Today I was walking into the gym with Nora by the hand, Bennett on my hip, and my belly bulging under my shirt. It was very reminiscent of the days just before Ella joined our family (minus the “working out” part of course) and I was reminded yet again to not pray for the life I want but the life God knows I need.
Most of my friends know this but I’m not sure how many people outside of them do. When I found out I was pregnant with Ella I cried. Not happy tears but tears of what the heck??? See while I was pushing out Cooper I declared (in my head of course) that I was never going to have another baby ever again. Yep. Out loud it sounded more like “lets wait a few years and reevaluate where we are”, but I was donesky. Because, you see, we were dirt poor since I had quit my job to stay home with my babies not too long before that. We weren’t struggling but things were tight. Very tight. And I wanted a more relaxed life, not counting our pennies in and out so carefully (looking back these were some of the sweetest days ever). Maybe a life with more vacations and nicer stuff and new clothes every once in awhile.
Fast forward many years and more babies later. Here I sit living the life I never prayed for but would never trade for the world. Seriously. It’s simply the craziest, most humbling, exhausting, best thing I never knew I needed. And if it weren’t for God knowing what life would humble and sanctify me the most, I wouldn’t be able to share this next story because Ella (none of our other wonderful kids after her) would exist.
Garrett and I have prayed for big things for our kids (and little things, don’t think we haven’t/don’t pray for more sleep or better attitudes). We have prayed and talked to them about loving Jesus and what he’s done for them. We talk regularly with them that Jesus is a friend to sinners and a friend to those who the world says aren’t worthy of friendship and even a burden to this world. We have prayed that they would be a friend to those people because of Matthew 25:40 “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”
Anyway, a few weeks ago Ella’s preschool teacher shared with me about what a wonderful friend she is, especially to a little boy in her class named Evan. Evan is completely wheel chair bound and has delays and can’t verbally communicate. He has an aid with him who takes care of all his needs.
God has given our Ella the sweetest, most nurturing heart (maybe not so to her siblings or always to her cousins…she is still a work in progress, right? 😉 ). Her teacher explained that most kids in their class are apprehensive around Evan but Ella is his best friend. She talks to him like a peer and plays with him and can now tell when Evan is getting a bit overwhelmed in class and needs to be left alone. She genuinely loves being his friend and told us all about Evan and didn’t mention anything to us about him being different except he didn’t eat snack with them every day.
God has given her a heart to just see people for who they are and that they have value. God is already answering the prayer that she would be a friend to the outcast. If God had answered my prayer for a more comfortable life over five years ago, I wouldn’t have this to share but I might have fewer ruined things and fewer stained clothes and a cleaner car. But all the praise to God that He knows what I need before I even knew I needed it! Praise God that He can see my own selfishness and need to be softened in ways I didn’t think I needed to be so I could see His command at work in the lives of all my children. Because, trust me, there are endless stories of how awesome the kids God has given us are and I only share any of them because it is truly the work of God in His goodness and kindness, and not us as parents.
So pray for the life God wants for you because His will is better. And if God gives you children, pray the big stuff and pray it hard because He hears the cries of us selfish parents but He knows better than us what we need because isn’t that true of any truly, good father?
“And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, ‘Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:2-4