Prayers In the Produce Aisle

The weekend, there was little to nothing but cold air whistling around in the refrigerator. It was time for my big bimonthly grocery shopping extravaganza. The one I usually reserve for dark thirty on Saturday mornings. However, Jensen has been getting us up at all hours. Again.

So, any semblance of a schedule is out the window. For now. And this is really wreaking havoc on my early morning workout routine.

Sleep deprivation + no exercise = heightened depression.

I’m a bundle of fun lately.

“It’s just a season. It’s just a season.” (repeat while rocking oneself in the fetal position)

I took my two girls to brave the aisles of a very crowded Wal•Mart, to hunt and forage for our meals for the next two weeks. They are really well behaved as long as I don’t leave them to their own devices. Or let them steer a cart. I gave Emme the job of marking off the items from our list, and Cailey was to retrieve items from the shelf, and then alphabetize them in the cart.

It helps to keep Cailey really really busy.

Our cart was filled to the rim, and we had just a few more aisles to conquer. I noticed a young man, probably in his 20’s standing a few feet in front of us. He was blocking a cart from clearing the corner. At first I thought it odd, but then assumed that he must know the owner of that cart. And there was some good natured kidding going on.

Because I am awesome at pretending the sun is just one big smiley face, and everyone is happy, and there really is a Santa Claus.

Then, this young man had some sort of seizure, fell to the ground, unconscious, foaming at the mouth.

My heart stopped. I froze. There was complete silence around us for what seemed like an eternity. Instinctually, I reached for my cell phone, at the same time someone yelled “CALL 911!” Another gentleman was a faster draw than I and was calling on his phone, and already kneeling by the unconscious man checking his pulse and hollering orders.

I thought to myself, I want that guy to be shopping near me should I ever hit the concrete.

Turns out, he was an off duty police officer, just picking up a few things from the store.

I felt completely helpless. And I hated that feeling. I wanted to aid the unconscious man in some way, but my wringing of hands seldom lends help in any emergency I’m faced with.

I steered my girls out of the way. They were very shaken up and had many many questions. I answered them to the best of my ability. And then right there, in the middle of the chaos, I put my arms around my girls and we prayed for that man on the floor.

And a rush of peace came over me. And my daughters. A knowledge that even in calamity, God is on the throne.

I don’t know the fate of that young man. I know that help came swiftly. And I thank God for those men and women who choose professions that save and protect lives. I’m sure the mother of that young man feels the same way.

Sometimes I forget. I’m never completely helpless. The power of prayer, even the kind of disjointed prayer that falls out of my mouth in the produce aisle of Wal•Mart, trumps fear every single time. And like Anthony Hopkins as C.S. Lewis in the movie Shadowlands says: “I don’t pray to change God, but so that God can change me.”

“What seem our worst prayers may really be, in God’s eyes, our best. Those, I mean, which are least supported by devotional feeling. For these may come from a deeper level than feeling. God sometimes seems to speak to us most intimately when He catches us, as it were, off our guard.”

C.S. Lewis

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March 31, 2008

27 Responses to Prayers In the Produce Aisle

  • Wow what a frightening thing to happen but what an amazing experience for your girls to see firsthand that God is available to call on at all times…even in the middle of the Wal*Mart produce aisle.

  • What an experience!

    Answering the true adage, though, when all else fails, PRAY!

  • Right place, right time. You did absolutely the right thing.

    We had a moment like that tonight. We were watching a movie, and I got up to check on Barb’s blog for an update on Cameron. Finding out he is in the ICU, we stopped the movie and everyone climbed on the bed We prayed for all of them and that God would heal Cameron and keep him from a coma.

    Family movie night resumed, and I feel confident that God is in control of the entire situation.

    Thanks for doing the best thing for that young man.

    Some people would not feel so emboldened to pray right there in the prodcue aisle.

  • Once again I am reminded why I like to read you. As much as I love your humor, it’s your heart that touches me even more.

  • I wholeheartedly agree with what Suzanne just wrote – I love your humor! – yet I have to say your heart is precious and what I love most about this blog. Sunshine

  • Thank you for this post. There are a couple of situations in my life right now that I don’t even know how to pray for, but I know that placing them at the throne of God is not only thing I can do it is the BEST thing to do. Blessings to you today!

  • That is an amazing experience for your girls to remember that prayer can happen anywhere, and to be so helpless is a memory that sticks. My friend in high school had seizures and I got to recognize the before symptoms well enough to catch her before she hit the ground, heart pounding adrenaline to be sure.

  • What a great post! I actually went to church this weekend with my oldest son and his new service dog for seizure response! As I was telling all the kids about what kind of dog Daisy is…I realized I had never explained about what can happen if my son had a seizure and so I demonstrated a big one for them (don’t laugh I really did lol) so that they would have an idea and not be scared in case it happened. I told them that the dog would help with it and they could pray because that is what usually helps me when my son has seizures so you set a wonderful example not only for your girls but probably for other people in the store who saw it. 🙂 Good job Mom! It is a great message to teach the girls that although unfortunate things can happen we can all lean on God for help.

  • What a wonderful example of prayer you have given to your daughters.

    I totally know what you mean, though. I have been doing the Beth Moore Bible study, “Breaking Free”, and in it she reminded me of the power of prayer, and how important it really is.

    I think that as Christians we sometimes “trivialize” prayer. We want so much to DO something, to be in control, that we forget that praying is the most important thing we can do, and the most important act of faith we can show. 🙂

  • You did what you were supposed to do. Your girls needed you to help them navigate a very scary situation for them and model “be anxious for nothing but in everything present your requests to God…”

    We stand in the gap for all around even the bystanders when the can see that our first and best response (when we don’t have the skills to render direct aid) is to pray.

    You never know who was watching and will consider carefully the God to whom you and your girls ran in a time of desperate need.

  • That must have been really scary, but it’s wonderful that people were right there who knew what to do.

  • Wow, that’s intense! It’s so amazing how God puts the right people in the right places for us. That officer was there for a reason. I’m so glad we have a God who cares so much!

  • What an amazing lesson you taught your girls! It’s such an awesome thought to me that God set everything in motion down to Jensen’s sleep schedule, just to have you and the girls in that Walmart at that precise moment to pray for that young man. How cool is that?!

  • Yikes!! I’m glad you were able to pull it together & pray with your girls – that will leave a lasting impression!

  • Walmart is a huge trigger for those with light sensitive seizure disorders–at least it is for our family and triggers migraines in my mom. Rachel has to wear sunglasses when we go in there or she will be throwing up by the time we leave (part of her “aura”).

    Prayer is an amazing thing though. And God is good.

  • Sometimes all we can do is pray! And you taught your girls such a valuable lesson that no matter what, God is there!
    And I am sure that was super scary!

  • Thanks for sharing. When my oldest was about two, I started a practice with him that has stuck for the last six years. When we’re driving and hear the sirens, we pray together. For the drivers and emergency personnel, for those they are going to aid and their families, and for other drivers on the road. My kids (we have three) are now the first ones to respond with prayer in those situations. My oldest asked me once why we do it, and I told him, “If it was you they were going to help, I’d want someone, even a stranger, to be praying.” We are so blessed to have a Lord who longs for our petitions. Even if we don’t know who we’re praying for or all the circumstances, He does.

  • Yeah, what Suzanne said! That is a great lesson for the girls to learn young – prayer. It really does work!

  • God had you in the perfect place at the perfect time. I love that you chose to pray for him with the kids… That is such a valuable lesson for us all.

  • And we do what Tanja does. We’ve done it since the kids were young. It helps them to think of others rather than ourselves… which is always a lesson to be learned (at least in my case.)

  • I have repeated the same quote from Shadowlands several times for my children. OK, for me, but within earshot of my children.
    It’s amazing what even a little prayer can do regardless of the environment!

  • I always vowed before I had kids that I would teach them that you can pray anywhere, anytime, and that it should become second nature.

    And the only way they would see that is if I did it.

    The problem is, I don’t always. It’s amazing how so often we’re in these situations and we forget to pray! I’m getting better at it, but it makes such a difference when we model it to our children.

    Visit To Love, Honor and Vacuum today!

  • This brought tears to my eyes. For the man and for the peace.

  • Someone else may have already said this, but I think you were there at that moment for just that purpose.

  • Awesome post!
    Velvia

  • I am one big goosebump. I have just looked up Romans 8:26 “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” because I’m going through some issues right now that leave me prostrate in front of the throne and speechless to put my pain to words. Thank you.

  • How scary that must have been! But how awesome that you thought to sit right there and pray for him. What an opportunity and a witness!

    I try to remember to pray each time I see or hear an ambulance or fire truck. I’ve been on the other side of that…with the ambulance coming to my house for my son, so now I pray.

    God bless you!