I owe you guys. I was all, "Hey, I'm gonna go do this weird prayer thing!" and then I - poof! - disappear. I mean, not that you're sitting around hitting refresh every ten minutes or whatever, it just seems like the polite thing to do.
So I went to the prayer thing. I'll tell you more about that in a minute.
As soon as I got home from the prayer thing - DURING the prayer thing, if you count the terse texts - Phillip and I were in a spectacular standoff, a throwdown of a sort I'd assumed we'd outgrown. APPARENTLY NOT! It was bad, very very bad, and in addition (and also because of, I'm sure) my anxiety was the worst it's been and it was several days of misery and handwringing and sobbing in the shower.
I try not to be all Hyperbolic Blogger about things that actually matter, but I feel like I need to be super upfront with YOU, my Catholic Blog Readers, and just say: IT WAS THAT BAD.
It's better now. Muuuuuuuuuuuuch better.
But I tell you all that to say that whatever happened at the prayer thing, it took a big backseat to all the other stuff going on. And by the time I got around to thinking about it, it was all muddled and blurry and HUH?
I'm not sure if you want to know exactly what went ON at the prayer thing? Are you interested in that? I caught a ride with the woman who prayed for me the week before, who was also one of the organizers of the prayer night, and two other newbies she'd talked into attending. (This was the surface issue of the Maggie Phillip Throwdown of 2014 - I got home verrrrry late, on account of waiting around for the organizer lady to finish and SOMEONE was DISPLEASED) (AHEM). But anyway, we got there super EARLY so us three new folks went to an evening Mass (blog post for another day: I think I prefer the short skinny more intimate daily Mass to Sunday Mass?) and afterwards we went to sit in a very quiet candlelit sanctuary for the Healing Prayer Night to begin.
There were maybe 35 people there? Not counting the two dozen or so prayer ministers who wandered around silently. Two younger women stood at the front and started things off. They basically just prayed aloud, just saying whatever they felt God was directing them to say. Some of it was very general opening-the-prayer-night kind of prayer, and then it got more specific, asking people to stand if they needed certain kinds of prayer or healing. We were asked to stand if we were experiencing anything as general as "a broken heart" to pain from carpal tunnel, specifically in the left arm. I appreciated how specific and possibly strange the prayer was from the front - these women were obviously totally at ease praying out what they heard, trusting that it was God, and that if it WASN'T God, or if absolutely no one in the room had pain from carpal tunnel syndrome in their left arm, no biggie! I mean, as someone who is NOT very confident in her discernment, it was encouraging and inspiring to experience their discernment.
At no time did I feel like my personal affliction - Anxiety From Hell - was called out from the front, but I felt strongly that I was supposed to stand. Which I did not want to do. But whatever. I stood. And then at two different points during the evening, someone came and laid hands on me. I'm pretty sure that one of those times it was the lady who prayed for me the week before, but I'm not sure who the second person was. There was no praying aloud in the pews - it was all quiet, with soft piano music coming from somewhere and only the two women at the front saying anything at all.
I'm not sure I can describe what happened when I was praying. I don't think I heard anything specific from God. At certain points I felt like I was supposed to put my hands a certain way, in the same way I felt like I was supposed to stand up. Or I was supposed to raise my arms or whatever. It felt weird to do this in a CATHOLIC church, but WHATEVER, I was just going with it. At some points I felt like the prayer spoken from the front WAS prayer for me - I specifically remember when one of the women prayed "God has ALREADY forgiven you", but other than that, it was mostly a lot of strong but wordless emotion. I was crying and shaky, but these were good things. I felt without a doubt that Jesus was with me, that Jesus was doing some great work within me, I was close to him, it was peaceful. The other thing I felt pretty sure about was that I was supposed to be one of the prayer ministers. Like, even THAT EVENING I was supposed to be a prayer minister. Which is... probably not okay with the people in charge of the prayer ministry (there's training! YEARS of training!) but HEY, I am just telling you about my night! LA LA LA
There is a second part to my prayer night story, but I will either save that for later or... I don't know. It's more a learning-how-God-speaks-to-me story that isn't really part of THIS story, necessarily. If you're into Weird Stuff That Happens When You're An Intercessor, let me know and I'll share.
But anyway. I don't really KNOW what happened at the prayer night. CLEARLY I was not healed! I can't say that I was EXPECTING to be healed, but I'd felt, during the week leading up to the prayer night, that God wanted me to pray for healing. Like, big time healing. I felt like God wanted me to DESIRE healing, in a way I'd never dared to before. You know? So I'm not sure what that's about. At the same time, I feel like God did SOMETHING. Right now my best guess is that I'm healed from certain things TRIGGERING anxiety, but it's not really something I can know for sure. It's not like I was blind and now I can see, right? I feel pretty confused about what happened and what God wanted for me in those moments, but I also think I'm okay with feeling confused. I don't feel like I NEED to know what happened or what he did, at least not this minute. I feel okay with having that revealed slowly, or later on. I feel confident that God was with me and I was with him and there's nothing wrong or confusing about THAT. Boom.
I know this probably reads strange... But... this is totally the kind of thing I want to write about on my God blog! And this is the kind of thing I DO. I mean, if I could get a JOB as the lady who wanders around laying hands on people and helping them figure out what Jesus is saying... I mean, I'm all over that.
As for being one of the prayer ministers - I finally had some brain space to look into that today. (Things are better. Not all better, but much better.) There's something called a SCHOOL OF HEALING PRAYER. THAT I COULD GO TO. FOR REAL. I mean. Come on. Obvs this must be investigated.
Anyway. The end! Sort of! I am feeling Tentatively Hopeful about the anxiety lifting, my marriage looks as though it will soldier on, I haven't downed the entirety of my emergency horse tranquilizer prescription, I even had a lovely evening tonight with my husband and children in a restaurant out in public. I also said YES to leading intercession at another college ministry retreat. LEADING. Because anxious or not, I am still IN.