Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Wednesday Wonder - Catherine's Steady Prayers

By 9:30 Monday mornings I'm almost always ready. Coffee percolating, music playing, prayer sheets printed and ready on the ottoman tray along with extra pens...

I'm always touched by the women taking time on a Monday morning to attend our Moms in Prayer meetings - specifically, an hour praying for our children and schools. Week after week, they keep coming. Even the Monday after Christmas break, when all we want is a moment of solitude to get the house back in order. Or the Monday after spring break, recovering from travel or a week with a flexed schedule. Or even Mondays in May, a full season brimming with parties, read-ins, field days and all the post-STAAR extras.

But one friend in particular has truly ministered to me through her commitment to our Moms in Prayer group. Catherine comes faithfully each week, and she has missed one week in the past two years. I first met Catherine at our middle school Moms in Prayer group, as her youngest daughter is Branson's age. But interestingly, it's our elementary prayer group that she attends so regularly.

Catherine's sister-in-law, Merritt, passed away two summers ago, leaving her then-7-year-old son, Sam, an only child, to the care of his daddy, Catherine's brother. In addition to helping out in practical ways, Catherine is committed to faithfully, regularly pray for her nephew. Just a couple of weeks ago during Moms in Prayer as we spent time thanking God for things He has done, Catherine thanked God that she and Sam enjoyed their Cub Scouts family camp-out even though it rained both nights.
Say whaat?

After we finished praying, I made a bee-line to Catherine.
 "I'm sorry, did you say you spent the weekend at a camp-out in the rain?"
She grinned."Yeah, but it went really well. We got pretty soaked, and it was a little cold, but we had a great time."
Uh huh.

This camp-out was sandwiched between Catherine's twelve-hour shifts working as a physical therapist with stroke victims. As a single mom, Catherine has made tremendous transitions over the past few years to care well for her own daughters, and more recently for her nephew and brother. Week after week, after working on Sunday nights, Catherine comes to prayer on Monday mornings, then goes home to sleep.

Our group has prayed for Sam, now nine-years-old, for the past couple of years. According to my very general calculations, that works out to about 72 weeks of specific Scriptures prayed over him by name. Really it's 72 x 2, if you count Catherine's prayers and her partner's prayers as we break up into pairs each week and repeat Scripture over each others' children. So this little guy has been prayed over approximately 144 times, and that's just in our Moms in Prayer group alone.

I asked Catherine what motivated her to follow through so faithfully in her prayers for little Sam - to come every single week to a prayer group where she didn't even have a child in school with the rest of the women. Many of us have a difficult time carving out prayer time for their own children. 

Catherine answered very sincerely and somberly that in a conversation shortly before her sister-in-law died, Merritt asked Catherine to care for Sam well. Catherine feels that the torch was passed to her, and that this is what Merritt wanted most for her son.

Catherine knows Sam's physical needs will be met. He of course has his dad, and a community of extended family, teachers and friends willing to pitch in and help. But in terms of prayer, Catherine's bright eyes lit up when she said she has the privilege of helping lay a spiritual foundation for her nephew's life. She said may or may not see immediate answers (and often she does), but she has experienced the power of prayer in her own life, and is honored to cover Sam's life now as well.

Renee, Catherine's daughter who just finished her sophomore year at Cornell
Catherine and her younger daughter, Gabby
Catherine has taught me much about taking prayer seriously, about being committed regardless of busyness and fatigue and even the despondency that accompanies difficulty. She's also opened my eyes to sacrifice and commitment to children beyond our own. That's one of my favorite things about Moms in Prayer ~ it creates an awareness to so many children and families in our communities beyond the walls of our own homes and even churches. Very grateful for Catherine's bright eyes and bright heart. We will never know this side of heaven all that her prayers have wrought.

I love writing these "Wednesday Wonder" posts, because when I see people doing extraordinary things, I want to shout it from the rooftops. Or at least from my little blog! The people I highlight here are "Wonders" in my eyes because I see God's work in and through them ~ His work transforming the ordinary to extraordinary. But it typically takes a willing heart, some risk, and an offering of "yes" for Him to transform.