Prayer confounds me. I can't really remember if it did so before, but at this point, it's a complete mystery to me. So to put it into a narrative to maybe make some sense of it, here it is.
I've mentioned before how we saw the powerful working of Almighty God while in COL. But let me back up even more.
In August of 2008, we requested a homestudy update for 4 children. Our social worker was generally very concerned about families adopting more than 2 siblings. She asked us to do a lot of things, and then we waited. I remember a time talking with my mom where she asked what I wanted them to pray for. I remember thinking one thing: for the committee to approve us for 4 children. And so with a choked voice at the realization of how much I wanted those four children, I replied, "Pray that the social workers will approve it. My heart couldn't handle if they said no."
Even now when I look back and think about it, I don't get a sense that I prayed "wrong." But I don't understand what happened after that. The previous 2 years we'd been waiting, we kept on believing that if the Lord wanted this to be, it would be.
So when we heard back that the committee had approved us, it was exhilarating. And then the blow of our homestudy agency closing and our homestudy update being delayed...and delayed...and delayed. But really, after 2 years, what's a couple of months? But it worked out.
Ok, so fast forward to spring of 2009 and we're trying to figure out what day we can request to meet the kids. S has an exam that he can't miss, or else he'd repeat a whole year of his program. It all works out, amid the bumps. Another tangible example of God working in our midst.
And then we get to COL. What I once thought, believed, experienced is completely shattered. I had no words to pray with. If ever my soul cried out to God, it was then that it began. I could only trust that the Holy Spirit was interceding. But this did not work out...the way we wanted it to.
And then we came back home.
Prayer was one thing: a constant plea for rescue. Slowly, after a few months, praying the Lord's prayer was something I could muster. It was as if I couldn't even comprehend anything for a while, and then the Scripture that has been part of me since childhood slowly was accessible.
But the line, "Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven," sticks with me. I still can't pray anything but that.
Recently, someone asked if they could pray for something specific. I replied that i don't feel that's what the Lord wants us (me and S) to pray. I believe He wants our continued prayer to be to walk with Him, not matter what He brings. The person asked if it was because I was afraid to hope. Not an easy answer there. "Hope" in the "belief that good things will come" is quite tempered for me now. Not in a cynical way (well, sometimes it's cynical) but tempered by experiences that have forever changed me and the way I view life. So I replied I don't feel that's in line with what the Lord wants me to pray.
So, among the other confusing spiritual facets, prayer is thrown in the jumble too. And as I reflect on the statement I made to my mom, I can only respond in frustration to God, "What ARE you doing?"
Because the truth is my heart couldn't handle it. My human heart has been broken to bits. Only a loving God can restore it. And there may be parts that are never quite the way they were before.