Just yesterday I started praying a radically different prayer. After yet another really hard drop-off at school (my Kindergartener is having a rough time), I started to pray on the way home for Jesus to be tender with Sam. Instead, I changed my prayer and asked him to be tender with me. I asked him to be gracious to me. I asked him to show his loving side to me.
After counseling last week, I’ve been thinking a lot about my discomfort with “soft” emotions- tenderness, gentleness, affection. I don’t like hugs. I don’t like words like precious, sweet, even the phrase little girl sends me spiraling into a strange place. My words are strong, independent, capable, tough, dependable. My prayers are usually, “God, give me the strength to do ____________.” Sure, there’s this underlying tone of “I can’t do this, so I need help,” but I know my heart- I know how much I rely on my own strength.
I woke up early this morning and started the day with the same prayer- more like a plead, really. “God, show me your gentleness. Show me your tenderness. Show me your love in such a way that I cannot deny it.”
My husband left for work. He commutes over an hour and spends his day doing home health in rural SW Oklahoma. He needs his phone for navigation, to contact each patient, and to let his often neurotic wife know that he is safe. He left his phone charging on the kitchen counter. I noticed it about 20 minutes after he left, so I figured he was well on his way and I couldn’t catch him. I had no way to contact him. I was helpless.
God immediately called to mind something from A Praying Life, about how our helplessness is exactly what’s needed to cultivate a life of prayer. Helpless was exactly what I was. So I prayed. I prayed that Charles would realize he forgot his phone and would come home to get it. I prayed that, if he didn’t realize it, or if he realized it far too late and didn’t want to turn around and come home to get it, that God would keep him safe today. When he walked in the door I burst into tears. He was the physical manifestation of an answered prayer.
And not just one prayer- but two. He was the physical manifestation of God showing his tenderness to me.