a cycle of gratitude

No! Not ours! Em and Maddie oohing and aahing over baby Silas, son of Aaron and Jody. He’s very adorable.

Last week my kids attended a Backyard Bible Club. On the last day, as we parents came early to listen to the kids sing the songs they had learned during the week, I overheard a young mom behind me say to another mom, “Oh, yes, I have four children, ages 5, 4, 2, and 7 months. And we’re trying for a fifth. I just want another one, you know. They’re so precious.”

My shoulders slumped. That’s not my sentiment at the best of times, and it certainly wasn’t last week, as I was focused on unpacking my house. At one point in the week, I told Dave, “You know, it’s real easy to forget that one of the major reasons I’m getting this house organized is to make a home for our kids.  It’s ironic that much of the time I just want them out of the way so I can get it done.”

In church yesterday, as I took notes on the sermon, I also wrote this in my journal: “Help! I don’t want to be a mom right now. I want to be a child, YOUR child, Lord. I’m tired of the responsibility, the constant need to do so much and be so much to these four children. I can’t do it. Please, Lord, hold me like a little child, pull me close to your chest and help me to rest. To do this job of being a mom, I need to be Your little child.”

The sermon yesterday was on the first part of Colossians 4, in which Paul tells the church at Colosse (and us) to “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” Our pastor had a lot to say about this and the verses that followed (check out his blog at craigsturm.wordpress.com), but he said this about the “thankful” part of that verse: we should be thankful for the very privilege of prayer itself.

I connected that to the prayer I was writing in my journal. What an amazing thing that I can cry out to the almighty God of the Universe with a prayer like that! I have His attention. He bends His ear to my helpless, self-centered appeals.

Today I read the hymn “All for Jesus, All for Jesus,” in which the hymnwriter Mary D. James (1810-1883) takes this idea a step further. Here’s the last stanza:

Oh, what wonder! How amazing!

Jesus, glorious King of kings,

Deigns to call me His beloved,

Lets me rest beneath His wings.

All for Jesus! All for Jesus!

Resting now beneath His wings;

All for Jesus! All for Jesus!

Resting now beneath His wings.

I love that line: “(He) deigns to call me His beloved(.)” I can be thankful that, as His beloved, I can pray to Him about everything.

And I can be thankful that my prayers for help are answered, that in being His helpless, needy child, I can parent more and more in the way He wants me to.

Gratitude for the privilege of prayer itself. Gratitude for the deeper relationship it draws me into.

Prayer: a cycle of gratitude.