I really want to encourage you to take the time to review your personal history, especially if you’ve ever felt like God hasn’t heard you.
As I mentioned before, I’ve decided to go through all my old calendars, journal entries, photos and credit card records in order to create a “family history”…a record of our years together. This takes a lot of time — I’ve only gotten to 2012 and I still haven’t looked at photos and card charges for any year.
The thing that has jumped out at me is how God did not ignore me, as I often accused Him of doing. For years and years I felt like I was doing something wrong…I prayed but I wasn’t connecting or detecting a true relationship. God seemed silent; my ceiling was apparently a sponge, absorbing all those petitions. And yet I see it now – He did answer so many prayers. I just did not recognize it. He often answers gradually and sometimes in very different ways than you expected.
Like most parents, I’ve prayed a lot for my children – to know God, to be their highest and truest selves, to not be held captive by things that would hold them down or back, and to have good friends: really good, positive, affirming, encourage-you-to-be-your-best people in their lives. As I read my old journals, I found an entry from many years ago where I wrote about being in the shower (is that just me? any other shower-prayers out there?), and just fervently praying that last prayer – for good friends, because my kids were both in a place and time where they were struggling to feel a part of their school communities – when a stray thought just appeared out of nowhere (I now know that’s often how God speaks, to me at least): what if my kids are the answer to someone else’s prayer for good friends for their children?
And now I see it: my kids aren’t remotely perfect, just like any human, yet they convey God’s great compassion and love in their own unique ways. We all “make our mark” – we impact this world, we make an impression just by being fully ourselves, the unique, irreplaceable people God created.
Reading on in my journals, I am reminded that, in between whining about this, fretting about that, trying to decide whether to dye my hair and if giving up alcohol at Lent (I did it successfully once, which makes me pretty pitiful) includes Sundays, I’ve also prayed for teachers, principals, guidance counselors (usually around Labor Day, when the clock was ticking toward that Tuesday when beleaguered parents do that little happy dance!); for bus drivers who carry those little darlings to and from school every single day, at ungodly hours. And I have been so fortunate, in that I have continued to enjoy – long after my kids were in those schools – lovely, warm friendships with so many of Mark and Sarah’s teachers, administrators, and one particular bus driver — all of whom just LOVED my kids and all those children like their own.
A friend once heard from a young man who died and then was brought back. While he was dead, he found himself in heaven, sitting near the throne of God. As he sat, he saw words made of gold, floating toward the throne. He understood those were the prayers of mothers.
Be gentle with yourselves. Be kind. We are all doing the very best we can, most of the time. Say your prayers and know they are heard by God who is Love Itself; trust Him to answer in the perfect way, even if it doesn’t match your expectations. Easier said than done – trust me, I know this. Watch for the ways you’ve grown, learned, persevered through your hardships, through your disappointments. Perhaps you are exactly the person you’ve been meant to become, because of the life that has happened, in spite of the life you thought you were going to have.
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Luke 6:38