Posts Tagged prayer

Strength for the Journey

Anyone on social media knows there are tons of prayer requests that go through the feed on any given day. Typically, I will follow a link or do a search to see if it’s a valid request. Sometimes the person is already better or has passed before I see the prayer request. I usually pray for specific needs as I scroll through the feed though. But the other day I saw a request and I honestly didn’t know what to pray.

A little girl had sustained a head injury I can’t remember now if she had nearly drowned or had been shaken. Either way it was very serious. I cried for her parents as I read the request and I knew their lives would never be the same. She was in a very poor state and they just wanted her to live. Their words took my mind back to the first night I sat in ICU with my son and prayed that very same prayer. All I wanted was for him to live – where there’s breath there’s hope, right?

Since then, I’ve wondered why I prayed such a selfish prayer. It was instinctual really. As a mother we can’t bear to part with our children. I soon found myself thinking it would have been better for my son to die. Yeah, I know it’s a horrible thought – but I had it. I mean, really – what kind of life does he have? I felt so guilty for even thinking it. After a little bit of research I found out that it is actually a natural part of the caregiving process and a very normal thought. But it still just feels wrong.

All this went through my mind as I looked at the image of the parents and their unconscious child. I thought about the last 7 years of caregiving and I didn’t know what to pray. I spent years in the ministry and am usually not at a loss for words. I can come up with something almost every time. But I just sat there and stared at the picture…wondering. Weeping. Did I want to pray for her to live like the parents requested? I had a sense of the life they might live – dying every day. I was so caught in between and my emotions were raw. I’m a minister, I should know what to pray.

Then my old religious training kicked in- pray for God’s will I thought. Then my thoughts went nuts. God’s will? What a cop-out. What is God’s will? Was it His will for my son to be in that accident and sustain a traumatic brain injury? Was it his will for me to live this shell of a life for the rest of my life? My mind went through tons of scenarios wondering what His will really looks like. Is it His will for me to struggle every.single.day? Evidently it is – because it’s happening.

When my son first had his wreck, a friend said to me that it had to pass His desk first. In other words – God is still in control. Nothing happens that He doesn’t know about. That can be a frustrating thought- why doesn’t He stop bad things from happening then? Why doesn’t He prevent or eradicate terrorism and the bad in the earth? Are those His will  too? We are hashing around an age old question here, one to which there is no answer.

So I finally prayed for the parents instead of the little girl. You can judge me if you want; but you haven’t walked this walk of mine. The only peace I had was to pray for them to have wisdom and peace in every decision they might have to make and strength for the journey. Isn’t that pretty much what we all need anyway?

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Faith is a Funny Thing

Anyone who has read this blog much at all knows I am frank and honest about my questions and faith. I’ve explained before that I’ve felt like God broke a major trust. After all, I trusted Him with my children’s safety and He let me down. I’ve rethought my faith, redefined faith and scratched my head a lot. But the funny thing is that just about the time I’m ready to just give it up – something happens. Today it was one of my Chinese students that got me riled up.

He asked me a question about music I think it was, and I mentioned church somewhere. That threw us into a very exciting discussion about religion in general. I learned a few points about Buddhism, and he learned a lot about Christianity. I love these types of thought-provoking discussions. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to argue and try to convince the other party of anything – let’s just think it through.

When I am in my down spots I really battle with depression and being sick of late has not helped at all. I am taking care of Chris but forgot to give myself the same careful attention. Now I’m paying for it and it just makes the load more difficult. It takes me back to trying to figure out where I am with my faith. I know I don’t believe what I used to believe – but what do I believe?

So my student tells me he is not religious at all. He thinks God is just a convenience that we create when we don’t have anywhere else to run. I was rather surprised at some of my emotions as I began the whole creation argument. Needless to say it was a great conversation! And I really enjoyed it!

But it really got me to thinking again about faith and what it really means – better yet – what it means from here. My life is far from “normal” and lacking in many ways. There’s not a “fix” that can make any aspect of it any better. But even during those dark nights of the soul where I feel like He has abandoned me – there’s that thread of hope and faith that has been evident throughout my life that won’t let me just let go. During the times where I am at my lowest and I’m wondering where He went – I still find myself running to Him rather than away. Honestly, sometimes that is very frustrating.

He does not answer every prayer with the answers we want – and I really think He does not answer all of them period. Maybe He just listens. Maybe He wants us to work it all out on our own – I’ve heard that makes us strong – not that I have any particular interest in being considered strong – Personally, I’d really rather have my answer! (smile)

I guess it is always going to come back to  choosing whether or not to trust Him in every situation. Those words can simply roll out of my mouth but in actuality they are much more difficult. Can I trust Him and continue in faith when the furnace gets hotter? What about when I get sick too – the ultimate defeat for the caregiver; can I trust Him then?

My heart stays broken – but with every little piece I will cry I’m gonna figure out how to trust Him.

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I Ran out of Words

I am sure that many caregivers have these overwhelming feelings of failure. My son was in the hospital for a week and I feel like it was worse because I didn’t take him in sooner. But- he never ran a fever which is usually the first sign that something is wrong. I also thought they would just give him an antibiotic and send him home- the ambulance didn’t even run their lights on the way up there. Then it turned out he had all sorts of problems that needed attention. Boy, do I feel like I failed him? Absolutely! I feel like I am a lousy caregiver.

All I can do from here is to pick myself up, learn new signals to watch for – since he’s nonverbal – and move ahead. Can’t say if that is “faith” or not technically. But there just simply is not a place to quit. And I don’t want to. I will say that I am really tired but I am learning new strategies to help keep me from hitting rock bottom emotionally and they seem to be working…mostly. But it’s still a struggle.

For instance – I have made so many phone calls this week already trying to get them over here to get his picc line out. Shouldn’t that just be a given? By the way – I hated hooking up the IVs every morning and night. The process wasn’t difficult, the medicine just made him uncomfortable. And honestly, I have nearly zero trust of most of the medical profession right now. There are tons of reasons but I will spare any readers I may have hanging around! lol

So today is January 14- I have not been out for 14 days then. I took Chris to the hospital on December 31 and we stayed until Jan. 6. I am actually doing better with it than I thought I might. I am hoping he gets better soon so I can get him back out too. We are also going to need a few groceries at some point. I have discovered that there are a few things that you just cannot buy online. I can’t get my doggy groomed online (I ordered clippers), and I can’t by eggs, or fresh veggies online. I can’t get a haircut online either! lol – I cut it myself. What do I care? I’m not going anywhere! lol

So these are few of the bigger things I am dealing with right now and it makes me wonder about faith once again. The funny thing is that somehow it actually feels like my faith is still in-tact. I’m actually writing more and planning on writing even more. I really can’t put my finger on it but something happened when we were staying in the hospital. One day was particularly difficult. (Okay – more difficult than the rest.) The staff (except the doctor) was very understanding and cooperative when it came to Chris and the brain injury. When he was in critical care there was a nurse who had worked with TBIs before and that was nice; but even on the floor they tried to be understanding and listened to me for the most part. But one day there was too much stimuli. He was on total overload. They tried to take his blood like four times, took him down for xrays, finally started a picc line and then PT showed up to work him out! Poor guy! He was wound tight. That night I just didn’t have any more words to pray. I leaned over Chris and started singing an old favorite that my kids grew up on.

“Peace, peace, wonderful peace.

Coming down from the Father above.

Sweep over my spirit for ever I pray;

in fathomless billows of love.”

And then I started singing

“Hear my cry O Lord, Attend unto my prayer,

from the ends of the earth will I cry unto You.

When my heart is overwhelmed

please lead me to the rock that is higher than I, that is higher than I.”

Tears flowed and no one came in so I just sang those over and over because I had no other words or songs that came to mind. I really cannot tell you what happened in that moment except that His peace was just present. I just knew. I am not sure what I knew, but my knower knew that it was all alright. I simply had peace. The rest of the stay was not bad. I was comfortable and figured out my own little routine and was able to keep up with most of my writing work. By Sunday night I knew I had adjusted and was comfortable so we would be going home. Sure enough, the doctor came in on Monday morning and said we were going home. This is of course about four days shorter than he had said we would be there.

So I guess running out of words, although scary for a writer, is not too bad of a thing. And I sort of like not being able to explain what happened that night while singing over my son. That means I did not “reason” it out; He just put it all together and it was all okay.

Over this last 5+ years I’ve so struggled with the whys. I’ve discussed a lot of emotional things on here like dealing with depression, living with daily pain and grief and lots of topics. Those are still real in my life – and I experience struggles in these areas pretty much every day. But I had let all my questions cloud my heart from holding on to Him tighter. Honestly, I cannot explain it. All I know is I’m better even though nothing has changed. And I will continue to believe that God’s words about Chris (or myself) were not void or in vain. No matter how He intends to bring them about – they are still living and active. And so…I wait…..

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Got to Get it Together Here!

I have a terribly wonderful problem! Actually it’s two-fold and causing me to really have to get it together. I picked up a third client to write for…that means my work load has really increased. That is the wonderful part because the more I write, the faster I complete projects the more money I can make. Then there are days like yesterday where I just get bogged down in the emotions of the situation and have such a diffcult time nailing down discipline! And I was really tired too…that was a terrible combination that worked against me!

I have to figure out how to discipline myself even through the stress of each day. I’m sure if I get hungry enough it will motivate me to work harder! lol!

The other side of the “problem” that has a positive aspect as well – is that Chris is getting better. He’s awake longer through the day and much more aware of his surroundings. I don’t want to sit at the computer all day and miss working with him like he needs…Add that together and then I stress out — then nothing gets done lol!

It’s really become a balancing act. I work awhile then feed Chris, let him rest a few minutes while I work on a project. Then I stretch his arms (which he seems to actually like) then while he rests for awhile I work some more.. and that goes on pretty much all day! It’s like living in a three ring circus!!

But over all – even when I am totally stressed out – I am excited about getting some work. It’s taken me well over 2 years to find a way to do it up right. It offers me the freedom to dream just a tiny bit. Because if I can work online – I can live anywhere. And it seems that when I feel that freedom the situation doesn’t seem so binding. However, I will also admit that I am not allowing myself the liberty of dreaming yet…it’s far too dangerous! After having all my dreams stripped away in  moment it makes me nervous to think about it any more. And it’s seemed impossible…to dream…so I won’t. But I have prayed that the Lord will restore the dreams that HE dreamed for me and Chris too. I pray that those He will restore… and I can just let my own dreams go…

I must trust Him for each day.. as it comes..and goes…so I will continue to do so.. while I say a quick prayer of thanksgiving for His provision… then  gotta get to typing!!

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