My mother-in-law and I may differ on many things, but one thing is certain: we both would die for my children. My mother-in-law's love for my boys cannot be measured. It exceeds all boundaries. That is a terrific thing for them, but sometimes a trying thing for me.
I remember when my second son was a baby, he was a terrible sleeper. He cried himself to sleep--for afternoon naps as well as for the night--for the first three years of his life. For the forty ear-splitting minutes preceding each and every rest, he needed to be bounced and walked until his little eyes could no longer reopen and his gaping mouth no longer emitted shrieks. It was awful.
When he was finally asleep, I would oh-so-delicately place him in a reclining seat (the only thing that wouldn't immediately jolt him awake), and my father-in-law and I would gaze at him with bated breath to see if he would actually remain silent and slumbering.
And, inevitably, approximately three minutes later, my mother-in-law would re-enter the house, stand next to the peaceful infant, and volubly inquire, "애기 잔다? (Is the baby sleeping?)"
Not anymore, Omoni, not anymore.
And so, one day, as I laid the little one down and his eyes remained faithfully shut, I whispered a prayer that today, please, Lord, may Omoni not shout and wake up the baby.
Three minutes later, Omoni arrived. My heart sank. Then she opened her mouth, and nothing came out. She was completely hoarse. For three days, she didn't speak. I felt terribly guilty.
I learned to be careful what I pray for.
Lately though, there are prayers that seem to go nowhere and situations that seem completely unchangeable. There are days that I am so disheartened that I can hardly lift my eyes from the floor.
And perhaps then I am not listening.
I say that because maybe eight months ago, maybe longer, the Lord began telling me, "Be still and know that I am God." Now He told me a lot more than that, too, but that's unimportant to this story. "Be still and know that I am God."
Periodically, He reminds me of this.
This last week has been hard. The honeymoon period is over. I realize how very much I love my family--ALL of my family--and that we simply are never going to be together and that some issues (neither good nor bad, just there) will simply never go away.
It was a hard realization, even though I could have told you this more than 11 years ago when my husband first asked me to marry him. It seems that I have to come to terms with it over and over again. And it seems that God just doesn't hear these prayers.
So, I wasn't supposed to go to church this Sunday. We were supposed to do family things. But for various reasons that didn't happen, and I got to go with the boys.
And I prayed for so many things.
And the pastor stood up and preached from Exodus: "[Y]ou will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. ... [Y]ou need only to be still." (14:13-14)
Be still and know...
And the pastor noted somewhere along the line that he hadn't meant to go this direction but that God had taken him that way.
Be still and know...
And that night, my little one accosted me with questions about God, which, in fact, was one of my prayer requests because his brother is so close to God, but the little one stands off. In a world that changes as much as theirs does, when their language, culture, and family members come and go, they need the firm foundation of God.
And AJ asked me, "Does God really hear you?"
I don't tell him that his very question is an answer to my prayers. Instead I say, "Oh, yes, child. He really does."
I am seeing even my small prayers answered and though I stand in the middle of differences and situations that seem unconquerable, behold, my whole family will see the Lord's deliverance because He is already moving.
We simply need to be still.