God has blessed Alise foremost with a heart of thankfulness. She thanks Him for people and not things (as of yet) and her list makes me smile. It varies from night to night, but the most often mentioned ones are: Moma, Daddy, Nana, Papaw, Brooklyn (when she’s in town), Uncle Steve & Aunt Donna, and Ms. Leigh. Last night, she included Uncle Doug, Aunt Mirya and Katie. I have tears in my eyes right now just thinking about it. I can see her little heart expanding so much to include the love for others in her sometimes misunderstood three year old world. Sometimes she remembers her best friends, Allie and Emma, but it is those mentioned above that makes me think that she is so blessed to have such a great circle of influence by the “grownups” she does mention. I secretly remind myself to never overlook the influence to a child. I can't imagine God not smiling at my daughter's prayers.
Growing up in my own Christian home, it was my dad who taught me to pray. And now as a mother, I don’t want to take my privilege lightly of teaching my own daughter to do the same. My daily prayer for Alise is that one day, she will have that personal relationship with Christ and I believe it begins with parents who love the Lord and are willing to pass down those Christian beliefs and values of prayer. I believe when the disciples first asked Jesus, “Lord, teach us to pray,” the task began of teaching future generations all about that special privilege of communicating with God. As her mother, I have taught her to ask God to “come into her heart” and to “help her be a good girl.” The first phrase I taught her believing whole-heartedly that one day that prayer would be answered. The second phrase I taught her was probably the result of spending the majority of the day in time-out or for getting in trouble at school. Nevertheless, God decides to answer that particular prayer from time to time.
It still amazes me that God can use my daughter - a three year old little girl - to teach me so much about myself. And the lessons or reminders come in subtle ways and circumstances. I use to be too proud to pray before a meal at a restaurant. Now, Alise won’t let us touch our food without saying the blessing and we oblige her just to hear her. I never knew – and still don’t sometimes – the meaning of true patience. I had the “want-it-now” attitude. When she says, “Mommie, wait for me,” now I want to wait forever. And whenever she says, “Mommie, I love you” out of the clear blue, my heart just melts. Yes, she can be clingy and her nick-name these days seems to be “Velcro,” but deep down I know that I wouldn’t trade these moments for anything in the world and so I use the opportunities and the chances that I’m given to try to instill in my daughter the value of a person, the importance of love, and God’s most precious gift.
“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” –Proverbs 22:6