Thursday, September 22, 2005

Playing God 4

If you have been following the story of these posts, you will remember that I had asked for enacted prayer on behalf of my grandson Robbie. Some of you will also know that Robbie has a considerable medical file compiled on his brief life.

In the beginning, his mother was told she would not carry him to term. Robbie confounded every expectation and made his entry into the world, last January 17. There was a preliminary diagnosis of I.U.G.R. (inter uterine growth retardation), a result of abruption of the placenta. He had survived to full term with about half the food supply a normal infant requires! He weighed a meagre 5 pounds and looked, for a full time baby, like a starved waif. Strong will in this little guy, right from the first. He was immediately hooked up to tubes for feeding, and wires for monitoring, and tucked into an incubator. Anxious start. But Robbie is nothing if not determined. And he was determined to live.

Additionally, Robbie had a small, common, birth anomaly which will be corrected by plastic surgery. However, the onset of asthma, this past spring, was very worrisome. At times he seemed so frail. It took multiple trips to the doctor, and several hospitalizations before a diagnosis was reached, and appropriate medication was prescribed. At the time of the enacted prayer, I was concerned that Robbie would once again be hospitalized, with all the attendant disruption of routine and deep concern which this would bring. That did not happen. He had a cold. He survived the cold. And he has gone on to have further sniffles without hospitalization. He has even hatched two razor sharp teeth.

I came home expecting to hear more good news about Robbie. Perplexity. Robbie's mother burst into tears as she told me that he had been diagnosed with yet another health concern. For months, she had been trying to get his doctors to take notice of the way he held his head, and the shape of his head. They delivered platitudes. "His head shape will improve over time." "Just let time pass. This will correct itself." I had been with his mother on several occasions when her concerns were minimized or dismissed. Now, she informed me that the condition had been noted as 'serious,' and physiotherapy and occupational therapy prescribed. It even had a name. Torticollis. Wry Neck. Should these mechanical manipulations not correct the condition, Robbie would have to undergo surgery to release his neck muscles, with possible cranial-facial surgery in years to come.

How was this an answer to the enacted prayer, I wondered? I felt a little deflated, but I was not dismayed. A general feeling of calm continued when I saw Robbie himself. Over the ten days I had been away, he had grown. His head looked better to me already. He was beginning to hold it up straighter. He was trying to sit up. Over a two week time period, his parents worked with him on his exercises. We all played rigorously with him to stimulate his awareness of the left side of his body. His strength steadily increased. On one memorable afternoon, he rolled efficiently to the left. Excited by the discovery of a new skill in his repetoire. he continued to roll to the left about ten more times in succession.

It was clear, that on his second trip to the psysiotherapist, he had outstripped her every expectation. He was sitting better and displaying awareness of his need to adjust balance to prevent himself from falling over. He was swimming all over the mat, moving confidently to find toys. The therapist had trouble keeping her jaw from dropping open as Robbie displayed his exponential development.

This has continued. Within a few more days he was trying to pull himself up to sitting from a recumbent position. This afternoon he made several successful attempts at this while sitting on my knee. When he accomplishes anything, he flings himself down to repeat the process and solidify his learning. I may be his Nana, but believe me he is SMART. He is almost fanatically determined to exercise his body.

Now I am not so naive spiritually as to suppose that Robbie's development would have continued to be delayed, had I not asked for enacted prayer on his behalf. Things would have unfolded in much the same way. I do not worship a God who is stingy in blessing because I weak in asking. But enacted prayer gave me eyes to see the miracle. Yes, even the miracle of the diagnosis of Torticollis. Just in time. Thank God, a diagnosis in time for exercises to have some effect.

Miracles happen every day. We only notice them when we are aware. We only remember to be thankful when we are aware. Otherwise, we go through life with a sense of entitlement and a hardness of heart which resents the normal maladies which afflict us all as human beings. Our constant bleat is "Why?" Why God? Why me? As if somehow, because we are believers we should be exempt from every suffering. But believing that God has the best interests of his children at heart is a step of faith. I think that we need this kind of faith most especially when we are tempted to despair. I think we need that kind of faith when faced with 'one more thing.'

She who has ears to hear, let her hear. He who has eyes to see, let him see. Jesus said that. I believe that enacted prayer allowed me to see my daughter and her husband and children prophetically, as God sees them. Whole, standing strong, eyes heavenward. This prophesy has helped me grasp the miracles which are moving them to this place of wholeness, despite fleeting contrary indications.

This week we made a second pilgrimage to Toronto's famous Hospital for Sick Children, affectionately known the world over as 'Sick Kids.' I fully expected the surgeon to say that Robbie was still not big and strong enough to undergo his plastic surgery. Lack of faith? Or a way of protecting myself from disappointment? Perhaps.

Robbie has more than tripled his birth weight. He squirmed and wriggled all over the examining table. He arched his back. He protested at being immobilized for examination. He is ready. His surgery is booked for January 10, 2006. Will you pray? Will you enact the healing in your minds. Visualize it. See it as true. A good result. No complications. Calmness amongst us adults. Quick healing.

Every day is another miracle day with Robbie. Since the enacted prayer, his mother switched him to soy milk formula and his mucous secretions are decreased, which helps his breathing and decreases the tendency for asthma attacks!! To night he sat up in a high chair at the table for family dinner and had mashed up squash and carrots just like the rest of us. His two baby teeth were unequal to the corn. He looked so proud of himself. "See me. See me."

We see you. We see you, Robbie. A strong young man with a bright mind and a sensitive heart, open to all the possibilities of the Spirit and living by Faith.


Rob (Robbie's Papa) said...

More so than our other grandchildren, Robbie's growth and progress has reminded me of the incremental nature of human development. At the end of a life, Paul will say "Not that I am already perfect, or have achieved what is intended for me". Robbie does honour each increment by practicing it - I pray this will always be true of him. Combined with discernment - that he might know and respect that growth which is healthy for him - and wonder - that true growth is always God's plan - practicing the gift sets blessing into character.
At eight months, Robbie is much smaller than Matthew, son of our niece, and Reyden (born the same day to my cousin). I thank God for his Nana who constantly sees him with eyes to abundance. It is an old saying that it's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog. Robbie's Nana sees the giant God has put within Robbie, and honours it in her attitude and her prayers.

daisymarie said...

yes i will pray.
and i will keep my eyes open for the miracles!

wilsonian said...

Wow... what a gift of life in and through this little one!

Anonymous said...

Dear Connie,
I stopped to read your blog about Robbie and cried. These
are the "feelings" that count... You know that I love the little guy and his family. He's safe in my prayers -which are actually just thoughts about him passed on to God.

steph said...

This continues to hold me in "awe" of what faith, miracles, prayer all hold. For those eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to hold all this wonder.
Great to be reminded that asking is obedience, and receiving comes with the grace in that place.

Anonymous said...

Everytime I read these blogs about our little family, it makes me cry. Not necessarily because of the difficulties of our lives, but because of the strength of the power of prayer. To be remembered and prayed for by so many people is overwhelming. Robbie was in hospital again this week with other problems including his asthma, and is still needing more prayers for his health. Thanks for healing you have brought to us by keeping us in your prayers!
From:Robbie's Mommy

Bar Bar A said...


I found you through emerging sideways and the wonderful comments you left there.

Thank you for sharing Robbie's story. I am going to add him to my prayer list and pray for him and your family every day! God bless you!

Lorna said...


prayers coming.

but a question - why do you write about Robbie's mother - that phrase sits so stiffly and feels out of place in all this.

sorry maybe I shouldn't have asked that?

Connie said...

Of course that is a perfectly valid question. You know how we make decision as writers. I thought myself that the phrase, "Robbie's mother" seemed a little stiff. It nonetheless seemed preferrable to saying, "my daughter" each time. I wasn't sure how Barbara and Dylan would take to having their names publically displayed in a series of blogs. I thought Barb would be okay with it, but I didn't know about Dylan. Gosh, this is such an interesting question, I think I'll blog about it. Then maybe I'll go back and change it. Thanks, Lorna.

annie said...

Hey Connie! I am just now getting to read this. I am so glad to hear about Robbie's progress and will pray for him and for continued progress.

I really needed to hear the paragraph that began "miracles happen everyday". Think I will print that up and keep in in my journal as a reminder.

God is so faithful.

Deb said...

I am praying right now. What a wonderful miracle. I just put his name on a little post-it note and attached it to my computer monitor. Every time I look at it, I'll pray for him.

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