Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Ellie's faith lesson

I woke Saturday morning with a twinge and tightness in my back but didn't want to miss ballet class. Unfortunately, our comfortable, sweet ballet teacher had moved back to Jersey and an overzealous, company dancer had taken her place. Her idea of a beginner's ballet class was like asking Chef Ramsey to teach my husband to cook.
I've had back problems since becoming pregnant with Grainne. One 9 lb. 2 oz. baby, three months of physical therapy and half a dozen very scary chiropractic visits later and I still suffered from sporadic pain.
Ballet has actually helped a lot. I guess the exercise worked. Well, it could be the constant refrain of my teacher pounding in my head all week long. "Suck in you belly! Tuck in your butt! Tighten your thighs! Push back your shoulders! Stick out your chest!"
Nothing beats the desire to look like a ballerina to remind you of your posture.
This past Saturday I was determined to at least master the mechanics of a tour jette. One glance in the wall length mirror assured me it wasn't very pretty but I could work on that later. In the middle of my one thousandth try (I'm slightly prone to exaggeration- don't take that too literally) I did a beautiful pique arabesque, a graceful chasse, a jump, a switch of the legs, a turn...and realized-midair- I should have stopped at my 999th try.
I haven't experienced such excruciating pain since having Grainne (remember-9 lb. 2 oz.) without any medication (again... 9 lb. 2 oz.) and a nurse who was ridiculously inept with needles.
Seriously, I spent all day Saturday popping Tylenol and debating whether or not I should take the last of my codeine (left over from having above 9 lb. 2 oz. baby). Sunday, I required the assistance of my mother to feed, clothe and strap my children into their car seats in order for me to make it to church so I could receive prayer and hopefully healing. Monday I wondered all day why I hadn't received my healing and again debating the codeine question, despite the fact that I needed to be cognizant and not under the influence of drugs because of my desire to not accidentally starve or maim my children. Tuesday (today) I hired a teenage girl from my church to help me with my two and the three I baby-sit. I spent most of the day flat on my back with my legs on a chair and the rest of the day lying over my exercise ball trying (futilely) to remember my physical therapy exercises.
Through this whole trial I received such an incredible blessing though and I honestly am glad it happened. Although, I kind of wished it had happened to Shane because I would have witnessed the following anyway.
My Ellie, who has always been so sensitive to my moods and empathetic when I hurt myself, asked me, "Mommy, does your back still hurt?"
"Yes, sweetheart."
"Can I pray for you?"
"I would love for you to pray for me!"
Ellie than goes to our vanity where we keep a little vial of anointing oil. We aren't really that spiritual, I just tossed it there after our pastor handed them out and exhorted us to pray for the people at the hospitals.
"Mommy, I need to put that on your back."
Where in the world did she learn to anoint people?
We pray as a family. I pray for her when she is hurt. We pray first thing in the morning and before bed, but we have never used anointing oil. (Sorry Rex. I promise, one day I really will attempt to cause a stir at Mercy hospital. Maybe when I can walk again.)
Maybe, in between her two dozen trips to the potty, her insistence for her snack and her desire to run around the sanctuary like a screaming, locked up monkey she absorbed the importance of anointing people with oil.
Shane put a little oil on her little fingertip. She pulled up the back of my shirt, asked me where it hurt and placed her sticky hand on my lower back.
"Dear Lord Jesus," she prayed, "Please thank you for Mommy's back. Thank you for making Mommy's back all better. Amen"
Wow. That's how we are supposed to pray for healing. No screaming, yelling, begging or whining.
Thank you Lord for your blessing. Thank you Lord for your healing. The end. Short, sweet, simple. No pretense, no excess. Honestly, it was the most powerful, healing prayer I've heard in a long time.
As Christians we sometimes think we need to embellish things. Make it more exciting and interesting. We want to make everything seem more important. We are not content to be simple. We are not comfortable with the basics.
Well, Ellie taught me something. I like to talk about "the faith of a child" but I have trouble putting it into action. How many times have you prayed for someone by thanking the Lord, than simply asking for a blessing?

"Thank you, Lord for my job. Please, help me pay my mortgage."
"Thank you, Lord for my mind. Please, heal me of depression."
"Thank you, Lord for my wife. Please, heal our relationship."

Matthew 7:7 says, "Ask and it will be given to you..."
Matthew 21:22 says, "And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive."
Mark 11:24 says, "Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted to you."

Ellie keeps asking me, "Mommy, does you back still hurt?"
When I say "Yes, honey" she looks confused and asks, "Why?"
She fully believed when she prayed for me I was going to be healed. What she doesn't realize is that I didn't believe. Oh, I believe God could heal me but I didn't really believe he would. I've always been too pragmatic, too realistic and down to earth to deep down believe that.
But, now? Well, I'm tired of being in pain. I'm tired of worrying that I will suffer the rest of my life. I'm tired of trying everything but God. I've also become a little bit tired of being shown up by my three year old daughter in the faith department.
So, I'm sitting here on the floor, trying to ignore the pain and I've decided something.
I'm going to pray.
"Dear Jesus. Thank you for my back. Please, heal my back. Amen."

No comments: