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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Salter Goodwin

The Praying Mother Who Changed My Life

As I celebrated Mother’s Day with my family, received the cards with their special words and the gifts of extras I will enjoy; I paused to remember a mother I owe everything to. Without her, I would not be a mother.

Kay Vernell Brigman Goodwin is the mother who brought Lisa into the world.

It was her most lasting contribution before cancer took her away. She mothered Lisa for barely over three years, but I still reap the benefits from those years. When I married Mark and Lisa, as she enjoys repeating, I didn’t understand how much Kay had already affected my life as a mother even though I never met her.

Do you want to know how? Because she prayed, and prayers don’t die. She recorded a few prayer requests about Lisa, wrote them in a journal from her hospital bed in between chemo and radiation treatments. Her prayer is responsible for my belief that “The prayer of a righteous [mother] is powerful and effective.” James 5:16, NIV

How do I know? Because I have seen important answers from her prayers.

Lisa grew up insecure with a double dose of separation anxiety. That made it difficult for Kay, who played piano for worship, and Mark who preached. They tried all the tricks other parents and authorities shared on the subject, but nothing worked.It was a small prayer entry from Kay’s Prayerlife Journal that I knew made the difference. Just an understated mother’s request, Help Lisa with her fear of the nursery.

Fear? What fear, I asked as I got to know Lisa. Lisa bounded into new situations, ready for an adventure. She only cried when she had to come home! Sleep overs, camp, solo airplane trips to visit grandparents--not even a smidge of fear. Her security was so pronounced that we even started joking about it, asking her to cry at least one tear while she was away from us.

Do you understand how important it has been for that prayer to be answered? I am weak-kneed sending her to surgeries, therapies, even meeting a new doctor. She just takes it all in stride. Kay’s prayer answered powerfully!

Prayer is so powerful that it lives beyond graves, bridges emotional and physical distance, overcomes time and circumstantial obstacles. Nothing can stop its hovering presence. Kay’s prayers became my most important lesson in motherhood: pray without ceasing. Pray for first days at school, for summer fun, for doctor visits, for small fears and big ones. Pray because nothing makes a more lasting difference in a child’s life than the prayers God answers to bring about His plan.

Thank you, Kay,

for your prayers.

I have tried to pick up

where you left off,

as a mother who prays.

One day I will meet you

and we will talk

about the daughter

we have raised

by prayer.

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