Nov 6, 2008

As Everyone Sleeps...

There's something to be said for writing your post at 11:43 PM. When your house is all quiet and dark and you can hear the deep heavy breathing of a little girl after a very full day.

Or the congested cough of one Attorney General who is fighting something off.

The baby snore of an eight week old, intermingled with coo's and toots.

And the deep snore of your dad, who came to visit. And his mere presence makes your house feel fuller, safer. Just like when you were 10.

Yes, there's something to be said for moments like these.

As I look around my living room tonight it gives off that "lived in" look that all Southern women seem to be raving about this season. Oh yes, you can have it too! Just take one plastic Halloween pumpkin, fill it to the brim with animal figurines and then dump them on your floor. Throw in an infant swing piled high with paci's and burp cloths, a shiny sequined dance skirt that (surprisingly) does not belong to me and empty ice cream bowls. Space them intermittently throughout the room and then plop yourself on the couch.

There you have it! This season's "lived in" look. It should be out in this month's Southern Living. Or maybe it's Trailer Park living, either way - it's gonna be first rate.

But that's not actually the reason for my post tonight. My comments tonight are more from what I HEAR in the dark than what SEE in it.

Ya know, tonight, I am not sad. I'm not mad. Or discouraged. I'm not fearful or angry. So the guy I voted for didn't win. So what! It's over now. Time to move on. Do I wish he had? Sure. I voted for him, didn't I? Am I angry he didn't? No. He had a 50/50 shot. I knew what the odds were.

What I feel tonight is the motivation to pray.

But before you roll your eyes and move on to somewhere else on the Internet - let me explain. It seems that too many of us "Christians" have tarnished the very phrase "to pray."

"Well, we're just gonna have to pray for our nation, it's going to hell in a hand basket."
"At this point all we can do is pray."
"I'm just gonna dig a hole in my backyard, move my family into it and pray."
"Pray for me, I'm moving to Canada."

Has that been you? It's been me, I must admit. How condescending that is to those who we feel might need the prayer. Are we really going to make a difference in the life of anyone by telling them that we'll pray for them, out of disgust? Has that ever really worked?

I've tried it. It hasn't.

So tonight when I say I'm motivated to pray. It isn't out of disgust or condescension. It isn't out of hate or fear or ingnorance. It's out of obedience.

There's a rule in my house. It's a relatively new rule. In fact, we put it into place on Election Night around 11:15 PM. It's called the...

"This is our President. We will respect the office and position that he holds. We will pray for the office and speak life over the office. It is the system that God intended for our nation and we will pray over that system no differently than we would pray had McCain won, Palin won or Elmo won. The office is to be respected" Rule.

It's a long title but the kids are really taking to it.

My friend reminded me of this scripture today that I hadn't read in some time. In the Message Bible it reads,

"The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live." (1 Timothy 1-3)

And there you have it. Our new rule.

It will be hard. There will be things I will disagree with, many things. I disagree with many things in our current government, but I try my dead level best (and fail miserably at times) to honor the position the President holds. Even when I want to hold him down and wring his cute Texas neck. And I'll do the same now. You have my word.

It was a historic night, wasn't it? Election night? An African-American man was put into our nations highest position and I got to see it in my lifetime. And I, for one, was glad I got to witness that. What happens now is up to God. It always has been.

The only thing that matters now are my prayers. And he most certainly has them. I am honored to give them. As good and lengthy as they are. And sometimes as short and shallow as they are. But what I have, give I thee.

I encourage you tonight to make our new house rule - your new house rule. I'm not asking you to hang up Joe Biden's picture or send a Christmas card to the White House. I'm just asking you to obey God's words...not mine.

I just heard my dad get up out of his bed and get his nightly glass of milk. And my eyes feel heavy now as I know it's getting late and my house is cozy and my family is safe and tucked in tight. And I appreciate the fact that just outside sit two fat dogs protecting my house and our precious neighbors who watch over my house just like it was their own.

And I am thankful for my life here. In this country. In this land. And I am thankful to God for it.

May He find me faithful in it, as well.


DysFUNctional Mom said...

It's funny, I said something along these lines to my friend yesterday. She's an Obama supporter who was upset by the vocal negativity expressed by some co-workers. I told her that in my opinion, at this point, regardless of who you voted for, we have a new President and we need to pray for his wisdom to run our country and his safety, and accept him as our country's leader.

Shelley said...

This is definitely God moving through this nation. Last night after choir practice we sat around and talked about being obedient to God and praying for our leaders, even if they weren't the ones we voted for. And how much this nation and our new leaders need our prayers, whether they want them or not. We, as Christians, need to obey God's word and pray with all we have. So, I see from other comment that someone else felt a prodding from God as well to pray. It's all about God. His will is being done, even if it is not what we would have chosen. It's HIS will, not mine. I'm glad you chose to post about this. I'm right there with you and we are going to make your house rule our house rule, too. Blessings

Suzann @ Lavender and Roses said...

Funny, I've said the same thing. But, I'm also against calling our President elect an African American. In fact, I'm rather opposed to it. He's just an American. In fact, he's a bi-racial American. But, he's just a man and he is more than the color of his skin. I mean you no disrespect, but as the aunt of 4 children who are bi-racial, the color of their skin being brown does not make them African American, it makes their skin brown. In all of these cases, their mothers are caucasian. So, there's my moment on the box - love the post and we all need to pray and pray in honesty.

TrahansRus said...

You just summed up my exact life over the past 24 hours.... AMAZING and so so true. WELL written

Amy said...

You are so right Melissa. I had my moment of straight up shock, horror, disbelief, sadness, fear...and now..Im over it. No matter WHO won, God is STILL the same. HE will reign forever. HE will win! HE is a consuming fire and is just. HIS plans are still the same! PRAISE GOD FOR THAT!! And for you!

Sissy said...

My Mom just quoted that verse the other day and reminded my husband and I that things happen for God's reasons. What you said is much more eloquent. Thank you.

Rhonda said...

Ummm, ahem. What's wrong with Canada? Aside from our winters, I mean. (They truly suck.)

Was this some sort of backhanded slap in response to my fits of laughter over what went on (or down) over at Marshall's?

Is it because you've never had the opportunity to visit us here?

Trust me when I tell you that we have slimy politicians here who lie cheat and steal their way into office.

And we're really quite friendly.

In fact, I would highly recommend moving your family to Canada.

When should we expect you...?

Blissful Nikki said...

you put it just as I was thinking it! Last night we had communion at church and prayed for president elect Obama and for him to walk his life with Jesus so that he can lead this nation as a strong man. :)

jenn3 said...

I love to blog when the house is sleeping too. Way more peaceful and quiet that way.

As for the election, I've felt the urge to pray all day yesterday. For the same reasons as you. I didn't vote for Obama, but he's elected now and that's the way it is. My daughter and I prayed for him on the way to daycare yesterday and again last night. She's only two, but I think it's an important habit to start now.

Aja Jenise said...

Well put-- DITTO!!

Leighann said...

God raises up kings and brings them down and calls us to obey our government. Ultimately not accepting that is rebellion to His ways. Praying is one way to align our hearts with His. So, amen to this post. This goes for everything that doesn't happen OUR way in life.

justjuli said...

We had a special prayer service at church last night. And it was scheduled way in advance of the election - for whomever was elected.

We discussed that same passage (1 Tim 2:1-4, 8) and also: Romans 13:1-7 and 1Peter 2:13-17.

Our role as Christians is to wholeheartedly and lovingly pray for our leaders. All of them - not just the ones we voted for.

Thanks for sharing your point of view!

The Willmons said...

I totally agree with your thoughts Melissa. Our hope lies, not in the man sitting in the Oval Office, but rather in The One seated at the right hand of God. He is the only Messiah that will truly bring peace to this earth.

Don't forget the historical context of the New Testament times. Most of the governmental authorities were oppposed to Christianity, especially the Roman rulers. This is especially poignant when you consider the direction that our nation seems to be taking. We do need to pray, but we also need to keep walking it out.

Tell Uncle Gene I said "Hi!"

Lynda said...

What a lovely post.

Jenn said...

Bravo. Great post. You beat me... I was writing something similar. But, luckily, that just means I can link you to. Which I did. :)

Tracy P. said...

Here here, Melissa! When I saw the first family-elect, I was overcome with the significance of this for so many people. I probably wouldn't have voted for Kennedy either, but I sure can't look back today and think for a minute that I would deny any African American (or any other person of color) the impact of his presidency.

Your rule is our rule.

So Lord, may all those who are so energized by this historic event use all that energy for true good, and realize that real hope comes from You!

KimmyJ said...


Denise said...

That was an awesome post, thank you for sharing. I was one of those pouty, sore losers when McCain lost but I quickly got over it and decided that we all need to be behind Obama no matter how we felt before the election.

Finding Normal said...

Thanks for a great post Melissa. I am glad to read something so eloquently written, rather than the "pray for the country, we're going to need it" I've seen other places.

Karen said...

I have so often, for as long as I can remember, been angered by people who disrespect our president, whoever he may be. The beauty of this country is that WE as a people have the choice. If our personal choice isnt the "winner", we must respect the voice of the people. If we dont respect our president, how on earth can we expect the rest of the world to?? And if the world doesnt respect us, we are toast!!!
I didnt vote for him, but he is now the man who will lead my family for the next 4 years. So I will respect him and always lift him up in prayer.
Thank you Melissa! You hit it right on the money

Rhea said...

I like your new house rule and your attitude. Very nice.

And your post has made me sleepy. And made me feel better about my own very Southern, lived-in looking home.

Bridge said...

Wow, I have no idea how I clicked into your blog, but great words.
I voted for Obama and felt so fearful about McCain, but when I really thought about and prayed about my feelings it became clear that both men are fine men.

There is no room for fear in America, while I am happy about the outcome I am more hopeful for unity among Americans. For us to move beyond our differences.

Lacey in the Sky said...

I feel the same way. Complaining and making false remarks about moving out of the country are not going to change the situation. I think everyone needs to open their minds. Embrace it! Sprinkle it on your ice cream for all I care, just deal with it!

Jenn said...

I so needed to read that! I agree with you 100% and while I've never heard "The Rule", you can bet I'll be putting that nugget in my B-I--L-E. Thank you for sharing!

Summer Saldana said...

I love that verse and I love the rule!