Are There Really Unanswered Prayers?

How “many times have you heard the phrase : “Thank God for Unanswered Prayers” and said to yourself “yeah, that is true, maybe that is not what I should have prayed for anyway” or “true that! if _____ had happened the way I prayed then I would not be happy like I am now!” . Let me play ‘devil’s advocate’ if you will-are these prayers really going unanswered….really? Maybe they are being answered, just not in the way we expect.

For years I used to pray in the following order: 1) always thank God for my blessings, 2) ask Him for what I needed, 3) ask for what my family needed, and 4) ask for what any other friends and acquaintances needed at the time (strength, patience, hope, good health, wisdom, the usual things) then thank Him again, say amen and I was done. It was similar to writing a letter to Santa: 1)make a list, 2) check it twice, and 3) send it to heaven believing He would always know what is best and answer my prayers as He saw fit. Since I was young this is the way I would pray; but recently my thoughts about this process have changed, and not just because of the prose in the photo.

Not long ago I read something-or maybe somebody told  it to me me -or maybe I saw it on one of those gems of wisdom people post on Facebook-anyway it was a statement that got me thinking. It seems that God does answer all prayers-just not always in the way we expect. Bare with me here while I try to explain. First, we are here on this earth to learn, correct? How do we learn the best? By experience of course. As an anesthesiologist once told me when I was learning how to perform a procedure-“see one , do one, teach one, that is the best way to learn anything!” So why would we ever think that God, the Master Teacher, would ever just hand us the answers? Doesn’t it make more sense that He would provide lessons based in experience that so we  gain those things (patience, strength, wisdom, success) we are praying for? For example I prayed for patience and strength when I learned that my daughter was using heroine; patience so that I would not go crazy when things were not improving the way I thought they should and strength to get through the horrible experiences that her drug use was causing-like losing our grand kids (another story for another time). Well, those two virtues have not been handed to me on a silver platter; instead I have learned patience through praying, meditating, all while having faith that everything will be OK someday. Patience came when I finally started taking things one day at a time rather than trying to fix all the problems all at once making everything OK for everyone. The strength came when I woke up every morning to a new day and realized that these experiences were not going to kill me but actually made me stronger. Learning that my soul was strong enough to take all these horrible times with a grain of salt and smile at my grandchildren and enjoy what time I do get with them; or the strength to see the good in a day when I really felt like crying. Eventually that strength became real. I no longer weep day in and day out; I am able to live in the moment and enjoy it without feeling guilty that my children’s lives are not all roses and rainbows like I dreamed. These are lessons I am learning every day and will never forget; patience and strength are becoming a part of me with practice and are getting as easy as typing these words. So, is it about as clear as mud now?

There you have it; the idea that we thank God for unanswered prayers is really kind of mis-leading. Maybe in the short term the prayers are unanswered; however when you look at the big picture the prayers are being answered all along, just in ways that are unexpected. All feedback and comments are welcome here; sharing is learning!

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Blogging 101: Assignment #2 I did it! My name is changed

To fulfill today’s assignment took quite a bit of thought; but, once I got started the thoughts began to flow like the bathroom drain after pulling out that awful hair plug. Well, if you have long hair or raised daughters you know exactly what I mean. For a few weeks I have been toying with the idea of a blog title that reflects me, my personality, and my family history. Yes, if you are familiar with American literature you will recognize the name Stowe–no, I am not a direct descendant of Harriet Beecher Stowe. Actually my great grandmother was a Stowe and my mother was so proud of the name that she gave it to me as a middle name-maybe she knew something about me even then; If you read my entry for assignment #1 my story telling began early and I once believed writing was my destiny (especially after learning that I was distantly related to the “little lady who started such a big war”) Hence, I was destined to write great things that people will love to read and gain great insight from-or write small things that a few souls will enjoy from time to time. So there you have it, why Stowe was chosen. Now, why did I chose the rest of the title and tag line? Fairly self-explanatory, really; do you remember the old television sit-com Alice? Her boss the cook (Mel was his name I think) had an eloquent way of asking people to hush-he would yell ‘Stow It!’. It is my wish that this first blog of mine will help me do the exact opposite of hush-I want to find that writing voice that has been covered up by so many years of gunk. Kind of like that basket of yarn stashed in my closet-full of odds and ends of fibers that have just been piled on top of each other over the years that it became a tangle of knots. Through this blog I want to untangle that pile; undo the gunk knot by knot. Hopefully I will also reach a soul or two along the way.

First Assignment; Who am I? Why am I here?

Who am I?
I am a woman forging a path through the jungle of addiction-not mine but my two eldest adult children- add to that an effort to re-kindle a passion for writing.Since early childhood I have loved telling stories. The longer and more outrageous the tail the better. As soon as I had enough coordination to put pencil to paper my mother encouraged me to write my stories down-not sure if her motive was to support the craft or shut me up. However it worked and I found that I not only loved telling the tales, I had a knack for writing them down. Long story short, this knack was put on the back burner when the time came for me to choose a career. Writing was not exactly a guaranteed income and having been raised in blue collar country I was encouraged to choose a vocation that would help support my family. So that is me-a middle aged lady juggling career, homemaking,  and co-dependancy struggling with a desire to be a wordsmith.
Why am I here?
If you haven’t already guessed there are two reasons I am here: 1) Fulfill my desire to write and 2) document my travels as I learn how to navigate the world of recovery; not my kids’ recovery-that is their journey-but my recovery from illness caused by their addiction. Maybe, just maybe, someone will read these trappings and glean a useful thing or two.