On the swearing in of a new president, how should we pray? When I was growing up on an Oregon farm, my hippie mom was one of the only parents I knew at our rural church who’d voted for Jimmy Carter instead of Ronald Reagan. That could have created a split, but we continued sitting in the same pews and singing the same songs as before the divisive 1980 election. Mom didn’t sniff out which businesses had supported which candidate or pull us out of our church-supported school. She got up the same as every other morning, pulled on her rubber boots and went about the work that needed to be done, feeding our sheep and gathering the morning eggs.
For months – OK, years – I watched the tightly wound rows of two braided throw rugs pull apart. One under the kitchen sink. One by the back door. Each time someone stepped on them, the tears grew longer. And each time I tossed the rugs in the washing machine, I silently swore I’d stitch the rows back together. But I kept putting it off. By now the tears were so large that my favorite rug, shaped like a heart, was unravelling from the inside out, threatening to come apart in two pieces. Finally I could stand it no longer.
My family of seven lives in a small house, which gets messy fast. Especially when the chickens decide it is their house too.
On a recent morning I’d spent a couple of hours tidying up while my husband, Dana, and older kids were at work and school. I had just finished reading to our younger boys. Everything was beginning to look the way I like – neat and orderly – when I had the brilliant idea to paint the shutters that Dana had built for my birthday
“Why doesn’t God answer my prayers?” my first-grader recently asked. It’s a question I’ve heard from my children before. A decade ago, when our 17-year-old son, Gabriel, was also in first grade, he faithfully asked God to help his little sister, Ruth, who had cerebral palsy, to walk and talk. I did too. Day after day, it was crushingly painful to see those prayers seemingly go unanswered, and I struggled with what to say.
I grew up watching Billy Graham’s evangelistic rallies on TV. And I’m a huge fan of the outreach, Samaritan’s Purse, launched by his son, Franklin Graham, to bring lifesaving medicine, provisions, and shelter to the world’s poorest people. So I was excited to hear that Franklin was coming to Augusta to lead Christians in praying for our country.