Monday, February 20, 2012


From Susan Hillis:

Redemption in the Storm 

I remember it as though it was yesterday.  Walking through the High Museum of Art in Atlanta and standing as though transfixed before a Russian masterpiece on special exhibit, Aivazoksy's 'The Wave.'  In the larger-than-life storm I saw what our life had become after losing our son in the accident;  in the lifeboats flanking the sinking ship, I saw symbolized the Hand of God, rescuing us from the sinking ship of grief.  Though I stood in an exhibit hall full of people, it was as though I stood alone before this painting, sure that the redemption in those lifeboats was soon to be multiplied.

You see, it was just before we were leaving to adopt our first two children Anya and Alex, from their Russian orphanage.  In those lifeboats I saw and still see, the Lord's rescue for us, and His grace in extending that very rescue to many others.  I longed to be an instrument of God's redeeming hope for them, the same way He had been redeeming hope for us. 

And I imagine many of us have felt this same deep gratitude.  The Lord pours out His goodness and love and kindness on us like no one else could, and we want nothing more than to pass it along to others.
I Wanted to Build the House 
During the early years of our adoption journey, I, like many of you, became an avid student of loving and healing kids from hard places. I wanted to read all I could, learn all I could from the Lord and psychology and child development and educational theory and those who had gone before. We longed, out of gratitude for all the Lord had done for us in restoring my joy and healing my broken heart after the death of our son, to be allowed by Him to pass on that same healing to our precious new children, building them a safe and secure and restorative home. I was so sincere and conscientious and intent and driven. As our family grew from Cristi and Trevor and Anya and Alex, to include Katya and Sasha and Vasya and Ksusha and Masha and Lana, I continued to pour into these treasures all of the love and wisdom and bonding and encouragement and grace and security I could. We learned and told and retold their stories. We made their adoption books and life albums. I learned Russian and took various ones back to Russia to find their Russian relatives and keep their connections. In fact just 2 weeks ago I was in Russia and able to have tea with their Aunt Raisa and cousin Sasha, and give them their own copy of a beautiful Life album Katya had made, to pass on to her Russian mama.

We prayed their friends into families. Many friends. Many families.  We needed and benefitted from all the wisdom we received.  Many of you have experienced the same.

God Had a Different Plan

With time I realized all that wisdom was critically necessary, but something more was needed in order for my children to receive the most complete Love available. I needed revelation from the Lord to extend the wisdom. In many quandries, when all the wisdom still leaves me stuck in a labyrinth of confusion, there are so many times the Lord has given us special insight or clarity about how to respond or how to love or how to pray. I am coming to think of revelation as present fresh truth brought to light, to extend the wisdom of past foundational truth. And I love the first thing Paul prays for the Ephesians in chapter 1, "that the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ would give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him."  I now think of there being a bridge to healing for each of us and each of our children, and that the first half is composed of wisdom given by God -- but it is only half.  And to get all the way across the bridge into healing and wholeness we need the other half of the bridge -- the Lord's revelation.

And today I read these words from I Chronicles 17, that ring in my heart with comfort and relief and expectation. It is the revelation the Lord gave to David when he showed him, "It is not you who will build me a house ....[instead], I declare to you that the Lord will build you a house." 

Who is Building Your House?

So my dear precious friends, I long for you to be spared of stress and anxiety that I felt from time to time, as you seek to love and learn and grow in all these foundations of wisdom. Yes, we benefit and our families benefit from learning all the wisdom we can (Proverbs 3)!  Yet, they benefit most if that wisdom is accompanied with the revelation that rests on the confidence that "unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain." (Psalm 127:1) I pray you are encouraged and your burdens lifted by the reminder that it is the Lord who will build a house. 
I am coming to have a clear view of my job: my job is to love them, keep the relationship, speak to them of God's treasure in them, and pray for them.  It is God's job to build our house. It is God's job to build yours! I am excited to see how they all will turn out!

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