I love listening to my oldest son pray. Often he'll just recite prayers we've taught him, but every now and then he'll be spontaneous and speak to God from the heart, and I get a chance to see just how grateful he is for the little things we often take for granted as adults. He thanks God for the hugs he is able to give his Dadda. (When was the last time I thanked God for the ability to give someone a hug?) He thanks God for his best friend's broken arm healing. He thanks God for Transformers. The list can go on and on, and every time I just sit back, listen, and smile. Although I try to teach my son what I know about this beautiful ability to speak to the Most High, I often find that he is teaching me, making me remember that often there is only one thing I need to say to God…Thank you.
Having grown up in the church, prayer is something that, until a few years ago, I never considered to be anything extraordinary. Now, when I stop and think about what I am actually doing, my tiny brain cannot comprehend it. To think that I am coming before an all-powerful, utterly holy God who performs miracles beyond our galaxy, on behalf of myself, my family, my friends and loved ones…and he cares. I went through a period of my life when I was convinced that God either did not hear my prayers at all, or was some distant deity who wasn't concerned with the every day trifles of my life. There were years when I rarely prayed at all. The realization that not only did he listen, but he cared about even the seemingly minuscule happenings of my day, changed my life. (See Psalm 139)
After moving cross-country for the second time two years ago and finding ourselves in the Western Maryland area, I was continually thanking God for the little things. Ice cream. Mexican food. I was pregnant, so these were the things that mattered to me. But finding a church, friends, and feeling part of the community, well, these things took time. Waiting on a God who seems to be silent can be discouraging. There are days when I pray and I can see the answer almost immediately and I just know, without a shadow of a doubt, that it is Him. And then there times when I pray for someone, or something, for weeks, months, even years, and the answer is never evident, at least not in the way I expect. During the past two years, I have experienced a mix of both, and I know both types of answers provide unique opportunities for growth.
Lately, I have felt the abundance of God's grace and answer to prayer in a way I have not experienced in a while. I have met more people in the past few months than the entire two years we've lived here, and friendships are starting to grow. We finally found a church that our entire family loves, and have become part of a small group there. With the enthusiasm and dedication of a good friend, our local MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group is beginning to thrive, and I get to be a part of its development. My youngest, now nineteen months, is sleeping at night. Well, not all the time, but more often than not. And to top it off, I have finally felt inspired to write after a long lull, and well, lack of time. During the past two years, I never lost hope, thanking God for his provision and believing that God would fulfill our spiritual needs. I know there will be seasons of waiting and valleys to forge through. But as answers overflow, I have felt so full, so blessed beyond measure, that all I can do is follow my son's lead and say, "Thank you, God. Thank you."