Hope pulled a question out of The Dinner Game box as we were cleaning up the kitchen. “Grandma, this one’s for you,” she said, reading aloud. “Can you remember the first time God felt real to you?”
My mother-in-law thought for a moment and replied, “Well, when I was young I wanted a bicycle. I really, really wanted a bike and I prayed for one. And that’s when I learned that sometimes God can say no.”
Hope and I waited.
Finally Hope prompted, “And…?”
Grandma said, “Oh, that’s it.”
“That’s it? But you got the bike, right?
“No,” she said. “I never got the bike.”
We scratched our heads as she walked off. The first time God was real to her was when he said… no?
In Rhema’s ten years of life I’ve had many, many prayers for her. Some of those prayers were prayed for her even before I knew she would be mine.
These days my biggest prayer is for a good day. Just a good day. One in which she can smile and hum, participate in life and enjoy the love of those who love her. Yes it’s true, I often wish it were easier for me and Brandon and Hope. Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup. Ps. 16:5
But more than anything I wish… I pray… it was better, easier for her.
And honestly most days, it seems, the answer is no.
But I think that sometimes when I love and pour myself out for my daughter and my only “reward” is a painful headbutt, that God is telling the story of how He gave Himself for me and forgives and loves me over and over again.
For the times my head says I should be “all better” by now, but the heart still breaks, God is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Ps 34:18).
For years of unchanging circumstances and unanswered questions, He is doing something and the whole story is yet to be told.
For moments when there is no strength left, yet somehow strength comes… I love you O Lord my strength. Ps. 18:1
Maybe that’s what Grandma meant. When you want a thing so bad, and the answer is no. And God is not all you think he is. No, He is real, more real than He’s ever been, and sovereign and good. Don’t always feel or see it, can’t explain it, but my gosh, you believe.
Lord, I pray for a good day. And in the land of No, I will hold my girls and whisper that You hear their hearts’ cry, that You never leave and You love them even more than I do. We’ll take our mess, our No days, and look to you to make something so beautiful…