Having finished evening devotions and prayer time, I turned out the lights, checked on the children one more time, and walked down the hallway to my bedroom. The seven year old walked with me down the hallway while hanging on my arm. For various reasons, I currently have five of my children sleeping in the same room with me. The younger ones were already in bed, but she had stayed up for devotions and prayers. We were giving thanks and just praising the Lord tonight during prayer time, as we were still in the Thanksgiving spirit, and as this one is still learning how to pray, we do more of a “repeat-after-me” type prayer for her.
Today, she visited the supermarket for the first time in her life. And this called for a big thanksgiving prayer to Jesus. She was still grinning from ear to ear just as she had done in the supermarket, as she prayed and thanked Jesus that she got to shop in the supermarket and carry the basket, even though it got too heavy and Mommy had to carry it for her.
As we walked into the bedroom, she began saying, “Mommy Amy, puh-lay with me.” As she struggled with the English, I leaned down to be closer to her face as I watched her mouth. “What?”, I said.
“Mommy Amy, puh-lay with me.”
“Play with you? what do you want to play?”
“Puh-lay with me!”
“Ok, we’ll play tomorrow. We’ve got to sleep first tonight.”
She plopped down on my mattress as I began readying for bed. She just looked at me and was watching me get ready…and then it hit me.
Pray. She wanted me to PRAY with her.
I had told her a couple days before that she should be reminding me about praying every night – she loved devotions and prayer time and even though she knew the answer, she would ask multiple times throughout the day when and if we were going to pray, so I told her that her job was to remind me every night to pray. I can not even describe how important this makes her feel. She looks forward to prayer time each night more than anything else. (well, shopping in the supermarket might be a close second now.)
Pray. She wanted me to pray with her. And she wanted me to pray with HER. Just her. Not in the group…but just with her. Even though we had just finished our prayers to and devotions, she was reminding me again to pray…to pray with her.
I walked over to where she was seated on the bed, took her precious face in my hands, and said, “Let’s pray.”
She immediately slid off the mattress and her little knees hit the floor. I knelt down and wrapped my arms around her. That little head bowed down just like it knew it was supposed to...like she had seen Mommy Amy do many times before. The braided hair fell across her forehead – the hair that is still so special and exciting. Having her hair braided for only the second time in her life, she could also thank Jesus for the hair. For the second time that night, her little voice repeated a prayer to Jesus. Her little mouth forming the English that is becoming more and more familiar with each passing day. She was so proud. Proud to be speaking the new English, proud to be kneeling down beside Mommy Amy, and so proud to be praying to Jesus.
My heart turned over. I love this little girl so much. In need of so much love, in need of so much care, in need of teaching, training, and guidance, she walked into my home and into my heart. As she talks to Jesus, I talk to Him, too. My heart swells with gratitude, love and pride, right before a wave of unworthiness washes over me. She is so precious – I do not deserve to have her placed in my care. Her heart is so tender – I do not deserve to have it placed in my hands. Yet, He has chosen me. Pitiful little unworthy me. What does she really see in me? Whom does she truly see coming through in every action, word, and expression on my face?
Does she see Jesus? does she really see Him? or do I just hope she does? Does she really know why I love her - because He first loved me? Because I have been given so much love, I am able to turn around and channel that love into her. Does she really know?
While watching her sweet face, I sit asking my Father…begging Him…to take this pitiful needy one that I am and use it to show her Himself. For wisdom to lead her, grace to be the example she so desperately needs, and love like His to pour into her open heart. I only pray that she will see in me all that she needs to see of Him.
After the “Amen.”, that little head raised up and beamed a huge smile in my direction. Off she went to bed after hugs and kisses. I slowly get up off the floor, turn the lights off and crawl into bed. Out of the darkness I hear that same sweet voice say, “Mommy Amy, good-uh-night.”
“Goodnight, Christine. I love you.”
“I love-uh you, too.”