My initial answer to my friend's question was that sometimes I pour out my problems before God, tattling away on whomever richly deserves it - right up until God gently reminds me that what I'm kvetching about is, rather inconveniently, something I've also done - except probably worse or bigger. Sometimes I'm so upset that God gets to hear that I can't even find the words to pray (and probably enjoys the uncharacteristic silence). Then there are times, too, when my heart is so full of joy or gratitude or peace that I scramble to find words that are big enough to express what I'm seeing or feeling.
And sometimes, like today at the funeral for a fourteen year old, the broken request for His grace and peace wells up, overflowing the confines of my soul. It is the only thing I can do. The funeral home was filled full when her pastor presented the good news of the gospel. Kids sat, holding each other. And God's grace was present.
I'm sure there were many other people praying there today. Aching questions asked of God about why this happened, now, to her. Even if we knew the answer to that one, this beautiful child would still be separated from us, and there wasn't any way anyone could have known, or done something differently or better or anything to have saved her life. There were prayers of thanksgiving for her presence in our lives. And prayers of gratitude that this was a child who was well loved by her parents, adored by her friends, and who lived her short life well.
At the burial, one of the moms said to me that this is where the girls find out that there are things that we mothers can't fix. While our daughters already know that, it is more true right now because this isn't a matter of forgetting to do something, or be somewhere. This is too big and no one can fix it. We just have to live through it.
As her pastor said, we know where Michelle is, and we rejoice in her life and in the fact that she's safe. So the prayer now is one for us. That God's peace, which passes my feeble understanding, will be with us now and always.