she’s just made for some kind of impact like that – occupationally or not. what a gift of a little girl!

  4. What an amazing moment with your children and their friend. I can’t imagine the impact being made by having a mom play ‘Jesus and the disciples’ with her kids — not to mention washing their feet!
    Thanks for sharing!

  5. Erika,

    I found you via Kingdom Grace. As a pastor Dad of a 5-year-old girl and 3-year-old boy, I found this so moving. In these two stories you have taught me so much about discipling our own children.

    Grace and peace,


  6. Thanks for the great comments. I’m sure most parents feel this, but I often feel more taught by these small ones than anything else! It is great to watch and see and hear the ways they take in life and God and what things like love and hospitality and service mean. I spend much of every day reminding them of stuff (do this, don’t do that), but they remind me of the important stuff.

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