Thursday, January 26, 2012

Be Us Guest.

Every morning before my husband Seth leaves for work, we have a short family prayer time.

Lest you think we are really spiritual around here, keep in mind that I often hold a Care Bear's paw during a quick and simple circle prayer that is serially interrupted at best by shouts of "Mommy, she pinching me!" and "I not want pray!"

Sometimes, you have to make the choice to keep doing spiritual disciplines with your children even though it does not exactly produce a Norman Rockwell image.  They may not remember the actual prayers, but they will hopefully get in the habit of pausing to invite the Presence of the Divine into their day before their day gets the best of them.

Honestly, it's just as much for me as it is for them.  Speaking as a nouveau domestic engineer (sounds FANCY, don't you think?), I cannot realistically make it through the day without giving God an invitation to abide in the places I run short-like patience, for example.  I've never had a lot to spare and as it turns out, two high-maintenance preschoolers and a daredevilish toddler tend to test the limits in all manner of ways.

Prayer at the start reminds me that it's good to have limits as a human, for it makes us recline on the limitless nature of the Good Shepherd-who has never yet run out of longsuffering for even the most wayward of sheep.  Grasping tiny, sticky hands in the morning to ask the blessing of God on our day spent chasing and encouraging and feeding and time-outting and singing and dancing and refereeing and, if you must know, wiping, can mean all the difference between my children merely seeing my weakness when they look at me or seeing the presence of Christ in my weakness.

This morning was no different.  My need for Him is strong and my reliance on Him is of the utmost importance.  I feel the heat of that crucible again and I know that He has entrusted me to raise these small people... 

not because He knows I can do it - but because He knows I cannot.

"Who wants to pray this morning?" their daddy asks.
"I do!" says Heather excitedly.  With that, she begins to talk to God with a simple beauty that makes my prayers sound proud and guarded.  

"Dear Jesus..." she half-whispers, head bowed and eyes squeezed shut.  
She rattles off a mix of prayers she has heard before-prayers uttered by her parents, grandparents, preschool and Sunday school teachers, and friends.  It's the sound of a faith community coming together to raise this little girl in the admonition of the Lord.  One of those phrases she uses in her conversation with the Almighty is her own adaptation of one familiar from my childhood, and it catches me off-guard.


"...and be us Guest..."


I look up at her as she continues her prayers and ponder the Good Shepherd being a guest in this house full of 5 wayward sheep.  I feel a mix of humility and empowerment as a lump forms in my throat.  He is here anytime we ask Him to dwell, no matter in what shape the invitation comes.  He is always here when we invite Him.  The Good Shepherd doesn't run to the sheep who sit all well-behaved in the pen, but to those sheep that seem to daily need a rescue

The Gentle Shepherd is the One who comes when we need Him to add grace to the weakness of the worn-out mom, the struggling business owner, the pastor overwhelmed by the needs, the one suffering with cancer of the body, or the one pained with the sin of the mind.  The Gentle Shepherd is no respecter of persons and He comes to those who genuinely offer Him the place of honor in the middle of their need.

We ask you humbly, sweet Shepherd, be “us” our weaknesses and at our messy table.


I will be sharing the story of our little family at the First Baptist Church in Edwardsport, Indiana this Sunday, January 29th.  The service starts at 6:30 PM.  I would love to see you there! 


Carlalalala said...

I am so lifted up by your blogs Lauren. God has blessed you with a wonderful family, so you can bless us. Thank you for sharing.

Guatmama said...

Blessed by your blog and your candid heart, so real for us moms! Keep writing friend!

Chelsa said...

I sit w/ my sweet boys on my lap each morning and we pray- it is the most peace I have in the a.m. and it makes our day go smoother I'm sure!