One of the best parts about this summer has been the moment when my toddler, Charli realizes that dad is home from work. The excitement bounces out of her little body as she bops up and down saying, “Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!” She grabs his leg, hugs him close, and kisses his cheek. While it’s fun to watch her little excitement festival and her confidence with one of her few words, it’s even more fun to watch him.
No, he’s not literally glowing, home from some nuclear reactor gone bad, but his face, his posture, everything about him seems lit up in the glimmer of his best self. It’s like when someone loves us, we can’t help but reflect that love back through being what we were designed to be.
Lately, I’ve been in a prayer brain tangle over my little bounce-excitement girl. Her childcare provider–whom I love–is heading back to the classroom and won’t be continuing her care this fall. I’m thankful for the time we’ve had with her, and truly happy for this new opportunity in her life, but the unknowing leaves me unsettled. I have a couple of leads, but my favorite prospect is a strong maybe as one of her clients is waiting until the last minute to decide whether to send her son to Kindergarten.
My prayer life is like a stuck YouTube video, repeating to the beat of, “Lord, can you please make this daycare thing work out? Lord, can that woman’s kid just look oober-ready for school today? Lord, please make her send that child. Oh Lord, whatever you want is fine. (That last prayer was really selfish.) Again, Lord, Your will be done. Lord, actually I want to make sure you know what I want so that there is no confusion with the whole thing. Lord, are you getting annoyed with all this? I don’t want to be annoying–as that might hinder said answer to previous prayer–but please know that whatever you want is fine. . . just so you know childcare provider B is what I want, just so there’s no confusion.”
I know God loves me, but as I look back on the words of these prayers, I don’t feel all that lovable. I’ve been puzzling over that verse that tells us to Ask, Seek, Knock. I’ve heard this interpreted as a need to be relentless, as it’s hard to ignore an annoying child who asks, asks, and then asks again, but something about this doesn’t jive with my relationship with God. My love of people is a dim reflection, but in those relationships, I wouldn’t ever ask, ask, ask for something until it was just annoying enough to get the response I wanted.
The whole thing leaves me feeling a little power-less, and while I know that’s a great opportunity to lean on God, I’ve been using it as more of an opportunity to lean on my own worry. I’m glad another verse grabbed my attention this week. Perhaps a better focus has less to do with asking and more to do with presence.
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock.” (Revelation 3:20)
If I stand back from it, my trouble is small. I need new child care. That’s it. Yes, it does matter where she goes, but certainly tougher challenges are ahead. No matter what today’s challenge, the deeper breath comes not always in the answers we want, but in trusting a God who lays a firm foundation under and through our lives. Like Charli, so happy to see her “Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!” God stands at the door, so joyful at our being just the way we are, understanding the issues we hold below the issues. (Certainly God knows a little bit about worrying about a child’s care.) Maybe all these rough decisions, rough events, rough encounters are more like glow points. Sure, we’re all uncomfortable and fearful when they bump into our happy, but they can–if we let them–point us back at the glow source, and leave us shined-up, somehow a better version of ourself, better equipped to face the challenge that is today.