15 December 2016

answered prayer

God powerfully and unexpectedly met me at our staff Christmas party this past Saturday.

When my mom was sick and living at Cleveland Clinic Hospital, I left Asbury College well before the semester finished to live with her.  This exposed me to a lot of her final-days prayers, though I didn't realize it, or even appreciate it, at the time.  
This one day, my 15-year-old sister back in Columbus (about 2 hours away) had a big softball game.  My dad had purchased a video camera to try to capture such moments for her, but my mom wasn't one to be content second-hand.  If there was a game, she wanted to BE there, every game, every time.

That afternoon while the game was going on, I worked on some assignments in my chair while Mom started praying out loud again...this ongoing conversation with God that she seemed to carry continually the last few weeks of her life.
She prayed with an anguish I didn't understand for my sister's heart at that big game, and prayed that God would somehow send someone right now...that whatever role she would have played as mom, someone else would play.  

I didn't really understand the depth of this prayer until becoming a mom myself.  We moms, we don't WANT someone else filling our shoes, catching our memories, sharing our kids moments.  WE want to be there.  We want those.  We go crazy lengths to BE the one who is THERE.

And yet she prayed it, selflessly, and that day was just the beginning.
In the days that followed, I heard her praying it continually, over and over, both for the present and for the future: that God would use other men and women to do and be and share and help and provide and care and pray and LOVE us like she wanted to...but couldn't.

It was a prayer that angered me...not WANTING some weird unknown strangers to be the mother of my life.  I wanted my MOM to be my mom...wanted to hear her praying for healing for herself, praying that SHE would be there.
I think she knew her healing would be found in heaven. 
And she was selfless. 
And she trusted God, somehow, to DO that for her.  To find us and send us men and women...for our spouses, for our children, for our children's children.
And on Saturday, everyone was sharing short speeches of Thanksgiving for this past Semester, for each other, for Emmaus.

And when Fanfan started sharing, about how Matt came into his life in 2007, saw something in him that he hadn't even realized yet and poured into him, helping to bring him where he is today...as he was sharing, right here in this moment of this picture,
that softball game, that prayer, my mother's voice, all long forgotten, it all hit me like a ton of bricks.

It all vividly rushed to my mind, that day, those prayers, that hospital room where my mom spent the last months of her life, and as I stared at Fanfan, sudden tears in my eyes, God whispered loudly in my heart two words,

answered  prayer

And I have been messed up ever since.

Because you know what?

Our God.
He is one of such faithfulness that He powerfully and miraculously continues to answer the prayers of a godly woman, long dead.

He continues to answer the earnest and heartfelt prayer of a dead woman.  

My children beg to go help Granny shuck the beans, and off they run and I stay home, knowing full well that Gran and Macodo will patiently let them help, that Edlin will give Sofie sneaks of juice and that Louzann will listen well while Lily chatters about her day.
And when Matt needs help and grace and encouragement, Fanfan and Leme and Lucner, Junel, Phil, they are quick to give him Jesus and to laugh alongside.  He and Emily carry on like long-lost siblings, Julie takes Sofie along to school and shares Joel with Nora, the students watch over us all as we watch over them.
Granny looks and speaks nothing like my mother.  But she, and hundreds of others, are my mother's answered prayer.

A woman my mother never knew answers the phone every time I call, even when it's a terrible time for her (like a mother), and tells it to me straight with love.  And when Matt is gone, she comes like a grandma and loves on our children.
And friends we barely know answer prayers they don't know about, and provide for us to give and provide and help in ways impossible.  Like family.

A doctor my mother loved responds EVERY single time one of us (or one of our friends!) is sick or hurt, looking at rashes and helping me doctor them.

Churches my mother never heard of in states she'd never been to make us BE there.  Help pay for this dream and calling on our hearts.

A woman in a country my mom had only ever prayed for is crawling around on the floor right now with mom's granddaughter, kissing her cheeks and making her laugh.

And when Matt and Nora unexpectedly called my dad yesterday, he was happy, and not alone.

And there is a sister at my sister's little house today, loving on her children like I desperately want to and can't, answering my mother's prayer that has become mine.

answered prayer, all of it.
Be in awe with me, family.

Be in awe at His unlimited, unimaginable resources to answer the prayers of faithful ones long gone.

Be in awe that He miraculously chooses to use mere mortals, like you and I, to be His hands and feet and flesh.

Be in awe, this Christmas, to have prayers answered.  To have prayers heard. To have prayers waiting.

Be in awe, this Christmas, to BE prayers answered, for each other.

Be in awe, this Christmas, for Jesus...the answered prayer of countless many over countless years, the answered prayer of me, today.


  1. "Truly He taught us to love one another" What an excellent example this memory of your mom is.