What Can I Pray For?

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The adoption process has been just like I imagined…in only one way: we are waiting for a baby.  Other than that, the paperwork grew beyond my expectations quickly in extent and content, the support and encouragement from friends, family, and even strangers has exceeded our imaginations, and the emotions and prayers my husband and I share have been changing our perspective on a birth momma, on our own ideas of adoption, and even how to pray through it all.  What we have quickly learned is that we are confident in the calling God placed on our life this year to pursue adoption when we did (2 months before a scheduled hysterectomy and a month before finding out we ourselves were expecting a biological baby).  In that confidence, we have prayed about God’s timing in all of this and trust, sometimes as impatiently as we know how, that He is working through our story.

A few weeks ago, we presented our profile to a birth momma.  We knew her name and many specifics about her and her expectant baby girl.  We prayed for her more fervently than we have prayed in a long while.  We prayed for this opportunity and even asked God to send her to a family that He had chosen for this baby, all the while expecting that to be our family.  We only had to wait a few days to hear that the birth momma had not chosen us to be the adopted parents of her baby.  In devastation, we worked through an emotion we had not been prepared yet to handle: rejection.  In our confidence in God’s calling and even humanly trying to trust in His timing, our hearts were still crushed at the thought of waiting some more to see this story unfold.

Honestly, I began questioning His timing and even some Scripture I had clung to for a while.  One verse that stuck out to me in particular was in Psalm 37:4 that says, “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”  That promise gave me the illusion in my human thinking that God would grant me what I wanted if I just prayed for it and wanted it bad enough.  But listen to the verse immediately following, “Commit everything you do to the Lord.  Trust Him and He will help you.”

Was I praying out of my own heart’s desires or were the desires of my heart a response to committing them first to the Lord?  In my prayer life the last couple months, God has revealed to me that I can and should bring any of my desires, burdens, or thoughts to Him at any time.  He wants to hear from me.  However, even as I utter the words to Him in prayer, His Holy Spirit has begun the transformation of my heart.  Sometimes my prayer changes mid-conversation with God because He rearranges the desires of my heart to understand Him more fully.  And sometimes He just stops me as I pray asking me to be still even in my waiting to hear from Him.

“Be still in the presence of the Lord and wait patiently for Him to act.”—Psalm 37:7

I still don’t have all the answers even when I pray, and I am learning that is ok.  I don’t know why God is writing our story in the way He is, with this timing in our lives, or with the desires He has placed on our hearts.  What I can be certain of is that He is in it and His plan will be unfathomable to me when this story finally sees a beautiful blessing in the end.  What I also know is that God’s blessing isn’t waiting til the end to be revealed to my husband and I.  Even through the heartache of not being chosen a few weeks ago, we received the blessing of praying for a special birth momma who was in need of those prayers at a time when she needed them most.  We know that the blessing of being patient in the presence of the Lord has given us strength in the waiting.  My husband and I can even say with more certainty than any other thing in our lives that God is calling us now to adopt, and that He didn’t call this journey to be easy for us.  But the blessing even now is knowing that with God there are no coincidences and that our story will not be an ordinary one.  The blessing in the end of all our praying and waiting isn’t even going to be one biological baby and one adopted baby, but the glory that God will receive through their lives and the story we will tell.

Praying through this adoption and our life’s circumstances right now is just revealing the first part of our blessing.

“I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and He turned to me and heard my cry.  He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and mire.  He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.  He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God.  Many will see what He has done and be astounded.  They will put their trust in the Lord…O Lord my God, you have done many miracles for us.  Your plans for us are too numerous to list.”—Psalm 40:1-5

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