Saturday, February 4, 2012

Fasting and Answered Prayers

hmm  I'm not sure where to begin, or how to actually begin, yet, I feel like I should write.  wow, that makes me sound so important...must. write. as if I'm on my last breath of air and need to get "my story" out there or something.  gag.  Nevertheless, I do feel like I need to write this down.

A couple weeks ago, we had stake conference.  Elder Hainey was our visiting authority and during the adult session, he talked about missionary work.  At one point, he addressed those who truly wanted to be involved with missionary work but just couldn't fathom how..."I don't know anyone," "I never have the opportunities," etc.  And though I did feel more motivated to boldly share what I believe in (if even only by example to my friends as he discussed), I felt prompted, spiritually nudged.  There have been many things on my mind, and something he said clicked.  Even though my issue(s) isn't (aren't) about missionary work, he gave me my answer...and that night Marcus and I discussed it. 

What was that nugget of wisdom?  Fast.  I fast once a month.  The first Sunday of the month is typically set aside as a time when the members of the church, and anyone else who would like to join, fasts for 2 meals.  I struggle with it.  I do.  I get cranky when I'm hungry.  But I recognize that it's a way for me to more thoughtfully pray and seek the Lord's will.  What Elder Hainey suggested was that...if there is something we truly care about, we need to show the Lord we are serious about it.  That involves sacrifice.  He suggested: fast...but not just on Fast Sunday.  Fast on another day.  Show Him that you are serious about your desires.

Am I serious?  And if I'm serious, am I willing to sacrifice?

I decided I was. 

A little later, there were new developments (not great ones) with our nephew, Nathaniel.  This guy has been through so much...and so have his parents.  It's a difficult experience to be at the mercy of doctors you don't trust and to feel like progress isn't happening as it should...or, that the situation is actually becoming worse with each doctor appointment.  I hope I'm not overstepping my bounds by sharing the experience we all shared...buuuut...

We received a phone call explaining that Nate's parents were notified by the pediatrician that their child had developed an abnormality from being in a hospital bed for too long.  It had developed in his hip and he may be wheelchair-bound.  They should consult an orthopedic surgeon to see if surgery was an option.  I immediately went into therapy mode -- "Well, the bones aren't quite set yet...malleable...with enough therapy...the right kind of therapy...if you can get him to crawl...Sammy did this exercise for her hips..."

A couple days later, I remembered what Elder Hainey had said.  If we're serious about this nearly 2 year old child getting better, we need to sacrifice.  I talked to Marcus and we coordinated a family fast.  I'm not sure who all participated in it, but an email went out to the extended family.  I informed them that we would be fasting and praying that whatever miracles Nathaniel stood in need of would be granted him and if it be His will, Nate would be healed.  I was thinking along the lines of...get the trach out, start breathing on his own and being able to eat food instead of needing his g-tube...start crawling/moving, etc.  But, even if that miracle was hearts softened, feeling peace and physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual strength during this time -- a clearer perspective -- we were fasting and praying for it.  That was probably the most sincere fast I've had in awhile, but I still gratefully broke my fast at lunch!

Yesterday, I received a call from Scott.  They were coming home from the hospital where they met with the orthopedic surgeon.  How did it go?

"Yeah, well, he came in, looked at Nate, moved his legs around a little bit, and said he wasn't worried about it.  We could follow up in a few months but he didn't see any big concern."

"You're telling me that your pediatrician made you worry like that for nothing?  What an idiot!  Seriously.  I'm all for being thorough, but at least she could have said, 'I see something, let's just get it looked at.'  Instead, you freak out...over, basically, nothing?!  That doctor."

Yep.  That was my attitude.  I was so annoyed with their pediatrician.  It wasn't until that night when Colin got home and I told him.

"So all that stress over nothing."

"Or maybe it was something, but it's not now."

Stopped. Dead. In. My. Pride.  Yeah, here I was thinking that the doctor was a jerk (and truthfully, she did handle it unprofessionally), that they ought to get a new doctor, that that that...and then boom.  I felt this rush of...of course -- our fast...and then embarrassed.  Here I was, the one who was going to put all her faith in fasting and got the family involved, and I was so   s  l  o  w   to even recognize the Lord's hand in this.  Yet it was the first thing that Colin thought.  It was the first thing that my mother-in-law thought.  It was nearly the first thing Analisa thought. 

I then, thought...about this all last night.  And despite the 3 hours of sleep I got last night (because Marcus is out of town and what I'm pretty sure was an animal -- at least I hope -- in the backyard was freaking me out), I woke up so happy, excited, and energized.  I truly believe it's because I feel the Spirit so strongly since I said a prayer of thanks

I have no question in my mind that Nathaniel was healed.  That that was a small miracle.  Perhaps with the right therapies, work, stress, perhaps surgery, and...whatever...his hip would have corrected itself.  And I really do believe it would have.  But I also believe ~ or choose to believe perhaps ~ that we are witnesses to a miracle.  The same miracles we read about in the New Testament...right here.  Healing.  The united faith of our family, our prayers, the desires of our hearts were granted.  Like I said, I was prepared for a miracle of just feeling peace.  I did have faith that Nate could be healed, but it was like...0 or 10.  I thought he would either have no physical change from our family fast and just...we all would be changed spiritually with a new attitude and perspective (0)...or that he would be this miraculous mystery to all the doctors because all of a sudden...he's progressing like crazy...and completely healed (10).  I expected something to happen.  0 or 10.  But, what about 1-9?  Ohhhh, I think I bypass miracles #1-9 too often in my life.

I now wonder how many small, or huge, miracles I miss because I automatically attribute them to something or someone other than the Lord.  I was humbled when Colin so quickly turned it around for me.  What a blessing.  There is power in fasting, there is power in prayer, and there is power in a family who does it together. 


Heidi said...

I loved this story. I'm so glad Nathaniel was healed. You always inspire me.

A few weeks ago I was supposed to make rolls to take to a potluck dinner one Sunday afternoon. They were supposed to rise for around two hours the first time and 90 minutes the second time and then bake. But by the time I got home from church, I only had three hours before the potluck. I went ahead with the rolls and said a little prayer that Heavenly Father would help the yeast rise faster. It seemed like such a stupid little thing to pray for. But then...the yeast rose amazingly fast. Both risings only took half as long as they should have, and the rolls were fluffy and delicious. And I went to potluck telling everyone about this amazing yeast I had bought, completely forgetting my little prayer. I didn't even think about it until much later that night, but when I remembered, it hit me like a ton of bricks.

The Lord really does love us.

Emily said...

Thanks for sharing that Jen. We had a similar experience with Ava's heart. She was originally diagnosed with Transposition of the Great Arteries - which would have required open heart surgery within days of her birth. But two weeks passed, during which we fasted and prayed, and when I had a fetal echocardiogram, her diagnosis was changed to "congenitally-corrected" transposition of the great arteries. No surgery needed.

Larissa said...

Your story gave me the chills.
I had a strong experience with fasting yesterday and this just really hits home for me.
You are awesome:-)

Amelia said...

Beautiful! What a neat story. And way to be humble and learn and write it for us to learn and relearn. I had a choir teacher at BYU Hawaii...Merrilee Webb. She was incredible. You have probably actually seen her leading some of the women's/youth choirs at General conference. Super intense and happy... Anyway, she really opened up my eyes to the small every day miracles and how they aren't coincidences. God is aware. We just need to pay a bit more attention to him and remember we are SPIRITUAL beings having and Earthly experience, not the other way around. :)

Shian said...

What a great reminder. Thanks!

maryirene said...

thank you for sharing this.


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