May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face, and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
-Irish Blessing

Monday, October 10, 2011

To Pray or Not to Pray

Early in my pregnancy with Eli (honestly probably before I even got pregnant) I remember praying, chanting almost, for a healthy baby. It was my one and only request. I have always prayed for a healthy baby but it felt especially important with Eli. He would be my fifth and what I believed to be my last c-section. Also, to be honest, he was to be my last child. I felt it in my heart and my body. Five pregnancies was enough for me. Five pregnancies in nine years of marriage, five c-sections. I was ready to be done. I was so sure of it. And then I became very sure of something else. Before I ever laid eyes on the ultrasound screen, before I saw that awful grayness where there should be beautiful black amniotic fluid surrounding the baby, before my doctor had to deliver those words to me for the second time. I knew something was wrong. I just never imagined how wrong it would be. I believed that Potter's could not happen to us again, that it was what it had been called, a fluke. But it wasn't.

So now I struggle. I prayed so very hard for just a healthy baby with Eli, just healthy. What should I pray for now? To have a baby with kidneys? Do I need to be that specific in my request? Or is it just a waste of time, effort and emotion? Clearly prayers cannot save my children. Been there, done that, didn't work. Prayer didn't save Wyatt and it didn't save Eli and I had people of all denominations and locations praying for those sweet little babies. I've learned to adjust prayers. When Eli's Potter's was diagnosed I just began praying for him to grow and be born alive. He did, but was that because I prayed? I don't know. I'm really lost here. Prayer has never felt more useless to me. Probably because the things I usually pray for are spiritual and emotional in nature and cannot be measured or quantified so I never know if they are answered. This was a huge letdown. I still go to church. I still believe. I still pray. But it still bothers me.

To pray or not to pray?


  1. I understand completely. So thankful you still go to church. I cannot. I have friends who have approached me and asked for me to pray for one issue or another. I tell them that I can't pray for them. I would be lying if I told them I would. I am still in that place feeling soooo let down. I believed with all that was in me and I was let down. Each time I think I should go back to (a new) church... I hit a brick wall. To pray is to talk to God. I am sure at some point I will express my feelings and anger to Him.. but to ask Him for anything again, that I am sure will never happen.

    Thinking of you always.

  2. It's so crazy that you've posted this. I've always believed strongly that my prayers are always answered even if God gave me no "direct" answer. What happened with the loss of my girls was exactly what was in God's plan for my life and He keeping my heart open to Him allowed Him to make my girls' story help so many people. I just heard a sermon from our pastor ( which he spoke on the art of asking and hearing when praying. He said to ask with a clean heart, ask in faith, ask according to God's will...Hear through His word and through experiences. I hope you'll watch it and make your own judgements but it really meant a lot to me. I think God wants us to pray for EVERYTHING especially since it's quoted in scripture.
    Here's some encouragement on praying:
    Psalm 66
    James 4:3
    1John 3:21
    Mark 11:24
    Matthew 21:22
    1John 5:15
    Matthew 7:7
    Amos 8:11
    Not to overwhelm you with all this but I just thought about how uncanny it was to read this post after yesterday's sermon. Thinking and definitely praying for you. {Hugs}

  3. I can relate so much, Valerie. After reading through your blog and about your children, your faith was so strong and when you believe in something so much I think it is inevitable to feel let down, especially by one who we've been told can grant miracles. I think of you often. In my humble opinion there is no shame nor anything wrong with how you feel, I've been there definitely. The only thing I'm 100% confident in is that time brings change and perhaps time's passage will help you with the struggles you are facing now.

    Thank you for posting the sermon and Bible passages. I will check them out and keep an open mind. I know it is all part of faith, believing without proof - and that is what makes it so difficult sometimes.

  4. That's something that I struggle with too. I had so much faith going into both of my pregnancies that I would come out with a healthy, beautiful baby. Even after losing my first baby, I was scared, but still knew that God could bring me through the next one. But then He didn't. I didn't get to bring home either of my babies.

    I have found that I'm very quick to pray for others, but often very reluctant to pray for myself. I don't know why. Maybe I'm afraid I'm not asking the right way? Or for the right things? Maybe I'm afraid of being let down again? I don't know.

    I still believe that He can bring me through a healthy pregnancy, but I'm so afraid that He won't that I'm terrified of ever being pregnant again.

  5. Nika,
    I can really relate to what you're saying too. I know that I can carry a baby to term and then actually get to bring that baby home but it is no less terrifying to think of doing it. I just don't know how prayer fits into my life anymore. It's all just left me wondering if prayers are ever answered or if things just go right sometimes and then other times go wrong, just like our children's genetics? It is just not in my belief system any longer that there is some grand plan which involves the deaths of my children and our family's terrible suffering over those deaths. Makes me sound almost agnostic, my husband would be proud.



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