Chad is working late tonight, so I had the duty of tucking both boys in tonight. Usually, we divide and conquer-- Chad puts Gabe to bed and I put Max to bed, so it's not very often that I hear Gabe's bedtime prayers. But tonight was one of those nights.
I laid Max down first and then headed to Gabe, so that I could actually pay attention to what he was saying... Max thinks when you close your eyes to pray that it means that he should poke them or pull at your face to make you laugh... and let's just say, it's hard to focus!
Anyway, once the blinds were closed, his clothes laid out, his night light on, his cover situated just right, and his glasses on his bedside table, Gabe was finally ready to pray. He bowed his head and prayed about the BMX bike tricksters that visits the 2nd grade today.
He said, "Dear God, thank you for those bike tricksters and that they tried their hardest- thank you that they dreamed in the hearts to 'intalent' us kids (no, I don't know what intalent means...your guess is as good as mine...). Thank you that we can do whatever we put our minds to, and whatever we dream, as long as we try our best. Amen."
UGH! I was exhausted, I had the finish line in sight, I was almost done for the night- I didn't want to have the conversation that needed to follow that prayer. But 5 minutes prior I had just prayed over Max, "God, thank you for blessing me with this baby, help me to be a mommy who makes wise choices, who doesn't take the easy way out, and is committed to leading him to You". That prayer went for Gabe too-- but I'm tiiiirrrreeeeedddddd <-- that's how I demonstrate whining while typing.
And Gabe says the "I tried my best" or "I'm going to try my best" or "As long as I try my best" line ALL the time and it makes me want to gag. I wasn't sure if I had enough patience in the moment to have a conversation that built him up- made him a better man- instead of just getting on a soap box. I want Gabe to know the fullness of God, I want him to take responsibility for his actions- his wins and loses, his good grades and bad grades, his wise choices and unwise choices, and I feel like the "trying his best" is just a cop out from all that. Was I really going to go there, now? Couldn't it wait until another time?
But no- I had just told God to use me to lead these boys, I had asked Him not to let me take the easy way out- and I meant it.
So no easy way out for me. Instead, I turned Gabe's light back on and said, "Gabe, none of what you prayed is what we believe." He gulped. I went on to explain that God gave us every thought, every muscle, every ability, and every talent, and He is the only one who gets the credit-- not us. I tried to gently tell him that believing in your own abilities, dreaming in your heart, and trying your best means nothing-- it is God and only God who makes anything AND everything possible-- He even gives us our ideas and dreams. Gabe merely batted his long eye lashes at me. So I went one step further and explained that is our job to practice hard, and study, and do what we can to learn and perfect our talents- but that it's only possible with God. And I ended by saying that God is the only thing that matter-- it's our job to give Him all the credit.
Honestly, Gabe still didn't respond much. He just nodded and pulled his cover up to his chin. So I turned his light back off, and kissed his head and turned to walk out of the room-- and it hit: "Um self, don't you think you need to take your own words to heart?" How often do I "trust" my own abilities or get caught up in thinking I'm in control? Even yesterday, I blogged about how I was going to cut my activity to keep this baby in... and never once mentioned the Lord, the giver of every breath... the sustainer of pregnancy... um, why yes, I did leave Him out and decided to "try my very best" instead.
And that is why being a parent is awesome-- you get humbled often-- knocked to your knees regularly, and shown by your kiddos just how much you need God. So hopefully Gabe "got" some of what I was trying to tell him tonight, but regardless, my sweet Jesus used Gabe to speak to my heart-- words I needed to hear!