A few months ago, I found myself in the chaos that occurs during an illness with my medically complex daughter. For weeks, my daughter’s breathing struggled. At home, there were increased albuterol treatments day and night and nocturnal oxygen use. Her oxygen saturation monitor alarmed frequently several nights jarring my husband and I awake causing us to spring into action.
There were two trips to the emergency room that led to two hospital admissions for a total of 6 nights. After two rounds of steroids, two different antibiotics, and numerous breathing treatments, my daughter was finally back to her normal self. In all, five weeks were devoted to treating this illness that ended in pneumonia.
During all of this, our routine flipped upside down. Thanksgiving was spent in a hospital, not with family and friends. My work schedule was revised and revised again. Each day presented challenges.
My daughter’s health is priority number one when an illness arises. I gladly do the things my daughter needs done. After all, we’re all called to serve beyond ourselves. Still, the situation took its toll on me.
Tiredness turned to exhaustion over the weeks. My muscles ached from the strain of stress. By the time things calmed down, my body was still reeling. I was completely spent. Like other illnesses, I knew I needed time to readjust back to normal after a time that was completely abnormal.
I had mixed feelings going to church the first Sunday my daughter felt well. I didn’t blame God for any of her problems, but I wasn’t feeling super spiritual. I wasn’t really in the mood for church, but I went knowing I needed to go. I live by a principle that a hospital trip for my daughter means a trip to the altar to pray with a fellow believer for me. That day though, I didn’t feel like getting prayer.
During the drive to church, I decided I was not going to get prayer. I would wait a week when I was feeling more receptive. Me, the person who encourages others and stresses the importance of prayer, was not taking my own advice.
After the first song at church ended, the call for prayer began. As typical for my church, they listed a few specific ailments that members on the prayer team explicitly wanted to pray with others about. The first one mentioned was pain in the left ear. Having been diagnosed with a bulging left ear drum the day prior, I took that as my sign. I reversed my decision and went forward for prayer. I confessed to the woman praying for me that I allowed stress to build and build over the weeks as I cared for my daughter.
“God isn’t moved by our reactions,” the prayer partner assured me. With gentleness and love, the woman prayed with and encouraged me.
As I took my seat, God further spoke to my heart. It was not a displeasure over my reactions and stress during a difficult time, but a gentle reminder that He could intervene more in these situations if I could flip off the switch that has me only look at things through a medical viewpoint.
God is there when we need Him most. He wouldn’t let me miss an opportunity to grow through prayer. He graciously gave me the push to ask for prayer by highlighting my hurting ear. I didn’t have a major epiphany that immediately changed how I felt, but I was encouraged to keep moving forward in the grace of God.
Prayer is powerful. I think because I have the option to pray anytime by myself that I forget how important it can be. I should know by now that if I don’t feel like prayer, then that’s a sign I need it most. I hope you know that too.
In our weakness, we can find His strength.
Evana is a wife and mother of two children. Since becoming a parent, Evana has spent many hours driving to specialty appointments, praying beside a hospital bed, and learning about her children’s diagnoses. Evana is also a pediatric speech-language pathologist and serves children with autism, feeding disorders, and other developmental delays. You can connect with Evana on Twitter, Facebook, and her blog, A Special Purposed Life. You can also read more about her family’s story in her book, Badges of Motherhood: One Mother’s Story about Family, Down syndrome, Hospitals, and Faith.