It was one of those moments – a life changing minute, a severe eye opener, a shocking self realization. The anger boiled up in me; anger that I did not even know existed. Anger that came from a dark, sinful place. Let me fill you in.
Waiting at the cash register to purchase clothes for my husband and two daughters, my toddler came running up to me. I greeted her with a bright ‘Hi!’ and a smile as she giggled and then ran off again. I looked up and saw my husband standing at the other end of the store, assuming that he was watching her come to him. Confident that he had her, I brought my attention back to the cashier to finish the payment. Placing the bag of clothes in my stroller I looked around for my husband.
There he was. Alone.
“Where’s Emelyn?” We both said at almost the exact same time.
“I thought she was with you!” He said.
“She ran back to you!” I exclaimed, panic starting to attack me.
We rushed around the store, moving our eyes faster than our brains could keep up with. Within one minute I heard my sweet Emelyn yelling in a sing-song voice across the store “Maamaa!” I ran to her voice and my husband picked her up as fast as he could.
Then came the snarky, harsh comment. “You need to keep a better eye on her.” And that is when I could feel it begin to boil – that deep anger.
Before thinking, I walked fast to the lady and her daughter across the mall. Before thinking, I began to spew out words – words with anger, resentment, frustration and sadness. Before thinking, I talked back in a hateful tone. Before even thinking.
Let alone praying.
The anger may have come from the lady’s judgment upon my husband and I, someone who didn’t know us in the slightest. The anger may have come from a place of panic from losing my own precious daughter. Either way, it over took me and I let it.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 says ‘Pray Continually.’ Continually. One definition of this word is ‘without interruption; constantly.’ Everything we do must be preceded by prayer. And why? Because prayer helps us to be in alignment with Gods will and desire for us, His beloved people. Prayer keeps us on the path of righteousness. Prayer alters attitudes, changes mindsets, and softens hearts.
Without prayer, we allow feelings like our resentment and anger take over. We allow moments and circumstances to decide how we react. We choose to react with our emotions, our emotions that come from our sinful hearts, rather than think and act in a way that is pleasing to God, in a way that is loving. I could have used such an opportunity to show God’s love simply by the way I acted within the situation – yet instead I did the opposite. The funny thing is, I have prayed for God to give me such moments… moments to be a light for His love. Yet within those moments I forget the need to go back to Him again. Because I can’t do it on my own. I need HIS strength. Continually.
I regret talking to that lady in the mall in the tone I did. I regret allowing her comment to get to me the way that it did. But above all, I regret not praying before my actions – which I know would have changed my mindset and my reaction completely.
The importance of being in constant prayer with my Savior is so incredibly clear to me. And yet, I am failing. Failing hard.
Thank God for grace. I need it more than ever. Instead of choosing to stay in this state of guilt and frustration over the situation, I will give it all to God. And then? I will keep praying. I will keep praying for help to keep praying. And then I will pray some more. Because prayer. Prayer changes our hearts; Prayer changes everything.