I've not been the best Christian lately. I say: "hey, I'm new. I'm not going to get it perfect all the time."
And then I say: "what am I talking about?" I mean, look Who I am talking about. You don't need to be perfect for God. The good thing about Christianity is that God loves you no matter what. Yes, even if you are not being the best Christian for a couple of days. Even if you feel disconnected and grumpy and snap at your kids for no reason - or any reason.
But let me return to feeling disconnected from God. I wrote about this at length in the previous entry. Well, not much has changed. And yet, everything has. In one single hour.
Husband and I had to drive the kids back to their biological mom's house for the week. I came down with a migraine and self-pity (not a good combo) so I stayed home and slept. Husband drove the three kids the 45-minute-or-so drive into the city and, because I wasn't there, the eldest, 12, could sit up front in the passenger seat. Looking back, I feel it was "meant to be" that I not be there so that husband and 12 year old could have the following exchange.
These kids are going through a hard time, especially our 12 year old. What, these aren't your kids, you ask? You've been calling them "my kids" this whole time. Well, no, I'm a stepmother, but I think of each child as my very own.
Unfortunately, God has other plans for our family these days. Custody trouble, 12 year old having to get involved in ways we don't want her to. The two little ones, 7 and 4, thinking that we are "the bad guys."
We have a beautiful family that I know God loves. Why this all is happening is beyond me. Sometimes I'm just speechless. And yet we pray and trust anyway.
Anyway, husband and 12 year old were talking about how nervous she was to return to her mother's home because Mother was going to grill her about details about her week with us, etc. Husband tried to allay her fears, but soon realized that he couldn't do much right then and there to soothe his daughter.
In his telling of this to me later, he said that had he thought, "I'm going to have a religious talk with my 12 year old daughter now," he would have stopped himself because he would have thought it would go in one ear and out the other. Granted, 12 year old is interested in God; we pray the Lord's Prayer with her every night she is with us. She hears us playing Christian radio all the time; she knows we have recently dove into the waters of Christianity with fervor, but she feels self-conscious at her awkward age and, at least when I have approached her about God and prayer, she has listened well and mumbled in agreement - not said anything at length. Which is fine.
But husband asked if it was okay if he said a prayer for her - right then and there - in the car. He said that he prays for her and her siblings every day and night. He told her how he and I pray every night and how he prays aloud when he rides into the city for work every morning. She said, yes, he could pray. He was looking at the road, so he did not know if she rolled her eyes or looked serious.
So for a good five minutes, he prayed. He prayed for 12 year old when things got scary for her to feel brave. I do not know all that was in that prayer, but I know it was heartfelt and wonderful - that's just the way he prays.
Husband has also struggled with a disconnect from God in the last few days. He told me, however, when he called upon Jesus and prayed for his daughter, the words just flowed. He felt connected to Him again.
And 12 year old realized that she was not helpless. Husband told her that in times of stress and fear, she, too, can pray. About anything.
I sat up in bed, listening to him telling me this story. I felt God at work. Husband said he felt God at work. He said that after he had spoken to ex-wife, he felt riled up and upset...but on the drive home, he prayed and felt calm and at peace. Sure enough, I noticed a difference in him as he talked to me then.
Husband told me that he realized that it was not God who was not answering him, it was him who wasn't letting God in. In husband's words, he said that it wasn't like God "went out and took a phone call" and became busy... it was that he - and maybe me, too - just stopped being intentional and seeking out God. We expected God to - poof - inspire us. Well, it doesn't always work like that. We need to remain open to the poof. And sometimes we have to be the poof.
In closing, let me leave you with a song and video that inspired me tonight. I heard the song, first, on the radio. It was a song I already liked: "O Praise Him" by the David Crowder Band. But the opening words, "turn your ears to Heaven," seemed to tap me on the shoulder. You know how songs do that? I looked it up on youtube in order to provide it for you and found this video. I won't spoil it for you, but please do watch the video. It is chilling and so moving.
The makers won't let me embed the song here, so click on this link.
Bless you over and over again.