My kids and I babysat our two-year-old neighbor so his mom, who recently gave birth to twins, could get some rest. Bringing down the wooden track and trains from the attic for him to play with had me flashing back to when my boys were little. It got me reminiscing about the fun stages they went through. I concluded that a close second to trains was the superhero phase.
We LOVED dressing up as superheroes! We had all the accessories to be whatever character we wanted. In fact, Zack’s fifth birthday party was a Superhero Training Camp.
At the party, the kids had to complete a series of tasks to earn the different accessories to make a superhero costume. The tasks increased in difficulty, with the most difficult one earning them their cape. Once they were fully attired, they had to complete an obstacle course where they saved a stuffed animal from peril to prove they deserved their superhero status. Not only did they get a Certificate of Completion, but they got to keep their costumes as our Thank You gifts for coming to the party.
Being in the trenches of motherhood, day in, day out, is like running an obstacle course. Just when we’re patting ourselves on the back for jumping over one hurdle, there’s another one right in its wake. After years and years of this, we start to wonder why we haven’t earned our superhero capes yet. We’ve experienced success and failure in equal measure. Consequently, we’ve learned, and we’ve grown (maybe not at the rate we had hoped, but we’ve grown nonetheless). With growth comes wisdom.
I always presumed that wisdom was the superhero cape of motherhood, and that once we earned it, everything would get easier. But our superhero cape isn’t earned by wisdom. It is gifted by grace.
Only God can clothe us with “power from on high,” and His training camp is prayer. We get our superhero emblem and mask when we remember to turn to Him in the chaos. If we pray while cooking and cleaning, we bless our tasks with purpose. When we do, the mundane doesn’t drain us anymore. It fortifies us.
But just like Zack’s party, earning our capes is more difficult. This requires quiet time with God, not just enough quiet time to purge all of our angst and worries, but quiet time long enough to hear God’s response. As my spiritual director says, “Where we usually end in prayer is where real prayer begins.”
When we carve out the time to stay in prayer until we hear God’s counsel, everything changes. Like the apostles who were told to “stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high,” we realize the longer we stay with God in prayer, the more power He grants us from on high. He fills us with enough grace to meet our kids’ endless demands with patience and love. He shows us new ways to conquer our problems. Suddenly we see the impossibles we bring to Him as possibles.
Truly listening to God’s guidance is what cloaks us with strength, right vision, confidence and the resolve to take action on our problems. After deep conversation with God, we do return to our lives feeling like superheroes. We feel we can be “faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound” for ourselves, and for those we love.
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