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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

A lesson on prayer...

I sat quietly by her isolette as the machines offered their beeps and whooshes. I breathed in the medicinal scents and breathed out prayers. I sang to her, touched her little feet, and just waited. The waiting was long- two-and-a-half months- but each day brought us closer to her homecoming. I watched as other babies came and went, and other parents cried and laughed, all the while treasuring even the slightest interaction with my little one-and-a-half pounder. Her hand barely covered my fingernail; her cry was a kittenish one; her fully-opened diaper was the size of a postcard; her chances for overcoming the dozens of hurdles in her path were slim.

But we waited.
Prayer is the burden of a sigh, the falling of a tear, the upward glancing of an eye, when none but God is near.

There were many times I couldn't pray. I was weary, emotionally raw and too much in pain from my csection to think straight. I felt buoyed up by the prayers of friends and family, but at some deep level I wondered what those prayers meant.

There were prayers for Madalyn's healing. What if she didn't survive?

There were prayers for my strength. Why did I feel as if I couldn't get out of bed?

There were prayers for each milestone to be met. What if she didn't meet any?

I was painfully aware of the fact that I would not allow myself to think beyond each day. I didn't want to look forward to birthday parties that would never happen, hugs I might not receive, pony tails I wouldn't be able to put in her hair, if...if...

I found myself asking my mom this question as she cared for me,

"What if she doesn't make it through unscathed; will you love her just as much?"

I was so in love with this little skin-and-bones miracle and I was petrified that others wouldn't see her as I did, or even worse, that if something were to happen, even I wouldn't love her as I should. Only when I finally heard God amidst my fear did I relax into mothering this child:

As I love you with your weaknesses and shortcomings, so will you love her, no matter what.
When we try to express communion with God in words, our minds quickly come up short. But, in the depths of our being, through the Holy Spirit, Christ is praying far more than we imagine.

Brother Roger of Taize

That was the moment I learned the true value of prayer. I didn't need a "yes" to my requests, I simply needed to know they were heard. I didn't need Madalyn to be perfect, I simply needed to know that God was in her imperfections. I didn't didn't even need her to survive to understand that prayer was about me and God and how I let Him be my peace. The lessons I learned amidst the machines as I sat near my tiny daughter forever changed my view of God, prayer and unconditional love.

As I look at my petite 4-year-old, I remember all that I felt. She did come through unscathed, nothing short of a miracle, but what I see now is that the real miracle was within me- my acceptance, my letting go, my peace. She is who God made her to be, and part of her purpose here was to teach her mom the most precious of lessons.

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Blogger Linda said...

Christine - this is such a powerful devotional. I am in such a place right now (different circumstances). It's hard to learn these lessons of prayer. I sometimes find myself so confused about the "right way" to pray. I have come to the same conclusion you did. It's the knowing that He hears, and the knowing that He loves me just the way I am. It brings such peace because then I know that all will be well (whatever the outcome).
Thank you for this beautiful reminder.

March 13, 2007 at 9:52 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

Thank you for sharing so intimately with us about this experience and what God showed you. I love that He is "in our imperfections." He is sovereign!

March 13, 2007 at 9:56 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

This was very heart touching, bless you.

March 13, 2007 at 10:48 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

This is such a great illustration, and such a sweet story of that love of a Mother.

March 14, 2007 at 6:59 AM  
Blogger Cyndi said...

I loved this so much: "the real miracle was within me- my acceptance, my letting go, my peace." So often I look for outward manifestations of His power, when what He is doing is the inner work, preparing His bride. What a powerful post today. Thank you for sharing this, Christine.

March 14, 2007 at 7:55 AM  
Anonymous eph2810 said...

Thank you Christine for sharing this incredible story of your little miracle. I am glad that God gave you the peace you needed during the time.

Blessings on your day and always...

March 14, 2007 at 8:01 AM  
Anonymous Lynn Donovan said...


I felt buoyed up by the prayers of friends and family... Wonderful...

I rejoice with you today and delight in the pony tail with your daughter. Blessings.

March 14, 2007 at 8:45 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

What a beautiful reminder that in the midst of some of the most trying and difficult circumstances, the miracle often times is not in what we are facing, but the work God does in our own hearts.
What an awesome God we serve!

March 14, 2007 at 9:30 AM  
Blogger Darlene said...

That is such a touching story Christine. I can imagine her little body and miniature bum that fit that tiny diaper. What a special gift you've been given.

March 14, 2007 at 9:35 AM  
Blogger Kili @ Live Each Moment said...

Being pregnant I can understand those emotions. I am halfway through my second pregnancy and although I do not anticipate any problems or complications with this little baby boy, I have fears of him not meeting my expectations as well.

My first son is so nearly "perfect". He ate well, slept well EVERYTHING. I am afraid, trying to remember this next little boy is his own little person and will be different.

Thanks for the reminder that God is in all the imperfections of our children, and even in our lives.

March 14, 2007 at 10:24 AM  
Blogger theragan3 said...

Wow. How I can totally relate to your post. I too spent time in a NICU with my son - 51 days. I can still close my eyes and see him in that isolette. Emotionally raw? Absolutely. Exhausted and can't pray anymore? Absolutely. I too didn't want it all to be hugs and roses but I did want to KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that HE heard me... and what a peace I found when I relased my son to HIS care, understanding that prayer wasn't about anwers but about a conversation with my Father who loved me and would move mountains for me. That 51 days was about ME. Thanks for the reminder of the miracle of my son and the work that God was doing in me too during that long stretch.
Blessings to you and your little one!

March 14, 2007 at 2:03 PM  
Blogger Sandy said...

God uses amazing situations to change us. When my 3 kids were babies, my Mom died of cancer. I thought I'd never be the same. And I wasn't ... but God used it powerfully in my life.
I love seeing the picture of your little miracle!

March 14, 2007 at 4:49 PM  
Blogger Laurel Wreath said...

Oh Christine I had a premature baby also, I can so relate to this post. And where you said, I don't need a "yes" I just need to know they were heard. Oh powerful stuff, I totally agree.

Thanks for writing this.

March 14, 2007 at 8:38 PM  
Blogger The Preacher's Wife said...

I can't even fathom how painful those days must have been. I remain convinced there is a extra measure of grace God in times like these..No doubt, just as the apostle Paul, "the Lord stood beside" you..Beautiful story.

March 15, 2007 at 9:29 AM  
Blogger Elise said...

How graciously He carried you through, and taught you so much in the process!
I must say, I don't know how I would react to a situation like yours, but I have a wonderful model to hold up if it ever happened to me! *You*

March 15, 2007 at 10:02 PM  
Blogger janiswrites said...

God uses every circumstance to mold us into the woman that He wants us to be. I am thankful that you made it through with faith and hope. Beautiful post. Blessings!

March 16, 2007 at 3:03 PM  
Anonymous P said...

Christine, and now you're sharing what God taught you with others. Someone out there will read this and identify in a very personal way. Madalyn's story could very well change lives eternally.

What a precious gift she is.

April 11, 2007 at 2:30 PM  

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