When my outpatient hip surgery turned into a total hip replacement, my world turned upside down. I couldn’t believe my newfound active lifestyle had crashed and burned in my face. Endless comments like, “Are you sure you need hip replacement? Aren’t you too young for that?” made me question what I could have done that led to this. Slowly, my relationship with God began to crumble just like my hip. Doubts, fears, and insecurities have plagued me these last few weeks before and since the surgery. Thankfully, the love of my family and friends sustained me: I could see God in them, which restored my faith.
One week after surgery, I’m still trying to manage the pain and inconvenience of immobility. Along with my tireless husband, my two girls have been a phenomenal help. Their godmother asked me, “How are they holding up now that their rock is a little softer?” They’re rising to the occasion, as I knew they could.
Children react to stressors in different ways. My extremely self-reliant sixteen-year-old, Kaia, has had a hard time seeing me in a weakened state, so she focused on what she does best – cooking. Jaiya, my thirteen-year-old, immediately started providing the most wonderful care I could imagine. She tucked a blanket around my legs so gently my first day home, taking care not to brush against the incision. I was amazed at their different coping styles, and how a tough situation made them aware of their hidden strengths – and their surprising shortcomings. So far, through the grace of God, we’ve learned a lot more about each other and ourselves.
That first night home from the hospital, I felt my faith slipping again. I wanted to have a little something to hold onto during the day and the early hours of the morning when everyone is asleep. So I asked the girls to make me a prayer card. With no questions or eye-rolls, they ran upstairs, and a few minutes later, each returned with an index card. They seemed pleased to have been asked. Another surprise.
Jaiya wrote: “I pray that this surgery will move forward. I know you are struggling, but I think you can get through this and progress. I love you.”
Kaia’s prayer: “Dear God, Thank you for getting my mom though her surgery. I pray she recovers well and is able to be active again and enjoy her walks and hikes. I will be better about enjoying our walks together and helping her recover. In your name I pray, Amen.”
You can look in The Book of Common Prayer and find hundreds of prayers. You can Google “the right way to pray” and come up with the ingredients needed for prayers. But for me, these prayer cards are precious treasures. The words came from the girls’ hearts, and from the faith foundation they have had in the church and in their everyday lives.
When you and your faith are tested, look to your children. Look to your family. Look to your friends. Seek signs of God in them. Ask them to write it down for you, or dictate it to you, if they’re too young to write. Maybe your homemade prayer cards will be fancy, or maybe they’ll be simple, lined index cards. What matters most is the light of God and the love of the writer shining through the words their hearts choose.
What do you do when your faith is tested?
How does your family help you restore your faith?