To look at her, you’d not think her mighty, carrying that slice of notebook paper folded over her fingers, brassy hair tied in two smooth knots and pinned, finally, against her head and away from her face. She insists upon nothing in her eyes when she’s about her business, checking off important things in a sing-song voice, chirping and done, bending her knees each time she places a firm check on her list like it’s an exercise, a dance.
But she scoops up that paper she keeps I-don’t-know-where and balances it in her thin, elegant fingers, wrapping it absently around while she walks purposefully across one room and into another. The door smacks shut, inviting no further question about her intentionality or just where this particular activity fits in her list of priorities. I remember the sound, remember wondering over it yesterday the way we mamas do as we fold things and listen for our children.
I put down the knife, pressing my fingers gently against smooth cucumbers and knobby carrots to still their natural rolling, wiping my damp fingers on a folded kitchen towel. I can hear Riley talking in that room, her voice suddenly sharper, suddenly more certain of its aim, and as I wander nearer, I can make out a few words, something about Zoe and friends and school. She’s praying. I linger not to eavesdrop on her conversation but to absorb just a drop of the spirit that propels her, because I think maybe there aren’t many things so powerful as a sister praying for her sister.
And that’s when I realize what she held in her hand, traveling through to thinner spaces. I’d mentioned to a friend that my daughter is a prayer warrior, and my friend, knowing that power lives in clay pots, picked up her pen and quick-jotted a list. Folding it in half, kadoobies still dangling, she’d handed it to Riley on our way out the door, said, “Will you pray for me?”
Who knew that “Mmmhmm, sure,” could be a battle cry?
But so it is, I think, as I hear my friend’s name strong-spoken behind that door and I walk away, knowing some confidences belong only to God.
It’s a foolish thing to see from a worldly point of view (2 Corinthians 5:16). I’ve seen Riley discounted a thousand times. Even I have been deceived by those uncomprehending eyes and the way she works herself around a question when all the words become a jumbled mess in her mind and she’s not quite sure how to answer. It’s easy to believe she’s only captive to her routines. But this is a young woman with peace as her guard and a pure heart. Sometimes, when I least expect it, she’ll cut through the clutter with her strong faith. She’ll say, so simply, “Mom, I’m so thankful God’s with us.” And how many times have I tasted those words, turned them over on my tongue, pressing my pen against that Spirit-written phrase?
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for YHWH your God will be with you where ever you go (Joshua 1:9, emphasis mine).
It’s Jesus’ name, actually, Immanuel…God with us (Matthew 1:23). God with us will always be enough. That faith of hers, it unleashes the greatest power there is. That faith has time enough to shut her up in that room to ask on behalf of another.
Oh yes, she’s mighty.