Friday, May 24, 2013

Pray For Me, Whoever You Are

by guest blogger, Tamsen Butler.

There’s a certain face people make when I tell them that my husband is deploying to Afghanistan next month. First there’s a brief look of shock, but then their faces quickly turn to pity as they realize that he’s leaving two young kiddos behind…again. I can’t count on one hand the number of times my husband has had to leave the kids behind for a military deployment, and no matter how resilient they have become as a result of their experiences, most people can’t help but feel bad for my son who won’t have his dad here for his birthday (again) and my daughter who is old enough to hear about people dying in the country where her dad is going.

But I digress. While I can always count on this certain responsive facial expression from people, I can also count on many of them also telling me that they’ll pray for my family. I’m not always sure if people are saying this as a knee-jerk response to an uncomfortable conversation, or if they really intend on praying for us.

My hope is that they actually pray for us. I hope that they pray for the safety of my husband. I hope that they pray for my kids to not get too stressed out about their father’s absence. I hope that people pray that I can handle whatever is thrown at me during my husband’s deployment.

What doesn’t matter to me is the manner in which people pray for us. I attend a Protestant church, so my guess is that those folks are going to pray to Jesus on our behalf. My parents, who are Catholic, will probably take their prayer to the Virgin Mary and light a candle. My Wiccan friends will likely do some ritual that I don’t understand, and the friends of mine who are decidedly anti-religion might send positive thoughts our way.

I’ll take them all. Pray to whoever or whatever you want, but keep my family in your prayers. When you take the head of a household and send him thousands of miles away to a country where people are trying to blow him up, all the good thoughts heading in his direction are appreciated.

You see, I’m entering into a situation in which I have no control. I can’t stomp my feet and whine and demand that my husband not deploy. I can’t require the military to sign a contract promising to keep my husband safe. All I can do is ready myself to be the strongest mom I can be to help my kids get through this, and I can boldly ask for prayer from anyone who is willing to pray. I believe that prayer can be powerful, and in a situation in which I am powerless, I’ll take all the help I can get.

I know there’s scientific research out there about the efficacy of prayer, but as of this moment I’m less worried about tangible data and more worried about acknowledging that I can’t handle this all on my own. I need prayers, good thoughts, positive energy and an occasional reminder that everything is out of my hands now.

So however you choose to worship, please add us to your list of prayers/good thoughts/positive feelings/whatever. We need all the help we can get. 

Tamsen Butler is a journalist, editor and award-winning author. An ordained elder in the Reformed Church in America (RCA), she’s an Air Force veteran and the mother of two ridiculously clever children.

1 comment:

ObscureOne said...

Thank you for this post. Happy to serve as "Prayer Cover" for our brave military and their brave families.