It was that kind of morning -- hard.
Probably, you know the kind — the one where everyone wakes up grumpy and out of sorts.
The smallest child grabs things from her brothers’ hands, sending them both into fits of irritation and her into fits of giggles. The oldest boy-child wakes confused and a little irate while the oldest girl is largely annoyed. My youngest boy is on day three of illness, and yesterday my balance went way out of whack. As my husband tries to go through with his preconceived plans for the morning, I boil over in the midst of frustration and physical struggle and throw two toys onto the living room floor while refereeing a dispute between the youngest three and then cry. And then the three youngest children, all baffled, surround me and hug me while trying to make sense of it all.
So that kind of morning.
During the day, it’s no wonder that I find myself struggling against the way of panic and anxiety about everything within our four walls and, well, heck, about terrorism and orphans and all the tragedy that goes on around the outside of our four walls. The whole gamut. Because in my head, at least, when it rains it pours.
As I tuck the two littles in for a nap, I pray with them, and I pray aloud a very heartfelt, honest prayer, one that’s a plea for help and one that’s a certain cry of surrender.
Because every now and then, more frequently this past year, I find myself keenly aware that what I’m trying to carry is too heavy to shoulder.
I am reminded of this in increasing frequency.
Most lately, I’m reminded of it when I’m outside walking with my oldest boy-child as he memorizes a verse he wants to learn.
“Do not worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for what He has already done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand.” Philippians 4:6-7
Today I’m at the end of my rope. Today I take seriously this invitation to tell God what I need and thank Him for what He’s already done.
I muster all my tiny faith, and I pray bold prayers and ask for miracles, small and big and in between because with God nothing is impossible or too little or too big. It all matters to Him because everything is within his matters.
And then I come downstairs to make some medicine out of lemons and garlic and ginger -- when I hear something.
A man's voice.
And his voice is saying, "we learn how to pray in our family. We know that God hears and cares. We ask Him for wisdom and help from above and thank Him for answered prayers."
For a moment, I think maybe I'm going crazy.
Maybe I’m losing my mind. Maybe God is literally talking to me -- and then I remember the book a friend bought us in honor of our forever family celebration, and I'm certain one of the kids has sneaked this beautiful narrated, talk-aloud book into this room during nap time.
I head toward the stairs to get the book from my youngest son, because I’m certain he has it and that’s why it’s talking, but there it is, sitting closed on the front bench in the foyer.
Normally it only talks when it's open.
But there it is -- closed.
I open it to the first page thinking it was the words from there that maybe could have been triggered and stuck.
But nope. Not page one or two or three but page four.
Specifically page four.
And at the bottom of the page, this verse-- "Your father knows what you need before you ask Him." Matthew 6:8
God's literal voice.
I'm taken aback, but I'm not shocked.
God shows up in our mess, and our mess is often so often He shows.
It’s like a companion verse to the honest prayers I just prayed. And following is the loud and startling reminder that God already knows.
He already knows.
I have prayed for what He already knows, and He has acknowledge my prayer.
And so what follows the sharing of what’s on our hearts, according to Paul in his letter to the Philippians?
My heart, in the midst of chaos that is my own and chaos that I cannot claim, lands there figuratively just a few days before we land on there on the calendar.
And I’m reminded anew that we can always be in a state of thanksgiving because God ever exists in a state of giving us something for which we can give thanks.
He is a God who already knows.
A God who cares.
A God who keeps giving so we too can keep giving thanks.
Because His love for us never changes.
Even on the hard days.
Especially on the hard days.