The cry floated down the stairs and into my ears where I sat at the kitchen table with my husband and another couple. The other couple are friends who happen to also be cousins. They are about our age and have two little girls who were upstairs playing with our three children.
We grown-ups paused in our after-dinner conversation to listen to the cry. I quickly detected that it was our middle daughter. I then also interpreted the cry and surmised that I could stay put in my chair and resume our chat. “Is she ok?” my friend asked. “Yes,” I responded, “I think that cry just means that someone found her in a game of hide-and-seek in which she didn’t want to be found.” My husband agreed with a nod and we all changed the subject.
A few minutes later, the five second-cousins came noisily bouncing down the steps. We asked if they were all doing alright. The oldest said “Oh yes! Karly was just crying earlier because we found her in hide-and seek.” Then, off they all continued, already submerged in their next group activity.
I looked across the table and we all smiled. My friends were impressed that I had completely nailed the reason for my daughter’s cry …but not that impressed. They’re parents too and they understand that I’m not really brilliant, just a mom.
When you become a parent you somehow also become an interpreter of sorts. It took me four years of high school Spanish to feel confident in interpreting the menu at a Mexican Grill, but seemingly overnight I was able to interpret my children’s cries.
When my daughter cried that evening because she had been found, I wasn’t lost about how I should respond. I knew her cry was not one that required me to move. I understood from the sound of the cry that she was the one who needed to move. She needed to step away from a bad attitude and resume proper play or she would be left out of the game.
Once again parenting has opened my ears to hear God’s teaching.
As I have been reflecting on that evening, I’ve been disappointed in myself. Not in the relationship I have with my children, but in the relationship wherein I am the daughter crying out to my Heavenly Father.
The last couple of months I’ve cried out to God, but embarrassingly most of my cries have been with a bad attitude. I’ve been ungrateful and worrisome when instead I should have been thankful and trusting. My cries have been weak. Forced, even.
God is not fooled. He knows my heart and he not only interprets my cries but he is the one who placed them within me. My recent cries have not required his response. He’s already doing everything required of Him. I’m the one who needs to move.
I realized this recently and echoed Psalm 51:10 as I prayed for God to create in me a clean heart and to renew a right spirit within me. I felt better. It was not only a relief to know that God was moving into action to cover me with his mercy, but it was also comforting to know that King David himself had once needed an attitude adjustment.
I was not out of the game of life, but I had been playing with a bad attitude. Thankfully when my cry became sincere and I sensed my real need for God’s mercy He was quick to come to me. My Heavenly Father comforts me as his daughter in the most perfect and loving manner.
I hope to hide this lesson in my heart as I seek to cry out to my Father with a proper attitude. And I’m not going to be disappointed when I’m found in His mercy!