Sometimes all you have is a quick arrow. There’s not even enough time to get down on your knees. Just like that. You pull back the bow and send the prayer heavenward. The cry leaves your heart and instantly wends its way to the heart of the Living God. He knows. He sees. He hears.
More often than not as a mother of young children, my day started off with a run…not a run out in the neighborhood where I could grab a few minutes to myself, but instead a run to the bathroom accompanied by a quick splash of water on my face. On a good day, I would take a minute or two to brush my teeth before I headed upstairs to pick up the wailing child out of his or her crib and begin chasing my toddlers, but sometimes I could not even take the time to do this simple task. No matter how quickly I moved, my day was already off and running, and I would be stuck playing catch-up. Do you ever feel that way? Rest assured, you are not alone.
As I rounded the stairs, I would ignore the mess that would greet me. I would grab that baby, find that sweet sugar under the neck and head back down with the rest of the crew to begin the daily ritual. If things were relatively calm (that was always a 50/50 proposition at best), I would find time to put on clothes that matched (and were clean), brush my hair, and perhaps put on deodorant and maybe a little moisturizer, but trust me, that was not the norm. (If I told you how many times I changed out of my pajamas or bathrobe just before my husband arrived home in the evening, you would be sure that I was lying.)
Forget that long hot shower to help me wake up or a steaming cup of coffee to accompany me during my quiet time…the shower would have to wait until the long day neared its end. The Husband was at home, and the little ones were down for the night. The quiet time would usually end up as a few stolen moments snatched here and there from an already busy day.
It’s why my old Bible is splotched and stained with who knows what and usually vied with an open cookbook for the place of importance on the kitchen counter. Part of Colossians is missing because it did not survive a bowl of spilled cereal that helped the thin rice paper pages to totally disintegrate. That Bible has completely come loose from the spine, but tucked here and there are notes on scraps of paper and if you flip through the pages, you will find some that have been underlined and starred over and over again. That Book and its Truths were (and thankfully, still are) my lifeline. Granted, it was a lifeline that I did not avail myself of nearly enough, but even now I can remember many of the scriptures that sustained me through the moments that became days and then somehow strung themselves into years.
My friends and I laugh that so much of our lives with young children was not about “living” the life we envisioned, it was about surviving the life we somehow found to be ours. I called it controlled chaos. However if I took the time to look around me, it was obvious that I did not have the control, I only liked to pretend that I did.
It doesn’t matter if you have one child, or two, or three, or four (like I had) or more. It doesn’t matter if you are caring for an aging parent, a spouse, an uncle, a sister, an aunt. When you are in charge of someone else’s well-being, it gets crazy. And messy. And it is totally time consuming. Yes, one child is very time-consuming. It’s why I never look askance at a harried mother no matter how many or how few children she has in tow. I know. Been there. Overwhelmed with one. Overwhelmed with two, three and four. My theory is that whatever time you have, the little person takes that and more. Children are greedy for time. They don’t mean to be. It’s a consequence of the fall. They are demanding. Heck, life is demanding.
My inability to control my life and my toddlers’ lives is what drove me to my knees. I learned to pray. It became as necessary to me as breathing. In fact it seemed most days that I kept up a running conversation with God. I asked for help. A lot. Every day. Sometimes over and over and over again in the space of an hour. I prayed for patience with the unending demands of toddlers and babies. I prayed for the ability to accomplish tasks that I disliked then and dislike now: the endless washing and drying and folding of clothes, loading and unloading the dishwasher, clipping coupons, going to the grocery store yet again, and cleaning, cleaning, cleaning whatever mess happened to be at hand. I prayed for wisdom. I prayed for deliverance. I laughed. I cried. I prayed when I was angry, when I was frustrated, and when I was thankful or grateful. I prayed. Sometimes it was just one or two words, sometimes it was a whole bunch of sentences hurled in a great heaving, hurling mess of emotion, and sometimes it was a scripture. Yes, I prayed scripture back to God. I actually learned to pray His words more than my own. It’s been a lesson, once learned, that has never deserted me. And I am so incredibly thankful that is the latter seasons of my life, it is still a very good…no, a glorious, thing to do.
Psalm 16:8: “I have set the Lord before me, because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”
2 Timothy 1:7: “For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-control.”
Psalm 18:2: “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock in whom I take refuge.”
Psalm 19:14: “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”
Isaiah 59:1: “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save.”
Psalm 61:2: “From the ends of the earth I will cry to You when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.”
Isaiah 64:8: “Thou art the potter and I am the clay.”
Psalm 103:2: “Bless the Lord, O my soul and forget not all His benefits.”
2 Thessalonians 3:3: “The Lord is faithful and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.”
Psalm 34:4: “I sought the Lord and He heard me and delivered me from all my fears.”
Matthew 6:8b: “Your Father knows what you need before you even ask him.”
2 Samuel 22:30b: “With the help of my God, I can scale a big wall.”
Learning to pray is like scaling a big wall.
The work is hard, but is oh so incredibly rewarding.
The view from the top of the wall is amazing.
Better yet, put all your trust in Him.
And talk…to Him…every day, every hour, every moment that you can and/or are able!