Wednesday, May 21, 2008

praying for our wants, praying for our needs

the whole month of may i have been on stomach bug patrol. let me explain. this family seems to almost always catch a stomach bug, and often in 3's. often in may.

somewhere in charlotte, my mom, the most inspiring woman on the planet (more on that at a later time), can be heard saying in a northern yet southern accent "jess, do not speak that over yourself." these are words of wisdom that i grew up hearing and still to this day say in my head and sometimes aloud if feeling bold. i'm not even quite sure that i know what i'm saying or what i mean or what she meant. but it feels like the right thing to do.

many of you may remember this from last fall.

oh the drama this was. this is my then 2 year old at the hospital from a stomach bug that in the
end lasted 20 FREAKING days. had never even heard of a bug lasting that long. and her little, baby sister's lasted that long as well. you don't even want to know about the clean up that goes into a bug of 2 children that can't make it to a toilet for that length of time. and we're not just talking vomit, friends. i'll never forget robbie in the middle of the night, pacing the house, basically in chant form saying "Lord, please have mercy on us". it was our most stressful time as parents since bringing olive home from the hospital.
we were worried, folks! even though the doctors insisted that this could happen to healthy children, it didn't seem right.

but God did bring us out of it and the lessons learned were such that i would go through it all again to understand them as deeply as i did during that time.

all that to say that i have a healthy fear of this bug now and really don't want it anywhere near my family. robbie and i have never agreed more on a matter. so we have done what we can do as parents of a 3 and 1 year old that suck their thumbs pretty consistently. we carry wet ones and antibacterial gel around with us like they are weapons and have become wiping and squirting fools. i'm certain that i've embarrassed myself with it. i wouldn't be surprised if i had an unknown nickname or persona out there like "freak-o mom" or something more creative. and knowing that i'm susceptible too, i've been really careful with myself. the only thing that we haven't done is avoided life. mainly because i think that's a step over the line into panic and unhealthy fear. so we've had people over, we've gone to birthday parties and cookouts with communal food, we've gone to work, to church, to restaurants, heck even hugged people. i have kissed each family member on the mouth in the month of may. i admit this. so i suppose i haven't done everything i could do to avoid this.

monday night at the dinner table in addition to praying for the food, thanked God for keeping us healthy thus far and asked Him to continue to do so. 2 hours later i had made the bathroom my home for the next 8 hours. stomach bug, people.

i'm really not mad at God. i have nothing close to that to say. i completely believe that He allows us to go through things for a greater, higher purpose that we don't understand at the time. i could bet my life on the fact that he shapes us up and gives our lives purpose and meaning through the hard times. i'm realy ok with that. i promise. i actually love it and understand it as a parent. i'm ok that my prayers are not answered. i still feel the need to thank Him, to worship Him. He still awes me and brings me to tears of joy over the way that He HAS provided, for the protections that He HAS given.

but here is my question. why does He ask us to pray for what we want? why does He ask us to be direct in Matthew (version the Message) He says "be direct. ask for what you need." why does He want to know what i want and need, when ultimately He's got the plan, the big old picture, His will. i'd rather have what He thinks is best. is that what i should be direct about?

so please do weigh in. i know there are some differing opinions out there.

robbie's grandparents have devoted their older adult lives to the power of prayer over sickness. they are the experts on God's healing. or at least experts to us. they have seen miraculous healings in their lives. experienced miraculous healings.

they have told us again and again that God does not want nor allow us to be sick for any circumstance. so i'd love to hear your opinions in particular. what about the molding and discipline that God puts into us though? like parents to their children.