I will admit that I've never been a prayer. I mean, I pray, but I've always been a little uncomfortable with it. I guess I've always had the mindset that God is too busy to listen to me. Sure, I prayed, but without much conviction. Then something happened this year. My sister, Maria, found out that the baby she was carrying had some significant problems. Through the miracle of modern medicine, they found that Gabby was missing part of her brain. Did my sister break down? Nope! She turned to God. I decided that if she could do that, so could I. So, Ben and I started attending church. One of the very first sermons I heard was about how to pray. I can still remember Pastor Jim saying "Talk to God like he's your friend." And then he went on to tell us about all the prayers that God has answered. I kind of thought maybe there was something to this praying thing. So, that night, I prayed. I prayed for my sister and I prayed for Gabby. I prayed to God that He may give Maria and her family the strength to deal with what was coming their way. Maria never let her faith lag. She told me once that she and her husband, John, had put Gabby in God's hands. She knew, with out a doubt, that God had special plans for Gabby. On July 2 Maria gave birth to a beautiful little girl. Despite the odds, Gabby was home with her family in just a few short days.
At that point I knew with all my heart and soul that God heard our prayers. I could feel in in my very soul. It was such an amazing feeling to know that He was there and holding John, Maria, Gabby and their entire family in his hands.
Since then, there have been numerous challenges for Baby Gabby. They are still unsure what her official diagnosis should be. Her neurologist (a man truly sent by God to be the head of Gabby's medical team) believes that it's septo-optic dysplasia, but no one is 100% positive. In the four short months that Gabby has been with us, she has undergone three surgeries for severe glaucoma, and two brain surgeries. The first surgery was to open the tube that helps to drain the fluid that surrounds the brain. Unfortunately, that surgery failed in less than two weeks and Gabby had to undergo another, far more invasive surgery, to have a shunt put in. The shunt runs from her tiny brain down to her stomach. Imagine, if you can, sending your barely four month old baby in for brain surgery, not once but twice!
Whenever Gabby is sick or heading to the hospital for an appointment, surgery or more tests, Maria asks her friends and family to pray for Gabby. I in turn ask my Pastor, my church, and my friend to pray for Gabby and Maria. There have been numerous hurdles in this little baby's life. But EVERY SINGLE time, she comes out on the other side.
I also ask the Lord to give Maria strength. Strength to keep fighting for her baby. Strength to deal with each and every obstacle that comes her way. Strength to fight this battle with out the aid of her parents and siblings close by. Strength to keep her faith and strength to know in her heart of hearts that God has plans for her and for Gabby.
And I know that He hears me. I know that he listens and I know that He indeed gives Maria strength, He guides the doctors and gives them the knowledge they need to help this very special little girl and her very special Mommy. I believe in the power of prayer because I've seen it first hand.