Ever feel like God just doesn't hear your prayers? I'm trying to be a better mom so I pray things like this:
Dear God, please help me
- be more patient with my children
- speak more kindly
- be more gentle
- control my temper
- not get so irritated by little things
Some days, it seems like God either doesn't hear my prayers or chooses not to answer them. Then I start whining to God "but God, I want to be a better mom, I need help in these areas...why don't you help me?"
Maybe I have been praying the wrong prayer...
Marshall County held their annual Blueberry Festival this year...something I usually avoid like the plague. I don't like being in areas stuffed with people who mostly don't even realize there are other people around them, say like a mom trying to navigate a stroller through the crowd. My husband works there every year, and this year his dad and stepmom were here from Arizona for a few days and we all went to the festival.
I had been up late the two nights before, which would set me up for a potential disaster. Not enough sleep, frayed nerves, gazillions (they expected 400,000 people this year over the course of 4 days!) of ignorant/oblivious/just-plain-rude people, other people who are just as ready to explode as myself...the makings of a Perfect Blow-up, really. I knew this going into the day, and so I prayed. But, for some reason, I didn't list all of the shortcomings and character flaws that I needed help with today. I just prayed a very simple prayer:
Dear God, please help me enjoy my children today.
The strangest thing happened...I really didn't get all that irritated by things. The people stopping right in front of me with no warning, the streams of people that would appear out of nowhere and cut the kids and I off from Grandpa and RaeAnn, even the person right behind me for a while that was screaming at the person beside them (but somehow it sounded like they were screaming right in my ear)...it was annoying, yes, but I didn't feel that typical, uncontrollable urge boiling up within me to snap at everyone.
OK, so I wasn't perfect, I must admit. My son, when not securely restrained in his stroller, was all-over-everywhere-and-into-everything (he spent a large portion of our time there securely restrained in his stroller...lol) and my daughter had some whiny moments that were starting to wear on me, but I didn't blow up like I usually would have.
Later on, as I was reflecting on the day, I realized something.
If I actually enjoy my children, then being patient, kind, gentle, and self-controlled should be natural responses in my interactions with them. God reminded me that love is patient, it is kind, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (See 1 Corinthians 13). Of course, in light of that, sometimes I have to wonder if I really do love my kids! I do, but love has not yet been perfected in me. It's a work in progress.
I realized that I should be focusing on enjoying my children, because I do love them. When I purpose to enjoy the time I spend with them...even the trying times...then that love has a chance to become more refined. Another cut is made in the gem to reflect the light of Christ that dwells within me.
I would love to believe that I could just ask God to help me enjoy my children every day and I would be instantly transformed into the perfect mother I want to be. I don't doubt that He will help me enjoy my children, but what I have learned about God and how he teaches me things is this: He gives me a hand, shows me the answer/solution, then expects me to walk it out every day. So today, I have to choose to enjoy my children and do it. But I know that when I need help, I can call on Him and He'll be there to give me the grace I need to get through the moment.
Maybe I won't avoid the Blueberry Festival so much anymore. It was a bushel of fun and revelation this time!
Enjoy the moments you're in