One of the outreach projects at our church under our last minister was the Prayer Shawl ministry project. Several women within the church were involved in knitting shawls. These were given out to those in need of prayer. Shortly after finding out about Jessica’s heart condition during my pregnancy with her, I was given one of these shawls.
It has become a treasured possession. I wore it almost constantly throughout the remainder of my pregnancy. It came with me into hospital when Jessica had her in-utero surgery, and again when she was born. The first time I was able to hold her after her first open-heart surgery, we nestled together, skin-to-skin; the prayer shawl wrapped around both of us, keeping us warm. It gave me comfort each time Jessica was in theatre having surgery and made a wonderful cover to help me feed Jessica discreetly once we were home again. The prayer shawl often sits in a box in my wardrobe these days. However, it is still one of the first things I pack if Jessica has to go into hospital.
To me, it is a physical representation of all the prayers that friends, family, and even strangers across the world have been praying for our family since those scary first days after Jessica’s diagnosis. Every time I wrap the shawl around my shoulders, I feel as though I am physically being wrapped in prayer. This is incredibly comforting. Even now, if I am having a very low day, wrapping myself up in my prayer shawl will help to give me strength and makes me feel better. It is my adult version of a comfort blanket. It may just be a blue knitted shawl, but to me it is full of love, hope, strength and support and is one of the precious gifts I have ever received.