An Answered Prayer
In The Beginning
It’s not as though I was unfamiliar with prayer. As a child I learned to say my prayers before bed each and every night. My brother and I would say:
Jesus, Tender Shepherd hear me
God bless Thy little lamb tonight
Through the darkness be Thou near me
Keep me safe 'till morning light
Our prayer was said by rote and my reward was a smile from mom when I correctly remembered all the words. As I was very young, I could not grasp the intent behind the act of speaking with God.
As I grew older and life got a little more complicated, I used prayer as a plea for one thing or another. I wanted a boy I was crazy about to ask me out and could God please send me a skirt like the one everyone else was wearing? Bargaining also came into my prayers: "God, if you could please get me out of this I promise I’ll never do it again!" Need and want were similes back then. I didn’t understand the difference nor did I comprehend what true ‘needing’ was all about.
After marriage and the arrival of our children my prayers were drastically revised. I needed my daughter’s fever to go down or I wanted my husband to get a better job. The prayers that were once like a grocery list now came with feelings of anxiety and fear. The idea that God could have a plan for my life or for my child’s life, without consulting me, was terrifying. I wanted my world to be in my control but with a little help when I needed it.
By the time I reached the age of forty my life was full of chaos and I was a completely different person. Apparently God knew how strong I was and was intent on proving it to me. I was tested time after time and even though I was surviving I was struggling. I still wanted control. I couldn’t “let go and let God” as friends suggested.
One particular problem was giving me a great deal of trouble. Each night I would toss and turn trying to find a solution. I worked at it, I gnawed at it, and flung every resource I knew of at it to no avail.
At long last I decided to pray. That night, for the first time in a very long time, I got down on my knees and asked God for a solution. I asked for clear direction. I asked for peace.
Finally I slept and while sleeping I dreamed. In my dream I was flying. I knew many people who had enjoyed the freedom of flying dreams but I had never experienced one. I flew with arms outstretched and with total ease. It seemed as though I could zoom up or down at will and the feeling was glorious! The clouds and the birds were my only companions and as I flew among them I wished the experience would never end.
Suddenly, with no warning, I began to fall. As I plummeted I could see that the ground, once so far below, was closing in at an alarming rate. I flapped my arms; I tried to catch the wind; I tried everything I could think of to stop my plunge. I remember crying and screaming in terror as I fell. I didn’t want to die! I had to find a solution!
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As I watched solid earth approach, a sudden peace came over me and I clearly remember saying: “I give up. I have tried everything. I just hope it doesn’t hurt too much.” The instant those thoughts entered my head, my body curved upwards and I soared to new heights.
Sometime during night, after performing aerobatic wonders, the dream ended. I awoke with total recall of the night’s events. I remembered every dipsy-doodle I performed but, more importantly, I remembered my moment of clarity. I had given up my struggle. I had conceded my problem.
Through my dream I realized I didn’t have to battle for every solution. All I needed to do was put one foot in front of the other and follow the nudge we are all given. The nudge we feel deep in our gut - the nudge from God.