As the Family Goes

JP II Quote

"As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live." John Paul II

Friday, December 31, 2010

Mother's Prayers

I am so grateful for the wisdom of friends in my life.  A good friend of ours, and mother of ten, once shared the following story with me.  She and her husband were away for the week, and left their oldest daughter in charge of the household.  In addition to running their family, they also own and operate some cottages, and that week their daughter was also responsible for making sure the cottages were all cleaned and ready for guests who would be arriving.  She called her parents one day, frantic about how much there was to do, and worried that she could not possibly get everything done in time.  Her mother told her to calm down, get some machines working for her, and take a prayer time.  Her daughter followed her advice, put some clothes in the laundry, filled and ran the dishwasher, then sat in prayer to offer the rest of her day to the Lord.  Calm and focused on God, the rest of her day went smoothly, and by the end of the week she had indeed accomplished everything she needed.

This bit of advice, "Get some machines working for you, and then pray", has so shaped my life ever since I heard it.  Before the baby was born I was in the habit of getting up before everyone else and taking a prayer time before everyone got up.  It was such a peaceful, beautiful time - there's just something about being awake when everyone else is asleep.  Needless to say that a new baby imposes his own schedule, and this luxury has yet to be mine since baby Aaron's arrival five weeks ago.  This did not surprise me, and I resolved to take a prayer time even if I couldn't squeeze it in before the other kids woke up - I decided that I can (and should) pray even when the kids are awake, and even when it isn't perfectly quiet.  What I did not realize however, was the significance of getting some machines working for me first, and the later start to my prayer time inevitably threw off my whole household routine, as I spent the rest of the day catching up on the chores I was so late getting to.

Remembering my friend's advice, I decided to start the day by throwing in a load of laundry, getting breakfast for the kids, tending to baby Aaron's needs, and then, when the opportunity presented itself, taking a prayer time.  Some days it happens at 10:00 am, some days at noon, or even later.  But as long as it happens, it's a good thing.  I'm also realizing that my children are far more ministered to by listening to me pray then they are watching me frantically rush around the house trying to get everything in order.  By doing these things first my heart is at peace, and I can sit with God knowing that my other responsibilities are being taken care of.  And the beautiful thing is that while housework takes me away from the children, prayer draws us together.  This morning the sound of my two-year-old singing "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" and my older boys sweetly playing games together filled the background, and as I turned my heart to the Lord I know it made my prayer that much more grateful and sincere.  God doesn't need me to turn everything off in order to turn to Him.  He just needs me to make Him a part of my day, however that is able to happen.  I am sure He is way more pleased with my noisy fifteen minutes squeezed into a busy day than a quiet hour taken at the expense of my children and household.  This is where my calling is right now.  Someday I will have an opportunity once again to wake before everyone else and sit in the quiet to pray.  But in this season, this is the best I can offer to Him.

Mother's prayers are filled with many wonderful, joyful, crazy and chaotic things.  But they are always received with gratitude for the sacrifice it takes to offer them.  As 2010 draws to a close, my prayer for myself and everyone else is that whatever your stage in life, and whatever prayer looks like for you, that we will all find a way to incorporate God into our everyday lives.

Just don't forget to get some machines working for you first!

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