The dinner table is our sanctuary. We peel away layers of the day and gather close to pray, talk about our day and simply be. Our words are usually uplifting and encouraging, but the other night, words were misunderstood.
Just about every day, Madelyn eagerly tells me about a neighbor or friend at school that needs Jesus! At the bookstore, she’ll bring me a Bible and say, “She needs this, Mommy!” or I’ll hear prayers of friends names roll off her tongue. When my father was in the hospital, Madelyn wrote a card that said, “I pray you know God.”
Madelyn’s heart is set to the tune of evangelism and I pray she always has the willingness to share the love of Christ.
Head bowed, I offered up a prayer for my youngest daughter. “Lord, please continue to give Madelyn a burden in her heart for her friends to know you.”
Before I could say “Amen,” Madelyn bolted upstairs mumbling on about a birdie.
Excitedly she rejoined us at the table with a toy bird in her hand. “Birdie! Birdie! You don’t have to pray that I have a birdie in my heart, mama! I have one right here, see?!”
We all looked at each other clueless at first and then laughed as we realized Madelyn heard my prayer as “birdie” rather than “burden.”
At times it’s not simply words that are misunderstood, but also motives or actions. It’s inevitable that we will encounter moments of defeat or loneliness, seemingly climbing an uphill battle to be understood. Or trying to understand those around us.
A well of hurt can rise within when we have been falsely judged or when others look beyond the heart of who we are and make assumptions or misguided criticism. Eventually if you dwell on your circumstance long enough, it becomes larger than it really is and the pit we have dug ourselves only becomes deeper. Last year, I was in this circumstance and it was so hard to set my mind on what I knew to be true.
And there have been times I misunderstood or wrongly criticized others. We’ve all been guilty of having preconceived notions and making assumptions.
There lies a deep desire in all of us to be known and valued. And the truth is, we are.
Only Jesus Christ knows our true hearts. He formed our most inward parts and He sees the deepest places that dwell under the surface. It is only when I truly love people, that I can look past the surface. Rather than try to understand others, I can know they are loved by God.
Walk in confidence, knowing you are fully understood by God, even when misunderstandings isolate you. He makes our motives right, He allows us to love others unconditionally and He imparts grace to extend to others.
Madelyn may have thought I wanted “birdies” flying around in her heart, but even amidst misunderstandings, my Heavenly Father knew exactly what I wanted. A burden for the others. In her heart and mine.