by Joanie Butman
The response I received from last week’s post illustrates that people are hungry for God stories – particularly about how He speaks. Therefore, I decided to share another. The reason I chose this one is because, as part of a prayer chain, I am privy to lots of prayer requests on behalf of children of all ages. Children never age-out of their parents’ prayer life.
From before they arrived, I’ve always prayed for my children. It’s a parenting privilege we never outgrow. We raise our children according to our beliefs, but at some point, they will begin their own life where our influence is limited at best, and the only thing we have left to offer are our prayers.
Years ago, when my daughter was eight or nine, she was sent to her room as punishment for some childhood infraction. Convinced she was being treated unfairly, she went to her room but not without an Oscar-worthy exit. Later, as was my custom, I stopped by her room to say goodnight. The door was shut with a note attached:
I HATE MOM! I bet you’re not my real mom.
Signed, Your UNloved Daughter
Yes, she actually included the word ‘signed.' I’m not the only writer (or drama queen) in the family. Her notes are infamous and prolific. I’ve saved them all, and it’s reassuring indeed to see the transition from hate mail to some of the most loving, precious letters I will always cherish. One of my favorites is a Christmas gift she made not too long ago with a deck of cards – 52 Things I Love about YOU! Many of her comments surprised and comforted me by realizing she was actually listening all those years. For example, "You taught me the important things in life" or my favorite, "Your faith."
Regardless, trying not to take this particular message to heart, I thought it best that I let sleeping dogs lie. When I awoke early the next morning, I was laying in bed praying for God to let her know how loved she was. This was around 5:30 am. Then I dozed off again. A little before 6:00 am Hannah came into my room and asked, “Why did you wake me up so early?” I assured her I hadn’t left my bed. She was adamant that I had been in her room. Sleepily, I sent her back to bed for a while. Later on I asked her what time she thought I woke her up – 5:45. “What did I do?” I inquired. “You stood by my bed, put your hand on my forehead and whispered Hannah in my ear.” I got goose bumps and that feeling I’ve grown familiar with over the years – sometimes you just know what you know.
I explained what I was doing at about that time. I’m not sure she was as convinced as I was, but I know it was God answering my prayers. The whisper wasn’t necessarily for Hannah, it was for me. It was His still small voice reassuring me, “I’ve got this.” The event brought back memories I have of someone being in my room. Both times it happened were during my adolescence when I was struggling, and I know my mother was in her room praying for me fervently as she still does.
Our children will take paths and make decisions we question (or vehemently oppose), but their choices are theirs alone. I don’t pray for my children because I think God needs to be reminded to take care of them, I pray because I need to be reminded that they are His children first. As such, His plan for them will unfold in His perfect timing. I choose to pray so that my trust in Him may be complete.
I will leave you with one last visual to ponder this week.
Choose to be brave!