My oldest son wants an Xbox, badly. I don't think he even knows why, except for the fact that one of his friends has one, so they must be cool.
He's never getting an Xbox, but you can't tell him that.
I mean, you can tell him, but he'd be certain you're wrong.
About every week or two I come home from the grocery store with new cereal. Whenever the sale is right, and the coupons match up, we get the good name brand stuff, and Kellogg's has been running an Xbox promotion where some of their cereals offer the chance to win an Xbox, inside the box. It is advertised over the entire side of the box, so you can't miss it, and Elijah certainly doesn't.
There is probably less than a 1 in a million chance that he's going to win that thing. But every time I come home with new boxes, he behaves as though that Xbox is already his, and makes plans for it. His hope, his belief, that one of those boxes is going to be his golden ticket is downright foolery, yet so endearing. And I can't help but laugh each time he gets so excited about the prospect. And each time he opens a box that says, "Please try again," I wait for the disappointment, but he just shrugs his shoulders and says, "Well, you'll be buying more cereal soon!" with the most hopeful (some might say, idiotic) grin on his face. And that's that.
Jesus instructs us, without question, to have the faith of a child. (Matthew 18:3, 19:14, Mark 10:14-15, Luke 18:17)
Though the Xbox may be a poor example of this, and Elijah isn't actually praying for it, it still speaks to the amount of hope and faith I see in my children on a regular basis. I can apply this to so much more than material wants. When my aunt was sick with an incurable cancer, and given very little hope for survival by her doctors due to late detection, my then 5 year old son prayed for her every single night. He prayed for things I hadn't even thought of. Adults tend to pray for the things we think are rational and reasonable. I was praying for healing of course, but mostly that God would guide and direct her doctors to make the best decisions for her health.
My child prayed that "she wouldn't get sick," that the medicine would "help her and not make her sick." I will never forget hearing him pray this. He was only 5. We had not gone into great detail about the illness or treatments, but he somehow knew this, and my aunt was pretty much the healthiest sick person you'd ever meet. Not only did she survive, but she worked her physically demanding job landscaping throughout most of her treatment.
A few years later, when our oldest daughter asked for a sister, and my husband and I (him more than I) were pretty sure we were done with three, I told her to pray about it, but to understand that even if Mommy and Daddy did decide to have another baby, we couldn't guarantee her a sister. She prayed fervently and patiently about this. Her sister was born less than a year later.
I am not trying to say that everything a child prays for, they get. That's not it. But God so much as tells us to have a foolish amount of faith; that that which is foolish to the world, can be done through Christ, and Christ alone. He instructs us in this, and points this out in small children. Children don't rationalize odds. Children don't compare the possible with the impossible. Children who are taught of a God who can move mountains and part seas, actually believe that He can move mountains and part seas! And so often we teach our children these things which we, ourselves, have forgotten as we've grown older and "wiser." This is a foolishness I need. This is a foolishness I strive for.
I want to be that woman we meet briefly in Matthew 9:20, and again later in Mark 5.
She has been suffering, in pain, for 12 years. Yet she believes, without a doubt, that she can be healed, just by merely grasping at the tiniest piece of fabric on Jesus. Foolish right? I want to be that fool.
I am currently at my wit's end with a 2-year old who wants to fight me over everything. If it wasn't her idea in the first place, she doesn't want to do it.
"Charlotte, why are you fussing?"
"Because I'm fussing!"
"Do you want your water?"
"NOOOOOOOOOO! I don't want my water," as she pushes it away from her.
I set the water back down on the table, only to hear, "Water!!! I want water!"
This happens nearly every day; not always with water, maybe a toy, or snack, or even a hug. But nearly every day, I find myself in a shouting match with a 2-year old who really has no idea what she wants.
I have been learning though. I've been learning to disengage. It seems that if I allow my own argumentative nature to unleash back at her, it only escalates the situation.
And then it dawned on me, just how effective this could be in the rest of my life. We all know adults like this too, right? It might be a social media friend who only ever talks to you to tell you how you're wrong. Or maybe it's someone that can just never ever admit when they've been wrong, so the more you engage, the louder they get.
Maybe, at some season of your life, you too have been one of these people. I know I have. The truth is, we all have a little bit of toddler in us. Our tantrums may not look the same, but that doesn't change what they are, at their very core. We like to think we're always right. We like for things to go our way. And when we're not, or things don't, we toddler.
Yes, "toddler," is a frequently used verb in this house.
Our ability to communicate effectively becomes ruled by emotions which we cannot control, and we are toddlers, just like that. We argue about things that don't matter. We end up saying or doing hurtful things.
This doesn't mean that you turn a bitter cheek and refuse to speak with them, but rather, be the calm in their storm. If you can't think of anything productive or helpful to say, offer a prayer, but walk away from that need to be right, or that need to be heard. Those needs will just as quickly turn you into the fool.
When you pray for something, do you believe God hears you? Do you believe He will answer you? Faith check; how often do you pray for something you think, or even say, will never happen anyway?
I have felt this way before. I have gotten so tired of praying for things that don't seem to be happening, but the truth is, we are an impatient, and doubtful people. We want results immediately, from the fad diets to work out trends, and become angry and doubtful of their efficiency almost immediately after we've begun.
Here's the thing; we won't always get what we ask for. Sometimes God's plans are different and even better for us! There are so many things I've asked for that I am so so so glad He didn't give me, from guys I thought I wanted to marry, to jobs I thought I needed. Can I get an "Amen?!" He knew better! Thank GOD for that!
But talk with Him regularly, check your scripture, and ask for clarity, wisdom, and understanding. He said! His Word said, "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him." ~James 1:5
Don't be double minded about it. Check your faith. Don't walk around praying for things you don't believe God will do! This produces an attitude that questions whether or not God and His Word can be trusted. A mistrustful and suspicious attitude toward God only hardens the heart, and pushes you farther from Him.
Pray with an open heart and open mind, and speak life into that prayer, not death! Don't allow your prayer to die before it has even left your lips! Have faith!
I can remember the first time "fake news" became a thing. Getting our news from the internet was still pretty new while I was in college. My freshman year of college I was browsing the internet, and a news reel popped up with a very brief story about how Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, famous twin, former child actresses, would be attending The University at Buffalo, my school.
It seemed plausible. They had just started their fashion careers out in NYC, wanted to stay in New York State, while also getting away for a bit. Or that's how the story went.
I called my parents back home, sitting on the floor outside my basketball locker room, thinking this was kind of cool. While telling them on the phone, an editor for The Spectrum, the college paper, was walking by. He stopped me as soon as I hung up, asking if this was true. His eyes wild, thinking he had a rare scoop. I just told him I'd read it on the internet.
It, of course, wasn't true. What I had failed to take into account was that it was April 1st, or Fool's Day, the original "fake news" day. Running fake news stories on April Fools has been somewhat of a social media tradition ever since. Only now, in more recent years, even the other 364 news days of the year are hard to believe.
I am not here to argue with you about the validity of the media, or which source is best at reporting facts. Because this actually isn't about them. The truth is, I feel that we all, as a society, really struggle with truths. We (and I sincerely mean we) often allow emotions and opinions to replace facts. Our feelings are our truths. Our perceptions are our realities. Our opinions become the facts. We find ourselves sharing whatever article, quote, or meme of the day tends to align with our beliefs, feelings, or opinions, without much thought as to whether or not it is true.
This is my call to action. I can be a complete fool. I have put my foot in my mouth, saying things just to fill the silence. I have spoken without thinking, without praying. And try as I might to avoid this, I have shared false facts via social media because they just seemed so believable. I have said things that didn't need to be said because I have allowed myself to be ruled by my own emotions and opinions. This is an area I strive to improve upon myself daily, in my relationships, with my children, and on social media.
Of course, I don't want to be a fool at all, even mistaken for wise. I pray for wisdom regularly. I even have to pray that God would remind me to seek Him more, so that I may gain wisdom and understanding, because (truth bomb), I have caught myself crawling into bed on crazy days I flew through, without talking to God at all, except for bedtime prayers with the kids. It happens!
I pray we can all find a little bit of peace in remaining silent, even when we feel we're right. You know the line, "fake it 'til ya make it?" This may be a great time to put that into practice. And while you're faking wisdom, be praying for it. We could all use a little more of that to navigate this world.
As a wife, mom of 4, and business owner, finding time to spend in the Word, can be difficult, so I get it! Come join me each Monday for a simple message of hope, faith, and encouragement amidst some honest mommy moments.
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