Friday, September 11, 2009

Mary! She will pray for you.

(Disclaimer #1: I know that people come from all different perspectives, beliefs, and life experiences when it comes to what they believe. This is my space to be able to be honest and transparent and that is what I try to do most of the time. I invite honest comment and dialogue, but be a bit gentle as I am sorting this out through writing it. Disclaimer #2 This is long.)

Absolute faith.
100% certainty.
Confident without a doubt.

This is not my faith. This is not the spirit i have when I pray. Sometimes I wish it was....

My work takes me out of the country multiple times a year. I work with amazing partners in this very poor country, and have friends and colleagues that have become like family to my husband and I. We come back humbled every time we spend time there just by being in the presence of people who are trying to end the tragedy of the poverty cycle, one day, one person, one prayer at a time. It is humbling. One man in particular, John has over the years become a friend to us. He is an american, but has lived there for 35 years. He has worked all these years with an organization that is very well-known and respected in the field that I work. Several years ago, he and his wife, Mary, started a small church in the village where his wife is from. I know of his wife, met her in passing, but haven't gotten to know here as well.

In this past visit, my husband traveled with me. We spent the weekend in the village with a family who belongs to John's church. As we sat at the kitchen table one night, somehow my husband began to share about our two miscarriages with this women, we were staying with. I was so appreciative of this women's response- without skipping a beat she said with almost a sense of urgency and excitement- "Mary! She will pray for you." It was as if she just knew that what we needed was for Mary to pray. She then, a bit embarrassed by her forthrightness, asked to make sure it would be okay if she asked Mary to pray for us. I said of course. The conversation changed directions and we carried on with the weekend. I told DH later that i had found myself oddly comforted by her response. It was indeed forthright- unlike the usual- "I'll pray for you" more automated response. She felt compelled to ask Mary to pray.

On Sunday we all went to this church in the village. It was good to be back as we haven't been there in some time. I am still a learner of the language so the long church service wore me out and at the end I was ready to say a quick goodbye to our friend John and head out. We got caught chit chatting with members as they stopped to greet us and soon the church was near empty. DH spotted John and led me over to him. Something must have stirred in my husband because he got to talking with with John, and soon he was again sharing of our struggle to grow our family and our two miscarriages. Sometime during this conversation we are joined by a women- and I realize that it is John's wife- Mary. Praying Mary. Mary listened to my huband tell our story, and then shared her story with us- 10 years of TTC. Infertility issues in both her and John. They adopted two children. Years go by. And she gets pregnant. The doctors don't understand how. She had a little girl. And just a few years later she gets pregnant again, and has another girl. They too shower us with compassion and ask if they can pray. And pray they did. Before starting to pray, she went out into the hallway and returned with two young women. She said, I have asked my daughters (now grown) to join us in prayer as they are the living proof that God can work miracles. And they prayed passionately. It was a canned or scripted prayer- they prayed with fervor. (Not a word that is used often, but I don't know how else to describe it). And they prayed specifically for God to bless us with a pregnancy.

And this is where I cringe. This is where my heart and my mind collide as I tell the story.

how can they pray that? how can they believe that? how can they lead me to hope for that? what about all the dear women in my life and in blogland that pray fervently and are prayed for fervently that will never hold a child in their arms?

shouldn't we just pray for God's will to be done? or pray that in whatever happens that God will be there with us? That is the only way I can muster to pray.

Or do I pray that way because it safer? because it actually requires less faith on my part and I don't have to go so far out on the limb? do I worry that I won't know what to do if ...if..the answer to the prayer never comes.

I wrestled with this when DH was diagnosed with cancer. I never prayed that God would heal him. I just couldn't. Because I know the statistics. I have known too many people that have been taken by this terrible disease. And I couldn't bring myself to pray for healing. I could only pray that God would walk with us whatever happened.

I don't know the answers to these questions. I don't think there really are answers to these questions in the way I would like. But I do think asking the questions is important- because I am trying to figure out what it means to be that I am a person of faith. And can I go out on the limb as far as Mary when I pray.....?

it is hard to put into words the story- but it was moving to be blanketed in prayer like this.

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