Have you ever had those times in your life when your circumstances felt too extreme and even praying for yourself was incomprehensible?
I hadn’t had one of those moments in quite some time, until this past January.
I am strong in my faith. I had the privilege to grow up in a strong Christian family. This does not mean that as a child I was super strong in my faith, but I knew all about Jesus and could sing many songs about him. As a teenager, I still knew him and held strong to the fact he forgave me for everything in my life, which was a great reminder when I was disobeying my parents’ wishes!
As I moved away from my family and went to college, I still had my faith in my pocket, but I wasn’t practicing. I wasn’t praying unless something awful was happening and I needed help, and I wasn’t surrounding myself with others who would encourage my faith.
Eventually, I decided I wanted to find a church home and I realized that I was really missing going to church services every week. I would cry at every service. Mostly because my heart was melting at how at home I was, it was like a homecoming I didn’t realize I was having.
Since then, my faith has grown astronomically. It’s not just something I have kept on the sidelines, but is what I hold first in my life. I try to get up every morning to have my alone time with God, and I am working at keeping him with me throughout my days.
So imagine my brokenness when I couldn’t even pray for my family.
Last month my son was overcome with sickness.
Our 16-month-old was sick. We had never seen him sick at all before.
Kaden is the most outgoing little kid you will meet. Right now he is super proud of walking independently. He will practically run down the halls of the church with his arms held high, a huge grin on his face, and a welcoming yell to make sure you can see what he can do!
When that little boy became lethargic from sickness, I felt paralyzed. Luckily, God moved my feet and encouraged me to get him help, because I had absolutely no idea what to do.
Before he got really sick I had been praying for his healing, I had even prayed with Kaden. We would ask God to heal him and get him healthy so he could play and feel all better. A couple of days later, he was still not drinking and not having enough wet diapers. He was vomiting and having diarrhea, still running a fever, and just had no will to do anything.
As we took him to the first ER of the week, I was still praying. I was bawling, but I was still praying.
You know that feeling you get in the back of your throat when you are trying to withhold a cry? When it’s going to become the ugliest cry ever, if you let it? That’s what I was starting to suppress as we got him admitted to the children’s hospital, two days after our first ER visit.
The son I bawled over two days earlier, was sicker, weaker, and just so sad. You would look at him and just melt, needing to hold him in your arms and make the world better for him. He was so scared that I wanted to be strong for him, and the thing about faith is, it brings us to our knees.
I am so vulnerable before God that there isn’t any way I could pray without losing all that I was trying to keep at bay. I would start to pray and then just have to stop because I knew I would be sitting next to Kaden’s hospital bed and sobbing uncontrollably, and I needed to be strong for him. I needed not to be another reason for him to be scared.
After the first night in the hospital, my husband came and brought me items I needed to take a shower. I was alone for the first time in 24 hours. I broke. I started to hyperventilate as the pain and agony was washing over me. I put my hands over my mouth to try to conceal the fact I was breaking. I didn’t want the other family in the room with us to hear me and worry about what was happening to the mom in the shower. My one desire was to sit on the shower floor and lose it in prayer, begging God to heal my son…but we all know that would be extremely unclean. So, I focused on the task at hand and pulled myself together. I got cleaned up and told my husband I needed to go for a walk and make some calls, which I did and calmed down a bit.
2 days later we were finally being released from the hospital with a healthier boy on the road to recovery. As we walked down the hospital hall to the exit, I felt like we were running from death. I wanted to walk as fast as possible and get away from the fear that the hospital held. We got outside and I started weeping.
It was as if God had given me the strength I needed inside those walls, but now I didn’t need it and it was time to see what He had done for me. I wept and wept. I wept out of disbelief of what we had been through. I wept out of thankfulness and gratitude for all He had done. I wept out of happiness that it was over.
I wept off and on for days.
A few days later, I realized the reality that I couldn’t pray for myself. And yet I was lifted up throughout that entire experience and given what I needed because I had asked for prayer.
In those times that I felt weak, I texted and emailed everyone I knew, even in the Facebook world. Just so that everyone possible could be praying for us. I asked them to pray for healing of Kaden and strength for my husband and me. In the reality of being home with a healing boy, I was overcome by how covered in prayer, peace, and strength we were!
In those times that we can only say His name, and ask for others to call upon Him in prayer for us, we are still strong. We are still covered in grace.
God knows my thoughts, He knows my heart, He knows when I’m hurting and why. I don’t have to be able to pray for help. I am so thankful that He knew my heart. I am so thankful that He heard the prayers of hundreds of people and that He held me in his arms when I felt sooo very scared.
Prayer saved me. Prayer made me strong. Prayer helped me be what my son needed.
And it wasn’t even my prayers.