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Parents Stop, Drop, and Pray
By Anita Howell

Pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

Stop, drop, and roll!

I wonder how many people, in an emergency situation, would actually stop, drop, and roll. Iím someone that needs a lot of real life training if Iím going to know the drill and, more importantly, follow through in the middle of a crisis.

For instance, one time my uncle decided that there were so many new babies in the family that he needed to teach an infant/toddler CPR class for all of his nieces. I thought that I had the process down, until a few weeks later when our one-year-old daughter, Emily, passed out as I was dressing her. Yes, this brilliant, highly trained mother quickly flew into action--I SHOOK her! All of the "listen for breathing, check for a pulse" went out the window when I opted for a shake awake method.

Now put me in a routine parental crisis and I really do perform like a highly trained Mom. Like when Iím feeding our son, Ryan, Iím instantly prepared to duck and cover when he has a mouth full of oatmeal and the pre-sneeze squint crosses his face. Even though it took some repetition, I am quite proud of the work IĎve put into mastering this skill, especially when I see my husband with a face full of oatmeal.

I thought that I had gotten pretty good at turning to God in a crisis. But the past couple of years have been a test of my trust in Him, and a test of my ability to quickly turn to Him in a crisis. Even though our two-year-old sonís recovery from a stroke has been the toughest thing IĎve ever had to face, it has also provided the best opportunity for "stop, drop, and pray" testing and training.

"Wait and see" used to be my least favorite words, since thatís what we face so much with Ryanís recovery. But as I have grown in taking every detail to God in prayer, "wait and see" has taken on a new meaning. Iím finally learning to wait and see HIS provision, HIS presence, HIS Word, and HIS peace.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6 NIV)

There are still difficult days and, unfortunately, I still have days where I turn to prayer as a last resort. But the difficult days have taught me the importance of making prayer my first response. Day by day Iím getting better at turning to Him first; anything else is as silly as shaking a child that has passed out.

© Bobby Deal - FOTOLIA
Anita Howell and her husband, Wes, have been married for seventeen years and have a 12-year-old daughter, Emily, and a 2-year-old son, Ryan. Anita was raised in church, but after high school strayed away from God. When Emily was born, Anita knew that she had to spend more time with God so that she could teach her daughter to spend time with Him. When Ryan was born they discovered that he had suffered a stroke. Anita began writing down Godís words of encouragement in order to stay strong on the tough days. Her hope is to share them with other parents facing health trials with their children. You may write to Anita via the Letters page of this magazine.