I have found that the Lord often answers our prayers in unexpected ways. Did I think “chocolate milk” would ever be the answer to my prayer? No, not ever. But it was once. And when it came, I’m glad I didn’t doubt it.
I had been having one of “those days.” I had un-put-away groceries all over the kitchen, a big project spread out all over the dining room table, two little kids who had had inadequate naps, a junior-high child with a failed math assignment she needed my help on, and no big kids home to help with any of it! The little boys were running all around being noisy, and they were crabby due to no naps and being ignored and hungry. In fact, my 3-year-old had climbed up on the counter and was eating brown sugar out of the canister with a spoon. When I offered to make him a snack, he just yelled, “I want SUGAR!!” Everyone, especially me, was frustrated and overtired and not being very patient.
Just as I felt myself about to lose my temper, I uttered a pleading prayer to Father in Heaven, and instantly felt a little peace sprinkle down upon me. Whereas I felt to throw up my hands in despair and send all the children to bed so I could deal with all the messes, instead I had a moment of inspiration from above: “Chocolate milk!” I never would have come up with chocolate milk on my own, but it undoubtedly came as an idea from heaven that would bring a little peace into our chaotic kitchen and help me get a handle on the situation. Looking back, I am thankful that I did not question and second-guess that answer, because if I had, it might have been too late for the situation to turn out well instead of otherwise. But thankfully that day, I trusted.
So I made chocolate milk and gave some to each child as we gathered around the kitchen island and talked about what had been going on. I took this opportunity–where I had their undivided attention as they had their treat–to teach my 5-year-old that when the baby was crabby, and mommy was stressed and frustrated, and the house was messy, it was his job to ask, “What can I do to help?” And so he looked up at me through his shaggy blond bangs and said with perfect innocence and willingness, “I can clean the sink.” I then uttered my second prayer (“Thank you, Father!”) and set him to loading the dishwasher and scrubbing the sink. We turned on fun music in the kitchen. The 3-year-old began to line up all the rain boots and shoes in the mudroom. I ran about tidying up and getting my project and groceries all put away. Peace took over. I am grateful for a loving Father above who can send down inspiration in the form of “chocolate milk” to save a harried mother from a lost temper, regret, hurt childrens’ feelings, and needing to apologize. And I am grateful that I listened and acted.
Now whenever I think of chocolate milk, I always remember an answer to prayer and the love of a Father above who wants us to succeed as mothers. His help is there for us if we only ask, listen, and act on the answers He sends us.