A Story for One of “Those Days”
“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22
It was more for me than for them that day. I had managed to run late, damage the underneath parts of an already tired ol’ minivan, missed breakfast, needed gas in the husband’s substitute unfamiliar vehicle, forgot important paraphernalia, said a profanity or two, and I was hanging on by a shred of a thread.
So when I said to them as we attempted to make our way down the road, “Ok guys let’s pray.” I knew immediately it was more for me than them. As they each said their prayers, each as unique as they are I immediately began to feel better. The feelings of inadequacy, condemnation, and guilt were beginning to dissipate.
As I began to petition the King I prayed that he would freely give “Grace upon Grace upon Grace.” I was asking Him to pour out that Grace without hesitation or reservation. I immediately began to hear giggling. An attempt at muffling the laughter proved ineffective. It got louder, and before I could close out our prayers with an amen the muffled giggles were spilling out with such fervor that I stopped short of amen and said,
“What May I ask, is so funny?”
“Grace upon Grace upon Grace!”
They were all three rolling with laughter, their cheeks big and smiles wide, they could hardly talk, I was dumbfounded. I had merely asked the King for triple helpings of His grace to help me make through my already crummy, had hardly begun day and my progeny could hardly maintain composure.
As I already formulated my defense and rebuttal, scolding in the form of reprimand, I asked for clarification. How was my prayer laughable?
“Can’t you just see it Mama?! Bahaha! Grace on top of Grace on top of Grace. Stacked up!? Bahaha.”
By now the laughter was side-splitting and I still had no clue what was so funny.
Normally in a situation where I need clarification from my children I at least make an attempt at composure. There was no hiding it now, I was less and less composed and curtly said “What is SO funny?”
“Mama GRACE!” Grace had now turned to a three syllable word to emphasize it. “Ga-ah-race!”
“Can’t you just imagine how she would be with her tiny little legs?!” They all three burst into another fit of laughter and I smiled, I was beginning to understand. Despite being late to the party, their laughter was contagious so I imagined what they were imagining, and I too began to laugh uncontrollably.
My Mama has an older Dachshund named “Grace.” She is much like other Senior dog counterparts. She likes to bask in the sunshine, she naps with a regularity you could set a watch by. Grace is slow to move and gets “stove-up” as Mama says nearly daily. She hides when she is annoyed, her bark is bigger than her missing teeth bite. She is always in the mood for food and will “beg” on her hind legs for anything, but snubs the fancy dog foods my mama buys. When she visits us she can be found chomping on the cheap dog food from the General Dollar Store. Mama always says I’m telling a story when I bring it up.
Grace is good Senior adult company. She is playful on her on terms and has been known to play opossum better than an opossum.
When I prayerfully asked for the abundance of Grace my children literally pictured Grace, the dog, stacked up. Grace on top of Grace on top of Grace. The mental image they had all along had now taken hold of my imagination and I was done for. I was laughing as hard as they were. I could just see her tiny legs on the back of her older Doxie frame, annoyed with the Grace atop and bellow I felt confident that Middle Grace would be visibly annoyed and would verbalize said annoyance.
By the time we reached our destination my attitude was entirely different, I felt better already and in an instant realized the King had not delayed in freely giving what I’d ask. In giving Grace on top of Grace on top of Grace, the laughter and joy brought forth were the very strength I needed to tackle the day head on and left me in awe once again of His marvelous gifts.
Then he said to them, “for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10b (ESV)