Megan, it’s hard for me to even remember the carefree days you’re living. You have literally zero people who are dependent on you. If you could respond, and I wish you could, you would argue. You’re great at arguing. You would tell me that the weight of the world is on your shoulders and I would smile and let you think that. I would be that smug. I’m such a jerk. But I wouldn’t trade places with you for the world. We are three days away from handing our son over to a surgeon who will open his little chest, put his broken heart on bypass and attempt to fix parts of it. This is poop-in-your-pants scary and I wouldn’t still wouldn’t trade places with you. Nearly as bad is the fact that two of our daughters are obsessed with slime and every room I walk into has little containers, my little containers, of the stuff just waiting to get spilled on carpet and stuck in hair. Open heart surgery and slime…it’s a toss up.
But this isn’t about that. I need to tell you how to pray. Right now you are using God like some cosmic concession stand. You walk up when you need something, order what sounds good, accepting that you might have to pay a couple bucks, and wait for whatever you asked for to be handed over. Your prayers are small because your world is small and before you get all pissy about that remember that I am you and I remember and I know differently now. At sometime, I can’t remember exactly when, you will realize that an infinitely big God can handle bigger stuff. When you realize this you will begin to pray more recklessly and it will make all the difference. You will go to deliver a meal to a dear one who has lost 3 babies. Three. And is now fighting for her life with stage 4 breast cancer. She will be sitting on her front porch, post chemo treatment, with her head in her hands and you will gently touch her shoulder and tell her who you are and that you’ve put dinner in the kitchen because she will be in so much pain she will not even be able to raise her head. You will pray over her because that’s maybe the only food that sounds good and then you will drive away. And as you do you will hit your steering wheel and weep and you will pray this big prayer, “Abba stop. Whatever is next for her, if it isn’t beautiful and healing and good, give it to me. I beg you to give it to me.” And then you will wait.
Someday you will go on Etsy and order a leather cuff to me made with a brass plate that has your biggest prayer on it, Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders. This will become your battle cry and you will wear that cuff for months straight until it is written on your tongue. This big prayer will lead you to China. Twice. A place that terrifies you and that is very much too far from home. That big prayer will lead you to two babies who need you and you will give and give to them until you feel stripped of everything and are exhausted and then you will give some more. This is prolly your biggest prayer yet and it’s cost you a king’s ransom. You will watch in trust and a little horror as this big prayer you prayed costs your biological kids a King’s ransom too. And you will wonder if big prayers are worth it, but that’s during the night when thoughts of your son’s coming surgery are keeping vigil with you and Doubt has his head on the pillow next to yours. You will politely carry his ass out to the curb the next day because it’s Tuesday and Tuesday is trash day.
Someday you will pray bigger prayers because you will be given the perspective that the world is so much bigger than you thought and it’s broken and crappy and the only way to redeem it and bring heaven closer is to pray radical prayers that require radical obedience, something you’re terrible at, but are learning. And sometimes these big prayers, if you look closely, are actually hundreds and hundreds of little prayers all stacked and smushed together. You will have these six amazing children who will worry you. You’re not even sure why, but they will and so you will with pray often and without clear direction because the Spirit has impressed upon you that you must and so you do. And all these little prayers will melt together into this one big one, “Father, do whatever you need to do in their lives to radically transform them into people that follow hard after you and who pray their own big prayers someday.” This is literally putting your kids on an alter and sacrificing them to a God who has the power to mess them up bad but who adores them and so will only allow what is for their own good, to mold them into the people he created them to be. This is your biggest prayer yet, this handing over of your opus magnum and asking God to partner with you in the molding of them. You will have to do this several times a day because you are really good at snatching them back off the alter and pretending that you know what’s best. You are, again, such a jerk. And it’s not only your kids and husband you hand over, but yourself as well. Most importantly, maybe, yourself. Abba, use me, break me, mold me, fill me, shine a light on all the parts that have gone bad and redeem them for your purposes. Abba, take me, every inch, and then give me the courage to be who you’ve made me to be, even when it scares the socks off me. Especially when it scares the socks off me. Remind me that this life is just a blip on the radar screen and that heaven is my real home. Let me do the work and let me get exactly no recognition for it so you get it all. And then give me the words to write about it so that others know too and will understand that, despite the fact that I’m a terrible stand in for the King, I’m trying and that
this is me being real.