This morning my sleepy 13 year old stumbled into my room. Since he was the first one up, he nestled quietly into the coveted spot right beside me on the bed. With his head against a pillow propped up on my leg we discussed quite deeply the thoughts of a young hunter/trapper boy. Most of the language I didn’t understand but I tracked along as well as I could with my barely awake brain.
He talked about guns and what the calibers meant, how many bullets go in each barrel and so forth. And I just listened. We talked battle scars and injuries and how it would be good for his future wife to have some nursing background.
I marveled at how easily we embraced and how fluidly the conversation ebbed along. I wasn’t distracted by my phone pinging the day’s notifications and I wasn’t in the middle of teaching my other two math or English. It was just me and him enjoying some sweet conversation.
As I looked into his eyes, I thought of my Heavenly Father. He wishes to have the same embrace and easy conversation with me first thing in the morning. Before I’m off looking at lesson plans, or settling disputes or preparing the day’s meals, He’s waiting for me to prop up on a pillow and talk to Him.
He’s available no matter what time I wake up and doesn’t need two cups of coffee before He’s ready to listen. He understands every subject I talk about and no detail is too small or too boring to bring up. He will sit and talk with me for as long as I want and I come away from the conversation a better person – something I hope I can pass along to my son as well. And if my morning started off with a bang, He’s just as available and alert in the evening.
Sometimes it just hits me that God desires a relationship with me! And it’s not a sergeant/civilian-I-command-you-to-do-what-I-say-or-else kind of relationship. He wants my love, my devotion, my time. He wants me to share with Him my thoughts from the day – the joys and the sorrows. He’s available to talk about the details of life like my son did with me. And He’s ready to disclose to me the parts about myself that I don’t even see yet.
I find too that He can handle the disappointments, those times when I feel like He didn’t answer me the way I’d hoped and prayed for. The way I believed He would answer.
I’ve recently had to tell my son no. These teenage years remind me of when he was a preschooler. When Caleb was four He needed firm, consistent boundaries with corresponding consequences when he crossed those boundaries. And he needs the same thing now. The boundaries and consequences just look different now.
Even though he doesn’t like it, He needs me to tell him no. It would not be healthy or safe or in his best interest (I could go on!) for me to agree to everything he wanted to do! And just like a 4 year old, I’m not his favorite person when I have to put a stop his plans. “What?…Why Mom?! Why can’t I do that?…UGH..STOMP…SLAM!”
Oh how I have the same conversation with the Lord…
Why Lord can I not do that like her over there? Why have you not allowed this prayer to be answered? Why have you said no?
God’s no’s are a time to seek after Him. Sometimes He really means no, but often I’ve found there’s a vast territory in me He seeks to cultivate. Saying yes to my prayer would not have driven me to excavate this territory and plant His truth and goodness there.
Sometimes my kids understand why I say no and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes I understand why God says no and sometimes I don’t.
But one thing I’ve learned is that no matter what He allows and doesn’t, He loves me and has my best interest in mind. If I will trust Him, especially when He says no or shuts a door I wanted to walk through, in time I’ll see it was best and grow in the process. But getting to that point takes many mornings spent in quiet, simple conversation with my Father.