I pray all wrong.
Not that there’s a right way to pray. I mean, there’s really not a whole lot to it – you just say, like, “Hey God” and then start talking, and you’re pretty much doing it. Silently or aloud, eyes open, eyes closed, in the car, on the crapper, at the office, in a field, at the bank – however, wherever, it’s really not important. I honestly think it delights God any time we talk with Him, and that the “hows” a “wheres” don’t matter so much.
But I’ve been thinking a lot about the things I pray about, the “whats” of my prayers. And I’ve uncovered a disturbing theme. Ok, maybe I’ve discovered a few less than admirable trends – I already told you about how I pray that God would show my husband when he’s being a dumbass instead of pointing me toward my own failings. But there’s something else. Something…worse.
I like to pray myself backward in time.
No. That came out wrong and made me sound all bat-shit-crazy… which I’m not… mostly…
…. You know what? Let’s try that again.
I like to ask God to make it like it was.
I pray for the obvious “make it like it was” stuff. I ask Him to make it like it was when I could go to Target and buy whatever I wanted. And I ask Him to make it like it was when I had a bunch of cool, hot friends to go out with in high heels on a random Thursday night for nachos and margaritas. Sometimes I ask Him to make it like it was when I had a gym membership with tanning… *sigh*… I really miss that gym…
Sometimes I ask God to make my heart like it was, back before it got run through by Poverty’s sword, back when I could throw away last week’s leftovers without a twinge of disgust and before I felt ashamed at how I’m always, constantly, forever wanting more stuff.
And then, sometimes, I plead for God to make it like it was, back before my marriage collapsed… take us back, I beg, to before El Chupacabra and I had to overcome all that junk in our marriage, all that stuff that nearly ruined us. We won that battle. But not without wounds, not without the scars that are left when you take something that’s bleeding to death and carefully nurse it back to life. So sometimes I pray that God would make it like it was, back before it was ever broken, simply because scars can be hard to live with.
“Sometimes”, I say to God, ”I just want it to be how it was. Ya know?”
And God says, gently, as always, “Oh, Baby Girl… You’ve got it all wrong.”
And then He reminds me of what I already know, which is that I have been Restored… and that Restoration is for the broken.
In my foolishness, I plead to God to take away the broken parts, make it like it was, like none of this ever happened. But it seems, in my haste to forget life’s biggest challenges, I would erase all of the best parts of the story. Because where I see a heart, broken and aching for the poor, He sees a heart, salvaged from materialism, and Restored to a better condition. And where I see a marriage, broken by every kind of selfishness, He sees a couple, raised from the brink of death, and Restored to a better place. And where I see all the scars left by living a dirty, messed up life, He sees that what was once broken is now made whole. Our scars are simply evidence of what has been Restored. They get to tell the Story of where our lives have been touched by God.
“Why would you erase”, He asks me, “all the best parts of the Story?”
“I don’t know. I just wanted it to be how it was.”
“Ah, but when you tell the Story how it is…. we’re Both in it.”
And then I feel silly that after all these years with God by my side, I’m still getting it all wrong.
…. …. ….
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