A Lot to Pray For

Prayer and patience help a mother cope with her child's disabilities.

By Julia Attaway

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The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me . . . he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted. . . . —ISAIAH 61:1

“How's John doing?” a woman from my prayer group asked. I hadn't touched base with her in a while. We changed my son's anxiety medication over the summer, and instead of improving, my twelve-year-old spent two weeks in the hospital.

“He's up and down. Some days he seems fine, and he is. Other days he seems fine, and a minute later we're wondering if we should call 911.”

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There was a pause in the conversation. Then, gently, my friend commented, “The unpredictability must be hard.”

It was my turn to pause and collect my thoughts. “Yes,” I said, “but I don't focus as much on that now. What I'm finally beginning to grasp is that part of the point is learning to say thank you each day my son is alive.” Still another pause. “It took me a long time to get there,” I added.

“How do your other kids handle it?” my friend asked.

“They pretty much know to go to another room and entertain themselves when John starts to blow. They enjoy him when he's able to be fun and keep themselves safe when he's not.”

“I'll keep praying for you.”

“Thanks. It's hard, but it's harder to be John. He's a great kid with some really difficult problems. He thinks he's horrible. I wish he could know fully just how precious he is to God—and to us.”

My friend nodded. There wasn't much else to say, but a lot to pray for.

Lord, people suffer. Let me hold them up to You before I cry out for myself.

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