Snow Days & 3am Prayers
There is definitely something more magical about the snow when you have kids. Actually, most things in life become more magical when you have kids. You get to see things with fresh eyes, and experience everything all over again with them.
It's been snowing the past two days here in our little town and June has asked to go outside both days! I was so surprised the first day that she wanted to go out that I happily obliged and grabbed my camera without even putting my own coat on! June ran up and down our sidewalk, stomping in the puddles, trying to catch snowflakes on her tongue and did it all with such excitement and joy.
That is something I've been praying for lately. In fact, I've been praying for a lot of things lately. Because, I'll tell ya something --- having a newborn who cries wayyyyy more than your first kid ever did makes you question a lot of things about life at 3am.
If I'm totally honest, there was a stretch of time in the last two months where my prayers sounded like "God make her stop crying." "Jesus please let her sleep all night long, so I can sleep." "Please make June be miraculously well behaved today and potty train herself." I was praying to my "genie-Jesus" begging for everyone else to make adjustments, and change, and wear their big girl pants (literally), but not asking for actual help, joy, or strength for myself. "Hey everyone else! Feelings update: you change, cause I'm too tired too. Ok? Cool thanks bye."
On the little bookshelf next to the chair where I nurse Sunny, there is a devotional book my friend Heather recently gave me called "5-Word Prayers, Where to start when you don't know what to say to God." I picked it up one day while sitting there, not because I was feeling desperate, but simply because I wanted to read something while nursing. And wouldn't you know, the prayer I read for that day was these five words, "Please give me strength now."
And that's all it took. That's when it hit me. I don't think I've ever prayed that in my life. Maybe once, while in unmedicated labor with June (ha ha!), but I'm certain I didn't have the word "now" on the end of it. How simple that prayer sounded and how powerful I was certain it would be over my life. And so I prayed it. All day... and all night... for a few weeks.
And before long, my fears and bitterness about the season of life I am in were lifted. I find that my thoughts and heart are in better place throughout my day when my prayers, even when short and desperate, are about gratitude for my little family and a request for genuine joy and strength through this season.
That same little devotional went on to say this...
"Many days a desperate, searching heart has prayed to God, please give me strength now. We need God's strength to withstand the winds of life that threaten to blow us into a place of skepticism and despair. We've prayed it in the quiet of night, lying on a pillow that never feels soft enough to grant us rest. We've prayed it in our car, driving numbly down this street and that, sitting in the tall grass, watching children play and wishing we could be so carefree, clutching our memories beside fresh graves, begging for our hearts to stop breaking the whole way through. Only the strength of God can console our weeping souls. ..... The Word of God promises, over and over, to give us the strength we do not have in everyday life and great times of struggle." - Lisa Whittle, 5 Word Prayers
So now, I ask for help --- and my 3am prayers sound much more like "Help me to be patient in all circumstances." "Help me speak more gracefully to my girls." "Thank you for this little life." "Give me energy for tomorrow." "Please give me strength now."
And, "Thank you for snow days."