Recently I shared a prayer request with a woman well past my current stage of life. I told her I felt very tired these days and when I was tired I struggled to be patient with and speak kindly and gently to my children. As I shared my mind went back to a time earlier that week when I lost my cool and yelled at my sweet kindergartner and watched the tears well up in his blue eyes. True his actions needed correction, but certainly not that way. Bleh.
Anyway, I told her my request and she prayed scripture over me. I assumed she would choose to pray a verse that included the words “patience” or “self-control” because those were my very obvious points of depravity. But instead she chose this verse:
And she prayed that as I care for my children each day that I would be keenly aware that the Father is watching me, singing over me, and rejoicing. He is resting in His love for me as He watches me with a kind smile and an overflowing heart. And she prayed that I would know this in those hard moments and that they would move me to act as someone who is loved and cherished instead of someone who is discouraged and feels alone.
I can honestly say I have thought about this prayer every day since she prayed it over me.
I had never thought of that verse as one that can be used for a normal hour on a normal day. I thought of that verse as one where God comforts after we’ve done wrong or as we are walking through something hard. I thought of it as the Lord sitting and rejoicing with me after I’ve labored tirelessly at a ministry thing. Almost like a verse of debriefing, “The Lord will rejoice over you and sing with you and rest in His love for you when your relationship is in need of reconciliation.” That’s what I always thought of that verse.
But to meditate on that verse and see that the Lord rejoices over me and is in a general state of happiness and contentment just watching me live my life – it has truly been life-changing.
I know what that is, too. The other day my husband asked me to name one of my most favorite simple pleasures. Almost without hesitation I told him that I find such simple joy and pleasure in those times when I can sit and watch my kids play. I love just watching them and it brings the most contended peace to my heart and soul and I can feel myself smiling from the inside out. There is nothing sweeter than resting in your love for your children and rejoicing over them as they experience life. And I’m starting to see that God has those same feelings toward me.
Now when I feel discouraged and exasperated I stop and think, I am not alone in this moment. The Mighty One is rejoicing over me. I am not laboring in anonymity and namelessness. Someone is watching me in my everyday work with a contended smile in His heart and a song on His lips. And that realization has made it easier for me to choose to respond to life in a spirit-filled way rather than with the irritation and exasperation that would otherwise be my default.
I feel like this is part of the moving from duty to delight that God is trying to teach me. That I am someone special to Him and He does not give love based on my performance. He is for me, just as I am always for my children. Except Him being for me is devoid of any trace of sin or selfishness. Just a pure joy and a pure love from a Father watching over one of His own.