I set my watch to beep on the hour. It's a tiny, tangible sound to remind me to pray my thankfulness to God. I started this new routine last Monday (read about it here). I'm a frenzied mom, like many of you, with not much down-time. And I also have a terrible case of non-reversal mommy-brain. I forget important things unless reminded. The hourly beep on my watch was my idea to break through my busyness and be reminded about what is most important in my life.
Monday started with a bang. I posted my thoughts on Sunday night and was ready to go when my alarm buzzed on Monday morning before the sun had the nerve to show its face. I started my morning routine before the kids got up, but started to feel very ill. I was soon in a useless heap on the bathroom floor. I'll spare you the details, just know that this was one of those days I wanted to call in sick.
This was a terrible day to start a prayer routine, so I thought. I heard the beep in the midst of pain and wished I was a swearing woman. Because of Drops and my commitment (why did I have to state my intentions to the world?), I grudgingly grabbed a paper and pen. I forced myself to start writing thankfulness. Oh, I didn't want to! In the midst of my physical misery and spiritual grumpiness, my "thank-you" prayers were far from deep and inspiring.
I named the simple blessings: #1, a writing utensil that had ink and #2, a clean-ish bathroom. My eyes wandered the room and I found one thing after another to praise God about. #3, a messy, blond-headed girl who expressed her sympathy with a 1/2 measuring cup to use as a "puke bowl." #4, my husband who calmed a crying baby and left for work a little late so he could help me. #5, warm house. #6, weirdly-colored pink robe to cozy up in.
And something amazing happened. My prayers to the Living God acted as an antidote for what ailed me. A pain killer, bad-mood buster, grouchy mama annihilator. I expressed my thankfulness over and over again with a realization that God was bigger than this moment. His goodness transcended all things. Believing took form as I prayed.
Throughout that tough Monday and every day for the last week, I put on my watch and listened for the hourly reminder. In all fairness, the beep is quiet and easily drowned out by louder sounds like the washing machine, a screaming child, or the hustle and bustle of the grocery store. But for the most part I hear, I stop (mentally and/or physically), and I pray whether it is 15 seconds or 15 minutes as time allows.
A few things really surprised me this week. I wanted to share them with you.
- I was surprised how my entire mood was more positive.
- I was surprised at how the hourly reminders showed me how busy I am with busyness. Stopping to pray and reflect helped me enjoy the moments instead of just the duties of being a mom.
- I was surprised at how blessed I felt to pray for others on a continual basis. Throughout the week, I was able to pray for other people's needs as I heard about them. It was encouraging to see God answering prayer and being able to participate in it.
- I was surprised at the overwhelming feeling of gratefulness as I enjoyed simple pleasures like talking to a friend on the phone, daffodils picked by a preschooler with "nice long stems Mommy," and 2 minutes of sunshine amidst a day of rain.
- I was surprised when I felt irritation about prayer. Occasionally, I didn't want to be interrupted at that given moment. This whole experiment revealed some more uglies in my closet.
I'm on to week two and I don't think I can stop even if I wanted to. A new habit has formed and I find myself anticipating the hourly respite with my Father. What a gift I was missing! I packed duties and deadlines into hours that passed without notice. I covered everything with, "of course I'm thankful." I said I was too busy for prayer, too busy to grow, too busy to change. It was true, I was too busy and I needed something concrete to help me find the time. The moments were there all along.... I just needed a reminder.
"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."
I Thessalonians 5:16-18