People have been making quite a few comments about my gray hair lately. Most of the commentary is coming from my own personal peanut gallery (aka my daughter). “Whoa, Mom! Look at all the sparkly silver in your hair? Did you do that on purpose?”
The truth is that I started finding gray hairs when I was sixteen years old. The rest of the truth is that I have been stressed lately. The milk markets are crashing and we have too much of our livelihood wrapped up in them, and too many important things coming up that needed to happen yesterday. Is that contributing to the new flush of color? Maybe.
I called my sister-in-law one day and admitted that my nights had been shorter than usual and my prayers longer. When my list of things-to-do is longer than my ability or checkbook, it’s easy to start questioning every single decision we’ve ever made. And I’ll be the first to admit that my mind races too fast when evening comes. I toss and turn and end up wandering around the house at 3AM, then binge reading 1 John because I know I’m gonna need the reminder to love when morning comes and everyone starts irritating my over-stimulated and sleep-deprived brain.
“I feel like all I’m doing lately is listing off my needs to God,” I told her over the phone.
“You know,” she responds, “I think maybe we need to stop asking Him to show up and start thanking Him for the miracle.”
Of course, I thought, I know I need to thank Him. I do thank Him.
And then her meaning hits me. I’ve already asked God to show up– now I need to thank Him for working before the miracle arrives.
Really, isn’t that what Jesus did? Over and over. When He knew what God’s will was, He asked– and thanked the Father– all before the miracle came. And Paul tells us later, in his letter to the Philippians:
do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
I’m learning, friends. I’m learning hard in this season. I’m opening my mouth and giving thanks before I make my requests.
And God is opening my eyes to so many places, so many things. Real, hard, heartbreaking things. Little girls whom I have seen run and laugh and play, are facing cancer. Countries are reeling from natural disasters. There is so much more, so many bigger things than my own struggles.
My heart slows in understanding.
I give Him thanks because He is faithful. And my requests, they change. My eyes are moved off myself. [pullquote]Anxiety lifts when I am looking out instead of in.[/pullquote] There is so much to do, so many things to be working for. Prayers for others fill me up. Yes, I still know the hard stuff in my own life. I still taste it. But there are greater things to do, to work towards, to pray over in the night hours.
I don’t know where you are, but maybe, like me, you are wandering the house at night. Maybe your hair is tinting gray. Maybe your questions are filling your prayer time. Maybe stress is pulling your nerves taunt.
Let’s give thanks together. And let’s look out, friends. Let our prayers lift for those around us.
If you don’t know of anything else right now– pray for this little one. Pray the money comes in for her treatments. Pray the family feels the love of Jesus. Pray that God’s redemptive power works wonders in her little life.
And give Him thanks for the miracle.