Courtney S. Barr

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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

2016, Our Heart's Desires, Praying & Living Intentionally

Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me. Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done. Luke 22:42

Every day I receive a daily devotional via email. I like that method because it allows me to read any time during the day and also to keep my favorites handy. This morning I was pleasantly surprised to see the excerpt was taken from a book I have not yet read but by an author I followed quite closely through their caringbridge website a few years back. Laura Sobiech posted religiously about her son’s battle with cancer and through her I discovered a talented musician and a faithful heart that for the world was gone way too soon. Zach Sobiech touched my heart with his unfailing faith, his love of family and his desire to leave this earth as a joyous spirit. His mother’s strength is one of the most beautiful impressions of love for her child and her Savior. 

The excerpt, from her book “fly a little higher”, pulled me in before I even felt the tears collect in my eyes. She spoke of those moments where you know you have faith, you know that you are a believer, but where you are placing your hope is something to reflect on. I have never been in the situation she has, but I can relate to the version of prayer where we are placing our prayers/our hope on what we want our Father in heaven to do – how we want to pray hard enough for Him to do what we desire as we see it should be done. I’ve been praying that way for awhile now. Knowing that I am not in control, knowing that He knows best, He sees better and He desires the best for me; yet I try to conform what He has in store into what I want. The adoption process is number one on this list for me. 

Back in December when we heard again that we were not chosen, I broke down. I was mad this time. I had been praying specifically, praying for myspecific purposes rather than praying with intent, for God’s purposes. 

I ran afterwards.

We started with Dallas and the playoff game. It was a release to just enjoy the time with family and just pretend that it wasn’t meant to happen so “oh well”. Then we were blessed to get tickets to Phoenix – national championship game. Again, throwing any feelings of anger or aggravation against the wall and deciding to just enjoy the time with M the Best Husband Ever in Vegas & Phoenix for a few days. Then New York last weekend, I tossed the idea of worrying about adoption processes and threw myself into the fun birthday weekend I will forever treasure with my Duchess. Not one trip is regrettable, not one trip is something I would trade with anyone – I have had an amazing last 20 days and my birthday week was top notch. Granted I’ve been through all the time zones and to be honest my body is still not sure which one is the correct one yet and I’ve walked more airports and landscapes in those 20 days than some may ever get to do. I know all this. I know that these days were meant to happen just as I know we weren’t meant to get that Christmas child I was praying for…this past December. It may be that my Christmas child is meant for February or March or July or August or November or December of this year or the next. Time is perfect in God’s plans. It is frustrating in ours.

We tell ourselves that we are focusing on what He asks us to focus on while sometimes we are tricking ourselves, we are still holding onto what we control, what we feel should be the result/response/ending/beginning/change/consistency of how we see it to be.  We have to shift our sights, stop placing our hope on the point in the distance that we see it should be and place it on what He reminds us is the greatest point. Laura says it exactly like this: Hope is about raising our eyes from a point on the horizon to the heavens and into eternity.(Laura Sobiech, Fly a Little Higher)

She references that this prayer, these words from Luke 22:42 Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me. Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done. is the perfect prayer for those moments when we just can’t even fathom how to pray anymore, when we struggle with what to ask for, how to ask for it and what we are to do. She is right. This is where even Jesus, kneeling in agony, turned to the Heavens as he had wrestled with God’s will but KNEW that His Father’s will was greater, that His Father’s plans were perfect, that His Father was all knowing, that His Father’s timing is/was/forever will be the best timing; to that knowledge the son surrendered completely.

How on earth can I expect that I could bend God’s will to my wants? It’s laughable when I type it out on the screen; truly, hilarious. Even though in the moments of weakness where I question how things happen, the whys, laughter is the farthest from me. But I have a very compassionate and grace filled Heavenly Father. So He has given us the words in Luke and also more in Psalms.

Now, I’m approaching prayer and my day to day differently. I want to live intentionally. I want to pray intentionally. Don’t get me wrong, He asks us to speak our heart’s desires, our wants, our needs…those prayers are still there, but the life I lead around those prayers has to adjust to His purposes, how I accept what happens to those desires is to be handled differently. 

In all this I must admit that when I pray I know that in my human nature there will be times that I will still expect it to be as I see it should be and sometimes it might turn out that way, but every time His answer or non-answer will remain the perfect answer He has for me; so my hope will rest differently, my prayers will be specific to His intent and my way will need to change to be His, not mine. I will give Him my worries, my hesitations, my need for control and the view that I feel everything should be and I will receive His will, His view, His guidance…for He runs to me, wanting me to get not the good, but the BEST there ever could be. I will still ache when the hurt comes, grateful for the compassion and the love He has for me; but I plan to not dwell on the ache but use it to shift my perspective, to move closer to Him and to lean into Him.

So for 2016, a year already historical in our house, I’m making steps to living intentionally. I’m placing my hope heavenward not on the horizon. He has that Christmas child out there chosen for us, perhaps we need to adjust our view of the how/when to it will be as it is supposed to be in the perfect time, the perfect manner and the most perfect precious journey. 

As always, thank you Village for loving us, for supporting us, for praying with and for us…please don’t stop, our journey already has had many twists and turns, thanks to each of you we weather each obstacle with higher hopes, better views and the love of a family that spans all walks of all realms. Be safe and have a happy 2016.

For those that need Psalm 37…. 

Do not worry because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong;

2 for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.

Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.

Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this:

Rest before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.

19 In times of disaster they will not wither; in days of famine they will enjoy plenty.

23 If the LORD delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm;

24 though he stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.

25 I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.

28 For the LORD loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones. They will be protected forever, but the offspring of the wicked will be cut off;

31 The law of his God is in his heart; his feet do not slip.

34 Wait for the LORD and keep his way. He will exalt you to inherit the land; when the wicked are cut off, you will see it.

37 Consider the blameless, observe the upright; there is a future for the man of peace.

39 The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD; he is their stronghold in time of trouble.

40 The LORD helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.

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