I was helping my husband this afternoon with the last chapter of his soon-to-be-published book, and we were writing about the importance of the saints in our Catholic faith. He was explaining that the saints make amazing role models for us to emulate as we strive to grow closer to God.
In reflecting on this, and also thinking over the past week, I’ve come to the conclusion that we also have some pretty special people right here on earth who can inspire us in our faith journeys. And God blesses us by putting these people in our lives or thoughts just when we need it the most. I was tempted this past week to stress over things like money, the possibility of moving, and my son’s fractured kneecap.
But then an old friend contacted me and asked for prayers for friends of hers. Seems this couple has a four-month old baby who was a preemie, born with Down Syndrome and heart problems. He had to have open heart surgery this week, and thus, the request for prayer. The mom had written about what it was going to be like to take her baby up to the “red line” in front of the operating room and then let him go with the doctors as she stayed helplessly behind. It’s making me cry again just writing about it. But the most incredible part of the whole thing was that she wrote with such grace, and such faith in spite of the paralyzing fear. And in the midst of a culture which encourages aborting these “imperfect” babies, she wrote so beautifully about the privilege of parenting this precious little boy. She and her husband even witnessed to their doctors about their faith!
She also talked about how this made her realize that the other little fears/anxieties she had experienced in life were really nothing compared to this. Kind of puts things in perspective, doesn’t it? I may have 8 kids, and sure, at times, that can seem overwhelming. But let’s face it — I never had any real problems with pregnancy or childbirth, and the worst thing I have ever had to go through with my kids was whooping-cough. Scary, yes, but not compared to the red line! I only pray that I would have the faith and the grace to go through that if I had to. This woman and her husband? Saints among us!
The moment I got the prayer request, I knew I had to pass it along to my college roommate. She too, had faced a similar trial with her daughter, so I knew she would know exactly how to pray for such an intention. As I thought back on what she had told me of her experience, I was struck that she, too, had faced it with grace. She may not know it, but her faith was a tremendous example to me and, I’m sure, to the other people with whom she had contact. She even took it a step further and got involved in ministering to other families who were facing similar health ordeals with their children. And her faith continued to grow over the years, even when her second daughter inexplicably experienced sudden hearing loss years later. That amazed me then, and it amazes me now as I remember it. I would like to say that my own faith wouldn’t be shaken in those situations, but I’m just not sure. My roommate? A saint among us!
I also have a wonderful Christian friend who lives up the street. For years she has been longing for children, and has been unable to have any. It’s almost impossible for me to imagine my faith being able to sustain me through such heartache. Yet this woman is the MOST JOY-FILLED woman I think I have ever met. All she wants to talk about is how much she loves Jesus, and how much He loves all of us. She is loving, generous, cheerful and full of life. My neighbor? A saint among us!
My money concerns? My stress over the uncertainty of whether we’ll be moving or not? My worry that my son won’t be able to play on the golf team with a broken knee? Hmmm . . . somehow none of those seem very scary anymore! Can I face my life with grace, and with my faith intact? I think I can, thanks to the beautiful examples the Lord has given me to emulate this week.