Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)
Let me begin by saying, for any behavior to be learned it should be modeled. It is possible at times to understand a concept of a lesson without actually being able to apply it until that behavior is modeled putting the lesson into practice in a meaningful way. The visual allows through imitation a way for the lesson to become an easier option for future behavior. Lessons learned mold us into the persons we become.
We all have memories of meaningful events in life. One memory that made a lasting impact on my life was when I learned one of the most important lessons ever. The lesson was learned from my oldest son when he did not even realize he could be an influence in the lives of others because he was only 4 years old at the time.
Before going further, let me set the scene….
The kitchen in our first house was so cute. It wasn’t very big. It was actually somewhat small, but I loved it. Although it had white countertops, white cabinets, white appliances, a white Formica dinette table and white vinyl upholstered chairs it was perfectly accented with red apples and green leaves. Wallpaper with tiny red apples covered one wall, the window valences were adorned with apples, and our Corelle dish set had apples on each plate. There was a large framed poster on the wall that read, “All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten” with a picture of a big apple on it. I even had a red teapot. That kitchen was so quaint. It was simple but (at that time) seemed to be perfect as if we had a white picket fence outside too. (I guess God created the perfect backdrop for me to learn one of my most important lessons in life.)
My days and weeks were just as crazy years ago as they are now but clearly I remember this one particular day. It had been a hectic day. After work I picked up the boys from the day care and met my husband at home. Nightly this part of our day always seemed to have a lot going on and this night was no different. There was just a lot of activity as everyone was talking about the day, the day’s lunchboxes were being emptied, Miss Tish (my beautiful Persian) was seeking attention by affectionately rubbing against my legs, the mail was being opened, laundry was spinning in the washer, the dishwasher was being emptied, and dinner was being made.
To gain some control of the situation I put our 1-year old son into the high chair and put a few cheerios on his tray. I enlisted our 4 year old to set the table for dinner. It seemed as if everything was under control for a moment. Then all of a sudden, just after I turned my back to check the pot of boiling noodles I heard it.
It all happened so fast. Our little one stood up in the high chair and fell right to the ground. I quickly picked him up. In an instant there seemed to be immediate chaos within the kitchen. Blood curdling cries, tears (real water tears), my husband ran in, and I panicked. All my attention was on the baby. I was so nervous the baby fell…directly on his head…onto the hard tiled floor… from the height of the high chair.
Then I noticed our other son and I quickly snapped at him in that motherly voice, “Move, what are you doing?” Thinking back, I wish I would not have snapped, yet he did not seem to be alarmed by the event. He had his little feet standing on the ground but his body was lying over one of the kitchen chairs. (I think about this scene often and see it as clearly as that day.) He looked up at me with the most sincere little face and said, “Mommy, I’m praying for my brother. He’s hurt but Jesus can make him better. You need to pray too.”
Wow! From the mouths of babes. I knew very well to offer praise and thanksgiving in all circumstances and make my requests known to God but I had panicked. Although I knew the concept, this simple life-application example served as a powerful model to show me how to carry it out with ease when needed.
I need to let you know, both boys were fine that night but my life was changed forever. Not only do I stand more firmly on prayer but I aspire to be an influence in the lives of others too.