He Hears You

Hears Prayers

Eons ago when I waited tables, I met a friend who made an incredible impact in my life. She was intelligent, determined, motivated, and hilarious. It was her sense of humor I admired first, but her drive and persistence are what I ended up admiring most.

I don’t remember talking about my faith while working at the restaurant, but maybe I did. I know when my favorite cook had to have surgery, he nervously asked me if I would “say some of [my] special prayers” for him.

I didn’t approach anyone about my faith, but I was always open to talking about it if I was approached. Other than a few prayer requests being fed my way, that angle didn’t prove entirely fruitful.

Until one night.

This girlfriend of mine came to work excited to tell me something. With a smile as big as the sun is bright across her face, she pulled me aside and said, “I prayed today.”

I feigned total shock and disbelief. But inside, my heart started to beat a little faster. She was not a believer, and often told me she had a hard time understanding why I believed as I did. To hear her admit she had prayed was quite a big deal.

She went on to tell me the rest of her story. In addition to working part-time at the restaurant, she worked part-time managing a liquor store. We had been trying to get our finances in order and I had introduced her to Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover. Not only did she adopt the financial principles of the book, but she started to do way better than my husband and I at eliminating her debt and making wise financial decisions. I was in awe of her, really.

She had one major hurdle left, and it was something she was struggling with personally, as well as financially. She had to sell her jeep.

It was eating at her because it wasn’t selling. She was completely determined to gain financial freedom, but she couldn’t if she couldn’t sell her jeep.

That day at work in the liquor store, she reached a breaking point of sorts. She told me she leaned her head up against a case of beer on a shelf and prayed, “If you’re real, if you’re up there, help me sell my  jeep.”

I don’t recommend offering God ultimatums. I don’t even know how I feel about “prove you’re real” prayers, because of all I know about God, and all He has done to already prove not only His existence, but His love for us. But my friend wasn’t in the same spot as me. And for the first time in her entire life, she let her personal guard down enough to utter those words.

I tried to be encouraging at that point in her story. “I’m so glad you finally felt like you could pray!” I said. “Wait,” she interrupted, “I’m not done.”

She went on to tell me less than an hour later, a gentleman walked in and asked her about her jeep.

And bought it.

I couldn’t believe it. I stood there with my mouth open like a fish out of water and stammered for something wise and poignant to say. All I could rustle up was a big, hearty, “Wow!”

She was so excited, she was nearly jumping up and down in the hallway. She was excited she had sold her jeep, of course, but beyond that, she was excited that He had heard her, and answered. She was excited something she had resisted for so long was something she could finally embrace.

I did the happy dance with her. I was excited for weeks to come afterward. I thought the deal had been sealed.

I never talked with her anymore about it. I never prayed with her. I never asked her if she had questions, or what she was curious about. And she never came to me to discuss faith beyond that one experience.

She had a tremendous answer to a tremendous prayer, and she she didn’t allow herself to move to tremendous faith.

But I didn’t nurture it in any way either. God answered her prayer, and I stood on the sidelines and cheered. When another difficulty in her life reared it’s head, I asked her, “Have you prayed about it?” She made a face and said, “no, no, no, no, no….” as she shook her head. She didn’t believe in it anymore. “But your jeep!” I protested.

It was too late. She had chalked it all up to mere coincidence.

We moved away and so did she, and eventually we lost touch with one another, but I think about her all the time. I pray she finds her way back to that miraculous moment. The truth is, friends, He does hear you. He may not answer you in an hour’s time after that first utterance, but He hears you. And He believes in you way more than you’ll ever be able to believe in Him. He created you, He designed you, and He wants to rescue you.

I have so many stories. I want to share them all. Consider this a part one.

Don’t be afraid to pray, and don’t dismiss the answers that come as mere coincidence. He hears you.

How Little Miss Views Life

A while ago, I saw a survey floating around on Facebook comprised of questions to ask your children. They were questions asked by the mother, about the mother.

I took some time to see if Little Miss would be up for the game and am now wondering if that was the best idea I’ve ever had. I asked her each question, but asked her to give an answer about me and about her daddy.

Little Miss

The survey instructs, “Without any prompting, ask your child these questions and write down exactly what they say. It is a great way to find out what they really think.” Oh boy. Some of it I can’t help but comment on, so you’ll see my commentary in (parentheses).

  1. What is something mom/dad always says to you?
    Mom: “Mm-mm.” (said like “nuh-uh”)
    Dad: “I don’t know.”
  2. What makes mom/dad happy?
    Mom: When I listen. (There’s some truth to this.)
    Dad: When I snuggle.
  3. What makes mom/dad sad?
    Mom: When I don’t listen.
    Dad: When I don’t want to do what he wants to do.
  4. How does your mom/dad make you laugh?
    Mom: Tickling me.
    Dad: Telling jokes.
  5. What was your mom/dad like as a child?
    Mom: You had blonde hair like me and you smiled a lot.
    Dad: Blonde hair.
  6. How old is your mom/dad?
    Mom: I think you’re probably 37. (she was close – I’m 35.)
    Dad: 38. (spot. on.)
  7. How tall is your mom/dad?
    Mom: Really tall. (To a petite five-year-old, 5’5″ is really tall. I’ll take it.)
    Dad: Very tall.
  8. What is mom/dad’s favorite thing to do?
    Mom: What is your favorite thing to do? Hm. I’d go for….. eating a lot. (I didn’t want to publish this answer! What on earth?)
    Dad: Snuggle
  9. What does your mom/dad do when you’re not around?
    Mom: Work work work.
    Dad: Work work work.
  10. If your mom/dad becomes famous, what will it be for?
    Mom: Mindmumbles.com (L O V E !)
    Dad: Taking good care of his family. (Yes – he should be famous for this! Sweetest answer ever.)
  11. What is your mom/dad really good at?
    Mom: Sudoku (Uh… goals.)
    Dad: Making the right choices. (?!?!)
  12. What is your mom/dad not very good at?
    Mom: You’re not very good at asking questions.
    Dad: Knowing my secrets. (We may need to unpack this one with her…)
  13. What does your mom/dad do for a job?
    Mom: Blog posts.
    Dad: Give us money.
  14. What is your mom/dad’s favorite food?
    Mom: Well… since you eat them a lot, probably (whispers) apple slices.
    Dad: Probably, um, King Leo’s.
  15. What makes you proud of your mom/dad?
    Mom: Sudoku. Because you’re so good at it. (Take that, everybody! And Lord, help me.)
    Dad: For taking care of the kids. (and mom gets “sudoku”. awesome.)
  16. If your mom/dad were a character, who would they be?
    Mom: Dora. (…No.)
    Dad: Diego. (…No.)
  17. What do you and your mom/dad do together?
    Mom: This game! Just talk.
    Dad: Read.
  18. How are you and your mom/dad the same?
    Mom: We both like to be pretty.
    Dad: We’re both silly.
  19. How are you and your mom/dad different?
    Mom: We….. I like to play and you don’t really like to play. (This is true, because I feel like I stink at playing with kids. Even my own.)
    Dad: I don’t really like to concentrate on things and Daddy does.
  20. How do you know your mom/dad loves you?
    Mom: You give me kisses all the time.
    Dad: He gives me kisses all the time.
  21. What does your mom like most about your dad/dad like most about your mom?
    Mom: That he cares for his family. (true)
    Dad: That you work really hard.  (I don’t think this is what he likes most.)
  22. Where is your mom/dad’s favorite place to go?
    Mom: Beans Coffee Bar. (spot. on.)
    Dad: To work. (false!)
  23. How old was your mom/dad when you were born?
    Mom: That’s gonna be hard. Probably…24. (I was 29)
    Dad: 27? (He was 32.)

If you were to draft my obituary from Little Miss’ answers to this questionnaire, it would sound something like this:
“Val might still be here today if she would have laid off the apple slices. She did great work, we think, anyway – because she worked all the time. She loved Beans Coffee Bar, and we wish she would have learned how to play and enjoy life. At least she had her sudoku.”

So. Sad.

I thought it would be a lot of fun, and Little Miss would have these crazy typical kid answers. Instead, I got a window into my world that was quite humbling. I’m very thankful she recognizes how incredibly loving, playful, and attentive her daddy is. He is the best of the bunch, that’s for sure.

I have never been one to play in the way Little Miss is saying. Growing up, recess meant me doing the twirly bars, or playing hopscotch – things I could achieve higher levels of accomplishment on, and things I didn’t have to be imaginative in. One birthday party, all my friends ran off to play whatever they wanted, but I stood my ground and played the game we had set out to do: dropping clothespins in a milk carton. Maybe that’s why I like sudoku. It’s challenging. It’s a process already laid out. There’s one objective, and that’s to get it right. Type A, anyone? I might have to bite the bullet and get the playdough out. And be okay with colors being mixed. Pray for me.