Beauty from Ashes
You know, every prayer is at some point or another answered. That’s something we can take comfort in—the knowledge that God hears and responds, in His own time, and according to His own will.
I think the thing we like to forget, though, is that sometimes the answer is No.
That’s a tough one. As adults, we grow comfortable making our own decisions and choices based on what we want, when we want it. I’ve been married for close to fifteen years, and yet I can say in truth that I am a very independent woman. I’ve grown accustomed to making those sorts of decisions…kind of like my trip to Rome in a week. It’s what I wanted to do, and thus I’m doing it.
It’s difficult for me as a person, as a grown adult, to concede that a choice is out of my hands…to recognize that perhaps the answer to my prayer has always been ‘no,’ and I just haven’t been listening.
I am angry. I am frustrated. I am grieved. It’s a comfort to know I can take those emotions to God in prayer, and He’s okay with me being angry, and frustrated, and grieved. It doesn’t really make it any easier, but at least I know that that relationship doesn’t suffer for my honesty.
And so it is that I paused in front of the baby care aisle in Target yesterday, and pondered the situation. Do you remember the last time you purchased a tub of wipes? I used to like the Huggies brand with the textured ripples. They weren’t quite as frigid as some of the others. I imagined they were less a shock of sensation to the bottom. I even had a wipe warmer. I found myself wondering when I had last bought a tub of wipes, and if I had realized at the time that it would be my last. I knew I hadn’t. I was tempted to buy a tub, just so I’d have that realization, but I figured that would probably be cheating.
So many of these little realizations, and I missed them. The last pack of diapers I purchased. The last bottle consumed as I rocked a little one. The last onesie outgrown.
The last time my child woke for a four a.m. feeding.
I was so busy at looking at all of the firsts—the Pull-Ups, the sippy cup, the first night slept through—that somehow, I missed the fact that each first was accompanied by a last. A last that mutely flickered, like a struggling flame, and then went out.
I know that it’s not within my own power to create beauty from the ashes of these flames. I look forward to the day when I can see it, having been created by someone far wiser than me, and rejoice in it.