• Carmen Rempel

Becoming the prayer

I could hear her crying and screaming from upstairs and I knew the drill.

I quickly tucked the other one into bed, explaining that her adopted sister had been through some hard things and never cried about any of it, so when she did cry it all came out in a big bang. Together we prayed, as we do every night, and tonight we prayed especially that the home would be filled with peace and love and calm. We prayed that God would wrap his gentle arms around the sobbing girl downstairs.


I grabbed my water bottle (hydration is key to preparing for a long night of holding a sobbing teenager) and headed downstairs.

I didn't knock.

I opened the door, partly, only to discover something was in the way.

Oh my.

Yes on the other side of the door was a familiar scene, her, on the floor hyperventilating and crying. But between her and I was something new.

Smashed plant pots. Dirt and spider plant strewn at the base of the wall at it was so obviously thrown.

A broken tea cup.

Her bed on the floor.

All her drawers thrown in a pile.

Books, CS's, pictures, shoes, everything. Everything was on the floor.

"Oh. Well this is new."

This wan't the drill I knew.

I took a deep breath as fear ran its corse through me. This was a scene of violence. It was a picture of rage. My self-preservation instincts flashed their warning through me, asking the question of if I would be in danger if I stepped into the room.

But I saw her struggling to breath, and what else could I do?

I put down my cup and I began to slowly make my way over the shards of glass, pillows, shoes and CD's towards her. She didn't move from her spot.

Deep tissue pressure. That often calms her. So I wrapped my arms around her and began breathing deeply, hoping she would follow my lead. It also helped me to remain clam when inside my mind I was terrified. It was from there, as I held her, that I saw it. The broken mirror. Smashed into a hundred pieces, big chunks totally missing as if she had punched through it.

"Are you hurt?" I asked her quietly. "I just need to make sure you aren't bleeding." She showed me her hands as she continued to take quick shallow breaths. Good. She wasn't bleeding. And she was present in mind enough to hear me. I continued to hold her as her breathing slowed.

We were surrounded by glass. I knew these episodes could last hours, so I began making a plan. "We need to get you out of this room." I told her. "May I touch your things and make a path for you to the door?" I asked her because I was afraid that touching her things might lead to another violent outburst, this time with me playing the part of the wall, or the mirror. I began to move things. She looked up now and watched me as I began moving her trunk, the books and things out of the way. Calmly I put the bed back together. She rubbed her head, "My head hurts." Fear, again caught in my throat. "Did you hit it honey?"

She just pointed at the mirror.


There is a horrible feeling that happens when you realize something awful. Its a sort of sinking feeling in your heart, but a rising feeling in your stomach. Sort of like the feeling you get at the drop of a roller coaster ride, or right before your throw up.

Sinking and rising, at the same time.


She smashed her mirror in with her head.


Ah. Crushing weight on my chest, falling sensation in my gut, rising hot feel of vomit in my throat.


Breathe Carmen. You are both going to get through this. "God help me."


By the time the path was clear, she was clear headed and able to move. She got up off the floor herself. As far as recovery times go from these "puddle" incidents, this one was remarkably fast.


We went upstairs and I made a snack and got her water. "I'm tired." She said. "I bet you are." I said. I sent her off to shower, and I went into her room. I looked at all the dirt and glass and empty shelves and I fell to my knees. I put my head in my hands and I prayed. "God, fill this home with your peace and your calm. Fill this place with your love. Rid this room of anger and violence."


The strange thing was, I was calm. I was scared. Very very scared, but calm. The peace that I had prayed for filled my heart. The calm that I had asked for, I displayed in my actions. The gentle comforting arms of love to hold the little girl, I got to be.

I had become the prayer.


And isn't that God's way?


God does not ask us to pray for peace, but to ask God for wisdom and become ambassadors of peace.

God does not ask us to pray for the orphans, but instead to ask for help when we are raising them as our own.


What have you been praying for? For reconciliation between you and someone else?

How can you be an agent of reconciliation?

Have you been praying for justice? How can you be God's justice to the world?


I have a challenge for you. What if you were to not pray for anything in the next month that you weren't willing to become the prayer for first?

Do not ask God to feed the hungry, until you go and feed them first.

Do not ask God to heal the sick, until you donate to Doctors Without Boarders first.


I think God would honour those prayers. I think he would love those prayers the most.


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