Courtney S. Barr

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Join me, the Princess, on my Royal Adventures in the Land of Writing!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas, News and the Bravery of His Enduring Love...

 Dear Sweet Village,

We wish you the Merriest of Christmas seasons and the best into this Happy New Year. 

We pray that each of you weathered and continue to weather this season of storms. It has been one crazy Christmas in the South, temperatures in the upper 70s, low 80s; tornados, flash floods and blustery winds. The sorcerers…er…Meteorologist…suggest that cold weather is to come behind all this and for the first time in years I’m excited for the chill, for the much needed comfort found in hot tea, warm blankets and the chill that comes when you step outside in the mornings. 

Our family was able to spend 3 lovely Christmases with our families. Each home is such a delight to visit and we truly love the traditions that have been created over the past years and the excitement for new ones to come.

Most of you were not aware that over the Christmas weekend Marcus and I were watching our email like hawks, awaiting an update on the possibility of being chosen as parents to a beautiful baby girl. However, again we are not here to proclaim the news that we are parents…instead I’m typing through tears and yet I’m still smiling with every word. It isn’t getting easier and I pray it doesn’t – that would infer a hardened heart. Through all of this I’ve remained the sensitive, heart on sleeve person that I have always been. I cried sitting in the Target parking lot as I read the words, then I spoke out loud to my Heavenly Father…letting my cries be heard in the heavenly realm as the heavenly chorus comforted me with His word and the lyrics that played through my radio. I listen to the Message on Sirius XM, today I was reminded why I do. Tom Carter’s voice spoke “The end is a new beginning, the end is a new beginning…sometimes we just don’t see it just yet.” I cried again but this time with a little chuckle through my snotty nose. I hadn’t even called M yet to tell him…I just couldn’t say it again just yet. 

It is the oddest sensation every time I read the words that deliver the hardest news as we wait patiently for our Heavenly Father’s plan to be seen. It’s as though I’ve lost something I never had, never knew yet there is a connection that is undeniable.  I also get the boomerang of happiness for a child and a family that is now complete – it is a war in my heart and thankfully the promise that we will one day have the family He has chosen for us does give me great comfort. Of course when I called M he began to speak the life giving words that my spirit already proclaims but my heart turns away, wanting to mourn a loss that is indescribable and yet seemingly without reason. His words came through the phone, uplifting, reminding me of God’s perfect promises and His perfect plan for us. I heard him and I thanked him. He could hear the catch in my voice and when he apologized the tears fell again. He apologizes to me because I am the one who sees the emails first, because he loves me and he hates for me to hurt; yet I know that he hurts as well, that he mourns a loss unknown and a possibility that passes without reason or explanation. He truly is the most amazing husband, partner and friend God could have seen for me. My heart aches each time for him and for the child that he will not know. 

Then I have to stop. To pull myself up and realize that other couples were waiting too, other couples are hurting now, and that though the process starts again, we are hopeful, full of faith and love for our Savior’s promises.

For now, this moment, the tears shake tenderly behind my eyelids aching to roll down my cheeks, but instead I will close my eyes and play one of my favorite songs; allowing the melody and lyrics to cover me with His love.

I stand before You now
The greatness of your renown
I have heard of the majesty and wonder of you
King of Heaven, in humility, I bow

As Your love, in wave after wave
Crashes over me, crashes over me
For You are for us
You are not against us
Champion of Heaven
You made a way for all to enter in

I have heard You calling my name
I have heard the song of love that You sing
So I will let You draw me out beyond the shore
Into Your grace
Your grace

You make me brave
You make me brave
You call me out beyond the shore into the waves
You make me brave
You make me brave
No fear can hinder now the love that made a way

You make me brave
You make me brave
You call me out beyond the shore into the waves
You make me brave
You make me brave
No fear can hinder now the promises you made
You make me brave
You make me brave
You call me out beyond the shore into the waves

You make me brave
You make me brave
No fear can hinder now the promises you made…

-Bethel Music “you make me brave”

Proverbs 3:5 

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Advent, Adoption and the Village with a Heart Like David…

I took a moment in the bustle of this past weekend to be still. To think about the current season, the past one and the upcoming one. Only 120 hours prior to this moment I had trolled Facebook before heading to a weekend FREEDOM conference with my lovely church. It is my second visit to this conference – the first I was a participant – this time I was a servant to the participants, a volunteer, a spectator and an intercessor on their behalf. I knew that for at least 24-36 hours my social media moments would truly be stolen, quick ones – more focused on posting the success of the conference and open hearts than on the typical daily troll of other people’s updates. So I was trolling slowly, soaking in the social aspect of IG and FB. I noticed a trend on the posts coming from our “root Village”. Camden was having a week. One of those weeks where knees humbly grace the floor while heads bowed lay softly upon the Savior’s knee. He was with them last week, as He always is, from every home, every business, an outpouring of lament and love for two very sweet young men. One struggling in a hospital searching for answers and another returning home to our precious village with an answer   heartbreaking in its discovery; he now faces leukemia, treatments and more questions to follow the answers. But in all this, in these two stories of heartache for young men, family, and friends…I saw it again…that outpouring, far reaching, all-encompassing love that moves mountains, destroys disease, mends a heart, lifts a spirit, shines light into the darkness and warms the soul. My “root Village” is a Miracle Mount in South Alabama. It is a place where community isn’t just a public grouping of people; it is a place alive with hope, compassion and light. The kind that breaks through the darkest FB posts, where the simple word “praying” on a comment line is truly a representative of the person whose name it accompanies. Yes, these two young men are facing trials, giants even in their lives, but they come from a town with a heart like David.  Be strong. Have faith, lay your hope and your love on our Savior.

In this same spirit as I read the stories of praying for these boys I stumbled upon ADVENT. Our church, for the first time, is doing an ADVENT post each day. When I was young my parents had this tree, faux branches, about 13 inches tall that had little drawers all over the base; actual drawers, with knobs and numbers. Each drawer held a tiny ornament that would be placed on the tree as the days counted down.  I used to love to pull out each ornament, watching the calendar as each day came. I got excited anticipating what little treasure I’d discover. No matter that the ornaments were the same every year, just reorganized to be in different drawers – there was something about the waiting, the expectancy, the excitement that captivated me; even when a bad day wanted to weigh me down I looked forward to that tiny ritual. For me the anticipation of something can be where I really enjoy the moments coming. It spans so many themes personally: vacations, birthday week, parties, football games – the categories can be endless. This year my thoughts are occupied with many of those things yet there is more. Advent is more than just numbers on a calendar leading to the presents and celebration of the holiday. It is waiting, anticipating, expectancy; yearning…it is where I am this season. I love Christmas. I love the feelings it inspires and the kindness it evokes. I love the presents –giving & receiving. But ADVENT is different. I read recently “Advent is the question, the pleading, and Christmas is the answer to that question…advent gives us another option beyond false Christmas cheer or Scrooge. Advent says the Baby is coming, but He isn’t here yet, that Hope is on its way, but the yearning is still very real. Advent allows us to tell the truth about what we’re grieving, without giving up on the gorgeous and extravagant promise of Christmas, the Baby on His way.” (Savor by Shauna Niequist) For us, personally, the words ‘the Baby is coming’ struck me so hard, so fiercely that I burst into tears. He never lets me forget that He is ALWAYS planning for us, that He WILL fulfill His promises and that we need to slow down, reflect on the waiting and remember to trust Him always.  As right now two specific families in our root village await information day in and day out as to how their sweet sons are progressing, we wait to hear any and every update on the child(ren) we are praying for (still no update or change in the process by the way). 

 Learning all this in the past few days changed ADVENT in my heart, it has me thanking God for the season that understands heart’s desires, loneliness, uncertainty, long nights and desperate prayers…we must remember to open ourselves to ADVENT, to the anticipation and belief that what is broken will be beautiful, what is lost will be found, what is empty will be filled, what is desired will be fulfilled…trust Him. This season is often our reminder of happy days but it also is a time where we miss our loved ones already gone, where we fear the year looming ahead and the answers to questions we never really wanted to ask. But thankfully in all the glitter and glitz there is the simplest beauty to be found, the fact that its okay to tell the truth about our grievances and still be excited for Christmas. Our disappointments, our worries, our heartaches are very real, but a very real Hope and Promise is on the way and He fulfills His promises.