Have Faith

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I wish I could count the times that these two words of well-meaning comfort have been spoken to me over the course of the last 7 weeks.

I believe that the intention of this phrase is that God will provide and carry us through our tribulations. Yet, faith intuitively does not carry a positive or optimistic connotation. To have faith, is to have complete confidence in God’s ability.  Faith is believing without seeing. It is stepping blindly off the cliff and trusting that you’ll be provided with wings or at the very least a parachute.

I know that I’m oversimplifying a popular theological topic but the issue I have is that real faith is trusting that God has a plan, without knowing what it is and accepting it anyways. God’s plan might include a miracle for my son but it might also include (and likely does based on medical diagnoses), that Theo won’t live to see his second birthday. And, having faith means I should accept that my son’s continual suffering and eventual death are all part of God’s plan.

As a Christian, I might eventually be able to accept this but as a mother, I simply cannot come to terms with this.  I don’t know if I ever will.

Before I go on, I should preface that I grew up in a Christian family founded by faith. A family of pastors and devout churchgoers and a home filled with devotions and prayers. And, I consider myself not only a spiritual but also a religious person. The institute and community of religion have provided (and still do provide) me a foundation for my beliefs – and ultimately my life.

But Theo’s situation has left me shattered and spiritless. Faith, at this point in my life, is intangible.

From the moment I entered the ER with Theodore, I prayed constantly. And, my prayers went unanswered: two cardiac arrests, a devastated brain and a body inflicted with pain. So, after a while, I stopped praying. I had lost my faith in the power of prayer and couldn’t find the words to pray anyways.

As we were being transported back to the Timmins airport (to return to McMaster), the paramedic who sat in the back of the ambulance with us was the same individual who had transported us back to Timmins three weeks earlier. This paramedic, a complete stranger, told me that he and his children have been praying for Theo every night since then and asked my permission to pray for him.  As we prayed for my son in the back of the ambulance, I softened my heart and listened to his words – his selfless prayer for our strength, healing and peace.

It was then that I realized that it was okay that I couldn’t find the words to pray because there were hundreds of individuals (some I’ve never even met) around the world finding the words for me.

I still pray each night but my prayer is simple. Lord, watch over Theodore. Lord, give Mark and I strength. Beyond that, I’m still searching for words. God will fill in the rest.

As for faith: I know one day, I’ll have stretched out my arms far enough, but for now, it’s just slightly out of reach.

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13 comments

  1. I am a friend of sweet Theo’s Aunt Laura and I have been praying for the 3 of you since Theo was admitted to the hospital. It’s ok if you don’t have the words to pray…the body of Christ is lifting you all up!

  2. I just wanted to say there’s about 10 of us here in Perth Australia who still consistantly pray for you and Theo. Half way through your latest blog I wanted to say ” Don’t worry if you’ve lost your faith right now we will carry you through when you just can’t utter one more word of prayer. We will believe for you!!! We will fill in the gap for you. All of us here are mothers and our heart aches for you and understand your feelings exactly! I try to live out my faith daily but I know I’d struggle immensely if it were my son. Your definition of faith is spot on. It’s a simple concept but sooo much harder to live out. Your simple prayers are enough! God knows your heart, he watched his own son suffer. With all our love and prayers from Australia!

  3. I am one of those people, that u don’t know, never met and probably have never heard of. But My entire family, church, small groups, and friends are praying for you and your son everyday. I have two children myself, and every single word of this recent post makes complete and total sense. If I were going through this, my faith would be shaken too, beyond. But nobody is in your shoes and nobody can fault you for feeling what you do. Your feelings are valid. God knows, He understands and doesn’t love you any less. Ive been questioning Him myself in regards to your situation, but unfortunately, some things we aren’t meant to know or understand. That being said, God is still in control. And no matter what the outcome, He will ALWAYS love you, take care of you and maybe one day show you why this has all happened. I don’t even know your son, but through your stories, and all the prayers, I have a love for that sweet little boy and I am praying for a miracle every single day! I hope to one day meet you and that special little man, and wrap my arms around you guys! You don’t know me, but my thoughts and prayers are with you constantly. I pray for peace overall and strength to face the days ahead.

  4. Dear Ashlee…we will continue to pray. Know that you are in our thoughts so often. We send our love to you and Mark and Theo, and we send our prayers. Your blog is so moving. Thank you for sharing.
    xxxxx

  5. We can’t even imagine what you and your family are going through. We read about it and it breaks our hearts. It’s not fair. Theo is an innocent young soul who has touched the heart of many (a lot being people who have never met him – like us). A good friend of ours was struck with an extremely rare disease. He died for 8 minutes, spent weeks in a coma, was hospitalized for months and only given a 10% chance to live. If Theo has more than a 10% chance to live please don’t lose faith. Miracles do happen. We are powerful creatures. Lord, watch over Theodore and give faith, strength and courage to Mark and Ashlee.

  6. Hello Ashlee, Mark and little Theo
    It’s amazing how people come together when something like this happens. The ripple effect that it has, is overwhelming but in a great way. You are touching so many people’s lives, you have no idea. God does have a plan even though we don’t know what that is and you can be reassured that whatever it is, it’s best for us. Really nice to see my brother’s picture with Theo in the ambulance. This is where it all started with me getting invested in praying for you three. Your picture is on my refrigerator, so everytime I see it, I ask God to fully heal Theo and strenghen your faith and soothe your hearts. You can move mountains with strong faith. The best thing is: “Expect to receive” just continually thank Jesus for all the blessings he’s already given you. Do whatever it takes to block out the negatives because they don’t come from God and surround yourselves with the positives because they do. I will continue to pray everyday for a FULL recovery for Theo and that God comforts you and your beautiful family. God Bless you all.

  7. Ashlee, Mark and precious Theo- My husband and I read your blog every night before we go to bed. We think about the three of you each and everyday. You all have such amazing strength and courage. We will continue to pray for little Theo’s recovery. Cherish each moment and hold each other close. Thinking of you always.

  8. Ashlee we love you and Theo so much! You and your family have endured so much pain and yet you are and will continue to be some of the most wonderful and kind people I know. God loves you always my dear friend. xo

  9. Ashlee, we are keeping up our prayers for strength for you and Mark and for healing for Theo. We will continue to do so. And as you said, there are countless others praying for you when your own faith falters. But, then you are still praying… even if it’s simple. And that is all that is needed. Even if it was simply to cry out “Lord!” it would be heard for all the weight of intent and emotion and taken with the same seriousness as the most verbose of prayers. God simply cares that you are calling on Him for your strength, no matter the words you use. And the Holy Spirit will carry your prayers to Him even if words fail you. KNOW that you are loved. ❤

  10. Everything you feel (even anger at God or a lack of faith, for example) is normal and to be expected. Shock and grief are powerful emotions and can put even the most resilient and faithful person in a tailspin. God can handle it.

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