I love my son. It's impossible to say how much.
He is a part of me.
He came from me.
He's always with me.
He's always on my mind.
When I think on this, I always try to remind myself that everyone is someone's baby.
Let me say that again:
Everyone is someone's baby.
That jerk that cut you off in traffic? Someone's baby.
That person at work that steals your lunch out of the fridge? Someone's baby.
That annoying girl that always talks to you for 45 about stuff that you couldn't care less about? Someone's baby.
That person that you just cannot stand.....someone thinks the world of them.....
No matter what you or I think of people, or what situations people find themselves in.....they are somebody's baby.....that means, there is someone that carried them.....changed their diapers.....watched them grow.....dreamt for them.....prayed over them.....there is someone out there who loves them more than anything on this earth and that someone would do anything for them.
The bedtime routine for the toddler at our house is....sometimes anything but a routine. Usually, I'm so spent by the end of the day that bedtime becomes daddy's job. But, inevitably, I'm the one who gets summoned, and I end up laying with my little one until he falls asleep, which doesn't take long. It's sort of like daddy lays all the groundwork, and I come in and close the deal - we're a good team! As we lay, Josiah settles into his covers, clutching his stuffed animals and asks, "Prayers?" And so, we pray.
I do most of the talking when we pray, stroking Josiah's hair as he slowly drifts off. We start out with the typical thanksgiving for all our blessings, and asking blessings on those we know and love who have specific needs, and then we pray more broadly, especially for the poor, the hungry, the sick, etc... But on this particular night, as I asked for blessing and help for those suffering, my perspective changed. I was no longer praying for random people out there who were struggling or suffering, I was praying for those people as if they were my own child.....and let me tell you, in an instant my prayer became more intense and more sincere. I wanted for these unknown, ambiguous people to be prayed for the way I would want my child to be prayed for.....the way I prayed for him. I became acutely aware of the fact that each of these people were someone's child.....and that we are all children of God....and as immeasurable as my love is for my son, how much more intense and complete and perfect is the love our heavenly Father has for us?
I truly have a heart for the poor and hungry. Anyone who knows me knows this to be true, and I pray for them something fierce......But praying for them as people that are as precious to me as my own child........as people who are precious to God......it changed me. Changed my heart. I don't know them personally, but God does.....and he loves them.....loves them more perfectly than I could ever love anything, even my own child......and what is precious to Him, I must also cherish. Genuinely.
I think on this fact each time I see an old beggar man on the street......or encounter a person who is seemingly the embodiment of evil and hate. I wonder how they got where they are, but more than that, I wonder who they have left in their lives that cares for them. I think of their mothers.....and the swell of gratitude they would have for the person who lovingly went before the throne of God on behalf of their baby, because, let's face it....no matter how annoying, or wrong, or mean, or evil a person is, no mother wants to see her baby starving or hurt. I can tell you, as a woman who had countless people praying for her child before he was born.....even before he was conceived....knowing that someone else petitions God on your behalf is....nothing short of amazing. It brings me to tears each time I think about it
So, when I pray, I don't rattle off things that I should pray for because it's the "Christian thing to do", I choose to consciously pray for things with the heart of a mother......I pray for people and ask for them what I would beg for my own child. If becoming a parent has done anything for me, it's this: It's given me a glimpse into the unfathomable love God has for us. I cannot conceive of a deeper love than the one I have for my son......and yet, there is one.....it's the love God has for me.....and for you. Learning to pray with that kind of love......is changing my prayers and the way that I pray them. It's changing the requests I bring before God and the bold sincerity with which I come to him. More than that, it's changing me and the way I look at others.....even when they cut me off in traffic, or have 25 items in the 15 items or less lane, or... just really really annoy me.
Father, may I always see others the way you see them. May I always love them the way you love them. May I always strive to be more like you.....Amen.