In the past few weeks we have dealt with several bouts of sicknesses in our household. It has been exhausting, but I continually remind myself to thank God aloud for the fact that I get to care for these sweet babes. I thank Him for blessing us so much and am just overwhelmed with gratitude that I GET to be here with them, every moment, wiping a feverish forehead or cleaning up vomit. Because of Isaac and Asher I am keenly aware of the fact that just the fact that I get to take care of them here and now is a gift.
A week or so ago we had some dear friends over and while they were here, Ben broke out in hives. It was strange. He had seemed better and we hadn't tried any new soaps or foods or anything. I had heard other friends say that after their child beat the virus they were fighting that the hives came next. In many ways since having Isaac and Asher, I have chilled out...I don't worry about as much because I know there is much I don't control...so I do the best with what control I really do have and give the rest to Him. When my kids get sick though, I sometimes obsess and panic...it is almost like a Post Traumatic Stress reaction. I envision hospitals and doctors and IVs. Anxiety grabs hold and I fret...I pace, I don't sleep and I fret.
So, as Ben itched and sobbed I gave him a dose of antihistamine and my friend asked if she could pray with him right then and there. Of course we said yes, and in the back of my mind, I am wondering why this isn't my own response. She and her own sweet 4 year old prayed for my Ben in a simple and beautiful way. We all knelt around him and gave thanks for him and spoke of God's love for him. Suddenly I felt at peace. By the time our friends left Ben was up and running around and after his evening bath the hives were gone and did not reappear even after the antihistamine wore off.
A few nights later Hope came down with a fever. She was cranky and clingy and I wasn't sure exactly what was wrong. She woke up in the night and I remembered the peace I felt after praying aloud for Ben...so I climbed into her bed, snuggled her and prayed. I gave thanks for the amazing gift God gave us in Hope and spoke of His love for her and how it is even greater than my love for her. Shortly after we both fell asleep and when we woke up in he morning, everyone was well!
I have struggled with prayer for a very long time. We prayed so hard for Isaac and Asher, we trusted and prayed and praised Him. And both our boys died. I have struggled with what prayer should look like because I do believe God answered MANY of our prayers in those situations, but in the end His plan looked different than what we'd hoped for. I can accept that. I don't always like it, but I can accept it...I do know that He has our best interests at heart even if that doesn't make rational sense to me.
I am learning that prayer is often maybe misused...it isn't so much about asking God for things (at least for me) but about giving Him the control I try so hard to keep for myself and thanking Him for ALL. For me, it is a matter of heart. Thanking Him aloud and reminding myself that no matter the outcome, He loves me more than I can even fathom and He will take care of me puts my heart at ease, it takes away the worry and the fret. It is a powerful tool.
I wonder what the world would look like if instead of just telling people "You'll be in my prayers", we sat down and just prayed right then and there. I think we are missing out. "I'll pray for you" for many has just become a conditioned response, myself included. It is my goal to be more intentional with the gift of prayer we have been given. Every time I am inclined to worry, I will pray, and if a friend asks for prayer, instead of saying "I will pray for you" it is my resolve to pray with them...then and there. God doesn't need fancy words...he just wants our hearts. Maybe our prayers should be less about trying to make His plan look like the one we envision, and more about making our hearts more like His.