The frustrating thing about God is that when you pray for something (and I mean really really pray for something) He doesn’t just give it to you. I mean, occasionally He does but more often than not He prefers to present you with the opportunity to gain it for yourself.
For example, patience has never been my strong suit. I acknowledge this openly. I have prayed and prayed for years that God make me a more patient being. Enter my 4 year old son.
This boy could make Ghandi lose his cool. I kid you not. And although I still struggle with patience on a daily (and sometimes hourly) basis I am presented with the opportunity to practice over and over again. And over. And over and over and over and over. Eventually maybe I’ll internalize some of it. Maybe with all this practice something will actually stick.
It’s a lot like the way I am teaching my 6 year old to read. It is a painstaking process. Every. Single. Night. I refuse to just tell her the words even though that would be so much easier (for both of us). I make her sound them out, practice them, learn them herself. It is exhausting but I know that this is the only way she will learn. She has to do it herself.
And so as I do with my children, God also does with His.
Another trait I have prayed long and hard for is grace. You see I am loud, messy, and abrasive. I have rough edges. I envy the women who possess poise and grace. The ones that seem to flow effortlessly through life and don’t get their feathers ruffled or have stains on their shirts. I am NOT one of those women. I know it. No one would ever in their right mind use the word “gracious” to describe me. But I have spent many a night (and a morning and hell even some lunchtimes) pleading that He would bestow the gift of grace upon me.
God did not present me with grace.
What did happen was my husband was diagnosed with cancer 3 months ago. I have three small children under the age of 6, a full time job, three dogs, and my husband is undergoing chemotherapy. I spend my days moving from one emergency to the next. I am barely keeping up and I feel a tiredness that is so deep my bones hurt.
But C S Lewis said it best in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe:
“If you’ve been up all night and cried till you have no more tears left in you – you will know that there comes in the end a sort of quietness. You feel as if nothing is ever going to happen again.”
Now enter: Grace.
There is no magical fairy dust that can be sprinkled over me to blur my edges and overshadow the crazy with a soft serene glow. But there are these trials. This situation.
I believe this is where I gain it. This is where the peace of letting go of all the silly things I try so hard to control can settle over me with an unmatched quietness. And while I have yet to achieve such a place I can feel it getting closer. I am brushing it with the tips of my fingers and I know that before too long I will hold it gently in my palm. (Because you can’t grasp or clutch a thing such as grace.)
And so through all of it I believe there is a purpose, a lesson. The things you retain the best are the things for which you work the hardest. I have no choice but to trust in His plan the same way my children must trust in mine.