Praying for Cookies

Our first long-term foster child was a sweet little girl named Shea*. We brought her home when she was three months old, and she left over two years later.

She was an even-tempered, happy child. She loved to color in her little book at the kitchen table. When she finished, she’d grab the paper and toddle over to the basement door, where I displayed the kids’ school papers.

"Oh! You want your paper up on the door too?” I’d be rewarded with a bobbing head and big grin.

One morning after the kids left for school, Shea and I climbed the stairs to the bathroom. I was still in pj’s, and it was time to get ready for the day. As I brushed my teeth, she climbed up on the toilet for a closer look. Watching me intently she asked, “Yoo wass yoh pace?” Yes, Shea. I’m washing my face.

Finishing up, I turned to her and asked, “What would you like for breakfast today?” 

Oooh, a choice! Her head tips to one side as she considers the possibilities. Then the light bulb goes on. She merrily suggests, “Cookies?”

I had to smile. Who among us has never had a cookie breakfast? I sure have. But I know it’s not a great idea, cookies are a terrible breakfast food. And, as we all know, they are a gateway drug. Next thing you know, I’ll have to get up early to set up an ice cream sundae bar.

I shook my head sadly, “No Shea, I don’t think cookies are a good idea.” With one hand in mine, the other on the banister, we slowly make our descent down the stairs.  I suggest Cheerios or scrambled eggs as an alternative to cookies.

Five minutes later, Shea is chasing Cheerios around her cereal bowl with a spoon, happy as a clam. 

This whole exchange reminded me of my prayer life. Just as I asked Shea to tell me what she wanted, God asks me to talk to him about what I want too. He will patiently listen to all my wants and needs.

Sometimes, I ask for cookies. To me, it looks perfect, but to God, it looks like trouble. The Lord is the wisest of all Fathers. He knows that what I want might not be good for me. Like Shea, I may really, really, want it, but he’s got much better things in mind.

The Lord gently caresses my face and says, “No, I don’t think that’s a good idea.” And then he gives me what I need, which is infinitely better.

I pray that I will be as accepting and content with God's better idea for me, as Shea was with me. Faced with 'no' from Mom, she seamlessly moved on to option #2. No snit-fit, no whining.

I can learn a lot from a two year old. 

*not her real name

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