Thoughts for my session on “Let’s Pray”

I wanted my visit to “Let’s Pray” to be authentic but I’m a planner and so I wrote down some things that I wanted to share.  I ran out of time and didn’t get to touch on everything so thought that I’d share them below:

Initially, I didn’t have the words to pray and so I let others do it for me.  While stopped at a traffic light on the way to the hospital, I text messaged my small group to pray.  From the emergency room, I let the chaplain pray with me and then with my family when they arrived.  Our pastors prayed.  Our friends prayed. But no prayers from me, what could I pray for?  And so I prayed for others.  The morning after Breelyn died, I prayed for the parents who would lose their children that day- that would live and survive their worst day.  And I did that every day.  And when I needed prayer but couldn’t do it myself, I continued to turn to others.  Social media was an avenue that could guarantee me prayer at any time of the day/night.

Soon after Breelyn died- three things targeted my thoughts:

  1. I remembered the story in the Bible where the lepers are healed and the majority don’t come back to say thank you.  And so I made sure to thank the EMT and medical teams that had tried so hard to save Breelyn.  I thanked them for the dedication and for treating my child like a loved baby.  We also started concentrating on generally be thankful- even for small things like a dishwasher, air conditioning, etc.
  2. A Muslim friend messaged me that in her faith it is believed that there is a special place in heaven for those that lose a child and continue to praise God.  While I didn’t necessarily believe that to be true, I realized that I could continue to praise God.  While Breelyn had died, we were still blessed.  Even during the day of her death, God was helping.  Just that morning I had breakfast with a friend who’d become a vice president for the health system that Breelyn was taken to.  When the chaplain mentioned that their new vice president attended the same church as me, I said yes, I knew that, I’d just had breakfast with her.  The chaplain said “I’m calling her now” and thirty minutes later my friend was there.  I’d been having lunch with a friend less than a mile away from the hospital.  We were discussing her upcoming wedding and she shared that she was having pre-marital counseling with my senior pastor that day.  We finished lunch and I was driving home when I got the call to come to the hospital.  I was able to arrive at the hospital in minutes because of my lunch date location.  After I learned that Breelyn had died, because I knew my friend’s schedule, I was able to call her to come pick up my other daughter Brooklyn from daycare.  And when my friend called to let the pastor know that she couldn’t make the appointment, he was able to then contact me to see if we wanted him to come to the hospital.  My family was able to get the last seats on a flight from Boston.  And some thoughtful people spent their time and talents to make a blanket that the medical team would cover my sweet daughter with.  God still loved my family.  We were living in a sinful world but we were still blessed.
  3. My dad’s cousin sent me a cd by Selah. There is a Song- Press On that became my mantra.  I’d listen to it on repeat as I drove to/from work with tears streaming down my face.  And it became my goal, to simply press on.  And God would give me the strength to do that.  I ordered the cd for all of my family members and it became everyone’s manta- to just Press On.

When the valley is deep
When the mountain is steep
When the body is weary
When we stumble and fall

When the choices are hard
When we’re battered and scarred
When we’ve spent our resources
When we’ve given our all

Chorus:
In Jesus’ name, we press on
In Jesus’ name, we press on
Dear Lord, with the prize
Clear before our eyes
We find the strength to press on
Dear Lord, with the prize
Clear before our eyes

We find the strength to press on
In Jesus’ name, we press on
In Jesus’ name, we press on

Dear Lord, with the prize
Clear before our eyes
We find the strength to press on
We find the strength to press on
To press on

 

Some recent things that have been keeping me going:

  1. Therapy- you don’t need to do this alone.  Find a group, get a therapist.  Seek the help that you need.  There are some fantastic online support groups.
  2. A God box- in a sermon, my senior pastor mentioned that we didn’t need to ask God to take a burden, just give it to Him.  When I mentioned this to my therapist, she suggested a God box.  So in our house, we actually have a box wrapped up in pretty shiny paper.  When I have a thought that won’t leave my head- I tell God that He’s got it, I write it on a slip of paper and put it in the box.  This is especially useful at night when my mind is racing, I have to go downstairs to where the box is located- it gets me out of my head.
  3. Breelyn’s Blanket Brigade- we were incredibly touched when Breelyn was covered in handmade blankets. It felt like when we weren’t there to take care of her, someone else had.  And while it didn’t change the outcome, our daughter had still died, it helped in the moment.  And so I wanted to give that moment of love to others who had similar losses.  I learned to crochet. I visited one of my sisters and discovered that my seven year old niece could crochet too.  And I thought, if a seven year old can do this, maybe others can too.  And so I started a facebook group inviting friends to join my efforts.  Just months later, there are over 500 members. I’ve received near 70 blankets and most of them are from strangers!  A local church school group is making squares and The Columbia Visitor ran a story about it. A prisoner from OH is working on blankets.  It’s been amazing the energy, care, and time that the world is putting into this.  We’ll be making the first donations in late February in honor of what would have been Breelyn’s first birthday.

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