Unexpected Answers to Prayer
One day nearly twelve years ago as I was walking in to work, I had a feeling of dread. Work had been stressful, and I prayed as I walked for a change in my life that would take this stress away. As I walked from the parking lot a butterfly crossed my path and followed me toward the entrance. At the time, the appearance of the butterfly calmed my anxiety as I felt the Lord heard my prayers and was with me in my distress.
As I continued, the feeling of calm was accompanied by an overwhelming feeling that my life would change in a devastating way. The conflicting feelings of peace from the Lord along with feeling that my life would change beyond my control was something I could not reconcile at the time. It was this moment, I know now, that my heart began to shatter for what was to come.
A few months later, my thirteen-year-old daughter suffered a devastating asthma attack, that led to cardiac arrest, requiring prolonged resuscitation. She was in a coma for five days. That week was a time of anguish and uncertainty. On the morning of the fifth day I laid down beside her while an EEG was completed. I wanted her to feel love and comfort while I prayed for her to come back to me.
The test result was not what we wanted to hear. She was not showing any brain activity. I was devastated. I still did not want to believe it.
I could not.
We were approached about donating her organs, but I could not sign the forms. It did not feel right. I went to the chapel and prayed for a miracle.
By that afternoon a miracle did indeed happen. My sweet girl attempted to open her eyes. To say the doctors were stunned is an understatement. They couldn’t explain it. The power of prayer was revealed in this very moment to me. In fact, the power of many prayers. Besides our family, we had a community of friends, church family and coworkers praying with us. There is strength and power in prayer. I don’t think I realized it until I needed the prayers the most. I have learned a lot about prayer since then. God hears every single prayer. Whether a single word prayer as in “Help”, a prayer said out loud or prayed silently, or praying as a group. God hears every single one. And, he remembers all of them.
I read a quote by E. M Bounds that says,
"Prayer is power and strength that influences God… Prayer is the greatest of all forces, because it honors God and brings Him into active aid.”
What happened next was truly remarkable, even if still tragic. The prolonged cardiac arrest deprived my girl’s brain, and optic nerves, of oxygen. The damage to her optic nerves was complete and irreversible. She would live but was now completely blind. At the age of thirteen this was devastating news. First, we were faced with losing her, so we were thankful that she lived. But then to learn she would never again see, was overwhelming to say the least.
It was a turning point in our lives. It has taken a lot to get to where we are today. Megan will be celebrating her 25th birthday next week. She has more barriers in life than she would like, but she has hope. She has been through trial after trial on this journey and she continues to forge ahead. As I type this she is filling out applications to continue her education, having completed an associates degree last year.
This experience and the years since have taught me a lot about how to approach my time in prayer. It’s so easy to focus on the stress, pain and tragedy of a situation. However, our response to trials makes all the difference.
The apostle Paul reminds us that trials in this life are opportunities to grow spiritually when he said,
“Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me,” 2 Corinthians 12:9.
It takes discipline to make yourself step back from the immediate circumstances and pay attention to the blessings that come with pain. But if we will only lift our eyes to heaven, to what is unseen, we will find peace there, just as Jesus promised:
“Blessed are those who are poor in spirit and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Matthew 5:3-4:
We experienced every emotion possible through this life changing family trial and continue to have emotional moments. But the difference is that we look for the grace and joy in those moments. We know that God is at the center of all we do and feel. With God all things are possible. With prayer even more than we can ever imagine is possible.
Today, my time in prayer is filled with praise first and foremost for all that the Lord has done for me. I stress less about every day problems, and look for the moments of joy in the midst of trials that might otherwise be missed. Because I know that is where the Lord will be waiting for me.
Kelly grew up in Lewiston, Maine. She and her husband Thomas have been married for 27 years. They have two daughters, Megan and Lauren. Kelly has been involved in church ministry for many years. She is currently a deaconess in her church, caring for the needs of others through prayer and service to the needs of the church family. She works at the housing authority in Auburn, Maine and enjoys helping meet the needs of the community they serve. She enjoys spending time with her family, her precious dogs Angel and Coco and her many nieces and nephews. Fun facts: Kelly loves to cook, garden, spend time with her mother who is her best friend, and when times allows, to paint. But, most of all Kelly loves knowing that she is a precious child of God and believes Gods love for her is real.
"Christ lives in me, and I live by faith in Him and His love for me.” Galatians 2:20
What an honor it is to introduce you to my friend, Kelly. Her story is one of hardship and pain turned to power, by faith. I pray each of us will follow Kelly's lead.