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
Labels: desires, prayer, wants, wisdom