She prays. In her small way. Not loud or waxing eloquent. Not filled with scripture or doctrinal truths. Both bold in her requests and humble. Laid low as she petitioned her Lord. And the answers didn’t always come the way she hoped. But they always came.
She prayed the way a mother prays when her kids are lost. Fervent, fumbling words and sometimes just the moaning and pleading with God that comes when your son attempts suicide or your daughter is so angry and lost, spewing venomous thoughts and raging against God.
She prays the way a woman prays when she has known no father. Grown up without someone to provide for her and tell her she’s beautiful and lovely. She prays as though adopted. She prays as a daughter.
She prays the way a missionary prays, with lament and empathy and a heart that longs to bind and reach far and a faith that packs suitcases and holds tiny hands as they board planes to far off continents. Counting the cost and finding it worth it, even though the price was so very high.
We live in the floods of Pahoa, in the middle of nowhere Hawaii. The rain pours down for 41 days straight and I hate all the more. This God who brought us to this place. This ministry position my dad has accepted. This move they have prayed about and decide to obey.
I rage against anything they say. I hate God.
I want nothing to do with Christianity or church or the faith that has caused me so much confusion. The God I blame for all the pain. The faith I blame for all the risk and suffering. And all I see is a god who is impotent to protect me, unmerciful and absent. A god who will not provide.
And the Heavens open and God moves. He moves in my heart, breaking it still beating hard, and in that crushing, sweet mercy and grace. She prays.
And I think of my response to the questions of motherhood, the trials that come in my life, and the burdens I lug with me and so often prayer is the very last thing I do. I try with these hands, frail and foolish, to fix the problems that have no earthly solutions.
I am not a woman who prays this way. I pray for others and believe God powerful enough to ransom, but so often forget myself. As though the needs of my own flesh and heart and spirit have no place parading before God. And I realize, though I am beginning to know His grace, I still see God as one who does not provide. I doubt His goodness. I still see Him as one who is absent. I still fear myself unworthy.
Oh, forgive me for this. Lord, teach me to pray.
Lord, make me a woman who prays.