When God Un-Answers a Prayer, Part One: He Answers

I’m wordy. And this is wordier than usual for me. And it’s probably more for me to see in black and white than it is for you to read, but for whatever it’s worth…

A few weeks ago I hit a wall. I didn’t physically hit an actual brick and mortar wall, but for all the effects I suffered  it might as well have been a wall I could touch. 

Some of you are new friends and you may not know that on December 22nd of last year my father had brain surgery to remove a grade IV astrocytoma or glioblastoma multiforme. I’ll save you the Google search. He was diagnosed with the most malignant of all primary brain tumors.  It’s a hateful, aggressive, ridiculously fast growing monster that his doctors described as being like pancreatic cancer of the brain. Merry Christmas to us. I am not even going to try to tell you what my daddy is to me. At this point in my life, all of my emotions sit just barely beneath the surface and I can’t afford to spend the day in a snotty heap on the couch, so for the sake of time and emotional energy, let’s just say we’re very close.

His diagnosis certainly brought us to our knees, in more ways than one. Everything that we as a family said we believed about God and Who He is and what He can do and what He will do became more than just nice words, they became the Truth we relied on to help us get up every morning and make it to the end of the day. I was supposed to be at my folks’ home for two weeks to celebrate Christmas with my family. Instead, I ended up staying for nine weeks to try to help my parents as we all attempted to navigate through this new and terrifying course.

My husband had to go back to New England at the beginning of the year so I had to “single mom it” for awhile. One day my husband called me at the hospital to tell me that he had started the process to try to get an assignment back where my parents are so that we could be with my family for whatever is around the corner. Wow, right? Can you imagine a more loving, unselfish gesture? Want to know my response? I was mad as fire. I’m from the South. That’s how we get mad sometimes. I knew my parents would forever feel responsible for shortchanging his career. He’d never know how far he could have gone if he hadn’t interfered with the original plan and I felt like maybe one day he’d resent me and my family for it. I thought he’d always  wonder “what if.” He, understandably, was a little surprised at my reaction. Frankly, so was I.

I never expressed this in words I said out loud, but I think part of my response was also the feeling that such a drastic decision implied that he thought my dad’s situation was going to get a lot worse and that it might end badly. Sure, I knew and understood the prognosis, but we had to leave room for hope, right? In a way I can’t explain or even fully understand, this felt like an admission of defeat before we’d really even begun to fight.

The next day my husband called again and said that the very day he’d sent his email requesting an assignment back home, he had already been the topic of discussion at a meeting between two upper level decision makers. My husband was the top choice for a position at, you guessed it, the base in the town where my parents live. Another job, the one that a mentor of my husband’s really wanted him to get, wasn’t even going to be available when we needed it to be. After several phone calls back and forth between advisors and those “in the know,” my husband was able to convince me that the job he was being offered in the town where my parents live would not hurt his career and he’d still be on track for future assignments.

We were going home! I felt like God had been working behind the scenes, just as he had been all throughout this crazy time we were experiencing. It seemed to me that the timing of the events proved that God had planned for us to come home even before we even thought to ask. I felt so humbled and touched that He would allow me to go back home to be with my family, especially now that we needed each other more than we ever have. I was overwhelmed at His generosity and felt like I had been given a gift handpicked by my Father who loved me.

Eventually, the kids and I had to come back to New England. My husband had gone back at the beginning of the year and I had to put my responsibilities as a wife and mother before my responsibilities and desires as a daughter. I didn’t want to go, but didn’t see that I had a choice. To make matters worse, the weekend before I left, my dad was hospitalized and his chemotherapy and radiation treatments had to be stopped. I couldn’t even feel like at least I was leaving things in a somewhat stable condition. At least I knew that I’d be moving home in a few months.  Still, it was tough to leave and I halfway expected to go through a rough patch and a time of adjustment when I got back to New England. However, I wasn’t prepared to have my world turned upside down yet again and to run full-speed headfirst into an unforeseen, unwanted, brick wall that left me hurt, bewildered, and wondering if I even knew what I believed anymore.


Coming up, “Part Two: He Un-Answers”



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15 responses to “When God Un-Answers a Prayer, Part One: He Answers

  1. Oh…my…heart…how I hate the words: grade IV and glioblastoma multiforme.

    I wish I could just hop a plane an rub your back for “those times”.

    However, I’m enamored, as always with these truisms about God which never cease to amaze me.

    Sending you hug upon hug (I do hope you’re a touchy one) and my prayers. Even this part of your story is testimony already. xxxooogretchen

  2. girl, I’m such a mess right now, this just kicked it on in…my heart is so heavy for you.

    You see, I did not know my father. He passed away right before I turned 4. So, forever and ever in my heart of hearts I am MOST sensitive to girls who love their Daddies. I guess b/c I can live through their experiences and know how badly I’ve desired that relationship. So, if someone is experiencing or describing that bond, I think it truly must be one of the greatest relationships to share in this world with someone earthly.

    I can’t wait to hear the rest of this…and I am making it a special point to pray for you every day. To pray that your heart will seek peace and your head won’t talk ya out of it ;)…for your sweet Daddy to continue on this path and that he will be as comfortable and well as possible.

    Big hugs today!!

  3. I just love how close you are with your Dad. I do not have the same relationship with mine(oh how I wish I did). I think it’s an amazing gift- the bond that you have with him. I am so sorry about what he is enduring with cancer and all that you are going through.

    What a sweetheart of a husband you have! Wow. I will patiently wait for part 2. In the meantime, saying a prayer for you.

  4. Amy, I am weeping and praying for you! I love my Daddy and can only imagine what you are going through.

    We are praying for you and your family. We love you. I am praying that today specifically the heavenly father will wrap you up in his love and that you will experience the peace that passes all understanding.

  5. carpoolqueen

    I love your daddy and how he loves you. And I love you and how you love your daddy.

    And our Big Daddy who loves us all.

  6. May the God of hope fill WHIMZIE with all JOY and PEACE as she trusts in You, so that SHE may overflow with HOPE by the POWER of the Holy Spirit. (adapted from Romans 15:13)

    I love you, friend, and I stand with you in this.

  7. I’m a daddy’s girl, and stories about daddies always get me.

    Praying for you and your sweet daddy! And anxiously waiting for Part 2…

  8. can’t wait to hear the rest of this. holding my breath.

  9. Thanks for sharing…
    Your story reminded me of past situations in my own family. On the tough days, we need to be reminded of what’s important. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the story…for I know God is awesome.

    Your family will be in my prayers.

  10. It’s amazing how we love our daddies. And I can tell that yours is so precious to you. I’m anxious to read more about this journey.

  11. Oh Wow . . . sounds like YOU are the one with lots going on. I’m so very, very sorry. I’m really on the edge of my seat right now wondering what I will read next. We too have had sickness in our family with my FIL, whom I love like my Daddy . . . so I certainly can understand where you are coming from. There is a soft place in my heart that hurts for you now. You, your Dad, your Mom, your hubby, and your kiddos are in my prayers. Sending big hugs your way!

  12. DofC

    Reading your words is like reading my own. And I know how you feel EXACTLY regarding mysterious behind-the-scenes workings.

    My mother died of glioblastoma 2 months ago, so I have been through the entire range of emotions.

    Back in November, not only I was laid off, but so was my sister. As is turned out, my mom took a turn for the worse a week after we were laid off, and that month that I wasn’t working (I found a new job immediately), I was at my mom’s all day – and my sister was running around, finding a hospice, finding in house care, social security info, insurance stuff, etc.

    It had seemed, at the time, like being laid off was the worst thing when, in fact, it came at a perfect time. I began working at a new job the day we put my mom in a hospice, and my sister found a job the day of the funeral – she signed the contract that day after she was done with all the arrangements that needed to be made.

    I know nothing can really help you, and I don’t know you personally, but I’ve gone through it all. Feel free to read my blog or contact me at any time if you’d like.

  13. Pingback: Lessons I’m Learning in the Pothole « Snoodlings

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