For Life Hack 3 it has to be said: Sometimes all you can do is PRAY.
Alice and I walked in to the high-end shoe shop, with a tinkle of the bell echoing through the store.
“Can I help you?” The attendant was keen.
“We’re looking for some shoes for a school formal,” my request was becoming quite fluent by now. She beamed. I’m sure she could hear the cash register ringing!
“Oh, look Mum, these are nice.” Alice picked up a pair of flat, strappy sandals, in the perfect shade.
We were running around the shoe shops in town, doing the impossible really, looking for some elegant flats in size 12 or 13. With height to match, Alice struggled to find nice shoes that would fit. Some days all I could do is pray. This one one of those days.
Our Special Shoe Search
“Well Alice,” I’d said as we walked up, “this is the last shoe shop. Let’s hope we find something here.” And under my breath prayed: Oh God! We need shoes!
For this special shoe search, we’d visited all the department stores, the cheap shoe shops, the chain stores, and the market. The only one left was the classy shoe shop, with prices to match. Surely, they would have what we needed?
I looked at the price tag of the shoes Alice was holding, and nearly fainted. But if they had her size, this might be our answer to prayer.
“What size are you looking for?” cooed the attendant. I could just about see the dollar signs rolling in her eyes. You know, like in those cartoons?
I cooed back. “Oh, probably a size 12, or maybe a 13?”
Silence. We knew how this would play out.
“I’m sorry, we only have that style up to a size 10.”
No more dollar signs.
Was This the Answer?
Alice looked despairingly around the shop. “Do you have anything that might fit?”
I held my breath.
“Oh, we can order some in for you!” the assistant said helpfully. “That’s a great solution, because we can order size 12, and get them made in the exact shade of your dress!”
She picked up some heeled, white court shoes. “What colour would you be wanting?”
Alice gulped. She looked at the heel, the style, the lack of comfort. Pretty formal shoes? Umm. No. That’s not what she had in mind.
Seeing her face, I said, “Thanks so much. We’ll have a think about it and come back if we decide to go ahead with an order.”
And then, we high-tailed it out of there!
“Oh Mum!” We were safely outside and could breathe again. “I’ve never seen anything like them! They were such granny shoes!”
What to do now? I thought. That was the last shoe shop in town! Now quite worried, our prayer journey was not over yet.
Life Hack 3: We ALL Pray
Really, prayer is something we all do. It’s just that some are more intentional about praying than others. But even if you never intended to pray, you end up doing it. You talk to God. As if he knows exactly what emergency you are going through. Because of course, he does.
It’s when the unthinkable happens, and then, in a fraction of a second, you are hit with a crisis. That’s when prayer comes as easily as a thought, whispered from deep within.
It’s when you need awful prayers like this: “Help me God! The car has crashed, and I don’t know if the kids are alive in the back seat!”
With a jarring of your body, mind and spirit you end up desperate. Yep, you automatically pray in highly stressed moments. It’s an S.O.S. Literally, Save Our Souls.
SOS! And Beyond
But here are some things to ponder about prayer:
- If God is there when it’s a life-and-death situation, then logically, he must be there for daily situations too.
- God loves you through and through. So, he wants to listen to you, and not just in emergencies.
Here’s something else to know: God is BIG.
God is BIGGER than You Ever Imagined
And here’s the thing about Life Hack 3 – God is bigger than you can imagine or even know. He is aware of you. Truly! HE IS AWARE OF YOU! He knows where you live. AND he knows your kids. And he knows your mother-heart. He loves you. Not just for what you DO. But for who you ARE.
And, God loves it when you pray. He loves to hear from you. He wants to hear about your problems from you, and to be involved in your future.
I have learnt that God always answers prayer. The thing is, the answer is not always what you expect. So you have to be watching out and ready to see the answer. Or you might miss it.
Sometimes God says “No”. Sometimes he says “Wait”. And sometimes he says “Yes”! Perhaps “Yes” happens the way you expected. Or perhaps another way, completely unexpected.
All those options are God answering your prayers.
Because, it’s true. He always answers. With our school formal shoe story, I thought the answer would finally come at the high-end shoe shop. But no, he had another, quite surprising, answer.
Who Would Have Thought?
As we drove away the day of the court shoe disaster, we again asked God to show us where to go. And in a different part of town, we saw it. The ballet supplies shop. Unexpected? Definitely!
There, we ordered pretty ballet slippers, in Alice’s size.
But my big takeaway was so much more more than learning God really does answer prayer. My big takeaway was that sadly, Alice will have a lifelong challenge finding shoes she likes that will fit her.
And so, my mind took a leap into the great unknown. I have another daughter, Hilary, eight-years younger than Alice, also head and shoulders above her friends. Still in Primary School, I wondered if God could do anything about her fast-growing feet?
So, I prayed a ridiculous prayer.
I audaciously asked God to make Hilary’s feet smaller than Alice’s. Which is absurd really. Her genes were already set, and big feet certain.
My prayers were not selfish though. I was not looking to make it easier for me to buy formal shoes for Hilary one day. Although that was part of it. Really, I wanted Hilary to have more footwear options as an adult. I told both girls what I’d prayed.
And then, I forgot all about it. I let God do his work.
So What Happened?
I only remembered my ludicrous prayer for Hilary years later when one day I heard Alice telling someone a story. She was explaining to a friend how amazing it was that her younger sister was taller than her, but her feet are smaller, “because Mum prayed!”
Only then did I put it all together. Now, at 6ft 2in, Hilary wears shoes which are 2 ½ sizes smaller than Alice! How could that happen?
It’s because God answered “Yes” to my prayer.
People often put answers to prayer down to co-incidence. But as William Temple said, “When I pray co-incidences happen, and when I don’t, they don’t.”
Life hack 3: What to Pray
There’s lots of prayers I prayed as my children were growing, which range from simple to complex. Each of these examples has a story of its own. Sometimes we got some very unexpected answers.
Here’s what I prayed:
- “Oh no! Heavy rain forecast! Help the kids get home from school without getting wet!” Most of the time the answer to this prayer was a “Yes”. Even to the detail of it raining only when high-schoolers were on public transport. Occasionally it was a “No”, in which case I knew there must be a greater need elsewhere.
- “Please God help us manage the household finances now our business has failed.”
- “Can you help us find a parking spot please?” Always better success if prayed 5-10 minutes beforehand, because that gives someone time to move their car before we arrived.
- “I can’t believe it God! How could he/she be so badly behaved! What do I do now?”
- When pregnant, for specific attributes of children, and therefore adults. Because what better time to have abilities built-in than when a baby is being formed?
- “I need wisdom! The kids are sick! What do I do next? When should I go to hospital?” (Yes, that happened. More than once.)
- “Help us know what to do about that awful Grade 2 teacher.” We prayed as a team, my son Joe and I, for that teacher.
You can pray too. There is no risk in Motherhood Life Hack 3. The worst that can happen is that God says “No”. Right?
Just Do It
Entire books have been written about how to pray. But what’s most important is simply that you do it. As was written long ago, “Pray…with all kinds of prayers and requests.”
The thing is everyone can do it. Mothers especially!