From Susan Hillis:
I experienced a brand new, ‘first time in my life’ twice during the past month: I received text messages that looked like this:
Now, what was totally new is that it was not the normal thing when I had my kids to send pictures around of my pregnant belly! These pictures happened to be from the two of my precious six daughters who are currently pregnant!!!
The Reason you Adopted Me
During this same month, I had gone out to lunch at Waffle House with Alex, one of our four awesome sons (we do this pretty regularly and share what the Lord is teaching us, how we are doing, and what we need prayer for). So while we are sitting there talking, he asks me this question, totally out of the blue, “Mom, do you ever think that maybe the reason God had you adopt all of us is because of how it will change the next generation….I mean, because of how our children will have a totally different life all because you adopted us?”
“Alex that is an amazing and wonderful question,” I reply, “and the answer is YES, I have thought about that A LOT! In Isaiah 58 and 61 the Scriptures actually say that God will change and bless the next generation when we obey him by caring for those who need His care. But I am wondering…can you tell me what you think?”
He continues, “Mom, I’ve been reading that Revolution book you gave me, you know, the one that goes with the movie Courageous. It has helped me see that I think my kids will have a totally different life than they would have had if I had stayed in Russia at the orphanage. You and daddy have taught me important things like honor, and respect, and responsibility, and integrity, and wisdom. If you had not adopted me I would not know anything about all that. But mom, I am worried about whether all of the kids in our family are really taking advantage of what you and daddy have taught us. Do you think all my siblings are?”
At this point, I have a lump in my throat I reply, “Sweetie, I am SO proud of you and of the other kids in the family who RIGHT NOW are walking fully in the Lord’s blessing and who have so totally taken advantage of all daddy and I have poured into you. I think these sweet words you just said are ones I will remember when I am on my death bed, and I will think that they are some of the most wonderful words anyone ever said to me in my whole life!! (my eyes are wet) We both know that the kids in our family are in different places with this question….some are taking full advantage, like you, others are partly taking advantage. There are also some kids in the family who do not seem to realize or to have much interest in what daddy and I have tried to pour into them, or who do not seem to want to learn it yet, but I trust that with time the Lord will help them, too; the Scriptures promise in Philippians 1:6 that the Lord will finish the good work He begins in all of us.”
The Next Generation
Many of you who are reading this, like me, are called to love children who need families. We are familiar with and fond of passages in Isaiah 58 and 61 which speak of the blessings that come to those who love the least of these. Isaiah 58:11-12 promises that “if you pour yourself out” for the least of these, the Lord will “guide you continually, satisfy your desire in scorched places, make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.” But then it goes on to say just what Alex was realizing: “and you shall raise up the foundations of many generations.” I can just hear it, the wonderful hymn playing as we build our families, raising strong foundations, “on Christ the solid rock we stand; all other ground is sinking sand!”
Jesus chose for his very first sermon the passage from Isaiah 61 that is similar! “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for He has anointed me to bring good news to the poor, to bind up the brokenhearted. (v1)” As Jesus does this with us and then empowers and equips us to do this with our children, they have “the oil of gladness instead of mourning. (v3)” Then they are the ones God calls and equips to join in, as they, along with us, become “the repairers of devastations of many generations!(v4)."
Just yesterday we went to lunch again and Alex said, “Mom, I’ve been thinking about my long term goals. I want to keep growing as a believer, and I want to finish college, get married, and become a missionary who helps orphans. I want to help other kids the way you and dad gave to me.” It is that has already happened with our oldest daughter Cristi, who works full time with an adoption and orphan care ministry. It is what our sweet daughter Anya longs for as she says, “Mommy, I want to adopt 4 kids with HIV.” It is what has happened with our sweet daughter Katya who has been knitting beautiful blankets and sending them to orphans in South Africa for 4 years. And I trust some of the other treasures entrusted to our care may be nudged along this path as well.
We easily acknowledge that all children are created in God’s image. In the past, we have loved and adopted many who have come from hard places, from difficult and sometimes even tragic circumstances of conception, birth, and childhood. We have seen in the past and see at present, all of these treasures of ours as equally bearing the indelible image of Christ. But I wasn’t prepared to think about this for the future – for my children as they begin to have children. You see, the 2 texted belly pictures above are 2 precious babies who will be born soon, one to our teenage daughter who is in high school, not yet married, and growing in faith; and the other to our twenty-seven-year old daughter who is in graduate school, married, and growing in faith. And I have become so very thankful and excited about God’s grace that is greater, always greater. And for the Song I often sing, “Your love never fails, never gives up, never runs out on me (or them!). On and on and on it goes. And it overwhelms and satisfies my soul. And I never ever have to be afraid. One thing remains….one thing….remains….HIS LOVE.” And I have become expectant with hope for “all the good” (I dare you to google that phrase ‘all the good!’ in the Bible-on-line!) that the Lord will do with and for both of these new little lives being woven together in their mother’s wombs by God for His glory.