"He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm,
and carry them close to his heart, and shall gently lead those that are with young." Isaiah 40:11

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Questions about Prayer

Our trip to Manitoba went well. We were so glad that we could all go and spend time with Val and Ravi and Isaiah. Thank-you so much for praying, and for your expressed concern for them. They named their babies Thomas and Teagan. We looked at the memory boxes that the Hospital made for them. Tiny bunting bags that they used to dress the babies. One pink. One blue. Ribbons showing the length of each twin. Val went back to work on Monday. Ravi went back earlier. Of course, it is so difficult. Please do keep praying for them....  

Rachel would have been 22 months today. It's so hard to imagine her as that old!  Oh I wish I could see her toddling around and learning to talk and trying to keep up with her siblings. I find that I don't want to see pictures of her these days. It hurts to remember and it is easier to throw myself into projects and activities. I still feel cautious about spending alot of time with people yet, but that is slowly changing. 

Abigail though, has been crying in her bed more lately, because she misses Rachel. Sometimes she'll cry in the van driving to her Dance class...when she sees someone pushing a baby stroller.....or at bed-time...or while playing with something that reminds her of Rachel. She has been sleeping with her sheep that she got at the funeral. Sometimes I have found her cuddling it in the middle of the day. We have had alot more snuggling time as result. And I don't mind that:) It is so good for my heart to hug them and be their mommy. Ethan and Abigail are great at comforting each other too! I think that as result of our experience with Rachel, they are much more open and caring towards others who are hurting. (Ethan especially did a great job caring for his cousin Isaiah who also has a sister in heaven now, and a brother too. I can't remember his exact words but I thought he was pretty sweet...) I am glad for that....

With all those hours driving to Manitoba and back, I had lots of time to read.  (the kids are GREAT travellers now).  One book that I devoured is called "When God Doesn't Answer Your Prayers" by Jerry Sittser. I felt that I could identify with so many of the questions about prayer.  I have read other books about prayer but I think this is the first one that truly connected with me. Jerry Sittser's mom, wife and daughter died in a car accident (he was also in the vehicle, along with three more of his children) Because of this, his questions are intensely personal and honest.  He goes beyond the usual easy answers that I have heard before... 

Dave and I have been wrestling with a pretty big decision these past months. Or at least I am wrestling and Dave is a good listener! There have been days when I am pretty much focussed on just this one thing, and yes, as some of you noticed - this is bordering on the obsessive;) I am glad in the times when I am able to remember and know that it won't always seem this Big. But as result, I have spent more time praying for direction, for wisdom than I have in a long time...

....and in the waiting, I have begun wondering about prayer too. I wonder why God doesn't make Himself more real. Why is prayer so hard? Why should I pray at all, when it seems that God will just do as He wills anyway? How do I know that I am asking for right things? Or how long I should persist in praying the same thing? I asked God that Rachel would be born healthy. I asked Him to take away her suffering (and He did, although not in the way I would have chosen). I ask for a life partner for someone I care about, who is wondering if she will always be single. I have prayed some prayers for years with seemingly, no response. In Sittser's words, "What should we do and how should we respond when our prayers - prayers that seem right and true and good - go unanswered?" 

So, if you wonder these things too, I encourage you to read this book. ok, that's all for today. I wish I could write more sometimes but I can't seem to find time. oh, how do you mothers do it? Blog and care for your kids? How did I ever write as much as I once did, with Rachel? 

Here's a few quotes from the book:

"Prayer seems truer to me when it spits and mutters and cries."

 "I want life to be nice, safe and secure. But as C.S Lewis put it, God does not want to make life nice for us because he wants to make us new. That is his will. When we pray, we should keep that end in mind.  It is enough to make me think twice about praying at all.  I pray with greater caution than I used to.  Or if not with greater caution, then certainly with greater sobriety.  I realize what I am in for."

"The grass resolves to grow again, receiving the rain to that end, but my disordered soul thirsts after something it cannot name." Jane Kenyon "August Rain, After Haying"

"We pray because what we really want, above all else and in the deepest places of our being, is to know God."


Kathy and Carl said...

Thank you Kendra for sharing your thoughts on the book. I should read it. And we will continue to pray for Val and Ravi and Isaiah, along with you and Dave and the kids.

Our hearts are heavy....so we lift our prayers to the One who can comfort.

Kathy and Carl said...

Oh and to answer your question about caring for the kids and blogging.....I usually blog in a flurry late at night and then schedule my posts! Sometimes I just have bursts of creativity or more realistically, energy. :)

paige said...

That last quote is where i'm at in regards to prayer. It has been my journey this past year - & honestly? It has been one of the hardest things to learn in my whole life.

Carlana said...

I just listened to David and Nancy Guthrie on Focus on the Family while I was doing some work around the house. I remember you mentioning them before. I shed some tears as I listened to it as there are so many similarities to your story. They mentioned how getting near the 2nd birthday was tough which is what you are obviously facing, too. Thinking and praying for you. If you ever want to listen to it off the Focus website it was aired Mar 20 & Mar 21. Though it's probably similar to other things you've heard from them before and really ...you've already lived it...it's good for the rest of us to listen to!

Brenda Funk said...

It was lovely to have you here to share Val and Ravi's loss especially -- and Ethan was amazing -- I think he said something like "Isaiah, we wanted to come to Manitoba to be with you because we feel sorry that your little brother and sister died. And I know what that's like, because Rachel died too."
I am grieving largely for my daughter, but somewhere I am trying to find the time to grieve my own loss as well -- I too am so sorry about the loss of these little ones. We were so counting on them, and so excited to anticipate their being with us soon.
Thanks so much for coming to be with us. It is a lot of driving for a few short days.