I had "that" morning. The one where you keep picking things up and nothing looks any better. The kind of morning where you really do need to make a phone call and no one will respect you for it. The kind of day where what you want to do and what you have to do are in conflict with one another. The kind where you just want to pull the covers up over your head and let them eat cake!!! Can I get an "AMEN."
We were on our way to swim at a friend's house when I remembered seeing the children sitting in front of an open window and realized that I never shut the window and it was already 100 degrees out. So, I say, with no self-control, "You left that window open, didn't you?!?! Do you think that it's WISE to leave the window open when the air conditioner is on?" Do they really care? NO. I continued my rant, "Well, I cannot leave that window open while we are gone all day, so the consequence for YOU is that we are turning around and I'm closing it. That is going to make us even later for our swimming." I try to ignore the amount of gas that is going to be consumed, I think it was more of a consequence for me! I pulled in, slammed the window shut and thought, "I don't want my entire day to be like this." I went straight to our bottle of change and counted out enough money to buy the kids some Munchkins from Dunkin Donuts and for a Cappuccino Blast for me. I got into the car and said, "Guys, I have been lacking in self-control and I do not want our day to continue like this. Let's pray, and then we are going to restart." So, I prayed and we opened our eyes I said, "Good morning. Did everyone sleep well last night? Did you already have breakfast? Well, then let's go to Dunkin Donuts!" Restart.
So, on the way I found it to be an opportune time to discuss grace and mercy. I use donuts alot with this illustration because they are such a special treat that the kids understand grace. Grace: receiving that which we do not deserve. Mercy: not getting what we DO deserve. So, we talked about the Cross and how God poured out His wrath on Jesus (is that too much for pre-schoolers? Nah) so that we would not receive it, and how grace is the abundant life that we receive when we trust in Jesus' death and resurrection. By the end of this, Julia is ready to turn the radio back on, and it was about time to order.
"Yes, I would like 6 random Munchkins and a small Cappuccino Blast with whipped cream and cinnamon." She responds, as always, "Please pull forward for your total." Of course I pull up and sit. Now, I've been through there enough to know that a Blast takes a few minutes. While I was sitting there I thought, "Someone please notice that I'm sitting here." I started getting so annoyed that they were meandering around the store and no one came out to say, "Hey, thanks for coming, your Blast will be right out." They just ignored me. I thought, "I'm already late...come on already!" Please recall the conversation I JUST had with my children. You know what I felt like doing...honking. I felt like laying on the horn and being like, "Hurry it up already...I'm late as it is." Immediately I thought, "I wish I could honk on God." Does that make you giggle a little? It made me. It was such a perfect picture of where I am, most days, spiritually. I pray my little prayers and then I'm like, "HURRY IT UP, ALREADY! At least come to the window and recognize that I have placed my order!!!"
Yesterday at church Pastor Marty delivered a message that was meant for my heart. I've heard people say, "It was as if he was talking to me." I usually think, "That's nice." Yesterday my heart was so full it almost exploded right out of my chest. Marty spoke on praying bold prayers and being patient with the Lord. Believing that just because my Monday prayer isn't answered on Thursday doesn't mean that it won't be. I'm sure that the Israelites who were born and died in slavery thought that the God of Jacob had turned a deaf ear to their prayers for freedom. Fast forward to the group of Israelites who entered into the Promised Land. Those that tasted and enjoyed the milk and honey that flowed freely. They were the recipients of the faithful prayers that had gone before them. God was not neglecting them, He was doing it HIS way. Marty shared several scriptures from the New Testament that touched on how persistant prayers move God. I have to be honest, I'm not a prayer warrior, I'm a prayer quitter. I pray my prayers, look to the heavens with expectation and by lunch time I think, "Well, I guess that's not God's will." Was it God's will to deny the Promised Land? No, He was just working on His plan, not the plan of the people.
Mike and I have been praying big prayers and we feel like chickens. One of Marty's questions was, "Are you praying Big Prayers that will honor your Big God?" I have been spending too much time on prayers that are predictable and boring. I want to pray and wait (Psalm 5:3) with great anticipation. Would it be so bad if my children's children were the recipients of the blessing? No, not at all. I will count it a privilege to pray prayers that I may not see answered in my lifetime. My belly is turning with the thought of it. So, are you praying? Are you waiting? Are you glad about it? My heart is certainly changing...and I am THRILLED about it!