Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Prayer Time

In response to one of the questions from last week, I will share some thoughts on prayer time as a mom. Julie asked what my prayer time was like, the when, the where, the how. She has 3 little ones and wonders how to work prayer in there.

Let's be realistic first. If at this stage in your life you wake up to crying baby sounds every morning, it is difficult to get that morning prayer in there. I really believe the Lord is understanding of the difficulties presented by the 24 hour job of motherhood especially of little ones. You just do the best you can, which is never going to be enough, and then you pray the Lord will forgive you for all you can't do and ask Him to make up for the rest.

Right now, I wake to silence. There has been ample time for prayer lately. And there has been ample need too. I wake up every morning and orient myself to my reality. I lay in bed thinking in circles. 

"I hate the silence. How can I do this? This is real. She is gone. There will be no cry any minute. Okay. I can do this. It is not as bad as it was at first. It took me almost 30 seconds after I woke up to remember today. I have to do this. I have three beautiful girls to raise. Yes. I have three wonderful beautiful girls. I am blessed. So blessed. I am so grateful for them. And I am grateful to have had Camille too. Geez, how I miss her. Yes, there is the silence. This is real. This is my life now. Keep focused Stephanie. Firm up your mind. Don't let it go back there. Don't think back to that day. Keep it in today. Today I need to get Sabrina up for school. Today I have bills to pay. I need to get up. Where is my waking cry?"

This ring of thought goes on for a few minutes. Then I finally roll out of bed and if it is early (before 7:30) I pray right then. If it is 7:30 or later I go climb in bed with Sabrina to wake her up so she can get ready for school. She is slow to wake. When she is alert, I challenge her to a race to dress, pray, make beds, and head downstairs. 

I then head to my closet. By the time I get my contacts in and get dressed, Sabrina is finished and heads downstairs for breakfast. Then I take a few minutes to pray in my closet and beg for strength to make it through the day.

I read scriptures to the girls while they eat breakfast and we say a family prayer whenever Jon can get a break and come out of the office to join us. 

At night, I pray just before crawling in bed. Everyone else is usually asleep. I am usually tired. But that is the time I need the prayers the most. Some nights I pray in my closet so I can cry without waking up Jon. On really bad nights, I go to Camille's room to pray. 

In the quiet stillness of the night, I can often feel the heavenly presence of ministering angels when I need them most. Last night, laying on the bed in Camille's room, holding her blanket and praying, they were there. Generations of women who knew my pain, who lived my pain in their own lives, filled the room. I felt them there with their daughters. Empathizing with my current pain and strengthening my faith and hope for the future.

How do I pray? I think the Lord hears and answers all prayers no matter how you pray, but this is how I pray. When possible, I kneel as a sign of humility and reverence. I close my eyes and bow my head. Then, I start with "Dear Heavenly Father." Then I thank Him for the blessings of my life. I speak out loud or think the words in my head depending on if I am alone. Next, I ask for the spiritual and temporal blessings I desire and I think will be in line with His will. Included in this part is asking both for forgiveness, grace, and the ability to forgive. I express my feelings to Him just as I would if He were right in front of me and we were having a conversation. I express my love and gratitude again, listening in my heart and mind for thoughts or impressions that are not mine. Then I close "in the name of Jesus Christ, amen."

I hope that answers your question Julie. We just pray when we can and keep a prayer always in our hearts. The Lord knows our limitations. When we need to pray the most, we find a way. Even if it means locking ourselves in the bathroom for our own "time out." Thank you again everyone for all your prayers. I feel their strength. 

25 comments:

Kate said...

Thankyou thankyou thankyou. I am so grateful for your insight and honesty (and your talent for writing). Morning prayers have been a struggle with my little ones but I need to do better. Great idea to have scripture study over breakfast.

Doty6strong said...

That was sweet. Reminding me to go to my Heavenly Father more for strength. I have a childhood friend who lost her daughter yesterday morning after an 11 month battle with a brain tumor (DIPG). Prayer is comforting when nothing else is. Thank you for that reminder today. Here is this angels website maraadams.com

Noorda Notebook said...

i love you steph. thank you for your strength. angels are real.

Jonathan Waite said...

I guess i'll chime in. Steph is really good at getting us together for morning prayer. The evening prayer, I think we're at about a 50% hit rate. I think for families, the morning prayer might be more difficult but since I work from home it's easier to corral us together. Some of the best family prayers I've heard have been over the last few months from my little girls.

Mimi's Toes said...

I have decided that you are my personal bloggy minister. You are so right...it doesn't matter where or when you pray. God knows our heart and our intention. You are such a strong mother and I so admire you. Thank you for helping me again today on re-thinking my own prayer time.

Harris Family said...

What a strength you are to those around you. Those are great ideas and I will have to start implementing some into my daily routine. Thank you Stephanie!

**tif** said...

I love everything you wrote. Thank you for sharing such amazing personal moments. I loved hearing/reading what Jon thinks of you and he should not think we don't want to hear about his view. It's different when you already admire someone, you just eat up everything those who know them best have to say. You had some really great ideas. I love prayer!

Janelle said...

Angels are absolutely real. I have felt them with me in times of need as well. Thank you for the reminder that as a mother, our best is good enough through the Savior! I love reading your daily scoop! Your writing is amazing, and Jonathan is funny and his wisdom on yesterday's post was helpful too!
My children love your stories too!

tom said...

Thank you Stephanie. I needed your words today. Adriane

Kevin and Jamie said...

Thank you Stephanie...You have no idea what your words mean to me today.

Anonymous said...

I have a question for you. Do you feel it would it have been an easier loss if you had been prepared for it. For example, had Camille had an illness and you know she had x amount of months left.

Stephanie said...

Answer to the above question in the comment. Yes and no.

Yes it would be easier. I would have recorded her laughing and smiling so I wouldn't forget it. I would have more time to process and come to terms with the loss before it happened. The girls could have held her alive one last time and made books about her etc.

I would have more of her to remember now. When you don't know, you just don't take as much video and photos as you would. You don't hold them as much as you would. Especially being the 4th baby, Camille often got passed around or stuck in a high chair with snacks while I tended everyone else's needs. That is often how she is in our video -- in the background in a highchair or exersaucer or car seat.

Also yes, there would be no thoughts in my mind that somehow I could have prevented this. It would be more easy to mentally put her death into the "God's will" bucket. I do believe her death was God's will and that if she hadn't drowned it would have been something else, but mentally I have to still remind myself why this must be true over and over again. i go through the logic of it and point out the evidences over an over and always conclude it must have been the way it was supposed to be. But still the nagging of the adversaries doubt still tries to get in.

No, it would have been much more painful to Camille. That would kill me. It would also have been much more uncertainty about how things were going to go. That was the hardest part for me in the darkest hospital days.

Often siblings of children who get sick and die have fears of getting sick. So it may have been harder for my kids that way.

For Camille, I think this was the easiest way for her to go. She loved water. The spa was warm and not hot. 95 degrees. It was likely a short experience and I have no doubt she quickly lost consciousness and had angels standing by the entire time.

So it is harder for me now the way it happened but knowing it was better for Camille this way is probably worth the added regret and mental aguish I now deal with.

Travis and Ashlee said...

Thank you so mcuh for your insight on prayer. I strugle with my morning prayers when a crying baby is what starts my day. I tell myself everyday I'm going to do better, and it seems everyday I fail. Maybe one day. I too was at TOFW and some of the speakers coments made me think of you. I don't even know you but you are in my thoughts. Thank you for being so wonderful!

DEANNA said...

I love this post. While I am Catholic, my entire neighborhood is Mormon and have been educating me about your religion. I love that I can embrace and understand everything you write about, to some extent.

I find it easiest to pray late at night. I know my little ones will sleep through it and I only have to worry about one waking in the middle of my prayers.

It is amazing how I also can find my self praying during the middle of the day, at lunch time, or while I sit in the middle of complete chaos in my backyard with my three little ones watersliding.

I do belive that time and place is completely irrelevant to God... as long as you do it!

Kelsi said...

What an awesome post! You amaze me. I love how real and honest you are! I saw that you were at Time out for women this weekend from Jonathan's post a few down. I was there too! I thought about you so much during it, wondered even if you might be there since I knew you were from Vegas! I am so glad you got to go! What an awesome spiritual feast! I wish I could have run into you and given you a hug to let you know the influence you have been to so many! I hope you enjoyed that day! It is crazy to find out that you were there and to think that I was thinking of you and wondering if you were there. I know I sound like a weird stocker or something, I am not. Just another mother thinking of you. Thanks so much for sharing your life so openly! I love that you are so real and willing to share your whole self with others! Take care, lots of love and tender thoughts, Kelsi

Anonymous said...

I have been an avid follower of your blog since Camille's death and I feel guilty that I have not commented sooner. I have gained so much insight from you and truly mourn with you everytime I read your postings. I want you to know that I have prayed for you and I continue to do so. I am amazed at your strength and your ability to go on despite your terrible tragedy. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. It has truly made a difference in my life.

Julie said...

Dear Stephanie, thank you so much for taking the time to answer my question. It seems like more than just me benefitted from you sharing your personal prayer style.

You know, as I sit here, I just took a deep breath and feel SO COMFORTED in the power that prayer has. I know the Lord unites us all through prayer and I really feel that He is my Rock--- when I LET HIM BE!

In my Mom's Bible study today something that really hit me was to let my soul rest in Him. Really truly *rest* in Him.

I feel very blessed to have read your answer tonight Stephanie. Thank you a million times over. It is leading me to do one thing I have never done in my prayer life...

I am going to wash away the day and get down, literally, down... on my knees and give thanks and praise. And then I am going to rest.

Good night friend and thanks again for sharing,
Julie

Ps. My prayers for you are not ceasing... they are daily.

tclybb said...

I'm sure you have many people who read your blog that you don't know. I would be one of them. I'm not quite sure how I stumbled upon your blog, but I'm very greatful i did. What an amazing woman you are in dealing with your loss! I can't explain to you how badly I needed your blogging today. It felt as if you wrote it for me. I sometimes feel as though my prayers are empty, but you reminded me that it doesn't matter how or what we say, we are always heard. Thank you again. I'm sorry you had to go through such a loss, I just had baby number 4 and can't even imagine losing one, but your loss and the thoughts you share, are helping many of us cope with our daily challenges. Thank you!

Heidi said...

Oh, Stephanie, this made me cry. Have you kept Camille's room the same? I don't think I'd ever be able to change it...

Candice said...

Oh my goodness! The loss of your daughter just brought tears to my eyes and made my heart hurt. You are an amazing woman to be trusted to endure such a terrible loss. May the Lord continue to bless you.

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julie said...

Thank you for this post. It really makes me want to try harder to make sure that I have morning prayer with my kids before I send my daughter off to school. I really like the idea of reading scriptures at breakfast too, although I am usually doing her hair while she eats:) Thanks for being such a great friend to Brittany. I know that it really helps having you as a friend and thank you for sharing such intimate details of your life and struggles with us. You and Brittany are really great examples and make me want to try harder each day.

sarah s. said...

Thank you for writing such a beautiful and thoughtful post. Your comment you have written above shows such insight. You have such an amazing ability to see all angles of a situation. You and your family are still in our prayers.

Seri said...

Stephanie:
I have been following your blog for a while, and I always look forward to reading your posts -- as they are truly uplifting to my spirit! Although my heart breaks for you when I read about your sweet Camille and the challenges you are facing, I have tried to savor the time I have with my children. I LOVED your post on what prayer looks like in your home and with you personally. (That was a great question)! I don't know if this comes easy for anyone, but I REALLY struggle with it -- knowing I need to do it as I am running around the house in the morning helping small kiddos and getting one off to school. I seriously need to improve, and I liked reading first hand what you do. I always have a prayer in my heart, but I really need to get down on my knees and pour out my soul to Him more often. Thank you for sharing. I think of you often, and I am praying for you tonight!

Seri said...

P.S. Now that we know what prayer looks like for you personally, may I ask how scripture reading/study works for you? Again, something that is hit and miss for me, but I know that my family and I would benefit a lot more if I were to do it on a consistent basis. (Family reading isn't as hard because we incorporate that with bedtime). When we've got little people at home, it puts such a different spin on things. Any suggestions?
Thank you, Stephanie!

jimnalli said...

you are so amazing...your words are soo wonderful!