Sunday, September 14, 2014

"IT'S FRIDAY, BUT SUNDAY'S COMIN!"--A PARENT'S PERSPECTIVE

From Susan: 

Just 2 more weeks to Hope at Home 2014!! If you have already registered, we are praying for you and your family by name. It is hard to express our sense of confidence in the Lord for this event. We are EXCITED!! 
And if you have not registered, our arms and hearts are open wide to welcome you dear friends. Please consider joining us for this gathering of Real Families, sharing Real Help and Real Hope.

"It's Friday, but Sunday's comin!" 

We all have those little quotes that stick like glue in our memories. This quote by Tony Campolo was actually His trademark. No matter what we or those we love may suffer on any given day, the truth is, in Jesus, we know the that even when it feels like crucifixion-Friday, resurrection-Sunday is coming! And if you are living on the resurrection-Sunday part of this week, there is someone within your reach who needs you to pull them along towards you, as there are certainly friends and family close by who are today in the crucifixion-Friday side of life.  

I invite all of you to peek into what I keep seeing that the future holds for those called to help pray and love children into living like the treasures God created them to be! I separate our family adoption story into the beginning, the middle, and the ending.

The Beginning 

Life is busy, physically and emotionally tiring, full of school, homework, meals, music/art/sports lessons and events, funny stories like the day Vasya put his tooth that just fell out into the crack of the baseboard for the mice, only to burst into tears when all his brothers and sisters hollered, 'stop! stop!  In America we give our old teeth to the fairy so we get money, instead of giving it to the mice who are living hidden behind the walls!!' And Vasya bursts into tears as the rest of the kids are shaking back their giggles. So I save the day assuring him that I know the tooth fairy and will tell her to come anyway!  
While the practical challenges are exaggerated, the silly stories to offset them bring somewhat of a balance. 

We pray their faith will become their own, and not just their parents'. 

We tend to our children's hearts and souls, trusting that they and we are being raised together to the kind of newness of life that Jesus' resurrection ushers in by His Holy Spirit who comes to live in our hearts. 
  
We pray the Lord will meet them where they are and they will feel His supernatural help that transforms problems with school and friends and neighbors and  family and feelings, by the love of the Holy Spirit, poured out into their tender hearts, often through our tender affection.

The Middle

As kids from hard places walk through the teen 13 to 19 and young adult years, they, like Peter, often try on their orphan identities again. You see, that Erikson Developmental Stage of identity versus role confusion (ages 13-19) must be worked through. Only if they are believing they are who Jesus says they are--sons and daughters of the King of kings and sons and daughters of their loving parents, or as Luke calls us, children of the resurrection, will they be able to walk in emotional and spiritual health. 

It is typically a process, and they often flip in and out of the opposing poles. While we would love to force them into the right pole--the sonship/daughtership pole--the only help that is ultimately effective is the force to love approach. That is, I force myself to focus on love more than change. And the Fount of Love Himself gives me His love, Jesus' love, the love that we tell them about when they are little. This is the love that will never change even if they are "bad.''  

So when they make bad choices that have bad consequences, we keep reminding them, "I know who you are, even though you are not living like who you are. You are kind, loving, generous...."--whatever those unique giftings are we see in them. We keep speaking truth even when they are themselves believing lies and living lies, telling themselves things like "I am worthless; my life will be bad; no girl will ever want to marry me; I will not be able to get a good job; I am a failure....."  

In these years, particularly, we are they who must keep seeing the Invisible Hand of our Loving Lord, placing angel armies around them and around us.  We trust that their story will end like Peter's, who, in spite of denying who he is and who Jesus is, He ends up being the one who feeds the sheep, tends the sheep, and feeds the lambs--over and over and over again. Just read Acts for all that Peter changes to accomplish, after He is fully filled with the Holy Spirit and comes to see Himself as Jesus saw him all along.

The End

All the kids will grow up and leave home and we will all become empty nesters. I didn't really think this would ever happen to me! What is that like? Well, for me, it is WONDERFUL! I get to keep the relationships with our children who value keeping the relationship (most of them do!) and keep loving them.  

At this stage, they must move through intimacy versus isolaton (20-30ish). When their hearts are broken by a boyfriend or girlfriend, this fear of aloneness and abandonment is more destructive in its "crucifixion-Friday" threat--and we keep reminding them that they have a SURE HOPE of intimacy with Jesus and with us and with other believers that no one and nothing could ever threaten! When we see them isolating themselves we text and call and email and instagram messages to them that are reminders of the hope we ourselves determine will be our own trademark. 

And we keep loving with a view to "Sunday's comin'!" 
And we keep loving all the others the Lord is sending our way -- the "whoevers" of Mark 3-- "whoever does the will of my Father, He is my brother and sister and mother"--and I would add "and son and daughter."

Prayer   


Lord Jesus, today we pray for all those in every country who are loving children who need families and who need You;  we pray that we would be living the 'Sunday's comin!' life of hope in Your being an anchor for our souls.  And that as we do, our children and many others would simply copy us as we copy You.  I just love how, virtually every time You, Jesus, speak in the gospels of your coming crucifixion, You yourself always add:  "and the third day I will rise.'  We praise You for John 6, that You, when you remind us four times that You are the bread of life, You also remind us over and over that when we COME TO YOU, that YOU raise us up to newness of life.  Evermore strengthen us to walk in this resurrection-raised-Sunday's comin! life.  For your glory.  For the hope of our hearts, our homes, our world.  In Jesus Name. Amen.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

HOPE AT HOME 2014 BREAKOUTS

It is hard to describe how exciting and humbling it is for us to prepare and share these breakout sessions for Hope at Home 2014 September 26-27. We are full of anticipation and hope for our time together with you all. There is still time for you to register-- come on and join us for this weekend of refreshing, equipping and HOPE for adoptive, foster and waiting parents. 

Breakout Session I:

1. Fathering: Bringing Peace, Order and Life Into Our Homes 

In this breakout for dads, we'll discuss the awesome role we have as fathers to bring peace, stability, order and life to our homes. We'll address practical issues, sharing systems that have been helpful in bringing freedom to our wives and children. We'll talk about the power to define that we have as fathers, and how we can instill in our children their true identity by hearing from the Lord for each child and speaking words of life over them.  Stephen Templeton and Greg Haswell

2. Letting God, Letting Go

The process of bringing our children to a point of spiritual, emotional, and economic maturity and independence is difficult in the best of situations. It is often even more difficult with adopted children. Rather than letting go and letting God, we will look at the hope brought by letting God and then letting go. Susan and Brian Hillis

3. Called and Qualified

What a gift from God it is to be called mother/mom/mama. Answering this call brings much joy, satisfaction, challenge, and at times deep heartache. Many mothers find themselves facing an identity crisis. As lives are poured out for the sake of our children, questions such as Who am I? Am I qualified for this? How do others do it? arise in our hearts. 
In this breakout for mothers, we will take a look at some of the answers to these questions from heaven's perspective. Michelle Haswell


Breakout Session II:

1. Keeping the Connection: Parenting in Grace

How do we create, maintain, and deepen our parent/child love connection, and at the same time provide the much-needed structure of discipline? We'll talk about some practical parenting tools and concepts that free us to be grace-filled and forward-looking parents. Beth Templeton

2. Banishing Fear--Beginning the Journey of Fearless Parenting in God's Love

This session will look at the nature of fear and anxiety and the biblical possibility of gaining freedom in Christ from fear and anxiety.  We will discuss some practical ways to identify fear and anxiety as well as turning effects of fear and anxiety into acts of worship. We will also offer a time of Questions and Answers. Dr. Terry Mitchell

3. Nurturing Your Child's Spirit 

This breakout will offer practical ideas and teaching on helping your child enjoy their relationship with our Heavenly Father. As children encounter the love of God, they are released from the orphan spirit and discover their true identity as sons and daughters. Jenni Means













Sunday, August 31, 2014

EMBEDDED PRAYER

From Beth:

Susan Hillis and I, and our whole team, so ready to see you all at Hope at Home 2014. Oh how we would love for you to join us so that we can stand together with you, linking shields on behalf of each treasured child, the ones in your home and the ones yet to come home. Register Now for this special gathering created just for you! 

It is such fun to share on Facebook or Instagram the joyful and fun moments of our lives. We rejoice with one another in those sweet moments captured and shared--and this is how it should be. Here is a photo I shared this summer when all 7 of our children were together at the beach. Mind you it was all of 5 hours before two of the kids had to leave, after one had just arrived that morning, but we were not going to miss an opportunity to take a photo! So much goodness and evidence of God at work in this picture!!

But then there are those moments we would never think to take a photo of--and certainly NEVER would we share them on social media! Those moments of heartache and disappointment are the ones we private message to a trusted friend. God is Lord over them all, the private pains and public celebration. How thankful we all are that His faithfulness is not limited to the happy days of Facebook posts!

We get many private messages from parents whose children are in seasons of serious need and vulnerability--the kind of scenarios we have all so hoped to avoid. We hear stories of rebellion, addiction, psychological diagnoses, sexual acting out, unhealed attachment disorder, removal from home, trouble with the law..... 

And indeed, both Susan and I have faced many of these extreme situations in our own families, interspersed amongst the never-ending stream of true beauty and joy.

And we too have sought words of life and hope, both for our saddened hearts and for our children's lives. So, whether you are facing one of these extreme situations or not, I know that you are praying for your child, trusting God for wonderful things for him/her. In the end, is this not the bottom line for us parents? That our children thrive and enjoy the fullness of life that is theirs in Jesus? 

Take a quick look at what Jesus prays for Peter (Luke 22:32) before He is taken by the Roman guards, on His way to the cross. Remember, this is JESUS CHRIST PRAYING. He tells Peter, 
But I have prayed for you, Peter, that you would stay faithful to Me no matter what comes!
Now, I know you all know what happens in the ensuing hours. Despite Jesus' prayer, Peter does indeed break faith with Jesus. 

It might seem that Jesus' prayer for Peter was ineffective that Thursday night--that it somehow "didn't work." Is this even possible? How can this be?

But hold on a minute-- let's read what Jesus says next to his disciple: 
Remember this: After you have turned back to Me and have been restored, make it your life mission to strengthen the faith of your brothers! 
Jesus saw past the unfaithfulness to a time of repentance, restoration, and ministry. His prayer was embedded with provision for all contingencies!

And the very thing Jesus prayed for--that Peter would be faithful no matter what happened--becomes Peter's life mission. Peter spent the rest of his life, after being restored, ministering strength and faith into others. 

Jesus' prayer covered it all for Peter!

So my dear friends, let us not be dismayed by what appears at the moment to be unanswered or ineffective prayers. Let's embed our prayers for our children with plans and possibilities for all contingencies. And the very place of weakness, brokenness, or sin will become the place of strength for that struggling child. 

Think of it, when we think of Peter we think of the ROCK that he is. Even to this day, through the scripture, his words are strengthening us. We don't identify him according to his weakest moment. But rather, according to the words that Jesus spoke and prayed.

And I believe it is just so with that child you are praying for dear ones. We identify them according to who God says they are, even--and especially--in those seasons where their weakness or sin is most evident, and no one is asking to take a photo to share on social media.

For our prayers are embedded with the "no matter what comes" kind of situations, embedded with restoration and hope! 


Faithful God, I pray Your word from Psalm 91 (The Passion Translation) for my child:

He/She makes his/her home within the shadow of El Shaddai, hidden in the strength of God-Most-High. In Him ____________ always feels safe and secure! He's the Hope that holds _________, and the Stronghold to shelter him/her. The only God for ________, and his/her Great Confidence. He will rescue __________ from every hidden trap of the enemy, and He will protect him/her from false accusation and any deadly curse. His massive arms are wrapped around _________, protecting him/her. __________ can run under His covering of majesty and hide. His faithfulness is a wrap-around shield keeping __________ from harm. 




Thursday, August 28, 2014

PAY ATTENTION TO THOSE NUDGES

Planning to join us for Hope at Home 2014? Well, we sure hope so! Every time we meet to pray for you and for our time together, we have such a sense of anticipation for what our Father God has in store for us. You will be encouraged and equipped by the One who has you and your child in mind--every single moment. REGISTER TODAY!

From Susan:

Just this week I felt this crazy urgent nudge to call a doctor in another state with whom I had not spoken in 17 years. You see, this doctor, Doctor Bill xxxx, was our son Jonny's heart doctor, and I was savoring the memory of how his advice changed our life!!! This fond memory made me want to ask him to talk with a young couple J and B, whose first little baby was just born half way across the country, with Jonny's same heart problems--problems that only occur 1 in 250,000 births!!!
Susan and Brian with Cristi and Jonny
Now the logical side of me said, "That is a crazy idea....you don't know where Dr. Bill is working now; you don't have his phone number; even if you did, he would be busy; he has taken care of so many kids he probably doesn't even remember you; taking time you don't really have out of your day for this interruption is irrational."

But the faith-filled side of me thought, "Lord, is it You giving me this idea as a way to encourage this young family? What can I lose by trying?"

So I googled his name, <Dr. Bill xxxx, pediatric cardiology> and BAM, the first link was to his office and phone number.  He has gone on to become a very well known pediatric cardiologist who helps run a well known pediatric cardiology center! 

Then I called the number and told his secretary, "This is Dr. Susan Hillis calling. I am wondering if I might speak with Dr. Bill xxxx....I am not sure he remembers me, but he took care of our son years ago."

And Dr. Bill, the head of a busy cardiology center, came right to the phone, "Susan Hillis, how in the world is the CDC doing and how are you doing???" 

He DID remember me!!! 
And he WAS available. 
And he DID answer the phone! 
This BUSY man was free right when I was nudged to call.
Brian, Cristi, Trevor, and Jonny

And this is what I told Dr. Bill, "Bill, a childhood friend of Jonny's and of our daughter Cristi has just given birth to their first baby--a precious little girl who has the same rare heart defect that Jonny did. I have just been remembering the two things you did for us that changed our life and wishing they could talk with you. I'd like to tell you what those two things were:
  • First, when I planned to teach all our friends and all Jonny's teachers CPR, you said, "Susan, you cannot do this!  If you tell others that Jonny will be at risk of sudden death from cardiac arrest every day of his life, then the adults will be afraid of him. And if the adults are afraid of Jonny then the kids will be afraid of Jonny....because kids always copy adults. What you must do instead is this:  LIVE A NORMAL, HEALTHY FAMILY LIFE, AND FOCUS PRIMARILY ON LIFE, NOT ON PROTECTION FROM DEATH. 
  • Second, when Jonny's heart was growing weaker and weaker at 10 months of age, you sat down with us and explained, "If we do nothing, you will have about 6 months, but if we operate and close the hole between the upper 2 chambers, he could have years. The catch is this: the risk of him dying from the surgery is very very high and the likelihood of the surgery working is very low.  But if it did work, you would have years with your son, not months. It is up to you." Bill, do you remember that?"    Dr. Bill replies, "Oh....I remember it like it was yesterday!"  I then continued, "Well, Bill, you know that your courage won us years with our dear son--years of memories and laughter that we would NEVER have had if you had not been willing to let us make that choice. Making that choice caused many rocky months for us and for you....like that Friday and Saturday you sat by Jonny's bed when he almost died, and titrated all those potent IV meds going into his veins, with your eyes on all his numbers and monitors and pressures, to see if it would be possible for that little heart to begin to function. What I want for this young couple is for them to have someone like you, who will be willing to talk with honesty about their choices, and who is kind and capable. It is so hard to go through something like this when you are so young.  We had to do it, and your help made all the difference for our entire family and for his entire life. You helped us all focus on enjoying life and not fearing death!"
Always the gentleman, Dr. Bill thanked me sincerely and told me to  have Cristi's and Jonny's friends call, which they did that very afternoon....
and he answered their call. 
And he helped them. 


So, why is this story important for adoptive/foster parents OR for any parents?!

It is important for 2 reasons:

1. There is always someone else you will be able to help. When those nudges come, it is good to pay attention to them.  It will be a blessing for you and for them!! 
(recall II Corinthians 1...those reminders to comfort others with the comfort we ourselves have received from God!!!).  And there will be others nudged to help you when you need it.  
Don't be afraid to act.  
Don't be afraid to ask.

2.  The same 2 family life lessons that Dr. Bill modeled for me is what I hope to pass along to you:  
  • First, let's live as normal a life as possible, and focus on LIFE and GIFTS and ENJOYING EACH OTHER, not primarily on PROTECTION and CONSEQUENCES and DEFICIENCIES. The past month has been very hard for me--one of the hardest in years. Unexpected rejection that is painful. Horrible realizations. But those cannot be my focus. My focus will be on LIFE and the BLESSINGS abounding even amidst sorrow.
  • Second, be willing to be DIVERGENT....like that movie that I just watched by the same title. Dr. Bill would have been among those "divergent: ones--he was courageous, kind, intelligent, erudite, and selfless in his service toward our sweet son and our entire family. I want to be like him.  Like him with others who are walking in this same adoption calling, so that we can see weak floppy hearts with holes in them become strong, just like happened against all odds with Jonny's.

So this week Lord, equip us with that joy that comes from being in Your story. Thank you that, Lord Jesus, you were always focusing on life--
life to the full....
life abundant....
life eternal....
life with purpose.....
a life of forgiveness....
a life of love.  
We want to focus on LIFE. And Lord, we want to be different...divergent--those who, because our eyes are on YOU, are filled with courage and kindness and selflessness and capacity and wisdom. 
For your glory.  
For the blessing of our family and others on our path every day.  Amen and amen.

Monday, August 25, 2014

MARRIAGE MONDAY: A WINNING STRATEGY

We sure hope to see you at Hope at Home 2014! Join us September 26-27 in Atlanta for the refreshing and encouragement and help we all need as adoptive and foster parents. 

From Scott:

The name of my blog is Journey to Surrender.  I’ve been blogging there on how to have a surrendered marriage for almost four years. Yet I never really thought about the origin of the word “surrender” until recently. I have no idea why it took me so long to come around to this discovery. 
What do you think of when you hear the word surrender? Do you think of one party being defeated by the other? Do you imagine a total loss? Do you think it means giving up? Maybe you picture a white flag
Nope. Not even close. At least not in marriage anyway.

Surrender in Marriage

The word surrender actually comes from two Anglo-Norman French words: sur and render. Let's break it down:
    1. Sur - a prefix meaning over and above. Think surcharge or surtax. Something you pay over and above regular charges or normal taxes.
    2. Render - to give. To hand over. To abandon oneself entirely to.
Put these two together and what do you have? You have the very heart of marital surrender:
To go over and above in giving to your 
spouse, including giving yourself.

Surrender in marriage is not giving up. It’s not even giving in. No! Surrender in marriage means giving over. It means holding nothing back when it comes to your relationship with your spouse.
In order to understand what something is, it is sometime helpful to examine the opposite. In marriage, the opposite of surrender is withholding.

Why We Withhold

Withholding in marriage usually takes two basic forms. 
The first is withholding when it comes to meeting your spouse’s needs. This is most often out of a fear of lack. “What if I give and give and never get my needs met?” This fear-based withholding generates self-protection, self-promotion and self-centeredness. This can also generate a “give-to-get” attitude; one that gives in order to get something in return. Especially when we are feeling needy ourselves, the idea of giving more generously is typically the furthest thought from our minds.
The second kind of withholding has to do with trying to hide your true self from your spouse. This often also comes out of fear. We fear not being accepted or loved as we are, with our weaknesses and shortcomings. Withholding yourself from your spouse can also come from fear’s evil twin, shame. Shame is a powerful emotion that causes us to hide from others, even from the one we are joined to in marriage. 
naypong/123rf.com

A One-Flesh Paradigm

In our modern world you often hear the “50-50 marriage” held up as the ideal. Equality and fairness are the measuring sticks of a success relationship, we are told. Such high ideals are hard to argue with, right?
But I’d like to suggest to you that they aren’t really biblical ideals. As is so often the case, the Kingdom’s perspective on marriage is rather upside-down from worldly wisdom. 
The truth is that you and your spouse are one. That’s how the Bible describes marriage. If you really believe that you are one with your spouse, then withholding, whether it be in meeting their needs or in revealing your true self, actually makes no sense. 
In a one-flesh, surrendered marriage, only a 100-100 approach makes sense, where each of you is all in, with a goal of out-giving, out-serving and out-loving each other. When you fail to meet your spouse’s needs, you are actually hurting yourself at the same time, but when you bless your spouse, you are blessed too! After all, you are one!
The other implication of an “all in” surrendered approach to marriage means a willingness to be naked (emotionally, physically and spiritually) with your spouse. Such nakedness and transparency requires you to let go of fear and shame and to believe in your spouse’s love and good will toward you and be willing to graciously accept the grace they extend to you. Further, you must also be willing to extend grace to your spouse as they struggle to be naked and real before you.
If you want intimacy, in all its forms, you have to be willing to be transparent and real, because fake intimacy is a non-starter. True intimacy requires that you be fully known, and to be fully known, you’ve got to get naked in every sense of the word.

Love Like That

Now to be clear, giving yourself is not losing yourself or denying who you are, but bringing the fullness of who you are into your marriage in order to serve and bless your spouse and strengthen your relationship. Just like Jesus brought the fullness of himself, fully God and fully man, to the cross for our benefit, in order to live in intimacy with us forever:
A surrendered marriage isn’t the easiest or more natural path, but I believe it is the best path for every marriage. I believe it’s the path that God wants to put our marriage on. Ask Him to help you move in that direction. It’s a prayer He longs to answer, because He is very  much for your marriage.
I’ll leave with one of my favorite passages of Scripture that I think cuts to the core of a surrendered marriage:

Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.  Ephesians 5:2 (MSG)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

HOME SWEET HOME!

I never tire of hearing how our Father God brings children into families. The stories are endless confirmation of a miracle-working God whose love is extravagant, both for us and for our children. You will really enjoy this story from our friend Martha Cook. Martha and Andy have been married for 13 years. They both went to Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary where Martha got her Master of Arts in Counseling. Martha and Andy have two biological children, then two adopted from Ethiopia, then another biological son, and are now again in the process of adopting from Ethiopia! Some of you are familiar with Promise686.org, a ministry they helped start and play a key role in today. Promise686 reduces barriers to adoption and fostering by giving grants, offering childcare/meals, and help equip churches to bring orphans into their homes. In her spare time, Martha coaches people in all stages of life through her business, www.allabouttheprocess.com.  

 Don't forget to register for Hope at Home 2014 before August 26 so that you can take advantage of our Early Bird Special. 

From Martha Cook:

Our oldest (11) recently asked at the dinner table, “What if Andrew (9) and Sydney (6) had to go back?” I said that’s not possible. And he said, “Yea, but what if?”  

I shared that the legal process prevented it--but he wasn’t giving up! I didn’t want the idea even in their minds, but our oldest wasn’t letting go. So, I finally said (or maybe “overstated”) in a serious voice, “It’s not going to happen.”  I had, for no substantial reason, created an awkward moment. The brief silence, at the table with the seven of us, was ended by Andrew. He stood, looked at his sister, and raised his hand to high-five her and exclaimed with a huge grin, “Home Sweet Home!

Now let me describe a different scene—6 years ago we were three weeks away from flying to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to get Sydney who was 4 months old, when I sheepishly asked my husband to adopt again. This was a bold move because we hadn’t even gotten our first one so if you know him, you do not ask for something next until the first thing happens. He went through many reasons for why he just couldn’t go through this again. With each reason, I had a beautiful defense, but by the end I just outright begged, because I really wanted our daughter to have another sibling in our family with a similar story. This had always been on my heart, but we had two young children already, a 4 year old and 3 year old, and that would be four children four and under. I had always hoped in my heart that somehow we would get a sibling group, but our agency had told us that it was so RARE to get a sibling group under 3 years old. So after an hour of debating, I surrendered and thought, “I’ll just have to pray about this.” He closed the conversation by saying that he’d only adopt again if the second child came alongside the first one. 

The next morning, I went out to get an oil change while my husband was home from work during the day (which never happened), and he answered the phone to discover our case worker on the other end. She explained to him that Sydney’s biological brother had been brought into the orphanage and then asked my husband if we were interested in adopting Sydney’s brother. 

My husband came to pick me up at the gas station, and casually said, “Guess what? We are having another baby.” 

Well remember, twenty-four hours before, he had just said “no,” so I thought, “What kind of mean trick is this?” I said, “What? Why are you doing this to me? This is so mean!”

 It took him six times before I believed him. He finally said, “The agency called and told me Sydney’s brother who is almost three was up for adoption, and I already told them yes.” 

Only God could design circumstances such as this where I would never have to worry over whether I was pushing my own desires on to my husband--he had come around in less than one day! 





At this point we expected we would have to wait another six months to bring our newest son home, since none of his paperwork had been done, but another prayer changed that. 

Each day that went by leading up to our trip, we began dreading having to take two trips and not be able to take our son, Andrew, home when we got Sydney. We just couldn’t understand how we would be able to leave. On the plane over there we devised a plan that before going to meet the children, we would go meet with the Ethiopian director of our agency and ask to bring them both home. When we went to meet him, he looked at us as if we were a bit crazy. His answer was, “It would take a miracle to do that.” My husband replied, “Would it be okay for us to all pray right now and ask  God for a miracle?” The director looked annoyed, but since it was a Christian agency I think he thought, “Well, I guess I have to do that.”  My husband  prayed for all of the necessary paperwork to be done in two weeks. As we left the office, we noted that the director’s mood was much lighter, and off we went to meet our children. About ten minutes later as we were in the taxi, we got a phone call from the director… He said, “You won’t believe it but one of the steps has already been done on Andrew’s paperwork. Let’s take this one day at a time and see what happens.” 


Home-Sweet-Home came two weeks later. I think of this story frequently and some days I wonder why I ever wait to pray about my desires or concerns. The God who provided my children still sits on the throne today. Life is a bit hectic in our house, and frequently there are questions like Bobby’s persistent “What if they had to go home?” that I just don’t quite know how to answer.  

But I smile when I remember that God still provides one day at a time. 

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

DANCE WITH THE ONE THAT BRUNG YA

From Beth:

Before we get to this post, just a quick reminder that Hope at Home 2014 is coming up, September 26-27 and boy are we excited to see you dear friends!! Our Early Bird Discount ends August 26, so be sure to take advantage of that. Can't wait to give you all a big hug! 

There's an old Texas saying from a University of Texas football coach, "Dance with the one that brung ya." In sports, it means to go with the players and plays that result in wins. 

For me it means to continue on in our adoption journey the same way we began it, in the Spirit. I bet if each one of us reading this were to share how God brought us into this amazing expression of His love for orphans, we would all be telling stories of the supernatural-- of His calling, moving, providing, radical work in our lives and in the lives of our children. How many stories have you heard of people looking at a computer screen and falling in love with a complete stranger?! 

We so know who is behind that! It is the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Adoption moving supernaturally. 

But somehow it seems strangely easy to almost seamlessly move from walking/dancing in the Spirit, totally aware that if God doesn't do His thing we won't get our children home, to parenting our children out of our own strength and resources. 

We got invited to this Adoption Dance, and then accepted the invitation, totally recognizing that this was not your run-of-the-mill prom. We were dancing with a partner who was moving way outside of our familiar dance steps! 



So, maybe you are like me and sometimes find yourself dancing alone. You look up and realize, what happened to my dance partner?! I'm struggling with these steps of parenting alone, in my flesh, and it's not working out so well--for me or my child!

It reminds me of what Paul wrote to the Galatians:
You crazy Galatians! Did someone put a hex on you? Have you taken leave of your senses?...
Let me put this question to you: How did your new life begin? Was it by working your heads off to please God? Or was it by responding to God’s Message to you? Are you going to continue this craziness? For only crazy people would think they could complete by their own efforts what was begun by God. If you weren’t smart enough or strong enough to begin it, how do you suppose you could perfect it? Did you go through this whole painful learning process for nothing? It is not yet a total loss, but it certainly will be if you keep this up! (Galatians 3:1-4 MSG)

Yep--only crazy people think they can parent their children in their own strength, knowing that it was God who brought them into their family by the Spirit. Ummm, that would be me-- at least sometimes. I am learning to PARENT IN THE SPIRIT more and more these days. 

If you have the time now, listen to this wonderful song by Steffany Frizell Gretzinger, We Dance

Oh dear ones, let us choose today to dance with the one that brung us-- our Jesus. There is no better dance partner for us in the Adoption Dance, this Dance of Love to the Song of Sonship

Lock eyes with the One who set your feet to dancing these steps of adoption beloved, and then parent from that place of embrace and movement.