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It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!
You never know when I might play a wild card on you!
and the book:
Harvest House Publishers (September 1, 2011)
Angela Thomas is a sought-after speaker, teacher, and bestselling author of Do You Think I’m Beautiful, My Single Mom Life, Prayers for My Baby Boy, and Prayers for My Baby Girl. She inspires thousands at national conferences, workshops, and through video studies that she filmed and wrote including When Wallflowers Dance.
Visit the author's website.
Bestselling author and mother of four Angela Thomas delivers a helpful, encouraging gathering of 52 inspiring ideas for moms who, in the whir of busyness, long to connect with their kids. Moms will learn to lead with God’s love in the small moments that make up an abundant, intentional life.
List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (September 1, 2011)
AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:
To Pray in Secret
with the Door Open
In my first years as a mom, I desperately wanted to keep a passionate spiritual life with God. I wanted to read the Bible. Sit quietly and pray. Maybe even write a few things in my journal. It’s just that my little people would not cooperate. I had four babies in seven years, and not one of them was willing to go along with my plan. My heart kept longing to go back and have a spiritual life the way I’d always had. Alone. It took me a while to realize that being a mom means you might never be alone again.
Frustrated. Probably even mad sometimes. I remember shaking my head and just fussing on the inside about my crazy, chaotic predicament. I am trying to be with God so that I can be a better mom. Anybody with me here? As you can imagine, being alone rarely happened. And I’d feel guilty about my crumbling spiritual life. And the only ones I knew to blame were them, the ones I loved so dearly, who needed me every minute.
I’d love to tell you that the answer for my struggle came to me in a moment of brilliance. But I was too tired to be brilliant. There was just an afternoon. I think I put on a video for the kids to watch and went upstairs to my bedroom. For some reason I kept the door open and sat down on the floor to read my Bible for a minute, and then I stretched out, facedown, on my carpet to pray. I guess I had been praying for one whole minute, and then they came.
I could hear them coming down the hall, but that day, instead of stopping what I was doing, I just kept lying there, praying. Of course, they walked right in, and I’m sure you can guess what they did. They crawled on top of me. And they played with my hair. And they wiggled their little faces up to mine.
“Hey, mama,” one whispered.
“Hey, honey,” a gentle, not frustrated, voice spoke from inside of me.
“Watcha doin’?” they said in unison.
“Oh…it looked like you were sleeping,” an honest observer said.
It’s been known to happen, I admitted to myself.
Do you know what they did next? Those little toddling children lay down beside me and mostly of on top of me and prayed too. Oh, they prayed squirrelly prayers that lasted for only a couple of minutes, but they prayed. My babies were praying because they had seen their mama praying.
After a few minutes they were done, but I just kept lying there while they ran in and out. Back to the video. Then back to check on praying mom. And God settled something inside of me that afternoon. The days of being a college coed with lots of time to be alone to pray were over. That chapter was closed. And honestly, I didn’t want to go back. I just longed for the sweetness of how I used to spend time with God.
But lying on my bedroom floor that day, I knew I heard Him speaking to me:
This is how I want you to pray now. Pray in secret—with the door open. I want them to see you being with Me. I want them to catch you turning to your heavenly Father for guidance. I want them to learn from you how to walk with Me. No dramatic presentation needed. No fanfare required. Angela, this is a new season with a new way. And this new way for your heart pleases Me.
I remember being so very humbled. And grateful. My uptight, “everything must be right” personality could have kept me away from God for years. Trying to get it all together. Trying to be just right before I could spend time with Him. But that day God so tenderly walked me step-by-step through one of the most powerful lessons about grace I have ever known.
Come to Me messy.
Come when you’re tired.
Let the children lie on top of you.
Let them interrupt you.
You do not have to be perfect…just come to Me and let them see.
A woman stopped me last night. She said she’d heard me tell this story a few years ago and it completely changed her as a mom. She too had been trying to keep the rules and do things neatly, in order, the way she always had. She told me, “I do my Bible study sitting on the bathroom floor while my kids are in the tub. Most of the pages are warped by splashes of water, and some of my notes written in ink run, but those messy, imperfect books are treasures to me now.”
My kids are older now, but the lesson remains. They still need to catch me praying. They should walk past my room and know I’m reading my Bible. They need to find the notes I’ve taken lying on the counter in the kitchen. They need to overhear me praying with a friend on the phone.
I bet your kids do too.
It seems that the lessons we so want to teach our kids are transferred—and not because we sit them down in the living room, pass out ten pages about being spiritual, and then give them a long-winded lecture about how our family is going to follow God. The thing that shapes them more deeply is that you and I pursue God in the everyday of living—that our spiritual lives become the backdrop for their childhood. Bibles left open are normal. A kneeling, praying mom is an ordinary sight. Bibles studies done at bath time, routine.
Reaching Their Hearts
One afternoon I had gone to pray in secret, but God so beautifully taught me that my “secret” needed to be seen. Jesus said in Matthew 6 that we are supposed to keep a secret life. To give in secret, pray in secret, and fast in secret. But I think that when we become moms, for a season those sets of eyes sent from heaven to watch you need to see what you do with God in your “unseen” moments.
May it be so for you and me. And may the children who witness our prayers learn to pray more powerfully because they catch us being with God.