Originally published Monday, 31 August 2015.
I woke up this morning to the mayhem of getting kids ready for school, packing lunches, organizing my work homework and all the while checking emails and the latest bus stop weather forecast on my phone. And all this by 7:30 a.m. I said a quick prayer to God to cover my jammed packed day. I thought I needed some extra covering to get me out the door. Then my oldest spilled the entire bag of cat food on his way out. And I moaned.
Why I let things like this get to me, I asked silently. I started a complaining moment and was ramping up to give my son a “What were you thinking?" comment in a not so gentle tone. Then, the Lord held my tongue with this one soft reminder...."A gentle answer turns away wrath." At His reminder I felt a little overwhelmed, just a little. There was I time I believed that I wouldn’t be a mom at all. We had tried several years with no results nor babies.
After a diagnosis, then God planted a dream of desire to be a mother in my heart. And eight years later to be exact He blessed our lives with not only a son, but a daughter four years earlier. I stopped formulating my complaints and started a list of blessings. I silently bent down and started to sweep the cat food with my hands. My son, bent down, dropping his homework and helped. When we were done, I grabbed his hand and thanked him for helping. Then I looked up and he said, "Sorry mom, I didn't mean to." With tears in my eyes, I said..."softly, I know, I know. It's okay. I love you to the morning sunrise and back."
With our eyes facing east by then, we gathered up our thrown gear and then swiftly headed out the door. All the way to school bus stop, I thanked God for the blessings that rode safely in my car. It was a healing moment for me when I felt the “hold” on my tongue that day. I can remember one day as a child my father not being so gentle with me. You see, I was a "spiller" too and it seemed like every day I spilled some water or milk or some kind of drink at the breakfast, lunch or dinner table. He gave unkind comment about needing a drain in the middle of the kitchen. I can still remember how that made me feel.
My heart was so crushed. He never knew. When I heard the clatter of the cat food in the utility room that morning, it reminded me of the clattering tone my dad had once that crushed my spirit. I am so grateful that when God hears our prayers that He checks our heart's attitude while He listens.
Ever think about what God does when we pray? I thought it was an interesting concept to consider one day during my quiet time. Of all the times I've poured my heart out to God, I realized that our words don't fall on His empty agenda list. No, He hears each one, but He listens to more than just our words to Him, He listens to our heart's attitude too.
That's why the Bible says to offer words of praise and thanksgiving continually. God hears past our words and hears the fragrance of our hearts. Honestly, my prayers haven't always been as purely led by love as I would like them to be, but it's a process where God is definitely working in me to improve and clean up my love language.
When there is an attitude of gratitude towards God I am comforted that He hears my prayers. He hears them all, but what better way to open our hearts to hear His answers than with a pure heart of gratitude. I remembered there many times in my life that I didn’t always express that first. I remembered the anxiety of not knowing if I would ever bear children. I remember the chaos I felt when I heard about the last school shooting. I remember how it felt when I didn’t know what God could do before I accepted Him as Savior. I remember that many still don’t know Jesus as Savior.
Remember who God is and check the attitude of your heart as you are praying. It can really change the tone of your prayers. When we focus on the image of a loving Father that listens to every one of our needs and works on our behalf 100% of the time, then I can’t help but praise Him.
When I remember…I’m so glad to offer praise back and have that outlet to talk to God 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. And even though requests take longer than others, God sets to work on our prayers right away. When I have to wait for God’s best, I know that in the waiting He is working all things out for my good.
So don’t believe that your prayers are falling on deaf ears of God who doesn’t care. He does and he tenderly reminds us of who He is in the process. I love that about His character. He’s never gruff or angry, critical or accusing. He is patient and kind, gentle and good, faithful and true, and loving all the same, no matter what spills out of our hearts.
So instead of a meltdown, I prayed and thanked God for all that He had done in my life. I smiled and prayed for the grace to not only get through today, but thrive and enjoy the journey. And I even prayed for new opportunities to reach even more people...and I will have to remember that I got what I asked for when it happens.