Monday, June 17, 2013

I Don't Wanna Pray...


If a human organ can get the wind knocked out of it - my heart just did - as those words nailed it like a sucker punch.

"I don't wanna pray..."
She didn't deliver the words with anger or malice or emphatically with vindictiveness. Rather they were whispered out in a barely audible tone that felt a lot more like hurt than anything else.

Deep breaths. Deep calming breaths before I speak...

"Baby - what's the matter? Are you angry at God?"
"No, daddy..."
I asked the question as a formality - I knew the answer. I also knew my oldest daughter well enough to know that without pressing she'd never say who she was really angry with...

She was angry with me.

We were on the late end of a challenging day. A challenging FATHER'S DAY at that...

A lot of disciplining moments - maybe too many... who knows. And shortly before prayer time we had another one. I always try to calm myself down before disciplining but maybe I hadn't? Was I too harsh? Did I overreact? Am I trying too hard? Parenting man... nothing will make ya second-guess yourself like it does.

I was questioning everything at this moment as my daughter - the one who I KNOW loves me and loves God - was allowing her anger towards her broken, fallible earthly father to be taken out on her perfect, infallible and loving heavenly Father.

Another deep breath as I stroked her hair - she hadn't changed position - still lying in my lap - her one hand gripping my leg. No tears. Just... just what seemed like brokenness.

"Baby - I want you to know right now that God LOVES you so much and He delights in hearing from you. I would never force you to pray because God wants to hear from willing hearts - not begrudging forced hearts. But know that He does love to hear from you."

Pause. Nothing from her. More deep breaths.

"And ya know Meron - when Mommy and I are hurt or angry or confused or scared - the absolute BEST thing we do is talk to God. He calms us. He gives us peace. He really wants to know how we feel. So seriously - there is no problem if you do not want to pray - but I just want you to know you have the opportunity if you want to."

I felt her stir a little as she opened her mouth - and through real tears she said:
"God... thank you for this day. Thank you that I have a good nights sleep and that we all have a great day tomorrow. In Jesus name, Amen."
The tears were just there at the beginning - she pulled it together and closed out her prayer pretty solidly.

Me on the other hand? My tears started when her voice cracked with her tears - and they were coming pretty strong. The whole family was here - it was family prayer time - and we waited a good 30 seconds for me - but I needed a closer... so Laura jumped in for me and took my spot in the prayer chain.

Whew.

I got it together and jumped back in the game after Laura. We wrapped it up and headed to bed. No mention of the previous anger or discipline. Meron seemed to be a different person. She wanted me to lay with her for a minute so I did. We talked about the day and the fact that our broken dishwasher has mommy washing a LOT of dishes. Nothing major. But to me - it was ALL major.

How many times do we do this? Get angry, hurt or confused about something and take it out on God? I am realizing I probably do it more than I even know. Thankful for a God who is willing to walk me through some tough stuff with a little girl to get me to realize it. And ya know - this moment in time will probably be remembered much more by me than it will by her.

As I was crawling out of her bunk Laura came in to say her good nights and I left. She came down to the office afterwards to tell me what Meron's last words were before she left the room:
"Go tell daddy I love him and Happy Father's Day!"
Learning lessons from these girls every single day. Thank you Meron...

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