As a mother I pray for my kids every day. It is a great gift and a privilege. Until recently, I underestimated how much I needed a praying mom in my own life. It was the prayers of my mother-in-law, a 20+ year veteran of Moms in Prayer, that impacted my desperate need for healing.
When I was two years old, my parents divorced and from that moment on my life was a roller coaster of trauma, loneliness, fear, and anxiety. As a child, unconditional love and a sense of belonging were non existent. I learned to look to the attention of others for my self-worth and constantly worried about what others thought of me. Because of insecurity in my own home, I felt the need to earn love and adoration. Ashamed by this and severely self-conscious while growing up, I spent most of my youth trying to hide in the shadows. In high school I often ate my lunch alone in the girl’s bathroom. I didn’t have any knowledge of God or understanding of my identity in Christ, and had no one praying for me or emotionally supporting me.
Without a praying mom in my life, my emotions started to control me in different ways. Eventually, a continual gnawing, tight knot developed in my stomach— fear of life, work, social rejection, not being liked or admired— which was quieted when I starved it. Starving those fears was comforting and made me feel safe, secure and in control. However, at the same time of trying to numb the pain, I was actually starving my body…killing it one day at a time.
Blindsided by how quickly anorexia had taken over, I was terribly ashamed. As a grown woman and someone who called herself a Christian, I felt like an imposter. I hid my eating disorder for years, becoming very thin and ill. The shame continued to grow to the point where I went into isolation, believing the lie of being deemed an unworthy wife and mother. I felt undeserving of God’s love. My husband finally asked me to talk to someone. He was very concerned.
Without a close relationship with my own mom, I went to my mother-in-law to tell her about the struggle with anorexia. As I explained the deep pit I was in, her response was, “Deena, I don’t understand what you are going through since I have never experienced it and it is unfamiliar to me, but what I can do is pray for you. Can I bring this to my Moms in Prayer group?” Desperate for help, I ignored the shame, embarrassment and isolation that had controlled me for years and accepted her offer.
Knowing that there was a group of women committed to praying for me weekly helped me come out of isolation. With this realization that it was okay to let others in and to be “found out,” I also started to tell some friends and to reengage in my community. I felt free and alive and most importantly, “known” by God.
I realized that to be “known” exactly where I was at, in the muck and mud of my sin, was okay because God loved me no matter what. I didn’t have to be ashamed. I didn’t have to hide. I didn’t have to pretend.
In fact, I started to celebrate my imperfections! The more imperfect I admitted I was, the closer I grew to God. This was the best gift I’ve ever been given. And it is summed up in three words God gave me in an image one day on a blank, white computer screen, written out in black and bolded, with a very large period at the end.
I AM ENOUGH.
The “period” after the word enough is very important. For as long as I can remember, something always came before that period. “I am enough…IF I have cool clothes. I am enough…because I nailed a great job. I am enough…because I am an amazing stay at home mom doing fantastic projects with my kids all day. I am enough…because I cook great meals for my family. I am enough because…I am skinny. I am enough because people like me…and the list went on and on.
The freedom that came from the realization that I am enough…”period” was a turning point and allowed me to accept God’s grace and His healing. It also opened the door to forgive myself, stripping away all of the guilt and shame that had isolated me. Now I believed that I was worthy of God, motherhood, friendship, community and love. That no matter what bad choices I made, nothing could make me undeserving of God’s great love for me.
I believe with all my heart that this deep understanding of God’s perfect love came to me through hours of prayer specifically by my mother-in-law Elaine Kvasnik. The prayers of Elaine and her Moms in Prayer group changed the course of my life.
Elaine has been meeting with her Moms in Prayer group since the 1990’s. This group of women has met weekly to pray for the school and the students. Elaine will say that this is the highlight of her week. More than twenty years later it has become one of the highlights of my week as well.
Elaine’s example of dutiful prayer has inspired me to join the Moms in Prayer group for my children’s school.
I have learned the power of a praying mother is a great blessing to her family, but a family without prayer is like a tree without roots (from Mark 4:17).
God has redeemed me through a praying mom! When I still struggle (and I do) it is the greatest blessing to be able to tell my mother-in-law and know that she will pray for me. This experience has taught me many things. I am no longer ashamed of my imperfections or struggle with sin. God chose me to be the mother of my two children and I don’t have to be perfect in order to be worthy of that title. And everyone, even moms, need prayer…and those prayers matter! In Luke 18:1, Jesus tells us to, “Always pray and never give up.”
For those who are hurting or struggling, here are several life-giving revelations I discovered during my journey. I pray they encourage and help you:
- Lean into the discomfort.
- You are worthy of love and belonging.
- Believe that what makes you vulnerable, makes you beautiful.
- When you try to numb one thing, you actually numb everything…your whole life.
- If you are fighting with vulnerability, lose the fight and you will gain your life back.
- Allow yourself to be deeply seen.
- Know whose you are. You are God’s perfect creation and He doesn’t make mistakes.
- Practice gratitude and lean into joy.
- God loves you, always, every day, every night, no matter what.
- You are enough.
Deena Kvasnik has a merchandising, buying, and business management education with a BS from the University of MN and Carlson School of Management. She has spent the last 10 years as an entrepreneur growing her business, Deena’s Gourmet—a local hummus company in more than 200 grocery stores. To better serve her family, she recently sold her business. Deena is passionate about reaching the next generation for Jesus and is now thrilled to be working in ministry with Pulse! She is also a Moms in Prayer group member. Deena is married and has two children.