Happy Friday friends! Congrats on making it to the end of this week. I hope you have been inspired to pray through the posts and this week's challenge. Today's guest post is from my new friend, Dawn. We met this year at Allume and she is just wonderful! Read her story for a chance to win some jewelry today from One Beautiful Life.
Three words. Pray without ceasing. Those three words hold enough to warrant their own verse in the word of God. But what do they mean? It can seem simple and at the same time can seem impossible. They are three words that are engraved on my heart. On my soul. On my life.
I prayed often at an early age. I used my diary to talk to God and to vent my heart that wrestled and choked in a home where my words were not welcome. As I child, I wasn’t really looking for anything to be answered with these prayers, I was simply longing to be heard.
It was not until I had a child of my own that prayer began to come as near to me as my own breath. This child was an answer to prayer. We adopted her from a land far away and her very arrival was prayer becoming flesh. Prayers that became beautiful songs of praise quickly became sorrowful pleas as trials held her hand.
A new mother full of joy and dreams, I was so caught off guard when we realized something was wrong. In the hospital, mere months after our homecoming, she seized in my arms and something clicked inside of me. I call it, “handle it” mode.
Prayer became daily dialogue. From the moment my mind awoke in the morning to the last thought of awareness for the day, this dialogue of praise and pleas became my breath. My faith was solid and I knew my Lord, my Father, My Savior would come through.
That was over 11 years ago.
I could write a book about the prayers I have offered for this daughter of mine. This daughter of His.
I have prayed for her healing for 11 years. I have praised and danced in the rain when it came. I have screamed in despair when it was lost again. I have prayed for understanding, for knowledge, for wisdom, and for answers. I have prayed for peace, comfort, strength, and the courage to let go. Her health has been a rollercoaster ride that has taken me to heights with views that have taken my breath away… filled me with passion and love and desire. As quickly as it has been beautiful, it has dropped to depths of darkness so quickly I have felt as if my life was being pulled from me through my throat. Gasping for air, grasping to hold onto anything for stability, and trying to steady my vision… I have been forced to approach the throne more often and more boldly than I could have even imagined.
As much as I have fought for my daughter’s health in prayer, I have fought for my own faith. The battle has been too much at times. There have been times when I could not even bring myself to pray another word. I questioned who I was approaching and His character and the faithfulness of His words.
“It is when the answer to prayer does not come… that the trial of faith, more precious than gold, takes place.” Andrew Murray~
I sat in bed and held her in my lap on one of these days. She had just had her 16th seizure for the day. As I watched and felt her body become rigid and jerk… her eyes roll back into her head… her breath trying to escape a clenched mouth… tears rolled down my face as emotions battled within.
Anger. Desperation. Helplessness. Sadness. Brokenness. Anxiety. Fear. The clashing together of these emotions as self- control fights with all her strength to keep it together leaves me feeling as if I could explode.
“There is nothing left to say,” is the only thought I can clearly make out. I had confessed to my mother the day before that I could not pray anymore. She had reminded me of Moses… when he could no longer hold up his arms to keep the waters at bay.
“Moses' arms soon became so tired he could no longer hold them up. So Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on. Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So his hands held steady until sunset.” Exodus 17:12~
“We will be your Aaron and Hur,” she had said. “We will pray for you and for her when you can’t.”
She reminded me how many people were praying for my little one and how many people were being led to the throne room on her behalf. She tried to encourage me that Abby’s illness was bringing others into deeper relationship with the Lord through prayer.
So as her body collapsed and the seizure was over, bitterness won… for a moment.
“I don’t care who is deepening their relationship with you through prayer for Abby right now. You COULD reach them another way. Why does MY CHILD have to be used to benefit others!? Why her? SHE DOES NOT DESERVE THIS! SHE SHOULD NOT HAVE TO SUFFER!”
As soon as I spewed these words… the Lord sweetly came and answered… and changed me.
“MY CHILD came and died for you… for sinners. He suffered on the cross. Brutal death. HE DID NOT DESERVE to suffer… yet He did. Because He loves you. He loves her. Is your child any more special than mine?”
Truth has never been easier to hear. There was no condemnation in His words… only love and compassion. It was holy.
The knowledge of what Jesus did for me, for humanity, became more personal.
And the answer was easily, “no.” My child was not above suffering. A clarity and newness of perspective arrived like a soft blanket.
And peace came. Understanding. A bigger picture. We are all a part of a bigger picture. And every now and then we get a glimpse… out of His grace… out of His mercy and faithfulness… and LOVE.
New tears started to fall as I soaked Him in. He heard me. He saw me. And He answered. And I praised Him. Nothing about my circumstance changed.
She was still lying there in my lap. Limp. We were still trying to walk through it… the questions of what to do, medications, procedures, fasting, praying…
But He had come. And He touched me. And I was changed.
I must add… to be fully honest… I was not made perfect in that moment. It was not a happily ever after from then on and for all of you who suffer and pray and wait… you must know this.
We still struggle with this battle… as well as new ones. And I still have my moments of, “Where in the world are you?” and “What in the world are you doing?” I still fall when bitterness takes hold of my foot and I still cry out in anger in the darkest of moments.
But I still pray. Often. Daily. Numerous times a day.
And He still comes. And He still leads. And He still guides and comforts and teaches me.
Prayer is like a life dance. There are many ways to offer it. Many reasons to engage. Many outcomes in the process and many left to learn.
Prayer brings joy and peace. Prayer brings frustration and sorrow. Prayer brings life. Prayer brings relationship.
Like I said earlier, I could write a book on prayer. I am passionate about it. I am lost without it.
So I encourage you… pray. Pray ugly. Pray beautiful. And pray everything in between. He is there. Meet Him there.
“Rejoice always, Pray without ceasing, In everything give thanks; For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” I Thessalonians 5: 16-18~
As a wife for 13 years, a mother of three adopted children (one with special needs), and a woman who seeks the Lord, I know a fair amount about trying to walk on water in the midst of life’s storms. And I know a little secret to making it through one… finding beauty in it. Most often that beauty is Jesus Christ." You can read more about Dawn at her blog One Beautiful Life.
Today Dawn is kind enough to be giving away some jewelry from her shop, One Beautiful Life, where you purchase with purpose. Dawn gives away 40% of sales each month to different charities and much of her jewelry is inspired by the people she's met through adoption. To enter, please like The Uncontainable Truth and One Beautiful Life on Facebook. If you already like both, you can also share the image above on your Facebook page for another chance to enter in the drawing. Happy Friday friends!
If you'd like to learn more about our New Year's Prayer Challenge, you can read this post about joining us for the next 21 Days.
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Want to go deeper?
- Complete the weekly prayer challenge sent to you by e-mail
- Read Chapters 1-4 this week in The Circle Maker
- Follow along with the New Start 15 Bible Reading Plan.
- Listen to today's song from our playlist as you circle your prayers