So somewhere in the journey of learning and preparing to teach about prayer, I asked for prayer. It should not have been a step of faith for me. It should have been an obvious, natural request for prayer as I was getting ready to teach God's word. But for me it was a step of faith. A risk worth taking because everything I was learning told me that prayer changes things, that the prayers of His children have power. So I asked those that read my blog to pray for me.
I have to say now that my little experiment proved to me that prayer works. I know that some of you were praying for me as I prepared to teach the women's Bible study at my church. Beyond this blog, I know that my friends and fellow teachers were praying for me as I prepared and taught for two weeks. And I felt those prayers. I found time to get the work done. I felt peace when nerves should have been making it hard for me to sit or sleep the night before.
But beyond the regular wisdom, guidance and peace I needed when preparing and teaching, I was protected. It is a long, complicated story involving my parents and a long, difficult relationship that has fallen apart over the years. After years and years of talking, praying and trying to make things "all right" I had come to a place where I was able to forgive, extend grace and move on. I had thought we had come to a place where we could be. I thought things were fine, or as fine as they could be with the characters involved.
And then on the Saturday between the two weeks I was teaching, I got an email from my dad letting me know that my parents were separating, again, and probably for the last time. This should have rocked me a bit because they have been married for 40 years, though I was unfortunately not surprised since they also separated and reunited a couple of years ago. This is how my family works it seems. There is always some drama or crisis. And it usually happens just as I am needing to focus on something important in my own life. Somehow, and this is where I see the prayers of God's people really working in my life, I was not thrown off by the news. I was able to hear the news without being distracted by it. God protected my heart and my mind so I could do stay focused on the task at hand, preparing and teaching amazing women about prayer. God protected me through that week. The prayers of His people held me up and created a place of safety for me.
It was not until I was in my car after teaching my last session that the tears began to flow. I was in a safe place. I had the time to deal with the pain of my parent's marriage breaking. I hate the fact that after 40 years of marriage they are separating. It is scary for lots of reasons. Lots and lots of reasons. I hate doubting my husband when he has never done anything to deserve the doubt. I hate worrying about them and their futures. I spent an entire childhood worrying about my parents and trying to take care of things. I hate the awkwardness it brings to my life if I choose to include them in family activities. Thankfully we have had to be really protective of the kids with my parents because of some things that have happened over the last few years so I don't know when the kids will even begin to realize that my parents are separated. It is not something I plan to talk to the kids about any time soon. But when we do eventually talk about it I don't know what that will do to their idea of marriage to know that after 40 years people can still be in danger of splitting up. Will they worry about their Dad and I? Will I worry about it?
So I have been processing this information slowly over the last few weeks. Releasing the anger or more truthfully venting the anger to those I trust. Prayerfully deciding how my family, my husband, the boys and I, will relate to my parents. Trying to pray for them, through the anger, frustration and hurt. I am feeling the hurt and realizing that it is not my story even though it is my family's story. This has been a long journey with them but I am a grown up now and I can decide how I want to deal with their actions. I can write my own story.
What keeps coming to my mind ever since first hearing the news is that prayer works. I don't know how. But I needed prayer even more than I realized when I asked for people to pray for me. They prayed. And I was protected when I needed to be. So thank you if you were one of the people that prayed for me. What an amazing gift you gave me with your prayers. God is big. God is good. He does not need us. And yet He invites us to participate with Him through our prayers.