Between the boiling of macaroni and cheese, and the shooing of a toddler out of my dishwasher, I was writing the lyrics of a song. I was reflecting on the beauty of God and the many places I saw His handiwork, and as I was hustling about the kitchen, trying to get lunch on the table for the four children, I began to pray that God would display His glory in me.
It is probably the prayer of every godly mother that they somehow reflect Christ in such a way that their children see it and follow Jesus because of it. It was mine that day. I thought of the mothers with prodigal children, and the diligence of those mother’s prayers as they refused to give up in prayer for the salvation of their son or daughter. A mother’s love can be relentless like that. I wanted to be relentless too.
I thought of the faith of God’s people who refused to give up their faith in God in the midst of persecution and ended up giving up their lives in death as a result. I wanted that kind of faith.
I made a mess of the kitchen. Nearly burned the lunch, and frantically, put food on the table, in hopes of having 10 minutes to myself to finish the song in my head…if I could just make it to the piano without being disrupted.
Knowing my memory can be short term when raising toddlers and small children, I decided I had better record what I had so far, so I could go back later and finish, but I had nothing to record with. That’s when I remembered my son had a PlaySchool cassette recorder with a microphone. It was a toddler toy in primary colors, and it was my best shot at keeping the thoughts in my head from escaping forever.
I dug through the toy pile in my son’s closet and found the forgotten tape player. I checked it for batteries, quickly replaced the dead ones, and sprinted to my piano. I grabbed some scotch tape along the way to tape the “on” button of the microphone down, so that I could set it on my piano, in order to play and sing at the same time.
My oldest daughter was eight at the time, and she asked what I was doing. I told her I had a song in my head and I wanted to get it out before I forgot, so I was going to record. This is when the toddler noticed a new toy out on the piano and suddenly wanted it. I had to work fast. “Wait, that’s my toy!” Oh, no! My son just noticed too! Hurry Cate!
Well, I got the tape rolling on record, the microphone set and ready and I began to sing. Two lines into the melody, I see these little chubby hands reaching for the mic. Trying not to break my rhythm, I blocked the little hands, and pushed them away, and kept playing the piano. A second attempt, now bumped the piano keys, and I again, shooed the hands away. Then came my young son, the owner of the tape recorder, and he wanted to sing into the mic. I shooed him away without trying to say any words as to not mess up my recording.
I lost my train of thought, and the little hands kept grabbing. Their voices now turned to whining and fighting over who would get the toy, and I lost it.
I turned around sharply and began to yell at my children. “Get back from the piano, take your siblings, and go to your rooms!” I don’t want to see you for 10 minutes! Give me 10 minutes!!”
My eight year old daughter looked at me with an expression that seemed to ask “What are you doing Mom?”
I looked at her earnestly and with my still angry, harsh tone said, “I am trying to write a song about being like Jesus, and everyone keeps interrupting me!!”
The look on her face confirmed everything my mind was suddenly informing me on…you just blew it!
My tone softened, and I said to my daughter, “I don’t suppose Jesus acts like this much, does He?”
Well, I had to apologize. I was trying to do too many things at once, and had expected my kids to read my mind as to what I was doing, and what I needed, and when they didn’t, I blew up. We made amends, and my oldest girl offered to take the kids in the room to play while I finished. And I finished the song.
It’s been nearly 10 years since I wrote this song, but I have to say that my prayer has not changed. I want to see God’s grace at work in me despite myself, and only time will tell the story. I guess I have no need of that grace however, if I have no struggle, and I will never know that grace if I myself do not know how to repent.
So, here I am 10 years later, a work in progress. Still praying that God shows Himself strong in me for the sake of my family, my neighbors, and the world. Maybe this is your prayer too.
Here is the song, “I Want to See You“. Click and enjoy!