As I lay in Maisy’s bed, snuggling her to sleep for nap time, I found myself reflecting simultaneously on my most difficult season with Maisy and the Lord’s prayer.
Josh came home from a coffee errand, iced coffee and cinnamon scone in hand to share, and we in shared one of those random and lovely deep and spiritual conversations. He found himself inspired by a podcast about the Lord’s prayer, particularly in reference to “my most difficult season with Maisy” (a long 5-6 months of my life when Maisy felt rarely enjoyable and likable). It was a memorable season for him too because he felt completely helpless in a different way as he was largely on the road while I battled this whiney, hitting, yelling, screaming, sleepless, and tantrumming toddler. What was worse, as Maisy buckled down into her “terrible twos” good and early, I was left with attempting to discipline that whole bucket of behaviors when all I had to work with was a 15 month old understanding and vocabulary.
In this season I spent daily, if not two or more times daily, pouring my heart out in prayer for help. What I realize now is I was coming before God with thanksgiving and then my request but I skipped past the repentance part. And then there was one monumentally awful day that had me sobbing in bed with Maisy during our prayer time. I poured out all of my sins before the Lord and begged for his help to fix mine and Maisy’s heart to make them more like His, specifically more kind, gentle, and good [there’s a whole blog post about that specific prayer HERE]. My words rushed out through hyperventilated breaths and ugly tears praising Him for his goodness and power, confessing all the wrongs I’d committed, thanking him for what a huge gift he’d given me in Maisy, and then begging him to change my heart and make it clean. I realized as I put Maisy to bed just a little bit ago that it is only in such heartbreaking moments that I naturally seem to get all the pieces of prayer into the mix.
According to the podcast Josh was listening to, the Lord’s prayer demonstrates that our path in prayer should be the following: adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication. Truth is, I’m really good at the adoration, thanksgiving, and supplication parts, but I am not a humble person when it comes to admitting my mistakes. In this respect, I’m prideful even before the Lord. So it’s not until my bearings have been utterly ripped out from underneath me and I’m left with no other ideas, no other plans of action that I come before the Lord in humility and ask for forgiveness. Even Josh could tell you I’m not great at graciously receiving critique – my knee-jerk response is to defend.
As I reflected on this all-too-often missing puzzle piece to my prayers I realized why the Lord asked me to have Maisy. I’m sure there’s more than one reason He called me to allow Maisy to happen, or at least more than one reason he can use Maisy as a tool to refine my character, but in this moment just moments ago I felt Him whispering to me that creating humility in me was his primary goal in creating Maisy and entrusting her to me.
I may be logically aware I’m not perfect, but that head knowledge has to reach my heart before I come before the Lord and ask forgiveness. There is nothing in life I’ve found that drives my sin so directly and efficiently from my head to my heart than being Maisy’s mom. I have really lost my temper in ways I didn’t think I had in me. I’ve screamed into pillows, I’ve thrown the pillows, I’ve slapped the wall (it hurts, don’t do it), I’ve broken a pinwheel toy, I’ve yelled so hard my throat hurt after, and I’ve handled her more roughly than I should. And there is nothing like the remorse I feel when the storm mellows within my heart and all I’m left with is feeling utterly despicable and wretched before the Lord and my daughter. It’s that moment the Lord wants me to learn faster, that moment of humility.
As I work towards humility, and hopefully retain the knowledge of the importance of the confession portion of the “prayer formula,” so-to-speak, I should find that the Lord comes to my aid more quickly. If I’m not owning up to my own sins and mistakes before the Lord or even before myself how can I expect much of a change anyways? God is powerful and life-changing but He can work better work in a person if they see how they need to change too.