Did You Think to Pray? Tips for Creating a Place of Prayer
During my pregnancy, (starting at around 20 weeks) I started having very bad vertigo. It got so bad, that I had to go on disability from work as a school teacher because I could barely leave the house. Driving was out of the question, and some days it was hard to even walk by myself. It turned out that I had a spinal leak in my inner ear called a Perilymphatic Fistula which was causing my balance to be distorted and the only way to fix it was surgery. Undergoing surgery during pregnancy was out of the question, so I had to play the cards I had been dealt in the best way that I could. My life changed drastically for the next 4½ months. Being forced to stay home in early October—just a few short months into the first semester of a new school year—and retreat from “normal life” brought on so much guilt, frustration, anger, sadness, confusion, and anxiety. I felt horrible for the students, parents, and administrators that I had let down by not being able to complete the school year, even though I knew there was nothing I could do about it.
More than anything, I was flat out scared to death! A million questions raced through my mind, “Will I make it to the end of my pregnancy without going insane from being stuck in the house? How am I going to accomplish the daily tasks that I use to be able to do so freely? (laundry, cooking, dishes, bathing, driving, etc.) Will I be able to care for my baby after he arrives? How is the stress of taking on so much going to affect my husband and our marriage?”
And the scariest one of all…“Will I ever feel normal again?”
Do not be afraid, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
— Isaiah 41:10
Truly the only way to get through this trying time was to PRAY. It was literally my only option. I went to bed praying, woke up praying, and prayed off and on all day in between. I asked God to help me get through this awful time with grace and strength, to help me learn whatever it was he was trying to teach me during this trial, to improve my faith and trust in him because I was struggling so much.
And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
— John 14:13
I’ve always had trouble with this verse because it basically says as long as you pray for something you’ll get it, right? Well there is also this one that says,
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.
— Proverbs 3:5-6
My vertigo never went away during the remainder of my pregnancy, but as a result of my persistent praying, I truly believe God humbled me, taught me valuable lessons via this experience, sent angels to watch over me both physically and spiritually, and changed my life forever. I know he did! It was only because of the strength God gave me that I was able to persevere and deliver a beautiful, healthy baby at full term! He may not have performed a miracle and healed me overnight but that’s because he wasn’t finished with me. He still had work to do.
I clung to this verse for months like a life vest on a sinking ship,
Consider it pure joy my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
— James 1:2-4
Fast forward to after our child was born, my vertigo slowly improved and I was able to drive short distances again and care for our child by myself after 3 weeks of help. However, I was still experiencing dizziness, and spinning, and was also living somewhat of a restricted life in terms of activity and comfort. The harsh reality was, I needed to have surgery to fix the spinal leak, which would require a 6 week recovery where I couldn’t lift the baby or participate in any strenuous activity. This meant living with my in-laws for 4 weeks and having someone live in with us for the remaining 2 weeks to care for our 10 week old baby so that my husband could go to work.
Fast forward to today, I am about 90% healed and it feels so good! I can’t even describe to you the difference in my body from last year to this year. Although I still have some dizziness when I do certain things, I can drive, I can walk, I can care for my precious child and our family with few restrictions. The joy I feel from having my health and my “life” restored is indescribable.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again REJOICE!
— Philippians 4:4
During my pregnancy I kept a prayer journal. I couldn’t look down long enough to hand write full sentences so it’s more like a “prayer list journal” but it’s humbling to go back and compare my prayer requests then and now. I find myself being so much more thankful and appreciative of the little things now, than before.
Just recently, I decided to finish/decorate the last empty corner of our home and create a “prayer corner” as a place to sit and be still. Even though I have labeled it as my “prayer corner", it is not necessarily just a place to pray. I intend to use it as a place to sit and BE STILL, to reflect on how far I have come and how much I have to be thankful for. In this space I will keep my favorite “go-to” books including my Bible, and my 2 favorite spiritual books The Power of a Praying Wife and The Power of a Praying Parent.
My new "prayer corner" is now my favorite place in our house. Every time I walk by it, I am reminded of how I am able to do the things I so passionately LOVE again (like decorating my home), because God healed me!!!
Here are before and after pictures of the space:
I am calling this gallery wall of pictures my "blessings wall". Every time I look at it, I cannot help but thank God for my many many blessings.
I love bringing serenity and peace into a space through flowers, light, and a monochromatic color scheme. When I’m decorating, I feel like just having something LIVE in a vase brings more life to a space. My husband and son (who is a toddler now) are even in on it, and love to pick flowers for me.
I purposely picked a bright purple hydrangea from my friend’s yard for this space just to add a pop of color and some positive energy among the gray, white, and black theme.
And that's my new prayer corner!
I truly believe that prayer is extremely important when building a “House of God” because without prayer plans fail.
Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.
— Proverbs 15:22
Do not be anxious about anything but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
— Philippians 4:6-7
I hope you are able to find and/or enjoy a place in your home where you can be still and reflect. Whether it's through prayer, reading, or journaling, I hope that this space will be a place where his presence is felt, his peace emanates, and that it is also a place of refuge from whatever trials you may face. I hope you feel like this space is truly a room in the "House of God".