Avocado Prayers

fresh avocado

…..And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.

Ephesians 6:18

I had a rough week last week and had a great talk with my daddy in the midst of my angst.

He listened… he sympathized… and then he said, “Honey, I know it’s hard, but you’re right where God wants you to be – you just have to give it all to Him and trust He will see you through.”

As he said that to me, I was reminded of something I wrote years ago about a lesson I learned from my little guy when he was only 4. Today I want to share it with you because, if I need an occassional reminder of how to pray, I bet you could use the reminder, too.

Here it goes:

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The other day my kiddos and I were eating lunch. I cut up a fresh avocado, squeezed a little lemon juice over the top, sprinkled a little salt and pepper, and then laid it out for them to dig in. My big girl ate some, my middle girl ate some… but my 4-year old little guy said, “Oh, no thanks mommy.”

“Seb, you have to eat some, honey. Just a piece. I promise you’ll love it.”

Not quite believing my promise, my boy stuck a slice of avocado with his fork, cautiously brought it to his mouth and barely stuck out the tip of his tongue to “taste” it.

“I don’t like it,” he said.

“Seb, you haven’t even really tried it yet. You’ve got to put the whole thing in your mouth to really get the taste of it – and you’ll love the lemon and the salt and pepper on it.”

His entire body slumped over towards the counter as he closed his eyes, squinched his face and quietly fake-cried at my request.

“Come on, just one piece,” I encouraged. “It’s so healthy for you – and you know mommy wants you to be super strong and super smart. Right? So, just take a bite! You know I only give you what’s good for you.”

I let the conversation end there and turned my back to wash the dishes so he could have privacy in his anguish over the avocado. A couple of minutes later I turned back around and he was sitting there with the avocado on his fork about three inches from his face. “Well, are you gonna eat it?” I asked.

“I will, I will,” he said with a concentrated look on his face. “I just need to wait because I prayed God would make  it taste good, okay?”

My heart melted as I silently watched. Three seconds… four seconds…

“Wait… wait…,” he said. Then his eyes popped open, “Okay, it’s ready!”  As the taste hit his mouth he closed his eyes tight; I watched and waited trying read the expression. The second the avocado crushed between his teeth, he eyes shot open and he busted out with, “Mommy – He did it! God made it taste good!” His face was lit up; he eyes were gleeming with excitement His prayer had been answered; and, he swallowed the avocado down and headed outside to play.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to “pray without ceasing.” And, Phillipians 4:6 instructs, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”  These are just two of the many examples from the Word instructing us to bring EVERYTHING to God… and I have no doubt “everything” includes our simple avocado prayers. Why? Because it’s in the mundane, unsavory parts of our day where a small whisper seeking help from our Father can turn something unappealing into something savory for our soul.

Now, did God actually transform the taste of the avocado from between his first tongue-touch and his actual bite? Maybe… maybe not! But, here’s the deal: even if the avocado itself didn’t change, my boy’s heart changed – it changed from being focused on the ‘problem’, to being focused on the One with the power to make all things better.

Dear Sweet Father – oh, how I love you! Thank you for my precious boy’s heart that is a perfect example of the innocence and humility you call us all to have. Thank you for the reminder that everything matters to you – everything. From heartaches that are about to burst us open, to the minor irritations that simply give us pause in our fast-paced days. Thank you that Your ears are open to our whispers for help, and thank you that Your eyes search throughout the earth to strengthen those of us whose hearts are truly fixed on You. You are a great and mighty God and I jump for joy in all things – in everything! – knowing that you have plans to prosper me through every one of my avocado moments.  May our prayers keep our hearts and minds fixed on you. I love you. In the precious name of your Son Jesus, Amen.

Motherhood: It’s A Tough Gig Sometimes

Lisa Leonard Designs

Mom Necklace by Lisa Leonard Designs.

This morning was pretty typical around here.

I got up a little earlier than everyone… made lunches, made coffee, and folded the clothes I threw into the dryer before bed last night. I let everyone sleep a few extra minutes – but then I handed out morning back rubs and whispered “time to get up” room by room and slowly woke the house.

For some reason everyone needed a shower this morning. So, while each of my girls disappeared into a bathroom, I took a few minutes and did something I rarely do: I made their beds. My heart was simply to surprise them – give them one less thing to do this morning as they hurried to get ready for school.

I returned downstairs and, within a few minutes, the beckoning began. One needed pants; another needed a shirt; one needed an entire outfit. I dug through my freshly washed pile of clothes and delivered the favorites to each of them. And man: there is nothing like fresh clothes out of the dryer after a shower, right?

Soon the tribe filed down, one by one. They ate the breakfast I made with the food I shopped for. They grabbed the lunches I prepared with their favorites foods – and a requested treat of some jellybeans. They were each sharply dressed in their clean clothes I stayed up late and got up early to wash and fold for them. And, as for the fact I made their beds? Not one of them noticed… at least, not one of them mentioned it even if they did.

So, we said our goodbyes as shoes were put on and backpacks were slung and frustration was had because one ‘couldn’t find her ring’ and I ‘must have lost it’. And then – they were out the door.

Peace. Quiet. A dirty kitchen. Aloneness. That’s what they left me.

Why am I sharing all this? Because when mornings like this happen – mornings where my love is overlooked, dismissed, unappreciated – I am not angry, or depressed, or surprised. I am humbled.

I am humbled as I think, Father, do I do this to you? Do I wake up and overlook your kindness and your sweetness and your blessing?

He wakes me in my clean bed with my faithful man beside me and His beautiful sunrise outside… and I rush into the day.

I make the coffee, and breakfast, and lunches He graciously provides; I clean my big house, drive in my dependable car, wear my nice clothes…  all without a second thought.

He is so kind and so gracious and so merciful to give me another day to breathe and be present – and… do I notice these things? Do I stop and see Him? Do I feel His love and His thoughtfulness? Do I notice the little surprises He brings my way – not because I need them, but simply because He knows I love gifts and wants to thrill me beyond belief?

The truth is: I’ve been getting better and better about thanking Him with my every breath. Maybe it’s because now that I’m a parent I see what it’s like to be overlooked; I see what’s it like to be forgotten and dismissed; I see what it’s like to have my children upset with me for no reason; I see what it’s like to lay all that I am on the line – only to have my children say, “Great – I got it from here.”

Motherhood is a tough gig sometimes… but, because of it, I get it.

I see what’s it’s like and I know what it feels like – and that’s what pushes my heart even closer to my Father.

I get why He sticks it out with me.

I get why He he loves me in spite of me.

I get why He continues to show up and help me through the tough stuff… even though so often I’ve pushed Him away with “Great – I got it from here.”

I get why He constantly reminds me, “…I will be with you; I will not fail you or abandon you.”

I get why, even though I turn my back on Him, He loves me unconditionally.

I hope that today you get it, too. Because while mothering can be tough, we have a Faithful Friend to strengthen and love us through the journey.

PRAYER: Father, help us mamas to see the blessing in every breath we take today. Sometimes this mama gig is a tough one: we get overlooked, are often unappreciated, and more often then not, we are exhausted from service. But thank you that You offer us strength! Thank you that when we cling to You, we can be selfless as You are selfless; we can be strong as You are strong; we can love unconditionally as You love us unconditionally. Thank you for being a perfect example of what Love looks like… and thank you for loving us in spite of ourselves. May we serve with joy today – and may we not forget that our men and our babies need our warm arms, our sweet voices, our gentle spirits, and our encouraging words.  In Jesus Name, Amen.