We were driving around town yesterday when Sydney piped in from the back seat, as if something had just dawned on her:
"Oh man!" (that's one of her favorite sayings). "I told God that I'd make him a picture and put it in the church hallway and I forgot to take it last night."
Seriously impressed that Sydney was talking to God (four-year-olds are much closer to Him than a lot of us, don't you think?), I pumped her for some more information. Did she actually hear his voice?
"Nope, I just prayed in my head to him and told him I'd make him a picture," was the response. "And I'm just sad that I didn't take it last time." ("last time" is how she refers to "yesterday")
I reassured her that, certainly, God would be fine with her bringing it to church on Sunday. It was, in effect, the thought that counts.
What sort of picture was she making for him?
"It's going to be a picture of me, and I told him I'll put it on the wall out there were the couches are where people sit."
The simplicity and innocence floored me...as it often does.
And it made me think.
How often do I tell God that I'll do something, and yet I never do?
How many times do I simply not hear what God might want me to do, because I'm not open to the possibility?
How often do I simply ignore what is being said to me?
I'm reading a book by Annie Lamott called Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith, and it's filled with all sorts of enlightening moments. In one of its first essays, she writes of how God likes to get her attention. (And, if you need to...just ignore her use of the word "She" for God. She flits between "He" and "She" and is quite unconventional in the way she says things. But there is still great meaning in what she has to say.)
She writes: "I try to listen to God's voice inside me, but my sense of discernment tends to be ever so slightly muddled. When God wants to get my attention, He clears His throat a number of times, trying to get me to look up, or inward--and then if I don't pay attention, She rolls Her eyes, makes a low growling sound, and starts kicking me under the table with Her foot."
God really does have to be forceful sometimes with me. It's as if He's saying, "You idget. What's wrong with you? It's pretty obvious that I'm standing right here, trying to get your attention."
Just this morning, I was searching futilely for a battery charger for my camera. I have big plans for taking pictures this weekend (a campout! a trip to the pumpkin patch!) and I could not find this charger. I was getting frustrated, tired of looking everywhere and then everywhere twice over and still not finding it.
In the bath, I submerged under the water and said sorta sheepishly, "Okay, God, I know this is silly. And not very important in the grand scheme of things, but I really do wish I could find that charger. Do you think you could just push me in the right direction? If you don't have anything important on your plate in the next little while?"
I got out, dried myself, and trudged back to the bedroom for some clothes. I opened my drawer and, out of the corner of my eye, spotted that charger. On the dresser where I'd looked plenty of times already.
Thanks, God, I get it. I just need to ask; just need to open my mind and my mouth to talk.
Sometimes it just takes a bath, a swift kick under the table, and a four-year-old to remind me.
(Edited to Add:
Okay, file this under "Another Thing that Totally Makes God Rock!"
Debby, one of my best friends from way back (she and I were cheerleaders in junior high school), has been suffering from cancer for YEARS. She has had it come and go so many times, and has done so many rounds of chemo and radiation, that it had gotten incredibly frustrating. She has been going to Houston for experimental treatments also. But...she is the most incredibly faithful person ever and has always had the most amazing attitude (that "I'm trusting God, no matter what He has in store for me" kind of faith). She also has participated in the Lance Armstrong 100-mile bike ride while on chemo (try and get me on a bike ride for one mile in totally perfect health! sheesh!). She is an amazing spirit, but I would always dread opening up her emails with the subject line "Health update." I had gotten to the point where I thought every one would be another "bad news" message that the cancer was still there.
Well, today I got another email with "Health Update" in the subject line and I braced myself for whatever news was coming my way.
But this is what I got instead...
"Hi! So the news I've been waiting to hear for so very long now has finally crashed through my cerebellum... "no sign of any cancer anywhere." My latest PET scan was completely negative... nothing, nada, zip.
Oh, thank-you, thank-you, all you prayer warriors out there. There is no question in my mind that that's what has made the difference. So many of you have been praying for a miracle... well, we just got one. The doctors are baffled... I am not. God is amazing. Why do we ever doubt?
Of course I am not the eternal optimist and realize that it can come back in an instant. But I have at least a 3-month reprieve until my next PET scan in January and I'll take it. No chemo. No radiation, No nothing. Just peace and quiet... and a much lower gasoline bill!
So, offer up a prayer of thanksgiving for those of you so inclined. And raise a glass for those of you who are not. Or do both! Know that I am celebrating this weekend and I hope that you will join me wherever you are!"
Even though you don't know Debby personally, can you please honor her request? Say a prayer of thanks...raise a glass of bubbly...however you can, please celebrate with me and her this weekend. And remember that God is ALWAYS there!