Tag Archives: Talk

Unanswered Prayers

Oh God, give Katie the ability to walk independently! Please God, if you let her talk I’ll do anything! image1 (4)God please, not a feeding tube, just allow her to eat enough this one time! God if you heal her completely I will share your miracle with the world, she would be the perfect proof of your existence to those who don’t believe.

This is how my conversations with God went in the early years of Katie’s life. What I was really saying was, “God please do things according to MY will because this life is way too difficult and I am not strong enough.” But God proved me wrong with His “unanswered prayers”. Back in the 90’s I loved that song by Garth Brooks.

“Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers, remember when you’re talking to the man upstairs that just because he doesn’t answer, doesn’t mean he don’t care.” Garth wasn’t an expert at English, but he sure could sing a tune.

Way back then I thought I got it, but that was before I really had something to pray for, something that I wanted more than anything I could have ever imagined. When I would pray for MY will and I didn’t get the answer I wanted, I got angry. The Bible says…

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks; the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8

I was banging on the door as hard as I possibly could and felt nothing. I couldn’t understand why God wouldn’t do this one thing for me, just this one tiny thing…heal my daughter. I had so much to learn and God was using this painful situation to teach me. When I read Matthew 7, I clung to that and just kept begging, but the Bible says so much more than just that.

“When Jesus came down from the mountain, large crowds followed him. A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean”. Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said.” Matthew 8: 1-2

The man didn’t say, please God, I want you to heal me. He said, heal me if it is your will. He also said You can make me clean, he believed with all his might that God could do this. When we pray we must believe. But we also have to be open to His will in our life, I was not. But finally, I was beginning to see the prayers were never unanswered, they were answered according to His will.

“For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare, not for woe! Plans to give you a future full of hope. When you call me, when you go to pray to me, I will listen to you. When you look for me, you will find me. Yes, when you seek me with all your heart, you will find me with you, says the Lord, and I will change your lot…” Jeremiah 29:11-14

He knows what is best for us, but He gave us free will. I can continue to beg for what I want, for the perfect life I had planned, I can be angry for the way things turned out or I can listen to what My Lord wants. This verse has always been strong in my heart. But I never understood it the way I do today.image2 (4)  It’s about me following God with all my heart and letting Him show me a way that is so much greater than I ever imagined. I know this because today I have greatness in my life and Katie was never healed.

So how do I pray? When I pray now I always say, “God please help Katie learn to use this communication device, if it is your will and give me the strength to bear it, if it is not”. And He always does. Here on earth we don’t have all the answers, but I believe if we pray knowing that God knows what is best, our lives will make sense. I believe this because Katie’s life makes so much sense to me now. She is not her disabilities, she is a powerful person who changes lives every day. I would still love for Katie to walk independently, talk and be completely healed, but if it is not His will I am not angry. I am grateful that He dwells in my heart and shows me my strength threw my trials.

Great Expectations

Will Katie ever walk independently? Will she ever talk? Will she ever know how to spell her name? Will she ever eat a hamburger? These questions have crossed my mind a time or two over the past 10 years. The answers are just not known by us on this earth. I’ve never been told by any therapist or doctor that Katie will never do whatever it is that we are discussing. Which would sound like great news, but it creates an inner struggle that has consumed me most of Katie’s life. What to expect of her and what to accept she will never do.

Katie has an impairment in most every aspect of her life. She has always qualified for physical, occupational, speech and even vision therapy. That is a lot to keep up with at home. For the first 4 years of her life we pushed her hard. When we were at home I had a schedule and it included lots of therapy. I made it as fun as I could, making games out of our goals, but it was hard work for both of us. And that quickly became exhausting and disappointing. It was an emotional rollercoaster because we worked so hard with little progress. Don’t get me wrong she did succeed at a lot of things, but I always wanted more. I wanted her to understand what I was saying, to turn the pages of a book, to take a step independently, to feed herself, to look at me when I entered the room and so much more.

image (22)Then came Lexi, I didn’t have as much time to do therapy all day and quite frankly I was tired of doing it so we took a break. We continued therapy outside of the home and I still did some home therapy, but not nearly what I was doing before. I justified it by saying it’s time to accept a few things in life. I told myself she is never going to do a lot of the things I had in my head and I took the easy way out. Then about 3 years later it hit me like a ton of bricks, “What am I doing?” NOTHING. Was the answer and I felt tremendous guilt. If we had continued with intense home therapy would she be able to walk, talk or what else?

So we started working hard again and it paid off, now 3 years after that wake-up call Katie is doing some really exciting things. imageShe knows her colors, some of the letters in her name and she nods her head “yes” and shakes her head “no” more and more every day. We are also working with a communication device to give her choices in life. Beautiful progress!

This scenario made me think of my own faith journey. What am I expecting of myself? How often do I hold myself to God’s standard? What am I accepting? How often do I say, “Oh well, I’m human I’m going to sin. As long as I ask for forgiveness, it’s okay.”

“So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:48

My relationship with God is a process that never ends. When I become complacent, like I was with Katie’s therapy, I stop growing, stop progressing, just as she had. God wants me in constant motion moving toward Him, constantly learning more, striving to be better than I was yesterday. This comes from keeping my eyes on Him at all times. Taking time each day to learn more, to study the Bible and the teachings of the Church. It also comes from taking my focus off of myself and learning from the people that God has purposely put in front of me. Paying attention to what my friends, my priest and even the bank teller has to say, because God put these people in front of me for a reason, what can I learn from them?

So what does God mean when He says, “be perfect” in Matthew’s gospel? I think it means making a goal every day to not sin, I fall short, but if I never strive for perfection I will surely never succeed. And since I fall short I try to sit down on a regular basis and examine my conscience. I try to do this with a pen and paper. Where am I messing up? What are my weaknesses and how can I work to do better? This is the beauty of confession in the Catholic Church. Examining my life and saying my sins out loud to another human being is quite humbling and it really makes me stop and think. I’m far from perfect, and I often end up with the same shortcomings over and over again. But when I’m going to confession those shortcomings are on my mind and I consciously try to fix them.

So if God forgives us for our sins, if we only ask then why strive for perfection in this life? Because it is what God has asked of us. Reverend Ray Ryland says, “perfection means to realize fully your purpose on this earth.image (23) To strive to develop your unique potential under God to the fullest.” In other words be the very best me I can be. And always push Katie because she will continue to surprise us with her incredible abilities.

“Whatever you do, do from the heart, as for the Lord and not for others, knowing that you will receive from the Lord the due payment of the inheritance; be slaves of the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23-25

I really want to know what you think. Please share a comment on what you have learned about striving for perfection in your own faith journey. I would love to learn more from you.