Courtney S. Barr

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Monday, August 22, 2016

Celebrating Faith

I saw the Lord always in my presence; for He is at my right hand, so that I will not be shaken – Acts 2:25


There is something about good news. It isn't just the obvious - the good part, it's beyond that. It's the acceptance and the celebration and the reality of the news...the truth of it.


We received a text from a sweet set of friends who know our adoption journey well. They know it not because we've told them but because their journey has been so similar. I was on the rocker watching a favorite Friends episode when the text came across. 


A picture of a beautiful baby girl and a message following introducing us to the newest member of their family. Their secret was out. 


The tears came first. I wept. I smiled and laughed out loud. I then responded sharing in their joy & utter adoration of their new daughter.


My mind flickered, trembling a bit for a moment as it recalled the day’s message at church. Our pastor spoke on faith. On continued faith. The faith we all speak of but sometimes let slip. I've let it slip. I've let the waiting, the time and the expectations of my own heart cause it to slip. God hasn't caused it. I have. He's been doing what He does and He's been doing it perfectly. I'm the anxious one, the one giving a time table, end date and expectant result. Our pastor spoke about those time tables, the ones we create and how the humor in the Word reminds us that His time is not like our time & most importantly He isn't going to change that because we get frustrated or petulant or, He is the all knowing One. The One who sees ALL the pieces from our beginning and our end and He loves the first piece & He loves the last piece, but I believe He cherishes the pieces in between. He is going to enjoy the closeness that is created as we go to him during the in between.


Have you ever looked up the definition of cherish? It's actually perfect for His perspective and a word I personally select in these moments to center myself in His love. 


To cherish is to: protect and care for (someone) lovingly; keep a hope or ambition in one's mind



Adore, love, dote on, be devoted to, nurture, foster, cling to, possess.


In that definition there is no denying the importance of the journey & the presence of God himself. The word itself evokes how He loves us. I can't stop singing His praises because I'm tired of the waiting, it's in the exhaustion I must whisper His name, when the tears roll I must not let walls build I must let them fall away. 


It may not always make sense to me, but it doesn't have to- that therein lies sometimes the hardest part to swallow. But we must take our hope and lay it on Him. For He is with us always. He is the best of our good news, He is the answer to every question. 


Those sweet friends of mine are celebrating, praising Him today...but it isn't the first time they have, no the good news they shared was good – amazing, beautiful, wonderful even; but the BEST part of their journey is how their identity in Christ evolved when the days were long and the pain ran deep. I cannot imagine how they are feeling - I dream about how we will feel when our day comes and I trust in Him that the date is there, written down and will come when He has deemed it to. 

The good news in this story is beyond overwhelmingly good, it is a heart’s desire, an answered prayer and a million Christmas mornings all in one. So the good news runs deep, it is flooding their every moment and in it, we see beyond just the simple word good and we see best. We see chosen, adored, devoted, nurturing…every bit of what it is to cherish the sweet beautiful little girl they now hold.


The journey isn't ending for them, not at all - this parenting journey will be full of more sleepless, prayer filled nights but it will be all the better because the first leg of their journey was prayer filled, hope filled and faith filled & this time they are holding to the truth they have received in His promises. He still remains, the doting Father, the adoring parent and the loving promise that everything of Him is good, even when we can’t see it yet, even when the nights are long and the tears fall for hurt not joy, for when the day comes that everything is clear we will embrace Him and see that faith has not only been exactly what we needed along the way, but it is the steadfast answer to our prayer before the words even leave our lips…


Dear Village, please continue to pray for our journey of adoption, growth and faith, but this week we also ask that you visit our friend’s post and read about Faith, and their adoption journey – pray for them, for the birthmother and for this precious child.


And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. – Hebrews 11:6


Thursday, August 11, 2016

Stuck in a loop? Step out, seek Him.

There is struggle even on the days where struggle isn’t on the surface. 

I’ve been in a loop lately.

A cycle of questions and curiosities that has stirred my emotions. We are in that place, the time period of the year where you will soon see that we will give an update after our Home Study is updated, interviews updated and visits updated. It is the month where I state: another year passed. Thank goodness we aren't Hamsters in this journey, we push forward and not only do we go somewhere, but where we end up and the track to get there is such a beautiful adventure to travel. It is these days of "loops" that I have to choose to dig deep.  I cling to the truths that timing is His, that my lack of control over it is the best option and that my heart is guarded, protected and cherished by Him. He has plans, good ones... for us. He knows our desires, He knows our hopes and our dreams, He sees me, sees me more clearly than I see myself…these are truths, promises, and they are so very worthy of the weight they carry. 

I still loop. There will still be days where like the hamster I step into the wheel, focused too much on how I get it to move, how I will think that I alone can make it eventually go somewhere...those are the days when I must remember what it means to truly "go somewhere", to Him, to His word and His power.  I am not perfect, I am a Christian who acknowledges that I will never be perfect; my pursuit is to be like Him, to glorify Him, to share Him and to love Him. I am a light in the darkness – a light that is sourced from the King of all Kings; it is my duty and pleasure to shine for anyone I encounter & most especially to travel this life with the ultimate guide.

I never expected two years to pass and we still be renewing CANs, Fingerprints, Interviews, Profiles and Home Studies – at least not for Cherished Blessing Number 1. I know that when I speak in years I really should say year 8, but in the scheme that is most understandable it is year 2. 

He has this. I believe that. He loves us. I know that. He has plans for us, great ones. I trust that. 

So today I just wanted to post about ups and downs, the loops that I’m in right now.

I’m focusing on the new beginnings in our life. A new company, venture – where my name is followed by words like “entrepreneur, CEO, artist, owner” and where my days are full of the 22 year old blessing we cherish more than anything as she finishes out her last months of college, as she wanders the ocean of where the next shore is, as she shines so brightly that I sometimes just lean into who she is and rest. Our sweet Duchess makes us proud every day.

We are so honored to have this life. We know that the trials and tribulations cause us to hiccup, to hesitate, to question, to wonder and most of all to seek…He likes this part, the part where we crawl closer to Him, where we see the wall before us – that moment when the reality that we cannot do this alone – when we know that we need help – when we are so vulnerable that to hold on would be damaging – He loves that moment, where we see only His love, only His way, only His plan…the honesty of that moment takes my breath away every. single. time.

Join us in prayer. Join us as we pray for a birthmother yet to know who we are, for the children who already know their Heavenly Father but will soon meet us as the parents who will pray to raise them up to glorify Him. Pray for the parents who are sending their children to school this month, for the teachers and educators who are tasked with teaching and loving and supporting the next generations. Pray for understanding in the waiting. That we always are conscious of His blessings. Pray that as I ride out this loop of emotions that I find stability in the promises of the Word. 

Dear Village…We pray for you, for all of you, that you have open eyes and hearts to the gifts of the Kingdom, that the Holy Spirit – your ever constant friend and companion – that the Spirit fills you and that your heart leans in, listens and shines like never before. That when you get stuck in the loop, that you take that moment to rest and step out, to find Him in the chaos and take confidence in the journey ahead.

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” 1 John 5:14