Rather than re-introduce Josie (name changed) – I’m going to re-post something I’d written a while ago. I posted it originally on my personal Facebook page, then later it was posted on Money Saving Queen. I don’t think I could possibly write anything better about our sweet girl. (This is just as it appeared on those previous posts, with the exception of updating the ages/timeframes, adding a better picture and the name change for privacy purposes)
There are times when caring for any child who cannot speak can be difficult – times when you just wish you could get inside their head and see what the trouble is. That is multiplied when the “child” is 24 with disabilities that make her hard to cuddle, hard to carry, hard to even move. But I feel like what I am about to share with you (which I have learned in the 2+ years that she has lived with us), could help anyone in any situation. It is also something that you may already be doing and I’m just late to learn…
I have always been one to pray silently. I almost never pray out loud. I read Matthew 6:6 about praying in your closet and in my mind it reinforces that prayer is private, between me and God. I don’t like praying out loud because I become more focused on what others who might hear are thinking than on the conversation with my God.
I have always prayed for my kids. In my bed at night while I’m worrying about something they are going through. In the morning before they wake praying that the day will be good. In the moment that they are arguing with me and I’m thinking (but never saying) “Father, why? Where did I fail to teach him/her respect?!?” But since I’ve had Josie with me, I have begun something new: praying out loud, over her, in the moment of our need.
Every morning, before our day begins, I pray for peace and comfort for Josie. I pray that she stays healthy and that God protects her from infection and keep her lungs clear. But still, throughout the day, we have meltdowns. Sometimes she cries about being fed. Sometimes she cries about diapers being changed or nails being clipped. Sometimes she cries big sad tears and I just have to guess why (Maybe she misses Mommy today? Maybe she wants Daddy to hold her? Maybe she wants J-Bear to play with her? Maybe she wants her dolly and doesn’t know where it is?) Sometimes she is angry for no apparent reason.
In those moments I have learned to pray out loud over her. The prayer usually goes something like this:
“Father God, you are the Prince of Peace. Please give Josie peace. Please comfort her right now in ways that I am not able. Please wrap her in your arms and whisper the things to her that I don’t know how to say. Please sing songs over her and soothe her spirit. Please tell her that I love her. Please tell her that I am only doing this because I love her. Please tell her that she’ll be more comfortable when I’m done. Please help me to be patient. Please help me to show love and kindness even when I don’t understand. Please remind me that Josie loves me even when it doesn’t seem that way. Thank you, Father, for Josie. Thank you for her sweet spirit. Thank you for her forgiveness when I upset her. Thank you for the love you have put in her heart. Thank you for getting us through this. You are an Awesome God.”
I think that this helps in so many ways. I think that the soothing rhythm of my voice in prayer helps to calm her. I think that it gives me something to focus on besides the circumstances that are frustrating me. I KNOW that my prayer is being heard and that God is answering me with added peace for Josie or added patience for me. And I CHOOSE TO BELIEVE that Josie (who I feel certain is aware of what I’m saying and who I’m speaking to) is praying with me, and that “where two are gathered, I am there.” Matthew 18:20.