Thursday, April 8, 2010

the privilege of prayer

I have something special to share.  You want to read the text, and see the special photo at the end.

Although this blog focuses mostly on my children and family, thread throughout my posts, you will find my faith.  I have a strong faith in Jesus.  I believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God.  I was lucky enough to be born into a family of faith and raised that way. 

I was one of the odd kids who would cry, and by cry I mean sob, whenever we didn't go to church.  It was my favorite place to be as a kid.  It was my rock, my refuge, my lifeblood as a teenager.  Now, I work at a church.  Clearly, my faith and the church are important to me.

Prayer is a huge part of faith.  It's conversating with God.  Talking to him and listening to him talk back.  Does he talk to me in a audible voice?  Not usually.  But I hear his spirit in the quiet of my heart, in the still of my mind. 

I've spent my whole life praying.  Praying for guidence, for forgiveness, for help, for healing.  I will admit, much of my prayer has focused on myself.  But I've also prayed for the healing of family and friends.  I've seen God answer prayers.  These answers are people who are still alive today, who shouldn't be.  My best friend's mom who fought lymphoma for years and finally is cancer-free after a bone marrow transpalnt from a donor.  My mother-in-law, who is a stage 4 breast cancer survivor.  My childhood friend who had a heart transplant before she turned 30.  I could list so many more.

If you are a frequent reader, you know babies are my soft spot.  I dreamed my whole life of being a mom, and it's everything I hoped for and more.  I knew I was blessed to get pregnant on the first or second try with my first two children, and then to have an unexpected pregnancy. 

A little more than a year ago, I learned that a good friend was finally pregnant after a years-long struggle with infertility.  And I rejoiced with her!  Not long after, news came that this baby was not healthy.  This baby would probably not survive outside the womb.  And I prayed.  I prayed for healing.  I prayed for a miracle.  Then, as more understanding came, I prayed that this baby boy would not suffer.  He was born straight to Jesus' arms.

I continued to pray, for my friends.  For their pain and sorrow.  For healthy babies without medical intervention.  A miracle occured.  Within a few months, this mama found herself expecting again.  She alternated between grieving her son, and rejoicing in the healthy development of her daughter.

Suddenly, in just a few days, everything changed.  This much-awaited, much-prayed for baby girl was born much too soon, just before 25 weeks.  A mere 1 lb and 6oz.  And I prayed.  Hundreds, probably thousands prayed for this little one.  I often shared specific requests on my Facebook status, and friends of mine, who did not know this family, prayed and believed with me.  They waited anxiously for updates, and stopped me in the lobby at church.

I even fasted Diet Coke, which is huge for me.  It was the least I could do, as I prayed for this little one.  Prayed that she would survive the complications, that she would thrive and come home to her parents waiting arms.

I learned so much about prayer during those months.  As we saw her grow, and conquer challenges, I realized what an incredible privilege it was to be praying for her, to be a small part of the answers to prayer.  I firmly belive that the hundreds and thousands of people bombarding heaven on her behalf, made a difference in her life.  In her survival. 

Prayer is a privilege.  To be a part of how God works in someone's life.  To watch your prayers be answered.  And sometimes, to watch God answer them in the way only He knows as best.  To be able to pray, His will be done. 

I don't understand everything about prayer.  I just know that I pray.  That God responds.  And that I know, that I know.  That's enough for me.  I'm thankful for precious baby Finley.  She taught me an important lesson which will stay with me for the rest of my life.  It was such a privilege to pray for her and to see God move.

And it was such a privilege a few weeks ago, to hold this little miracle baby in my arms!  (It was a total coincidence that we matched!)

This is a miracle.  Finley is home.  Growing.  Thriving.  Showing no major signs of long-lasting effects of her prematurity.  She's 5 months old now, and about the size Gracie was when she was born.  But, can you see, she has a few leg rolls?!  Absolutely adorable.

Here's a close up (although she had just scratched her face).
Isn't that the sweetest little headband on her?

This is an answer to prayer.  What a privilege to have been a part of this miracle.

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