Confession. Bedtime prayers with my kids have never been a thing. I hug and tuck them in but remembering to pray has always slipped my mind. So, after many months of self-imposed mom guilt, I decided to create our own special prayer time on the way to school in the mornings.
Most days, after my oldest reads a short devotion, one of my boys will say a prayer. It’s usually something like this: “Thank you, God, for letting Dada have a good day. And Frank (our dog). And Bob and Dan (horses we gave away 4 years ago). And Francis (our Compassion child). And Mama. And thank you for letting everyone in the whole wide world have a good day. In Jesus name. Amen.” There are days of variation that may include Scruffy (our cat), Cedrick (the name for every squirrel who decides to run in front of our car), or a spelling test they have that day.
One particular Tuesday morning, however, it was my five-year-old’s turn to pray. Hyper would not even begin to describe him that day. I looked back at him in the mirror and indicated it was his turn to pray. He suddenly got very still, folded his hands, and a giant smile spread across his face, “God,” he paused, and the smile grew bigger, “You are just SOOOO good.”
I couldn’t tell you what the rest of the prayer was that morning because tears started sliding down my cheeks and a smile spread across my own face. It has been a hard twelve months at our house. This time last year my husband was diagnosed with cancer, amidst one of the busiest seasons of our life. He had surgery followed by a year of treatments that left him weary and worn. Then bring COVID-19 into the picture, and it has been one crazy-hard year.
But as I replayed my five-year-old’s words in my head, I was able to see so many snapshots of God’s goodness spread all over my life. As my world seemed to fall apart this year, God was steadily working behind the scenes.
First, He opened my eyes to my deep need for Him. Now don’t get me wrong, I have always made time for Bible reading, journaling, and praying, just not consistently. But for the first time since my kids were little, the daily part of “time with God” became a major priority. Even if it meant staying up past midnight or waking up at 5 AM, I couldn’t hold it together, keep my emotions in check, or process life unless I was spending time poring over His Word and pouring my heart out to Him in prayer. Through this, God showed me so much of His goodness.
Then He taught me about my deep need for community. He sent me a wonderful, unexpected friend to journey beside me–someone who could see beyond my high, protective walls and knew how to hold me up and encourage me. Not only did He send me one friend, but He also opened my eyes to the many friends I already had in place. I learned how to reach out and lean on them for support, call on them when I needed help, and rely on them for prayer. My community of friends and family played such an important role in noticing God’s goodness this year.
Next, God tackled my priorities. Between cancer treatments and the COVID-19 quarantine, our busy life came to a screeching halt. I quit one of my part-time jobs and stayed home because of mandates. Suddenly, our life was still. Mornings on the porch, watching the sunrise, replaced our busy, breakneck pace. Walks around our farm filled the evenings instead of the many meetings and gatherings we were used to. Writing became important again, journaling our story and the lessons we were learning. Finishing projects that seemed impossible finally became realistic. Boys, piled up in our laps every evening before bed, laughing and singing, became a routine. And God reminded me of His goodness.
The final lesson has been one of the hardest. Humility. Nothing is more humbling than realizing I have zero control over anything. There have been many moments this year where I was on my face before God, a puddle of tears beneath me, knowing it was only by His grace that we were making it through another day. It was in those desperate moments that God met me and displayed His mighty goodness through His endless supply of hope and peace.
As I reflect on this year, there’s not a thing I would change. Even though I wouldn’t have chosen this story for 2020, it’s the story God chose for us to show how good He really is.
Tonight, when you close your eyes to another day, even if it’s not the day you would have chosen, plant a big ole smile on your face and remember the prayer of my five-year-old son, “God, you are just SOOOO good.” And then, take time to count every blessing of God’s goodness in your life.
© Christy Bass Adams, November 2020
Images from Canva