Let me introduce you to a couple of cuties. Get ready for preciousness overload…
This is my gorgeous niece Harvest Lynne (belonging to my brother and sis-in-love) and my yummy nephew Baby Gus (belonging to my hubby’s brother and sis-in-love)! Maybe my favorite thing about these two is that I didn’t birth either one of them! (Hey, I’ve done my share). But, my next favorite thing is that when I look at these sweet faces I see ANSWERED PRAYER! With every coo and cry, with every step and word, with every milestone they reach in their life my faith will be built and bolstered. Let me tell you why.
The roads to these two blessings were not easy ones. Their stories are not mine to tell but I can say that they are filled with loss, tears, pain, waiting, faltering faith, and lot’s of “why God’s.” Here is what else those paths are paved with, prayer. Fervent prayer. The kind of prayer that happens on bathroom floors in tears, and in the middle of the night when the Holy Spirit wakes you up, and the kind that makes your knees hurt and your heart hurt and your face snotty. I am certainly not the only one who prayed for these two and their parents. I had the joy and honor to link arms with family I knew and people I didn’t to war in this battle. But let me tell you, for these children I have prayed… This is my story to tell.
Here is the thing about prayer, it doesn’t have to be my prayer request to build my faith. My path to parenthood was much easier. Conceiving babies was not a hardship for my hubby and me. We have had our own hard roads but this was not one of them. I wasn’t praying for a baby in my arms. However, I was exercising my faith everyday when I placed this request at the feet of Jesus. And in the end I get to share in the great victory! What if we never share our true petitions, not just with God, but with the people around us? What if it’s always stuffy noses, and someone’s aunt’s dog that we write down when the Prayer Request list goes ’round. I will tell you one thing, you are robbing someone of the opportunity for their faith to be built when your marriage is restored, or your child is healed, or your depression is lifted, or you find a friend. And who doesn’t need a little strengthening of their faith? I have prayed for all of these things, marriages that were in the pit, hubbies who have lost their jobs, parents who are ailing, diagnoses on children that can break your heart. I have prayed for babies to turn in utero and injuries to be healed. I have prayed for spiritual oppression to be lifted and for paths to be illuminated. I have prayed all these things for others and when The Lord moved in these situations I shared in the victory! It is like a good workout that you walk away from exhausted but stronger. Then, when it is my marriage that is in need of help, my children who need a touch, our finances that feel scary, I am stronger for the task. Is there a victory you are stealing from someone because you are not sharing your deepest requests? Maybe they will need that extra faith in a battle that is ahead for them…Your petition can build their faith.
Another lesson I have learned in prayer is that we all need a Hur and an Aaron sometimes. Do you remember this spectacular little story from Exodus 17:10-13? I’m so in love with these verses I can’t even tell you. Moses is about to pass the baton of leadership to Joshua and he will be the one to finally lead the Israelites into the promise land. But first, there is yet another battle to fight. Joshua leads the army down to the war and Moses, Aaron, and Hur go up to the top of the hill to watch. Moses is an old man by now and has been fighting for these people for decades. His role on this day was not to weild a sword but to lift his hands. Exodus 17: 11 says, “As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning.” But, verse 12 goes on to say, “When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up- one on one side, one on the other- so that his hands remained steady till sunset.” Do you ever grow weary in the battle, in the prayer? I know that I do. Sometimes I am so close to the heartache, or the wanting, or the doubting that I can’t even form the words to pray. God knows this about his children. That is why He never intended for us to fight alone. Don’t we all need an Aaron and a Hur to come along side of us and hold our arms up when they get too tired? Don’t we all need to know that there are others who will do the heavy lifting when we cannot even lift our heads? We all need fellow warriors who will grab a rock, sit on down, and lift our arms until sunset, until the battle is won. We need community that know what is really going on and will lay on bathroom floors and get snotty with us, that will be sensitive to the Spirit at 3am and lift us up, that will come lay hands on our sick kids, or come to the hospital room or funeral home and grab an arm to raise. I pray with all my heart that you have some Arrons and Hurs in your life. It is truly one of the biggest blessings in mine that I have a tribe of them. A little group of imperfect, road-weary, “trying the best we can” Aaron and Hurs. And I get to be an Aaron and Hur for them as well. I get to lift their arms when they cannot, and lift their prayers when they cannot, and fight for their kids, and marriages, finances, and dreams when they cannot. And now we are back to my faith being built when God acts in their lives!!! Oh, how I love this!
Isn’t God a funny father sometimes? Do you remember the widow in the parable in Luke 18? Jesus tells the story of a widow who is so persistent in asking a judge (that neither fears God nor cares about men, by the way) for justice that he eventually says, ” I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming.” (Luke 18: 5) Jesus’ point was this, He loves it when His kids keep asking! He is all for us persistently tugging on his robe and saying the same thing over and over… “Please bless them with a child.” “Jesus, please, please hear my request and give them a baby.” “Lord, bend your ear low and hear your daughter, let her get pregnant.” “I’m not going to stop asking God. Give them a baby, please.” I say He is a funny father because this is the exact opposite of how I am with my kids. Things have been heard in my house something like this, “If you ask for a snack one more time YOU WILL NEVER EAT AGAIN!” or “I have already answered that question, DO NOT ASK AGAIN!” or “If you say those words one more time, I’M GOING TO RIP MY EARS OFF.” You know, sweet little responses like that. But that is not our God. He says ask and keep on asking, knock and keep on knocking, seek and keep on seeking (Matt. 7:7) So every day for years I asked. All my Aarons and Hurs heard me lift up these babies that were not yet conceived every week. And God finally answered with the sweetest little yeses.
Gather up some Aaron and Hurs and be known. Let people in and let them fight with you and let them share the victory. Lift some arms yourself and watch your faith be built in a yes that is for them. And then you will be stronger for the battle when it is yours. And don’t stop. Don’t assume God is a parent like we are and ever gets tired of your asking. He is better than us, thank goodness. I had the honor of flying home to Florida when Harvest was born and spent the first few days she was home with her precious parents and her. When I posted this pic to my Instagram I said, “For this child I have prayed.”
One of my Aarons (Erin, actually) who knew commented “and prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed.” Yes I did, and look at how sweet the victory was!