Remember the childhood game of Mother, may I? It’s an activity where one child plays “Mother” while all the other children position themselves on the opposite side of the room or yard. Each playmate takes turns asking “Mother, may I take three large hops?” OR “Mother, may I take five giant steps?” etc. With each request, Mother responds, Yes, you may! The object of the game is to be the first one to get close enough to “Mother” to touch her. As believers, since our object is Christ…and our goal is to live in close touch our Divine Dad, then the month of May may find us needing to step up our Father, may I? game.
As summer begins, we are positioned on a new starting line. Unfortunately, with so many new schedule options spread before our families, often our first response is to consider all we CAN do rather than ask our Father what He says we MAY do!
God recently reminded this frequently overscheduled momma of the difference between these two small words~ CAN and MAY. Although they are sometimes used interchangeably, their application could mean the difference between experiencing our Father’s good rather than His best for our lives.
So, what’s the difference between CAN and MAY? Well, CAN refers to human ability and capability but MAY involves possibility and permissibility.
“FATHER, MAY I?”
The first biblical Father, may I occurs in Genesis 2. In this chapter, God tells His first kids that they “MAY eat from all the trees in the garden except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”
God’s MAY was not to limit their possibilities but to protect them from liabilities. And the same is true for us as His kids today. As we approach God and ask Father, may I? we are not asking for what we are humanly able or capable of doing…but for what God deems as divinely permissible and possible!
From the Father’s point of view “Everything may be permissible, but not everything is beneficial.” (1 Corinthians 10:23) Are you like me and feel compelled to say “YES” every time a need comes to your attention?
A wise older mom reminded me often, “Kim, remember the need does not necessitate the call!” OR perhaps you are like me in suffering from a chronic case of FOMO (fear of missing out!) For that, my mentor would teach me, “Darlin’ if the devil can’t make you bad, he’ll make you too busy.” OR “Even the good is evil~if it keeps you from God’s best!”
So, moms, let’s not be afraid if all we have on our family calendar this summer is Jesus! And then with each opportunity that presents itself, we can move forward confidently if we simply ask Father, may I? and wait for His permission.
“YES, YOU MAY!”
Do you remember what happens in Mother may I when a player asks but then jumps ahead before hearing Yes, you may? The result? “Mother” commands you to return all the way back to the starting line. Without her permission you lose far more than you gain.
In the same way, just because you’ve always done certain things in the past, doesn’t mean that you don’t need to re-ask anew this season. Maybe your requests follow along these lines: “Our family has signed up for our neighborhood swim team the past five years, may we commit to it again this summer? Father, may we? How about establishing new boundaries and responsibilities for our children? Pursuing new or redirecting old relationships? Father, may we? What about developing new skills and talents? Planning a family service project, mission trip, neighborhood outreach or a needed vacation? Father, may we? Yes ma’am, whatever the next life step may be, we will gain far more ground and grow closer to our Father if we simply ask and wait for God’s “YES” before we say “YES” to each new opportunity.
This month in our family, we are facing some really big decisions PLUS a million small daily choices. Even in the Heart of Womanhood ministry, we have had exciting new options surface. In response, both our family and our ministry teams have committed to pray NOT~ CAN we? BUT~ Father, MAY we?
Together we are not seeking our own CANs but waiting for God’s MAYs. Together we are looking for God’s MAY statements in His Word as our parental prayer guide. Jesus was the perfect example of praying God’s MAYs!
In Matthew 6:9-10 Jesus prayed, “Our Father in heaven, MAY your name be kept holy. MAY your Kingdom come soon. MAY your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” (NLT)
Also, in John 17:22-24, Jesus prayed, “I pray that they will all be one, just as you (Father) and I are one. And MAY they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. I have given them the glory you gave me, so they MAY be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me. MAY they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.”
Wow! From Genesis 2 to Revelation 22, God voices His MAY statements for His kids. Even the final verse in the Bible leaves us with one last Father May I…
“MAY the grace of the Lord Jesus be with all of YOU, God’s holy people. Amen.” (Rev 22:21)
That closing promise means that as God’s summer mommas, no matter what requests your Father says “Yes” to, you can enter this new season confident that His grace will be with you!
COME WHAT MAY.
We may know the game Mother may I, but as moms, we live this game because we are asked countless times each day, Mother, may I by our children, right? As the month of May ends and summer begins, May we as moms of God’s grace step it up and show our daughters (and sons) how this game of faithful life is truly played! May we demonstrate the nearness to our Heavenly Dad that comes as a reward of consistently asking Him, Father, may I?
And whether it’s one giant leap of faith OR five baby steps of obedience that are placed before us, we can be sure that when God responds with His divine “Yes, you may!” it will draw us closer to Him…come what may!
Kim Wigginton is a Christ follower. Married to Steve for over 30 years, they live blessed by their three grown daughters. With a heart for encouraging other moms and their girls, Kim is author of the Portraits Bible Study Series and founder of Heart of Womanhood Ministry. An uplifting writer and speaker, Kim enjoys creative arts and athletics, sunshine and smiles, God’s Word and God’s girls! She lives in Louisville, Kentucky and serves at Southeast Christian Church.