Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Kids Need Moms to Pray in Secret With the Door Open
Chapter One: Kids Need Their Mom to Pray in Secret With the Door Open
In my first years as a mom, I desperately wanted to keep a passionate spiritual life with God. I wanted to read my Bible. Sit quietly and pray. Maybe even keep a journal. It's just that my little people would not cooperate. I had two babies in 2.5 years and neither one of them was on board with my plan. My heart keeps longing for the days of summer camp, the spiritual highs, the amazing nights of enlightenment at a women's conference. I want my spiritual life to go back to the way I'd always had it. Alone. It has taken me quite a while to realize that being a mom means you might never be alone again. (and the terror sets in!)
When I read the topic on chapter one, I thought, how in the world am I going to get ANY privacy to pray?! I barely get too poop in private anymore! Getting a moment to myself to pray is completely out of the question, just ask my two little monsters. . .who obviously could care less about my "quiet time" with God. She gives us plenty of pointers; from having a short bible study during their bathtub time, to waking up an hour before your household, to praying out loud in the car on the way to daycare.
I would love to tell you that my struggle ended in a moment of brilliance. But I am way too tired for brilliant. It was just one mid-morning, somewhat like the author's experience. I put on some cartoons for the rugrat gang and fled to my bedroom for some solitary time. I figured now was as good of time as any to squeeze in some prayer time. Lord knows, my patience was running thin this week with it being winter break and too cold to enable us all to escape outside and have a break from each other. We'd been cooped up like caged animals and the "pouncing" had already started this morning at breakfast. So I sat down in the middle of my closet and bowed my head. Lord, give me strength not to kill them today. Or tomorrow. Or the weekend. Because I love them and I want to be a better mom. Please make me a more patient mom. . . .and thus the sound of pitter-pattering feet down the hallway into my room. Instead of stopping what I was doing, I just remained, praying. Of course they bursted right in and started the "MOOOOooooommy" calls. When I didn't answer, they peeked in the closet. I bet you can guess what happened next. They crawled on me. They played with my hair. They wiggled their little faces up to mine. "Mommy, what are you dooooing?" asked my youngest. "Praying. . ." a calm, non-frustrated voice spoke from inside me. "Ooooh, it looked like you were sleeping!" My oldest chimed in. An honest mistake. It's been known to happen, I must admit. What happened next was amazing. Both of them sat next to me, crossed their little hands together, squished their eyes shut and prayed too. Mr. Grouch prayed for new toys (shocker) and Stinker prayed some babble about Superman. And it lasted 2 minutes and then they scurried out to watch the rest of Phineas and Ferb. But they prayed. My two little men prayed because their mommy was praying.
I agree wholeheartedly with Angela Thomas and her ideas of "praying in secret with the doors open" She says that she heard God speaking to her very clearly about this, saying:
"Come to me messy. Come when you're tired. Let the children lay on top of you. Let them interrupt you. You do not have to be perfect. . .just come to Me and let them see."
It seems like some of the more important lessons we want to teach our kids are transferred--and not because we sit them down in the living room, pass out ten pages about being spiritual, and then give them a long-winded lecture about how our family is going to follow God. The thing that shape them most deeply is that you and I pursue God in everyday life. Our spiritual lives becoming the backdrop of their childhood. Bibles left open are normal. Mom doing a bible study at bathtime, routine. A kneeling, praying mom is an ordinary sight.
So, I'll leave you with what God is telling me this week from this study. . ."I want your kids to see you being with Me." Though most days, I can't be "alone" with Him, I'm learning to adjust. I hope and pray this week that you will allow your kids to see you praying in secret with the door open as well.
Happy Wednesday, friends!