My prayer life has been super dry lately. With Lent around the corner, I’ll be taking the long road home toward rediscovering prayer with a Walk in Her Sandals by Kelly Wahlquist.
Costco’s not usually the place one associates with hearing God’s voice. Since when does private revelation occur amidst giant flats of toilet paper?
Apparently, when you need it.
We had survived the general madness intact. G took B to the bathroom while F and I waited in line. He was getting fidgety, and before long was in my arms instead of the cart seat.
Man, that boy’s gotten heavy.
Anyway, there I was, wiggly two year old on one hip and a giant cart of necessities on the other. My helpers were still in the bathroom when my turn came to load the belt, so I shifted F higher and leaned into the cart.
Fwump. Giant box of Greek yogurt.
Smack. Five billion pounds of salmon.
Bampf. Six month supply of shredded mini-wheats.
Downce! Downce! Downce!
Not now, buddy. I’ll put you down in a minute. Ack! Please don’t do that. Not my face!
“Ma’am, do you need help?”
I looked up. A sharply-dressed, professional looking man stood in front of me. He wore a tweed jacket, brown corduroys, and smart, tortoise shell glasses.
F released his pincer grasp on my nose. I grimaced. The man smiled.
I have a standard response for moments like this:
“Um, no. Thanks.”
But that day, something was different. His eyes were kind. My arm was aching. The girls were still (!) in the bathroom, and I had 15,000 more things to unload.
“Actually, yes.” Hesitation. “Are you sure?”
“Absolutely. You hold him and let me do this. I’ve been in your shoes with my son, and it’s not easy.”
So I did. By the time my girls got back from the bathroom, he had unloaded my entire cart and was paying for his own purchases. I thanked him; he was gracious and on his way.
Driving home, I pondered. What had changed? Why had I let a perfect stranger help me, when on almost every other similar occasion I would have resisted?
My prayer life’s been on life support lately, barely hanging on by a proverbial thread. I’d been at the and of a very long, lonely road, one which had walled me in a fortress of pride. I had enough sense to recognize the culprit, so in the brief moments where I actually could talk to God, I begged him:
Make me humble.
And because that’s dangerous, also:
But don’t humiliate me.
Pride creeps up on you. It’s insidious, cutting you off bit by bit from the people you love, the people you know, and the kindness and generosity around you. After we got home and unloaded the purchases, I remembered the book I’d been offered for review: Walk in Her Sandals, an interactive, imaginative prayer compendium from Kelly Wahlquist.
I activated the NetGalley link and fired up my Kindle.
The premise of Walk in Her Sandals is this: what was it like to experience Christ’s passion as a woman? The book combines scripture reading, meditation, and fictional vignettes to place us in the moment that Jesus entered Jerusalem for the final time. It highlights three aspects of our femininity – receptivity, generosity, and sensitivity – and the way in which those traits can unite us to the sacrifice and triumph of the cross.
The more I read, the more I began to understand. I had closed myself off from those around me in a misguided attempt to do it all. Yes, I am called to be open to my children and husband, giving them my all and being sensitive to their needs, but not to the extent that I lose myself or forget to accept that kindness from others.
Every time I say no to an offer of help, I am saying no to the Christ within that person. God used my encounter with the man at Costco to soften my heart and ready it for the message:
I’ve been in your shoes with my son, and it’s not easy.
Now I have a confession to make – I haven’t finished the book. I’m about halfway through, and I’m probably going to have to read it again. But I know it is the answer to the valley in which I find myself. Wahlquist’s book will help me rediscover prayer, and the interior life to which God is calling me.
It will be a long road, but the timing is perfect. With Lent around the corner, the journal prompts, scripture readings, meditations and vignettes will help me meditate more fully on Christ’s passion and resurrection.
It will help bring me home.
I’m looking forward to the journey.