My mother is a big believer in prayer; despite her mountain loads of what seemed to be unanswered prayer, her dedication to it has never wavered. I’m not sure I feel the same way about prayer as she does. I wish I could embrace her beautifully simple approach to life but for some reason God made me WAY more complicated.
Sometimes I think people use prayer as a way of saying things to each other that they would otherwise feel uncomfortable saying. A way of encouraging and saying, “I love you” through the guise of God. I think this is harmless, but unfortunate. Unfortunate that we don’t feel comfortable to just say it anyway.
I wonder what God must think when he hears our plea-filled prayers for miracles. I personally imagine him rolling his eyes and saying “for goodness sake – I’ve given you everything you need – just use it!”
For others, prayer is a lazy persons approach to helping someone in crisis. I have become tiresome of watching this – prayers offered in lieu of actually getting your hands dirty and doing something practical, as well as pray. Am I the only one who has thought to themselves…. thanks for praying but could your also wash my dishes? Thanks for praying but I’m not sure how that’s helping the fact that I haven’t showered in three days and I have no food in the fridge to feed my kids. Call me a heathen, but Yes, I have thought this…. many times.
Then there’s the ‘christmas list’ prayers, the ones who pray as if writing a letter to santa, “I’ve been really good – could you please give me…….” The church has done a great job of breeding what I refer to as ‘spoilt brat Christians’ who seem to think receiving a miracle simply requires asking for one. That’s what I and many like me were raised to believe. Needless to say our lives were met with much disappointment when reality showed us this is not the case.
The first time this reality smashed me in the face I was twenty three years old. I lost two babies that year. The first baby in it’s first trimester, the second, a beautiful baby boy named Maciek, born at twenty-two weeks. I went into labour at nineteen weeks. For those three weeks I had church loads of people praying for me. I was sure God would come through for me, despite the doctors grim outlook.
The day my doctor told me there was nothing more they could do to hold off my baby from being born, despite the stitch in my cervix, I was still confident for a miracle. The night they wheeled me into theatre to remove the stitch, which would then allow my tiny baby to be born, I had three church pastors in my hospital room with me. My dad, my uncle and my youth pastor. Three men I loved and trusted. They told me, “Melissa God can still do this. Have faith.”
I did. Loads of it. Even when that darling boy was born and I cradled him in my arms. He took a breath and then another. I truly believed I was witnessing a miracle. I had nothing but pure love and hope in my heart, we would prove those doctors wrong. I expected it. With no doubt – I expected a miracle. My beautiful boy took one more breath. His third and final breath.
I think maybe miracles are the wondrous things that happen in life despite the pain and hurt and tragedy. I am thankful for the gratitude I feel every single day for our three boys that did live. Is this my miracle? Regardless of the pain, Maciek’s short life inside me and the few moments we shared on this earth together has enriched my life. It brought me immense love and depth. I can’t imagine how else I could have gained such a tenderness and understanding but through this experience. For me that is my miracle.
Gratitude has been a miracle for me over and over again. I know we’ve all heard about the power of gratitude. We’ve heard about gratitude journals and the like. How many of us have started such projects of gratitude and given them the flick when things got tough?
Funny isn’t it, that when we are sick and only have so many ‘coins’ that we ditch the self-nurturing good habits that help keep us well, because…… well, there’s OTHER stuff that NEEDS to be done. It’s ironic behaviour, because it’s when we are sick that we need the good nutrition most, when we are weak is when we need to keep up those healthy habits to get back on top, so we can then serve others. Well the same can be said for giving thanks. When things are hard and horrible is when being grateful can benefit us most. Gratitude is my favourite kind of prayer. It lifts you and it creates unbelievable change.
What if we actually don’t mean it? That’s ok, If you’re so ill that you can’t walk, I’m not saying you should chant all day, “thank you that I cant’ walk.” I’m talking about gratitude as a change of focus. When you’re sick all the time it’s very easy to focus on the pain. The painful part of your body.
When you smile at a bully you take it’s power away. Smile at that disease, take it’s power away. To those of you giving me the finger while reading this, I get it. I would have been the same earlier in my journey. You can’t jump steps. Be at peace at whatever step you’re at, but be open to growth.
I think maybe the opposite of gratitude is resentment. Resentment is the best friend of a person who is in a bad place and feeling like the world is against them. I’ve been there on occasion (many occasions), there have definitely been times when resentment and it’s best friend self-pity have been my companions.
To be honest when I think about my lost years to insanity, losses that could have been avoided – I get a sinking feeling…. I grieve those lost years and that’s ok.. but you can’t stay there. It’s really unhealthy. That’s why they call it a grieving process, it’s something you work through. I don’t deny people that, in fact, it’s an important part of healing. Forgiveness is the antidote to resentment. Forgive yourself, forgive others and watch resentment turn into gratitude. It’s the most wonderous thing. Keep in Mind, we are only guaranteed this moment…. that’s it! So feel every bit of it, love every bit of it. Yes, even in the most heartbreaking of circumstances. Yes, the one you’re in right now! Lift your head my dear friends, look up, there is joy to be found.
And don’t stop praying….. but maybe look at why and how you do it? Maybe look at making it more of who you are and not what you do.
I love you.
Kisses, Meli xx
The whole world is a series of miracles…
but we’re so used to them we call them ordinary things.
~Hans Christian Andersen