I'm not a huge fan of Little Debbie snacks. No offense to snack cake, but there is something that skeeves me out about the lengthy shelf life, cream that doesn't sour, pastries that don't stale, apple filling where apples are not found in the list of ingredients, you get me?
But we are building a house and in the meantime, staying with my parents. And no processed snack is too disgusting to be purchased for my little walking sugar addicts they call their grandchildren. My mother delights in buying these things. It's her love language.
But it's December now and we ran out of bat brownies. Did you hear me? THERE ARE NO BAT BROWNIES IN THIS HOUSE!
You know, those little brownies that are always the same but change shapes and packaging with the seasons. In spring they are bunnies, in winter they turn into Christmas trees and snowmen, but in October, bats are up.
My little boys were absolutely dazzled by those things. Sugary, chocolatey, addictive ingredients delightfully packaged and shaped like bats. My mom began buying them and hiding the extra boxes in a secret place. When one box was gone, she would make a big deal about finding one more box. The delight and excitement re-started with each new box.
My kids are weird.
It was the day after Thanksgiving. I had already spent more hours in the kitchen this week than I normally do, and I would’ve liked to enjoy my food coma with the best of Americans. However, Little Debbie has long forgotten about bats and have moved on to more festive holiday flare. My boys however, will never forget.
Every day they ask me to go to the store and buy a new box of bat brownies. They are convinced Mam has one more box tucked away somewhere. They do not understand about the marketing industry and the sudden excommunication of Halloween brownies.
This day was cold and rainy, and I wanted to think of something fun to do inside. Then it hit me. I have tons of cookie cutters. One of them is bat-shaped. I quick-searched a recipe for brownie cut-outs and we were all set.
The next two hours were spent mixing, rolling, cutting and baking. The kids quit on me way before we reached the mid-way point and I was left in the kitchen to toil alone. I was thinking how ridiculous this was. Who makes bat brownies? Who makes bat brownies in December? I have one hundred things to do.
They wanted bat brownies. I wanted to see them smile. They would be so excited. I was excited to see Judah's soft curly blond hair bouncing down the stairs in excitement. I was excited to see their goofy, happy faces.
“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” -Luke 11:13
This past year has been one of learning. We have been learning together as a family. We decided a few years ago to make praying together as a family a priority, and to do it consistently. Out loud, before bedtime we bring all of our requests to God.
As you may be able to deduce by the above picture, our prayer time can be hilarious with these two. Our nightly routine is a good mixture of the hilarious, frustrating, and reverent moments. At times more hilarious and frustrating than reverent.
How can prayer time with sweet children be frustrating you might ask? Well, my youngest has figured out if he doesn’t say, “Amen” his prayer is technically ongoing, thus effectively prolonging bedtime. He goes ‘round and ‘round repeating the same prayers “....mom, dad, food, water, shelter....”, over and over, inevitably making me frustrated. I become this anti-prayer mom who ends up yelling, “JUDAH! Say ‘Amen’ or you're going to be grounded!”
Our well-meant Holy space ends with my being taken prayer-hostage by my four-year-old until I demand he end his prayer right this instant!
So you see these are not perfect moments. But mixed in with the crazy moments are sacred ones. And even despite our approach, I look back at all of our requests to God this past year and I see a pattern of prayer that comes from our prayer moments. Answered prayer.
He hears us. He answers us. He gathers with us in our earthly, carnal state, and bears with us in our untidy approach and approves our attempt to get to know Him.
A few years ago, we really re-assessed our lives and started over from scratch. We needed alot. We bundled up all of our requests and turned them over to God. This year we were able to purchase our dream land after ten months of waiting and praying for it. Today my husband is in his first day of training for his new job. It’s the job we hoped for and prayed for months before he even interviewed. He is now the youngest DARE officer to serve our city.
I have been praying for favor in a certain matter. For over a year we have prayed together, asking God to work out something on my behalf. At first just dreaming up this request seemed ridiculous. And I brought it to God shaky and uncertain at first. I was afraid to ask, feeling so tender to even voice it out loud.
But we have hovered together and whispered and shouted in our prayer circle. What seemed an impossible reality forms so effortlessly when a prayer is answered and an order given by God. God’s love is displayed for us by the love we have for our own children, but where the comparison falls short is that I am so limited in what I can do for my kids. But God...Even the thunder and the winds obey.
Philippians 4:6 says to make your requests known to God. James 4:2 tells us we do not have because we do not ask. So ask. No need to feel inferior before God. The entire new testament encourages us to pray, believe, to ask in faith, to petition from God.
You are not a pest to Him. Whatever you need, His resources are not limited. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. My gift-giving abilities may be restricted to bat brownies and toys that were on sale, but we have a Father who is the giver of good things. And He delights in us.