As a parent I’m always wondering/worried if I am teaching my babies the right things. And, if what I am teaching them is making an impact.
There is some evidence in the small day to day life of things that we have taught them – Ames telling me to buckle up to be safe, Corra giving us loves or being “soft” to Ames, etc. But it’s harder to see the ‘bigger’ things. Things that are even hard for us as adults to accept.
One of these things, is the acceptance of a God. Acceptance of a God that is loving, is aware of every detail of our lives. Acceptance of a God that hears & answers prayers – even the small & simplest ones.
I was reminded the other day that not only are the things I’m trying to teach my children sinking in, they might, in fact, be the ones that are teaching me.
We were in the middle of a 9 hour drive from California to Utah last week. We started this drive after a long, hot day at a track meet. It was getting pretty late & to our surprise Ames was still awake (Corra had been asleep for a couple hours). After being quiet for a while, Ames piped up that he was thirsty. At that point we had already downed all of our water & were hoping not to make another stop, hoping that the kids would just sleep without needing anything for the remainder of the trip. I told Ames that we didn’t have anything to drink. He thought about it for a half second and then said, “we need to say prayers to Heavenly Father. He’ll get us a drink.” Nate & I smiled to each other. I was just happy that his little mind went that way; that when faced with a problem, he thought to pray! Maybe what I am trying to teach him really is sinking in. What I didn’t expect, was the lesson that I was going to be taught.
We told Ames that that was a great idea. But also told him that sometimes Heavenly Father doesn’t answer prayers right away (didn’t want him to be sad that he didn’t have a drink appear after he said amen). I told him that maybe Heavenly Father could lead us to a restaurant that we could get a drink from (however, we were in the middle of Nevada & I didn’t know how soon a pit stop would be, I was nervous that Ames would be disappointed). However, Ames was convinced that Heavenly Father was going to help him get a drink. And so he prayed, in his simple, direct way, that Heavenly Father would get him a drink because he was so thirsty. After his prayer I looked it up & found that we could make a pit stop in about 20 mins & felt a little relived that we could make sure his prayer was answered.
As we approached the small little city Nate & I told Ames, “Look! A McDonalds! Heavenly Father made sure there was a McDonalds close by so that you could get a drink!” Ames was ecstatic. He was 100% convinced even before he saw the restaurant that he was getting a drink. And once we started to get off the freeway, he was just joyful about it. We went through the drive through, and being the frugals we are, just ordered him a water. He never specified what kind of drink he wanted to Heavenly Father.
I was smiling to myself thinking how great of a lesson/example this was to Ames. To pray and see his prayers being answered. I just didn’t expect the bigger lesson to be for Nate & me.
After we pulled up to the window to pay, the employee noticed Ames in the back. I don’t know if she knew the water was for him, but when she saw him she asked us if we wanted a juice box, or milk, or something. Nate said that we were okay with the water. Then she left to go get Nate’s food he had ordered. I told Nate that maybe we should just get him a special drink. Ames LOVES juice boxes, so I know that it would have made the experience all the better for him. When she got back to the window she again said, “we have Hi-C or lemonade too…” She was being very insistent 🙂 Nate said that actually a juice box would be great. He had already paid for his burger so he started to hand her his card again but she just handed him the juice box and said it was on the house. Ames was in fact, even happier with the whole experience.
As we drove away I mentioned to Nate that it seemed like God made sure that Ames got that special drink; I had never had an employee so insistent on getting a little boy a drink of his own – especially when she didn’t even know that drink was specifically for him.
The more I have thought about it, the more I realize that, although it was a great experience for Ames, he wasn’t the one that needed it. Nate & I did. We needed to see the perfect example of our little Ames – his immediate response to pray when faced with a problem, his absolute faith in God & God’s ability to hear his prayer, & his complete trust that God would, without a doubt, answer his prayer.
It has made me reflect on myself & relationship with my Heavenly Father. I know he is there. I know he loves me. I know that he can answer prayers. But sometimes I wonder if my prayers are worth his time. I know he can answer them, but I sometimes have doubts if he will. I worry that maybe I’m praying for the wrong things. Or that maybe my worries & prayers are too insignificant – that I should just handle them myself.
But that’s not how I should be. Heavenly Father LOVES each & every single one of us. And if something is important to us, it is important to Him. Even as small & simple as a 3 year old’s desire for a drink. Ames wasn’t dying of thirst, or even close to it. He had had plenty to drink that day. But he still felt like he needed some help getting a drink that day, so he prayed about it. I fall into the trap where I feel like if something isn’t a life threatening event, I should be able to just ‘deal’ with it on my own. But that’s not how God wants it to be.
I have been thinking a lot about trials & happiness. I know that one big purpose for life on this earth is to be tested & tried – to gain knowledge, experience, & strength through trials. But sometimes I get a little worried that my life is going to be one big trial. That I will experience far more times of trial & sorrow than happiness. The more I thought of our little experience with Ames, the more I realized that not only does God want us to pray, that God hears those prayers & answers them, but ultimately God wants us to be happy.
I feel like Ames would have plenty satisfied with some water. But God knew of Ames’ love for juice boxes so He made sure Ames got a juice box. God made sure that Ames was a very happy boy.
I’m starting to realize that God truly wants us to be HAPPY – not just satisfied. Sure, we will all have times of ‘thirst’ (trial) but, as Ames showed us how, if we just ask God to help us out & do the right things, I am starting to realize that not only will God ‘satisfy’ our prayers, He will make sure that we are truly happy.
Once again my child has been the teacher & I the student.
Thank goodness for little children.
Thank goodness for simple prayers & complete faith.
thank goodness for a juice box from God.
-till next time-