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handsaToday is National Day of Prayer.  I am not a big proponent of organized religion because I have too many questions and too many doubts about some of the mindless thinking that is required in these higher powers to actually attend to them properly.  However, I do believe in something and I give it the name of God.  And I do believe in speaking to him.  Mostly I speak to him (or her) on behalf of my children.  I rarely sit down and ask for things for myself or even relief from my life because I don’t think God is interested in giving me relief.  If he was, he probably wouldn’t have given me the hardship in the first place.  But today, after the hellish and heartbreaking week that I have had, and the heartbreak that is going to continue for some time, I feel a need to write to God on my own behalf.  He may not listen, he is really busy, but maybe I can get some relief from saying it out loud.  Here is my prayers.

God give me faith in myself.  Give me faith to make the right decisions.  Give me faith to believe that while things are so horrible right now, they won’t always be.  Give me faith that I can find the way, find the answers, find the path that I hope you took the time to lay out for me.  Give me faith that despite how alone I feel right now, that I am truly not.  Give me faith in myself, through your faith in me.

God show me love.  I know that love is not a gift, but a work in progress. I know that love is difficult, challenging, and worth all my devotion.  Show me that love while often blind, is still looking for me.  Show me that love is the end of a long journey, and that every step brings me closer to it.  Remind me that my child’s love is worth more than anything even you can give.  Remind me that for my child’s love, I will do what is hardest, what is most important, what is the best.  Remind me that for my love of the child, I will do what I never thought was possible.

God I need hope. Hope is a gift that love can’t be.  Hope is that universal faith that there is another stone to stand on in the middle of the current of this life.  Hope is the belief that even when things get rough, that while I may be changed forever by it, I will come through it.  Hope is the belief that faith, that love, that even courage will overcome all that I must pray about.  I don’t need the answer, I just need the hope, the faith, that there is an answer.

God find my courage.  Find the courage you gave me on the day of my conception; the courage to walk, the courage to run, the courage to stand.  Give me the courage to keep moving when all I really want to do is sleep.  Give me the courage to sit on the banks of this river and walk in and learn to swim. Give me the courage to meet the challenge that you continually think I can fight, and give me the courage to find a way to win.

God, give me the strength of your own soul.  Strength can’t be found on a weight bench.  It can’t be found with protein shakes, or even that mile long run.  It can only be found deep in our souls. Strength can only be felt when the world has once again decided to give the bitter pills of life deep unto us.  Strength is that emotion we find when the chips are down, and the river is overflowing the banks.  Help me find that strength one more time. Help me find the strength to make the best decision, the right decision, the good decision.

God, help me recognize that the truth that I know, is not always right.  Help me to remember that my truth is much different from those around me.  Help me to see that truth is a recognizable understanding of that which no one can explain.  Show me the truth so that I can find the strength and the courage.  Show me the truth that my faith requires that I believe is there.  Show me the path that you have laid, and I will walk it gladly.

Amen.

I spent two years dreaming and designing the tattoo I have on my body.  I spent hours, in excruciating pain, to bring to life the image that I wanted forever inscribed on my skin.  I didn’t want to wait until death to have it inscribed on my tombstone, and I needed it in a place that I could look at when the times became harder than I knew how to bear.  My tattoo is the image of my children’s birth flowers surrounding the letters C, S, F, and L.  The letters stand for Courage, Strength, Faith and Love.  I believe that without strength you can’t have courage, without faith you can’t have strength and without love you simply can’t have faith.

These are the same elements I use in my prayers.  The four spheres that I hold onto every day.  I look for them, I beg for them, I need them like I need very few things in my life.  They are what helps us to survive, when the world is against our very thoughts. I ask God to give them to me each day; to show me where they are deep inside myself, and they are the four things that keep me alive.  They keep me fighting, and they keep me believing that someday, in some place there will be a God with a gentle smile, and an incredible heart waiting to hold me deep in his arms, and finally give that which I have searched for all my life; a place to lay my head.

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