In my darkest days after a miscarriage when my baby died at 16 weeks, I prayed like a gulping fish out of water. It was constant, it was painful. I relied on my Lord for every moment. I could not be happy, I did not have comfort. But I knew where to find comfort and how to survive. I had to rest in His hands. I had no choice. For me, grief was a gift. This gift brought me nose to nose with my self reliance, with my foolishness. My baby was gone, and I had not been content to that point. I begged God many days to change things. Maybe the sonogram and doppler had been wrong. Maybe God would perform a miracle. This was not His will. During these days, I had to pray for each and every moment. Just sitting without crying in front of my other children was awful. I wanted to glorify Him in my pain. I wanted suffering not to be lost.
Our former pastor was preaching on the Sermon on the Mount. Yes, this is our old church. I sent him a note expressing that I thought grief was a gift. I was then asked to speak on “blessed are those who mourn.” Just a few short weeks after my miscarriage, I found myself telling about 2000 people (give or take) about my grief. I had been encouraged by a doctor to take anti-depressants and sleeping pills. I couldn’t do this, I had to mourn. I shared in my “testimony” that I believe we feel death is unfair (or really the seperation not actually death as punishment for sin) because our hearts are set for eternity. We were created originally to be in fellowship with God and with one another. When someone dies, we mourn the life. I was encouraged early on to “get over it” and even was reminded by my OB that I have a beautiful family already. This is true, yet I was seperated from my child. Despite never meeting this child, I had to mourn this life I would not know. My grief was the point, the life God created mattered to me, mattered to God. My grief did more though, it brought me face down to God. I remembered how I am dust, I am nothing. The only thing that makes me something is Christ and his grace, his mercy.
When I was in a van accident several years ago, I again prayed and leaned on God. I tend to become a hermit after having a child, and it might be months before I go out alone without any children at all. My youngest at the time was 4 months old, and I told my husband one day I needed to run an errand, and would be right back. I usually take a child or two with me, but I knew he had to work. On a tight schedule, I rushed off. On the way home, the van was sounding funny. I punched the gas at one point just to check it out, and the van suddenly died. Most cars were traveling 70 mph on this road. I was in the left lane of three, and saw an exit up ahead. I thought I might coast into the exit with flashers and I’d be safe. Not so. My van died in the center lane of the highway. I could only sit, knowing I should have gotten off on the left shoulder. Cars and even semi-trucks passed me at full speed for a few minutes. I prayed desperately in the moments I waited to be hit. I didn’t really know what exactly to pray but, “God, please help me.” I held on to the steering wheel, stayed in drive with flashers on, listened to Phyllis Shaffley (well, didn’t listen any more, but knew she was on) and watched my rear view mirror. I saw two vehicles split to go around me and one behind them continue going forward. BAM! I felt the crash jolt me, and suddenly I was screaming without realizing it, screaming without faith, all in fear. I could see my car ceiling as my seat had broken back. I could see my back door with the window crashed out, it was open wide. I felt myself rocket forward and fish tail, I actually thought I was spinning. I just held on, and screamed to God to help me, I didn’t want to die. I suddenly realized I had stopped moving, and sat up still screaming. I was thinking of whether or not I should get out of the van, would a car hit me trying to pass? I suddenly spotted people on the road, and I screamed at them afraid they’d be hit. However, when I looked back I realized the police had already come. A fireman pulled my side window off the back of the van asking me if my children had been with me. He was relieved when I said “no” quickly. The couple who had stopped offered me their phone and I called my husband. I did go to the emergency room seeing frosty images as I looked around, and had a badly bruised arm with a strap burn burn on the seatbelt, bumped knees from steering wheel, and my head had a big goose egg where I had landed right in my 4 year old daughter’s car seat. My seat had broken into the recline position and so I was leaning on top of my daughter’s car seat as the van stopped moving. With all the excitement, I focused on getting out of the ER and home to my children. My 4 month old had cried the entire time for a feeding, and with arm in sling it was hard to take care of her but I did it. A few days later I was in the shower replaying the accident when it suddenly it me that my kids weren’t with me, and I had been reclined into where my precious 4 year old daughter would have been. Her legs would have been crushed, and who knows exactly how my head came down. The cover of her seat had been pulled off her head rest, so it seemed my head hit there. It’s possible I would have bumped heads with her. In an instant I was crying and actually kissing my hands and throwing the kisses to God in praise. It was not a planned action on my part, I did this spontaneously. My spirit was just taken by the moment and the possibilities, God had spared me the horrible nightmare of my children being hurt or killed in that accident. I came away with a scar from the seat belt burn, but otherwise, I didn’t even experience whiplash because the seat broke down. I know what desperate and “life flashing before your eyes” prayers are like. God was with me though I feared.
I have had many events I can recall leaning on God in prayer. Some were while in labor, when baby had a decel and I feared a c-section. All the sounds and people around, and I submitted to God’s will and an outcome I could not control. There were times in which people I loved were dying, like my grandfather and my aunt. I grieved to the Lord, cried for them and begged comfort in their pain. I also prayed for salvation (my Grandpa assured me two weeks before his death that he had assurance of his salvation).
Many moments of prayer are dramatic, I know I need to lean, but I also lean in the little moments. Some mornings I just whisper a prayer as I wake up. I know I will be faced with temptations to waste my time, to be angry at my children, or to overeat. I will be tempted to selfishness. I have to rely on the Lord for strength to get through just being me every waking moment. I praise Him for his steadfastness, His sovereignty. I thank Him for His grace and mercy. I ask His forgiveness. Every day, in the little things, I struggle. Every moment, I need to lean on Him. I am nothing without Christ. He saves me.