Tag Archives: prayer

It’s late, and I’m tired, but I have to share some cute kid moments

The mackerdoodle had an assignment for school. Here is the message from her teacher:

“select a stuffed animal from home and make a tag to tie around the animal’s neck. The tag should include your child’s name, the name of the animal, and a true fact/sentence about the animal. An example of the fact/sentence is “A bear has fur.” or “A rabbit has long ears.”

The mackerdoodle chose a koala, then asked me to look up koalas and read it to her. Her card says:

Koala is not a bear. It is a marsupial. 6

I had to help her spell “marsupial”, of course, but Why the six? “Because the baby stays in the pouch for 6 months, but I don’t have enough room to write that, so I wrote 6 so I would remember how many months.”
In family worship, the children each take turns praying. The snickerdoodle, being only 2, is learning through repetition after us. We are praying for people in our church, and we ask the children to pray that they would (a) love The Lord, (b) love His church and (c) grow in grace. Today the snickerdoodle’s prayer went like this.

Me: Dear God. Snickerdoodle: God
Me: thank you for. Snickerdoodle: tantoo for
Me: [family name]. Snickerdoodle: [family name]
Me: please help them. Snickerdoodle: hep dem
Me: to love you. Snickerdoodle: wuv me
Me: um. Love Jesus. Snickerdoodle: and wuv Jesus. Amen.
A few days ago the cheesedoodle climbed up on my lap for a snuggle, and I held him close and asked him, “will you always give mama snuggles?” He hugged me tight and said, “nope.” “No?” I answered back, not surprised, but hoping for a different answer. He shrugged and said, “you be dead, sometime.” After a moment of startled suppressed giggles, I asked, “well will you give me snuggles for the rest of my life?” “Oh. Yeah.” He answered and gave me another tight hug before running off to play, apparently happier with my redefined parameters.

Slow and Steady Answers to Prayer

It’s our weekly event. I walk through the doors and they recognize me and the Cheesedoodle immediately. I don’t even have to check in anymore. They see me and send the page to let the Cheesedoodle’s speech therapist know we’re here. We’re approaching the 2 year mark in therapy, and in the week to week of it, it’s easy to lose sight of the progress he has made. When he’s still struggling to be understood at church events and even within the family. When he is obviously struggling to make himself known, and finally gives up. When he won’t sing his favorite songs with the family, because making words fit with everyone else and keeping to rhythm and tempo is exhausting for him. When I realize that he knows almost the entire alphabet, but I haven’t been understanding what he’s been saying to me. When the snickerdoodle comes out, spontaneously, with polysyllabic words like “yogurt” or “bumblebee” and I realize she’s close to passing him in articulation, (although not vocabulary). When all of these things happen I can get frustrated and wonder why we even make the weekly trek out to the Child Development Center for an hour each week.

But in the long view, the strides he’s made in less than 2 years is pretty amazing. When we started this journey he said nothing at all, and replaced everything with a closed mouth “mmmm” sound. The Lord has brought him a long way, and has used an amazing speech therapist as one of his tools in that.

Last week the mackerdoodle asked her brother what one his toys was named. He thought for a minute and then said, “He-man.” They both giggled together about a starfish named “he-man” and ran off to play some strange hybrid of princesses and superheroes and Star Wars. You know, like you do.

On Friday we had a busy morning with a lot of friends, so we let the Cheesedoodle take some down time in the afternoon to recharge his introvert cells. His choice was to watch something on Netflix (he is his father’s son) but he insisted that I sit beside him on the couch. “Me need you, Mama!” were his exact words, and what mama could resist. At some point, I realized that my right hip was trying to climb the arm of the couch while the Cheesedoodle’s head slowly bored a hole in my left arm pit. I looked down at the yards of empty couch stretching just beyond my son’s blonde head and asked if he could move over, just a little, to give me more room. He shifted his narrow behind a micrometer, and looked at me, adoringly, and said, “Dere. Now you gots WOTS space! From here (he pointed to himself) to over dere (he pointed to the arm of the couch.)” and he snuggled back under my arm, turning back to the continuing adventures of the Voltron Force.

I was overwhelmed with gratitude for a slow and steady answer to prayer that reveals itself in single sounds stretched out over years, but combine into wonderful exchanges that reveal my son’s mind and heart. There have been some miraculous and instant answers to prayer in our life, but this day in and day out healing is no less wonderful.

I am reminded that this is a better picture of how God is normally at work. While he does do big and sudden and spectacular, he is working in our life day in and day out to make us more like Christ. The transforming of our minds, the putting off the old self and putting on the new, the fruit of the spirit, are all accomplished slowly, and steadily over the day in and day out regular pace of life. The Lord is at work – in my cheesedoodle, in me, in us – transforming and healing us bit by bit.

What the Lord Taught Me This Week

Well, the mommy guilt series is taking an unintended hiatus while this mama gets an unexpected lesson in nature, nurture and prayer. On Monday I had my worst day of parenting ever – a record I’m sure will be broken repeatedly in the coming years as parenting becomes less about meeting the primary needs of food, shelter and comfort for dependent infants/toddlers and becomes more about identifying my children’s sin, pointing them to the cross and seeing how little they care.

That sounds like a bitter, cynical response, but it’s not meant to be. The more I watch my children, the more I understand that sin has tainted even the way we see our own sin. I hold onto my sinfulness like a child clings to his blankie and claim to be comforted by the very thing that is chaffing my soul; all the while I kick angrily against the healing and comfort that comes from the Prince of Peace. It is a humbling thing to see not only my own rebelliousness reflected back to me, but know that I while I can point out my children’s sin, I cannot change their heart, and while I can point them to their need for the Savior, I cannot make them want Him.

In the midst of all of that, the culture wars land solidly on our door step, and I suddenly realize that this struggle to love my children through their sin, to love them enough to point out their sin, to love them so much I want to physically pour God’s grace into their heads until their hearts change, and knowing I can’t, is the same struggle we face as Christians in the world. We have to love people and the Lord enough to proclaim that sin is sin and is an affront to a holy God. Because we love people and the Lord that much, we eagerly point them to Christ as the solution to that sin, but that’s all we can do. We can’t change their hearts. We can’t draw them to Christ.

In the family and in culture, my weakness is to scream about their sin more than I point them to the cross. This week that drove me to my knees, and I realized that my only hope is in appealing to the only one who can draw them to himself, change their hearts, and then complete that amazing work just as He is completing it in me.

How the First Century Church Kicked My Butt in the 21st Century

We’re reading Acts in family worship and today we read a prayer that the first group of Christians prayed after having been threatened to stop preaching the gospel.

they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, 25 who through the mouth of our father David, your servant,said by the Holy Spirit,

“‘Why did the Gentiles rage,
and the peoples plot in vain?
26 The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers were gathered together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed’

27 for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28  to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. 29 And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servantsto continue to speak your word with all boldness, 30 while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31 And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.

Did you see what they prayed? They didn’t ask the Lord to remove the threats, or to protect them, or to keep them or their children safe. All they asked was that they would continue to obey in light of the threats against them.

For months I have been praying, “Lord, please let the baby sleep tonight.”

Tonight, after having the prayer from Acts bouncing around my head all day, I am convicted to pray, “Lord, please give me the strength to be obedient to you even when the baby doesn’t sleep.”

It’s certainly a harder prayer, made more so by my tendency toward the heresy that all a problem really needs is for me to learn the right lesson and then it will immediately be solved. As if God is in heaven with a level chart and as soon as I complete all the required tasks of a quest he bumps up my avatar and starts the next level of sanctification. The story of Acts is certainly not helping that presupposition either. They prayed for boldness in the face of persecution and got both boldness AND persecution. I am praying for strength, while still hoping for sleep, and thanking the Lord that He has even the number of hours of sleep prewritten before the foundations of the world.

A Strange, But Heartfelt, Prayer Request

There is one apartment in our neighborhood unrented for the upcoming school year. It is right next door to us and will be vacated at the end of August. We will miss the neighbors who live there now but are so excited to see what the Lord will do in and through them in their new adventures on the eastern seaboard.

All of the little girls close in age to my mackerdoodle moved away this summer, and while she plays well with the little boys, sometimes a girl just needs someone who cares that her flip flops sparkle. You know it’s true.

Could you pray for a 4 year old girl to move into the apartment next door? It’s a strange request, and improbable as the end of August is an unlikely time for anyone to move in to our neighborhood. But God is the God of strange and improbable, and he asks us to bring our requests before him because he cares for us – even the need to have our sparkly flip flops appreciated.

Can’t see the Forest for the Twigs

Last week I found out that one of my oldest childhood friends has cancer, and two friends’ marriages are falling apart, one slowly and painfully, one quickly and painfully.  It sort of puts the whole “none of my clothes fit properly” complaints into perspective.  It also shocked me out of a personal pity party I was permitting myself.  (How’s that for alliteration?)

Jonathan’s schedule last week was HORRIBLE!  When it showed up in the e-mail inbox I pitched a fit.  Unfortunately, I pitched it by e-mail to my friend Becky.  I engaged in some ungodly attitudes and thoughts and general “poor me” behavior.  I grumbled.  I complained.  I felt sorry for myself and expected others to do the same.

Then I kept getting news from friends.  Pretty soon I was thanking God for a series of late nights and long days, and Jonathan put things in even more perspective when he reminded me that we have to guard our own marriage from the things that have attacked these others.  I didn’t need to be complaining to God about a few 10 hour days.  I didn’t need to pray against a 10 am – 8 pm Saturday shift.  Instead, I needed to be begging the Lord to keep us from temptation and deliver us from evil.  I was so lost in the twigs, I had lost perspective on the forest.

The final straw of conviction was coming to the end of the week and realizing that unlike cancer and broken marriages, the difference between a bad schedule and a good one is seven days, and sometimes less than that.  A training day that had been scheduled for Sunday was rescheduled for a Wednesday, and Jonathan’s schedule has been reworked from five shifts of six or seven hours, to three shifts of ten hours.  That means four suppers and bedtimes with Daddy instead of two.  It means three nights he can do his homework after the kids go to bed, instead of sometimes having to put in a couple of hours reading or studying after getting home at 11:00 pm.

It means that while my friends are dealing with real struggles, I was pitching a fit about something so temporary as to be laughable.  This week I’m delighted in the new schedule and reminded that most of the things about which I complain are both fleeting and irrelevant.

It means this week, when I’m tempted to complain about regular pants being too small and maternity pants being too big, I’m going to stop and pray for my friends and their families and hopefully look up from my little twigs, to see the forest around me once in a while.

Dear God . . .

We’ve been teaching our mackerdoodle to pray for several months now.  At first it was just “thank you for this food” at meals and “please forgive my sins and help me to love Jesus” at family worship.  When we noticed that she was doing the meal prayer as she slid into her chair, and had it timed so the first fork full of food was hitting her tongue before the sound of “amen” had faded from the air, we thought maybe we should be taking this prayer thing to another level.

All we asked was that she thank God for the specific food we were eating.  If I put a plate of turkey fried rice in front of her (one of her favorite meals – done in the crock pot!) she didn’t hesitate.  “Dear God, hank oo for dis TOOKEY WICE!!!!!! amen.” she would say.  Then she would open her eyes and look at us for affirmation (which we granted eagerly) before she began to shovel the tookey wice into her mouth.  It was all a little more complicated, however, when the meal was, say, bean soup.  She doesn’t really like bean soup, so she didn’t really want to say “hank oo” for that meal; but we worked at it, and soon it became the new routine to thank God for the specific food of each meal.

Lately, she’s realized that she can improvise within the assigned parameters of her prayers.  Prayers for lunch lately have been very entertaining.  Yesterday it was “Dear God, hank oo for” little pause, as her closed eyes wrinkle in concentration, “Daddy, Abigail, LukeAndrew, slides, squirrels, Luke’s party. . . ” then a quick peek from between her fluttering eyelashes “eggs, bacon, and bwead.  amen.”

I need to remember to thank God for the every day things like squirrels and slides.  I think we’re learning from her as she learns from us.

Dear God, thank you for a little girl who is already learning to thank you for the things and people in her life.  And for bacon.  Amen.