This is Me

When it comes to prayer, I’ve been told only two things are necessary. First, you need to show up, and second, you need to be honest. 

There’s a recording of the rehearsal of the song, “This is Me”, from the movie, The Greatest Showman, in which you can actually see the transformation of the singer as she takes on the message of the anthem. It draws you in to see this woman step into her own skin and those around her marvel at her growth and beauty as she does so.

Somewhere along the way, this song seeped its way into my prayer life, both literally and figuratively. I am someone who gets stuck in what they think they “should” be doing, or does things how they think they “should” be done instead of doing them in a particularly unique way. Repeatedly this has made my prayer dry and mechanical. Eventually that makes me either want to stop or I actually do stop. 

So I don’t know how this next part happened except to say that it was a moment of grace, but I actually heard the advice of a trusted spiritual mentor and then recalled it in a moment of struggle. She explained to me how the daily struggles as a wife and mother can be moments of prayer if chosen to make them such! You don’t always have to be at church or in the adoration chapel to lift your mind and heart to God. 

Now I’ve heard this before, but I always seem to forget when the going gets rough. Last night, however, when I was up with my son at 2am and he just wasn’t quite ready to fall back asleep, pressing his face up against mine so hard I wondered how his skull wasn’t aching from the pressure, I had the thought to the beat of that song, “THIS IS PRAYER!” That powerful moment in the song when the singer claims her identity and shakes off her shame to the beat “This is Me”, I had this revelatory moment, claiming my vocation of motherhood and uniting it with my striving for holiness in the musical thought to that same beat, “this is prayer.” I just kept singing to God over and over again, so happy in this moment of grace (‘cause it sure wasn’t me) that I found the point where the two things I want to strive for most intensely converged. It changed everything in that moment. The obvious loss of sleep and frustration with a non-sleepy toddler became a moment of victory by simply singing at top of my lungs, albeit, inside my head, that this was a prayer! Wow. 

I don’t know if this can be conveyed in writing to someone who has never experienced it, and I don’t want anyone to go to a place of discouragement if this seems out of reach. That’s what I do, “Well that’s nice for you, but I have no idea how to get there and don’t seem to be anywhere close.” All I can say is that I think it worked because in my own unique way, I finally learned how to 1. Show up: literally thinking of God in that moment, and 2. Be Honest: simply tell him in my favorite language of song, that this was prayer. Smile on my face, joy in heart, and a beat in my head. 

“Look out ’cause here I come!”

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