Saturday, March 02, 2013

How I prayed


I’ve been writing a book about Allie, our special needs child.

She's a quadriplegic with cerebral palsy. Allie is a victim of shaken baby syndrome.

Allie is our biological granddaughter, born perfectly normal; perfectly healthy. At 10 months old, her father shook her and squeezed her. She stopped breathing. She was resuscitated by emergency responders but remained in a coma for ten days. She emerged from the coma slowly and painfully with severe brain damage and disabilities.

We decided to adopt her. And I’ve been writing about it here on this blog. Type “Allie” into this blog’s search tool, and all kinds of posts about Allie will come up. A good place to start is with this post.

When my wife and I were working our way through the beginning of our new life as the parents of a special needs child, our lives and faith were in crisis. One expects his life to be in crisis. But he’d rather his faith didn’t suffer. He wishes his faith were impervious to catastrophe.

I learned I wasn’t supposed to put my faith in faith. That’s where I came up short. I need to put my faith in God because He is faithful. That was tougher to get done, than I’d hoped. But God is the author of faith and He’s a good author. I’m just the author of a random blog.

I read a book about prayer recently. It challenged me and caused me to reflect back to how I prayed a few years ago when we were in the thick of trying to figure out our new life.

How I prayed.

This isn't saying I offered God prayers in large quantities. This is the kind of praying I did. I prayed so much. And I didn't pray enough.

When I prayed, I cried out. And I cried a lot.

There were times I wouldn't pray for a long time. It seemed that God went silent so I, too, went silent.

I was afraid, even, that if I died, Jesus might say, "I never knew you" because I just didn't talk to Him as much as I should have. Maybe that's why this all happened in the first place; I didn't pray enough.

I know that's out of character with what we know about Jesus. But these are the mental gymnastics I put myself through.

I wish I was more stout in my faith, but I'm not. I'm frail in my faith.

I prayed often for healing - I prayed for healing but I really didn't think healing was on its way. I really, really want to believe that God is willing to heal Allie from head to toe and I know He's capable. I just think He won't. I think He wants me to live out the rest of my life loving, and caring for her and giving her the very best life I'm capable of giving her as Christ lives and loves through me.

That's what I think He wants to do. I used to think that was bad. Now I think it's really very good because God wants to continually flow through me.

That's why I need to keep praying and pray big. I need to pray for the things that only God can deliver.

When Allie was first diagnosed with brain damage, the docs were convinced Allie was blind. The part of her optical nerve that could be scene with optical tools was gray. It was a dead nerve our doctor told us. We have it in Allie's records.

One year later, we went to the same doctor for an exam and as he conducted it in a very routine manner, he mentioned that her optical nerve was pink and healthy. He didn't give Allie's records or his own notes very thoroughly before he began the examination. I heard him say, "well that's a nice pink optic nerve."

I said, "You know, doc, last year, when you looked at her, you said that she was blind - that she had a gray optic nerve."

"Well, I was mistaken. Because it's pink."

That wasn't something I prayed for. God just did it. He showed us that He was showing up.

Susan prayed that Allie would be able to communicate. We're doing everything we can on our end to try and make that happen with speech therapists at school to copying her and encouraging her to leap out on her own with words.

Sometimes I yell at God and it doesn’t sound like prayer to the people who hear me in the next room. I don’t need to yell to be heard, but Psalm 57:2 says to cry out to God. So I cry out sometimes. I should be nicer about it because God is holy and deserves to be revered. But I get cranky when things don’t go my way.

I always wonder if God hears me. I wonder if He thinks I’m as much of a Christian as I think I am.

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