Monday, July 22, 2013

Feeling Your Presence

Lately The Little One (TLO) has been waking up screaming in the middle of the night at least a couple of nights a week. I'm assuming it's the start of nightmares but really have no idea. All I know is that the only thing that helps is to stand at her bedside with my hand on her back until she's asleep again. Sometimes it only takes a couple of minutes, other times it's 10. Unfortunately I'm short and her crib mattress is in the lowest setting. That means I can only reach her comfortably if she's up next to the edge. Sometimes I try to sneak out after a couple of minutes but inevitably the screaming starts back. I had no idea that just my touch, my presence mattered so much. I'm not patting her, I'm not talking to her, I'm not singing to her...just being present. 
One night as my back was hurting from stretching into her crib for what seemed like an eternity but was probably only a few minutes, I realized that I'm not much different than TLO. I realized how much I long for my Fathers presence too. Sometimes I don't need to hear His plan for me. I don't need to hear His comforting words. I just need to know He's near. Sometimes His nearness is reflected just through His words from centuries ago as I read my Bible. Sometimes I see His presence through the world around me - the rainbow after a storm, the butterfly that lands on my hand or the people in my life. And then there's the times when I've been in a dark place that the perfect song comes on the radio and I can feel His hand reaching out to comfort me. His hand, resting on my back...just being present. 

Matthew 28:20 "...And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Thank You Father for always being near me. Thank You for the heavy hand on me when I need to feel you most. I may have times I feel alone and am screaming in a dark room but I know that You are right beside me. You will comfort me when I need it, give me space to grow on my own when I can and have placed others in my life to hold my hand when life is the hardest. Thank You for the honor of allowing me to be the one who gets to stretch into a crib and comfort my sweet child. Next time i will remind myself that I prayed for this! Amen. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

This Is My Prayer

The Little One (TLO) Is almost 21 months old. This is such a crazy time of learning and I'm so amazed at what her little spongy brain can absorb. But the truth is, this is also an educational time for Mommy. She's been full of lessons for me lately. So expect several posts in the next couple of weeks!

We pray at various times throughout the day as a family, but primarily it's at mealtime and bedtime. For a while now TLO has enjoyed saying the "Amen!" at the end of our prayers, but a few weeks ago I started letting her help me say the prayer. I say "Dear God, thank You for..." and she says something, I repeat "thank You for..." We do this a few times until things either start getting repeated or a little too ridiculous. My personal favorites from last week that she wanted to thank God for were toes, doors, jammies, spoon and rock. It's always funny to see what's on her mind during prayer time because that's what comes out - just saw cows? Thank You for cows! Really want my paci but mommy won't give it to me yet? Thank You for paci! Just tickled her toes? Thank You for toes!
But my favorite thing is that she prays while she's playing. She puts a plate and spoon on ottoman and then folds her hands and says "Dear God...(mumble, mumble), mumble)....amen!" This seriously happens at least 10 times a day! Or if we start to eat a meal and haven't prayed she reminds us to. Perhaps she is just living out 1 Thessalonians 5:17 and praying continually. 
I love that she has seen prayer modeled enough in her life to want to do it herself, but last week I started wondering about my own prayer life. I mean, I don't stop to pray 10 times a day! I pray with her at least twice a day, but those are intentional and childish for her benefit. What would happen in my life if I prayed 10 times  day? What would happen if I prayed intentionally on a deeper level? What would my life be like if I lived a 1 Thessalonians 5:17 life? Sure, she's seeing prayer modeled. But what kind of model am I being? Am I setting aside time to devote just to prayer? Am I mumbling my own way through a prayer, not offering God my true needs, desires and gratitude? Is that all God hears from me? Mumble, mumble, mumble? Is that all He hears when I want Him to hear me say:

 "Lord, You made such a sacrifice for me.  You did something for me that I really can't even fathom. I'm beyond grateful and yet so sorry.  I'm so sorry that I fail to meet your expectations ever day. I struggle daily with temptation. I struggle with my own agenda. But I am grateful in a way that I can't begin to express. I'm grateful for the struggles You help me overcome, for the trials You have helped me weather, for the strength you continue to bless me with. I am soooo grateful for this child You have blessed me with who through such a short life has already helped me grown in my faith and teaches me lessons daily when I should be doing that for her. And because it makes me smile every time TLO says it, I want to say it too...thank You for her toes! :) Amen. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Good Girl!

I have quickly learned that as a parent one of the best motivators for a toddler is praise. Pick up toys and put them I the box? Good girl! Use a fork to eat green beans? Good job! Try to dress yourself?  Good girl! Pee pee in the potty? What????? Oh my gosh! You're such a smart girl! Mommy loves you so much for using one less diaper today! Lol! ( ok, so maybe that was a little extreme, but pee pee in the potty gets TONS of praise!)But my favorite thing is that The Little One (TLO) has learned to praise herself when she does something good. I love hearing her pick up her toys and tell herself "good girl!" And now if I do something she deems worthy she tells me "good girl Mommy!" She may only be 20 months old, but it's nice to have her approval! :) 
But I have to wonder at what point it was in life that I stopped being able to tell myself I did a good job? At what point did I stop looking in the mirror and saying "pretty!"? When did I become so critical of myself that I couldn't recognize the beauty of Gods creation in me? 

So here I go. I'm taking a lesson from TLO. 

I am beautiful. I am pretty. I am good at many things. I am me. I am a beautiful creature created by a perfect God. I am made in His image and I will rejoice in that! 

Thank you Lord for the beauty in and around me. Thank You for the beautiful child who helps me understand your lessons. Thank You for remaining perfect and steadfast when satan tries to make me criticize myself. Please continue to help me recognize his attacks in my life and continue to grow in my strength. Amen.