Saturday, March 31, 2012


I realized the other day that Stephen and I are still adopting. Our last adoption was 10 years ago and for years now I have thought of our adoptions as something that happened in the past. What we are doing now is parenting our children. Because adoption is the part where we take a child into our family and make him or her our own, right? We did that-- it's a done deal. There are 7 Templeton children because God called us to adopt all those years ago.

But I have become so aware of the ongoing process of adoption this week. This is not a one-time event at all. No, it is the occupation of transforming an Orphan into a Son or Daughter. It's the mess of being "under construction." And that right there is a process I can get excited about. That is something I can give the whole of my life to. That is something that is worth the pouring out of my life. 
I would love to share a few of the things we have learned along the way in this beautiful process of transformation: 

The Story is Not Over Yet

When our precious Kristina came home at 10 years old she did not speak English. Well, she could sing her ABC's and count some, but that's about it. You can imagine that one of the main tasks of each day, other than loving her, was to teach her English. And to her credit (and to our great frustration!) Kristina decided she would not say a word of English until she felt she could say it correctly. It sounds kind of cute to write it, but I will confess that it didn't look or feel cute as the weeks went by! This issue became a point of some contention and testing, and Stephen and I both wondered what in the world we should do to get that page turned so we could move on to the next part of the story.
I am often comforted in the middle of a tough time in our parenting by reminding myself that we haven't gotten to the end of this child's story. The last page hasn't been written. As a matter of fact, there is much more story to be told-- to be lived. What a relief that is for me! It can be easy to be so focused on the problem at hand that it does seem that there is no way forward-- like I can't find the corner of the page so I can hurry up and turn it to get past the action of the now. But God is using the stuff on this page right now as part of His process of transforming an orphan into a Son or Daughter. As a junior in college with a double major, you can rest assured that Kristina did indeed learn English! You can read her story of adoption Here and Here. Your book all the days [of my life] were written before ever they took shape, when as yet there was none of them...
Psalm 39:16

A Pillar in the Storm

Not too long ago we went through a particularly difficult time. As you might imagine with 7 children, at any given time one of them is struggling with something. Life is fairly manageable when only one needs our special attention. When three are in the pits at once-- I'm talking teenage pits here and teenage pits are pits to be reckoned with!-- the concept of "process" is not so attractive to me. I found myself frustrated and even angry that after all these years we are still in process and that we are, in reality, still adopting. Here's a little parenting tip for free-- avoid dealing with three angry teenage boys at the same time in the same room! Big mistake-- lesson learned! After our attempt to talk through the issues with the boys and then receiving the response that came from their own pain and confusion, I felt like I had just weathered a storm. The photo above is not an exaggeration of what it felt like. But see that light house standing as a pillar? I felt the Lord speak to me afterwards as He tenderly poured His love out on me. He said, "Beth, these storms are part of the process of your boys becoming true Sons. All you need to do is stand. Just be a pillar that is immovable. They need to look back after they have passed over like a storm and then calmed down to see that you and Stephen are still standing-- standing the same as you were before the storm hit. They desperately need to see that you have not been moved. That you have not changed in your love for them or in your view of them. Be a pillar in the storm." 
...having done all the crisis demands, stand firmly in your place.
  Stand therefore hold your ground... 
Ephesians 6:13-14

Basket Weaving

I had an encouraging word from a friend recently, and I am it hoping helps you with this issue of process, because it really touched me. During a time of prayer this young mother said the Lord showed her that our family was like a basket still in the process of being weaved-- in the process of becoming whole and complete. I can appreciate this idea because, although the process can look helter-skelter, with fibers sticking out in all different directions, there is purpose and reason in the process of transforming strips of straw into a vessel. Often Stephen and I are very aware of the children who may seem to be "sticking out" from our family in some odd, unattractive direction. And yet this picture speaks of the connection to the whole and of the intended purpose of each seemingly stray fiber. In the photo it is clear that this is an unfinished product--this basket is "in process." It is not lovely, but I find this photo actually quite attractive as it speaks to me of connection and of design and of purpose. There is peace in my spirit and emotions when I see the occasional disarray of our adoption process all these years later. Peace, because when I realize that even though a stray fiber may appear out of control in it's odd and unattractive angle, it is clearly attached and in time will be gently brought to the next stage of the process of creating a whole. 

...He has made everything beautiful in its time...
Ecclesiastes 3:11

I am thankful that we are still adopting. I've blog-posted myself into being excited once again about the utter privilege it is that I get to be a part of the transformation of an orphan into a True Son, a True Daughter. How utterly wonderful is that?!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Nicol has been in love with Jesus Christ for 31 years, and married to her best friend and love of her life Thomas Crickett for 8 glorious years that haven’t come without their trials and hardships. A mother for 5 years to the best two children in the whole world, Nicol, has experienced the great lows of infertility, financial ruin, death of parents, her husband going through heart failure resulting in receiving a pace maker, to awesome highs, the highest of which is the adoption of her two children. She is blessed to have a family full of color and difference. To date they have adopted two children from South Africa, Noa-Joy their daughter who is African and is six years old, and their son Elijah who is 3 years old and is of mixed race, with many more still in their hearts.

With the sense of wonder of what finding your purpose can do for you, she moved with her family from South Africa to the UK in 2010 where they hold creative workshops and are in the process of starting a church and a creative college to help people find their purpose so they to can set the world on fire.

“ Not flesh of my flesh or bone of my bone,
But still miraculously my own.
Never forget not for a minute it was not under my
Heart you grew but in it.”
Before we adopted I can remember the struggles of longing for a child of my own, not understanding how I was going to get through all of this and feeling so desperate. I began to search for answers from My God who I love and depend on for everything. It was out of this that He answered me with the scripture from Isaiah 58 – I was to become a repairer of broken walls. I felt like my oversized heart had found what it was made for and I was filled with joy. From this scripture our process of adoption began. It was not an easy road we traveled; it was filled with a lot of uncertainty and fear of the unknown. Hence more searching continued with God and His wonderful scriptures and it is what led me  to where I am today. It gave me strength to carry on, the hope to know that God was in control when I was not. But the most important answer I received was that I was a partner in this process-- I held a vital role. I was not waiting to be a mother. No, I was a mother already and I had things to do. He turned my mourning into joy and my prayer is that you too can be encouraged and strengthened in your journey with God and your process of adoption.
I found that in the Bible, the heart is the center of man, wherein is found his fullest being. It is in the heart that all our thoughts and desires have their origin. When God speaks to us, He speaks to our hearts. It is in this place where God whispers "Adoption"; it is here where God in His infinite wisdom plants the seed and here where we must nurture the seed until fruition.
No Ordinary Love:
This is no ordinary love which we had embarked upon. It is a wonderful blessing straight from heaven and it is heaven who guided us through the how and when, with its' full protection. 
This extraordinary love is a pregnancy of the heart, where you choose to partner with Heaven, uniting your heart with the heart of Jesus. For the heart of the Father is that all may know the love of God, and to know Him as father. It is in the heart of God to adopt-- we know this because He firsts adopts us and then He asks us to become just like Him, to love our neighbor as ourselves. He asked me to love His child, one He chose to give me as my very own.
Conception Took Place in Our Hearts:
Since we now knew that conception had taken place in our hearts when we chose to adopt we could only think of our process to adopt from now on as a heart pregnancy between our heavenly father and us. 
Tears fill my eyes every time I think upon these heavenly thoughts. I am always overwhelmed by the awesome love of my Father for me. I am overwhelmed by His choice of me to mother these heaven-sent children. Where the world says I cannot be a mother, my God says I can.  I am overwhelmed by the grace of God who equips me to lead this wonderfully privileged life and I am filled with His glory as my heart swells with His goodness in my life. I glow, for my heart is pregnant.
It is no wonder that God is deeply concerned with our Hearts for out of it overflows life.

Partnership Begins:
One of the most wonderful things I found out while searching for answers for adoption was that this all-powerful, all-knowing King-of-all-Kings God chooses to partner with me in every detail of my life! He is intimately concerned with all my wants and needs, and having a child is no exception. I learnt that in this partnership, as with any other, there are things I need to do and there are things He must do. I found out that it was not my job to worry about if He had done His things. No, it was my job to do all that was asked of me and my most important part to play in this partnership was to choose to trust in Him and His ways. To trust that in His time He would finish the work He started when He whispered adoption into my heart.
This was a wonderful truth for me to grasp-- that my heart was in partnership with God and it was the place where my child would be held. I was not alone. From a place of feeling completely out of control I suddenly became a doing partner. I felt free and equipped to start my journey as a mother, who now has had two successful heart pregnancies.
Proverbs 4:23
"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life."

Interior Design:
I knew that with my heart at the center of this decision to adopt, I needed to guard my heart for out of it new life was coming. I could not afford to have certain hurts or offenses inside my heart any longer. The scriptures say in Proverbs 14:30, "A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones." I knew that this was how God chose to give me my baby-- I had settled on that. So I no longer needed to be envious of how other people received theirs. I knew I wanted peace to rule my heart and my baby’s new home. So I chose the shade of peace to color the walls and fill the room and threw out envy. It was so last season and it would not do anymore! I kept telling myself my heart was getting ready for a new arrival. It was okay to feel uncomfortable and scared of the unknown, even a little emotional at times. But I kept encouraging myself to push forward and fill my heart with good things for myself and my child who was growing inside of my heart. For the scriptures say in Luke 6:45
"The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart." 

Thinking of my heart as a place I was housing my child gave me power to choose what it was going to look like.
I could choose empty battered and bruised OR I could partner with my heavenly father who is Unconditional Love and allow Him to fill my heart with shades of love, peace and joy.
For me this was a better look. I chose the heart filled with love, peace and joy and over time, along with the faithfulness of God, I allowed Him to heal my heart. It started looking and feeling more like a place I was proud for my child to grow in. 

Friday, March 23, 2012


Save the Date!!!
Hope at Home 2012
October 5-6
Atlanta, GA

We are absolutely overflowing with excitement as we plan to see you all here in Atlanta for our annual conference for Adoptive and Foster Parents, and those who love these families.

Hope at Home 2012 will be a time of refreshing, growing, and connecting for fathers and mothers-- a time full of worship, teaching, prayer ministry, and the love of Father God.

---------Take a moment and watch the video above on your right----------

We have some wonderful things planned already for you! A special lunch for single mothers, and one for pastors and church leaders. And we're working on a post meeting event Friday night with live music and the best gourmet coffee and dessert. Since we'll have already made plans to have our children taken care of, we figured we might as well have some fun!

We are prayerfully dedicated to help you encounter the Father's heart for your family-- for yourself and for each one of your children (those in your home now and those waiting to come home)
as you partner with God to transform orphans into Sons and Daughters. 

Find us on Facebook and stay tuned to this blog in order to get more details about registration.
And tell your friends! 

And the Lord shall guide you continually and satisfy you in drought and in dry places and make strong your bones. And you shall be like a watered garden and like a spring of water whose waters fail not.
    And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of [buildings that have laid waste for] many generations; and you shall be called Repairer of the Breach, Restorer of Streets to Dwell In.
Isaiah 58:11-12

Monday, March 19, 2012


From Susan Hillis:

Now that our kids are growing up and only 3 are still living at home, it is uncommon for me to talk with all my 6 daughters in 1 day!  This past week I had this privilege!  What was striking was the Lord's power in keeping our connections close in spite of many relational ups and downs that our family and your family and every family has!  And I saw inner beauty and God's tender love as I listened to their stories, and I feel so proud of and thankful for who they are!

Lana was the first to call home- collect again, three times that day, from the Clayton County Jail. "Mommy, you have GOT to read Psalm 143 and be praying it. [I understood her to mean it was especially for her...if you have time please read it and pray for her and the other 3 friends of hers in jail who asked her to write their names on the blog her mama writes on and ask people to pray for them by name; Lana, Angela and family, Tabitha, Shy].. Oh, and there is an emergency with my other friend. My friend J. wants you to call her boyfriend S. and ask him to have her mama visit her in the jail at once-- it is an emergency!" So I end up having a wonderful conversation with him about praying for Lana and his girlfriend. What struck me was his gratitude. "You cannot imagine how much I worried about her. I will call her mama right now!"
         Then on Lana's next call, she asks, "Mama, I have a question.  Two of my friends here are afraid they are gonna take their babies away while they are in jail; isn't it true they have to give their permission?" After empathizing with their pain, I explain that it depends on whether their parental rights are legally terminated. Lana replies, "Mama, their rights are terminated they said, because they have been working in prostitution. They are so sad. I told them, 'don't worry so much about someone adopting your children. My parents adopted me and it was the best thing that ever happened to me in my whole life." This is the daugther whose manifestations of reactive attachment disorder were often heartbreaking. She is salt and light in that jail. She asks you pray she keeps God first in her life when she is OUT of jail, not only when she is IN jail!

Cristi is second- Cristi calls while I am on the phone with Lana; I put them both on speaker phone and these sisters can hear each other's voices for the first time in months since Lana went to jail. Cristi is excited about the gift she and her husband Andrew are expecting from God... their sweet little daughter, and figures out a way to send Lana a baby picture while she is in jail. We get to pray together before saying goodbye. Cristi and I also are discussing Cristi's participation in two "wave-of-the-future" ministries: "Ukraine without Orphans," and "Russia without Orphans." I tell her once again, "Did you know you are my HERO?!!!" Cristi replies, "Yes mom, you tell me that all the time!"

Cristi, pregnant with her first baby.

Anya is next - "Mommy, I have to tell you what happened after I called you yesterday crying and you prayed for me." [She had been sitting in a van, bored and with nothing to do, expecting to be there all day while her husband and his work crew were doing a roof job.] We had prayed the Lord would somehow surprise her with something meaningful to do with her time that day. "Mommy, the lady we are working for is a surgeon who hurt her back so she can't work right now. She came out and talked with me and asked me, "Do you know if you would go to heaven if you died tomorrow?" It told her, "Yes, I know because my mommy and daddy taught me; I have received Jesus into my heart and trust Him to save me, and try to live my life close to Him and for Him." Well Mommy, I figured she must be worried about this so I asked her the same question. She said, "You know, I don't know." So Mommy, I helped her figure it out." What is striking about this story is the gifted and talented surgeon was talking with my sweet daughter who has severe learning difficulties; and my gifted and talented daughter was talking with the hurt surgeon who has severe  spiritual difficulties. They both ended up being a huge blessing to each other. Anya ends our call saying, "And Mommy, she may want to adopt and I told her she should talk with you about that. I knew you would help her for sure!"

Anya, center, with sisters Katya and Masha.
Then Katya and and I connect - Katya, who works part time and is an amazing hair dresser, had disappeared for the afternoon and I wondered where she had gone. "Mom, I am working on cleaning the hearth at the old house [the one we lost in the Atlanta flood 2 1/2 years ago. We hope to be moving back in soon!] because the dirt from the river is just ground into it." Katya has been doing this for days without talking about it, an unobserved act of service. I say, "Katya, did you realize you are doing exactly what Jesus talks about in John 13-- serving in ways that most people don't think are important?" She is helping in so many ways--visiting Lana, helping with my mom, serving at the old house.... She is aaamaaaazzzzing!

Katya, left, with Lana, Masha and her daughter, Susan
and Ksusha
Ksusha calls from Texas - "Mommy, I will be flying home for a week on Friday night! I can't wait to see everybody. [Ksusha is 6 months pregnant.] I am feeling good and the doctor says the baby is doing fine! My doggie is so funny.. sometimes she lays her head on my tummy where the baby is!" When Ksusha gets home she says, "Mommy, I am so happy to be 18 and pregnant. I think it is ending up such a blessing for me! If I had not gotten pregnant I would have been in with the wrong crowd, going to wild parties and stuff. But now I am living with my second family, [the wonderful Kovacs!] in Austin and growing closer to the Lord. I really don't feel badly about my choice now because everyone makes bad choices sometimes. I am just focusing on living forward." Literally, those two words, "living forward" were hers. As for years I have tried to "parent forward," as my dear friend Beth says, it was exciting and shocking to hear my sweet daughter say this! Especially my formerly oppositional and rebellious daughter!
"Ksusha, did I ever talk with you about that idea, living forward, or parenting forward?" 
"No, I don't think so;  it is just how I want to live!"
"Ksusha, do you know I spend my life thinking about the topic of helping you all walk into your future in the Lord instead of living stuck in your past?! I am so excited to hear you use those two words!!!!  Now I have a question for you.  I am getting ready to speak at the Created for Care conference and I want to know what daddy and I did that was helpful."
"Mommy, the two best things you did were to insist we spend time doing fun things as a family 'all together' -- though I often complained about it, I just love it now that we did so much together.  And the second thing was that you and daddy disciplined us, but were not really too strict. That's what I would say. Tell them not to be too strict, but that discipline is good. And to be sure to do things together as a family!"

Masha invites us over for supperAnd last of all, I got to finish the day having supper with my sweet daughter Masha, and her kind-hearted and bright husband Josh, and my precious granddaughter Naomi! We are proud that Masha is in her last semester of college. I didn't know until we sat down the wonderful news that Masha shared, "Mom, we wanted to have you over to celebrate because Josh got a job! He starts Monday!" We had been praying as a family daily for God's provision in this way and this news MADE MY DAY!"

Mash with her husband and daughter

So I close this with two thoughts:

1. "I know of no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth."  III John 4  [pray it!]


2.  For those struggling in your care for young or teen children now, be encouraged that you will make it and they will make it - and the Lord is able to preserve their sense of His care for them AND to preserve our relationships with each other!  I believe that what He has done for us, He will do for you!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Elton John and Your Faith

I want to tell you a story. I'll let you know upfront that is has nothing to do with adoption. But it has everything to do with faith and belief and boldness in prayer. I think you are going to like this story! Every time I tell it my faith is stirred and I am challenged to believe God for the ridiculously impossible. And I don't know about you, but I find that sometimes parenting demands the ridiculously impossible! 

A long time ago, in a family far far away..... 
(I think this story was in our BA period otherwise known as "Before Adoption", but either way, so much has happened since then in our lives that it feels like another world!) 

.....Stephen and I went to a Sunday evening prayer meeting at our church here in Atlanta. We love going to a church that truly enjoys praying. I don't remember that there was any theme to the prayer time-- just people praying as they felt led by the Holy Spirit. So, one woman said something like,
 "I know this sounds crazy and weird, but I really feel like the Lord is saying we should pray for Elton John." 

Well, she was right, that was weird! We had never prayed for a celebrity before, and no one had mentioned anything related to Elton John at all. But in our crowd, hearing from God and moving according to the Spirit's leading is pretty normal, so.... we all prayed for Elton John. Besides, why not? No doubt this man is loved by God-- and that He would want to bless him is not actually strange at all. But....well, it got weirder after that. 

Then this bold woman of God said, "I really feel that we should ask God to send someone from our church to somehow cross Elton John's path." Now, that was bold, wasn't it?! But you know what-- why not? We did pray that somehow God would do such a thing. What a crazy prayer! I figure that prayer had to be led by the Holy Spirit because otherwise there is no way that we would have thought of such a thing to pray about.

Now, here's where the story gets really great. Shocking actually.
Two of our precious daughters, Emma and Rachel, both sang in a city-wide children's choir. That week we got an email saying that a small group of singers would be chosen to record a song WITH ELTON JOHN for the movie, Finding Neverland.

You are probably guessing this-- both Emma and Rachel were chosen to sing. We couldn't believe it! We knew God was up to something here. Something wonderful, ridiculously wonderful! Just in case they wouldn't have the opportunity to speak to him, Emma and Rachel both wrote letters to Elton John, letters telling him that they had been praying for him. Telling him that he is loved by a God who knows him and thinks about him, and asks complete strangers to pray for him....

You can see Emma in the pink shirt standing on the left, and Rachel in the white shirt and pig tails second on the right from Elton John.

I am telling you this story because I am hoping that it will stir faith in you as it does me-- faith for God to do ridiculously amazing things in our children's lives. The kind of faith that causes us as parents to boldly ask God to do the crazy good stuff that is way beyond the norm for adopted children but that is in our hearts as parents.
What is it that you desire for your children? I mean completely apart from all the possibilities that you can grasp or imagine. Things that you would feel a bit embarrassed to ask because they are just too good and too unreasonable and too "out there." Things that would demand God's hand!

Those of you who were able to come to Hope at Home 2011 will remember that Greg Haswell spoke on praying with "Shameless Audacity." It was a word that had impact. You can read about one response to that talk here. It's a great testimony! 

Will you join me in believing God for the ridiculously impossible things we desire for our children? 

Monday, March 12, 2012


Which one of us who have been touched by adoption is not stirred by these words from Psalm 139:16,
"You saw me before I was born."

I am very much looking forward to seeing October Baby. Susan's daughter, Cristi, was able to see a pre-screen of it and says it is absolutely wonderful. We want to encourage you all to watch this movie when it opens March 23rd-- it is a celebration of life, and a real look at one girl's struggle with the shocking surprise at finding out she was adopted. You can check out the October Baby website and watch the trailer to find out more. Hannah, "bewildered, angered, and confused, turns for support to Jason, her oldest friend. Encouraged by his adventurous spirit, Hannah joins his group of friends on a Spring Break road trip, embarking on a journey to discover her hidden past....and find hope for her unknown future. In the midst of her incredible journey, Hannah finds that life can be so much more than what you have planned."

This movie is a wonderful expression of God's heart for adoption, for birth mothers, and for life. 

I also want to encourage you to watch this powerful story of the actress who plays Hannah's birth mother. 

Susan tells me to write, "I BEG you to watch this!" Those of you who know her can just hear her voice, can't you? It is about redeeming love in our lives and in the lives of our children. All of us. All of them. No matter what. Really, watch it-- it is a true God-Story. 

Friday, March 9, 2012


We speak often with adoptive parents who are dealing with very difficult and deeply disturbing realities in the process of loving children from hard places. And even those whose children are adjusting well into our families aren't always sure what to do, or how our faith applies to our parenting. We invited our pastor at Northlands Church, Greg Haswell, to begin to share his thoughts on the theology that is the foundation of our faith. We trust that it will stir Faith and Hope at Home.

From Greg Haswell:

I write to address what I believe to be a gentle drift in an unfortunate direction. In some quarters a fine sounding sentiment is embraced as though it is the purest of theologies and indeed it does sound noble, humble and right.

Sovereignty and Suffering 

It starts with the beautiful truth that God is sovereign, holy and infinitely above us. It jumps from there to address the sinfulness of man, highlighting the differences between us and our creator, therefore emphasizing the distance needing to be made up. It does not believe or account that the blood of Jesus offered for us is more efficacious than our sin. It agrees with the lie that condemnation is still due to those who are in Christ. It presents our sins as more potent than His sacrifice and therefore suggests that our efforts and sufferings are needed to make up for the wrath that Jesus blood did not quite cover. It follows in that line of thinking that as Christians we are going to have to suffer our way through the repayment of our offense before God. This is not true at all and is not the gospel. Yet many of us still feel a lingering sense of condemnation and consequently can be lulled into believing that a sickness is God-sent, or a rebellious child is a manifestation of Him testing us. It suggests to us that lack in our finances or pain in relationships or any one of a hundred other awful things that sane people abhor is what we deserve and are called to bear without resistance.

Now if we throw in some harsh life circumstances and an over emphasis that God wants us to suffer, we end up with a theology that bids us to be content with whatever happens in life as the will of God and especially to endure pain and suffering, meekly. This perspective mimics the philosophy of the stoics far more than anything in the Christian gospel. We assume that our heavenly Father seeks out afflictions to ensure our safe passage to His arms. This produces believers who, instead of hearts brimming over with hope and faith, are rather consumed with enduring hardship and pain without hope of God’s intervention. Instead of approaching our Father with bold prayers and expectant hearts, we agree that we deserve this pain or brokenness and a parade of disappointments. This would be fine if it were clearly shown in the gospel. It is not.

Overflowing Hope 

In the gospel an ever-present God, Immanuel, is proclaimed. He is vibrant, active, loving and involved in the lives of those who love Him. He is a good shepherd who swore never to leave us or forsake us or to leave us as orphans. He is the God who urges us; to ask whatever we wish (John 15:7), assures us He will give whatever we ask (John 16:23), encourages us to pray for anything in His name (John 16:24), suggests that we ask in His name (John 16:26). We are told to actively resist the devil and to fight a fight of faith. Jesus urged us to persevere in seeking, asking and knocking and promised that those who do so will be answered; they will receive, and for them doors will be opened. His word says that anyone who comes to God must settle these two fundamental truths; That God exists, and that He rewards those who seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). This expectation of reward is meant to stir our faith and not discourage us from any expectation of good as some theologies do. James additionally assures us that the prayers of the righteous are powerful and effective. Paul prayerfully suggests in Romans 15:13 that we overflow with hope by God’s power. If the doctrine you have learned does not produce an overflowing hope in your heart it should be mistrusted.

Choose to Believe

Jesus demonstrated a remarkable animosity against the suffering of man, whether it was through healing sickness, driving out the devil, giving mourners their relatives back restored to life, His miracles of provision or the militancy of His message against the status quo. He did not leave the woman bound by Satan in her state to perfect her understanding of God. No! He healed her. How can we read the New Testament and come away with an expectation that God will be distant, harsh and ambivalent to our sufferings, needs and desires? If our theology leads us to this place before God it is erroneous and should be discarded. This kind of thinking does not line up with who the scriptures shows Jesus to be. He is the perfect representation of God and His will.  That means that all of the things Jesus did were exactly what His Father wanted and are a trustworthy representation of God’s heart. God is looking for faith and hope and love in our hearts not fear, expectation of evil and broken ambivalence to life’s pain. In His explanation of the Lord’s Prayer Jesus told a parable to encourage the disciples to ask boldly. In fact Jesus said that we would be heard by God when we came with shameless audacity (Luke 11:8). James says plainly that if anyone is in trouble they should pray in James 5 the same chapter where he affirms the powerful effect of our prayers. Next time you encounter difficulties, instead of surrendering to the nagging doubts about your behavior before God or the harsh accusations that you feel you need to balance with your fair share of suffering and hard times, choose to believe the gospel which shows that all your sin has been washed away, that you are highly favored and that your Father in heaven wants to bless you. I encourage you to come boldly to the throne of grace and to ask your God for beautiful things with great expectations.

The Shield of Faith 

I cannot find anywhere in the scriptures where God chided people for asking too much or for having too great a perspective of Him. I can find many places where God was angered by unbelief, ambivalence, by small prayers, by timid faith and by people who ascribed evil or meanness when they should have ascribed greatness to Him. We will probably not confess to the One whom scriptures say that we will marvel at on His return, that we have made Him too big in our eyes. No our confession will be “I have made you too small in my eyes”. Jesus’ one concern before leaving the earth was if upon His return He would find any faith. I encourage you to fight this good fight of the faith. Take up your shield of faith because it can extinguish all the flaming arrows of your enemy. Dare to believe that God is as good as He says He is. Come in full assurance of faith to our Father and honor Him with the size of your requests and with the greatness of your assumption of His goodness.

Expect Greater Things 

I leave you with the words of Dylan Thomas’ poem “Do not go gentle into that good night”, written at the deathbed of his father to urge him to fight for life. He said;
Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

I say do not go somnambulant through this world of pain. Rage, rage against the dying of any light. As you do you will discover an Almighty ever present ally. You are the light of the world, blaze brightly and expect greater things for there is a giant of a God in you and He dreams great dreams for you.

Monday, March 5, 2012


A great way to keep in touch with Hope at Home is to "Like" us on Facebook.

From Susan Hillis:

My Heart Breaks, Too
These 3 words -- Children of the Resurrection -- seemed to jump off the page this morning, as though I had never before seen them hiding there in Luke 20.  If the truth be known, at time it feels more like they are 'children of the crucifixion' than 'children of the resurrection' -- yet that former term never once appears in the Scriptures.

My witty husband has often quipped, "the Sadducees were Sad-you-see, because they didn't believe in the resurrection." But how often do I have to fight my tendency to focus more on the suffering of the dying Savior on the cross,or the suffering in myself and those I hold most dear, than in the glorious redemption of an empty cross and an empty tomb? 
Here is a cross our son Alex built in the vacant lot next door so that he would be uplifted when he walks the dog over there and prays.

"Mom, I am praying God will make me like David."
Me, "That's an amazing thing to what way do you want to be like David?"
Alex, "I want to stand before giant problems in life unafraid, because I know what God can do with my small pebbles and slingshot."

I  have been facing this over the past several weeks, as several of the teen agers in and close to our family have faced broken hearts. Although I am usually pretty happy, I have found myself often just sitting and crying. Literally. The situation became quite acute this week when one of our kids had to face a crisis on the very afternoon that he needed to study a lot for a huge midterm. Unable to study, he felt doomed to fail, because a heart that throbs makes it difficult for the brain to function! I empathized, but I cannot help him if I am believing the same lie he is -- that our suffering dooms us to live as failures. 

Help is on the Way
 All I knew to do was to pray and to speak truth, "I know the Lord is bigger than our problems, and that He is able to help you to do well on this midterm tomorrow. You must trust Him to help you do the work you need to do tonight."

After about 30 minutes of fruitless struggle, I hear my child say these words, "I feel like my normal self, mom;  it doesn't make sense.  I have such a sense of peace. I am studying fine! How do you think it happened?"

I reply, "This is how Jesus is to us; he helps us in ways that are way beyond what makes sense."  (And I think of one of my favorite verses....Ephesians 3:30 - Jesus can do "exceedingly abundantly above and beyond all we can ask or imagine" - and He did!)

"He can do it that fast?"

"Yes, He can do it that fast!"

And the end of the story is that the feared test was passed with flying colors - a solid B!!! 

Children of the Resurrection

Lord, we thank you that we, together with our children, are what you say we are....children of the resurrection. Lord, help us to see them and ourselves with Your eyes. We look forward to that day when "all ecstasies and intimacies will be with God."  (Lk 20:36, MSG) As my friend, Kay Warren says in her new soon to be released book, Choose Joy, we want to practice living that way now!! Take a moment to listen to Kay speak of the Joy that Jesus had, a joy that far surpassed the heartbreak, by clicking here.

What Does Children of the Resurrection Mean for You?
Simply speaking, it means that Jesus' expectation for you and me and our families is hope and life.  He said so. "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever (this includes you and me and our children) believes in Me will live, even though he dies." It's like what Louie Giglio said in the opening message at Passion 2012 on Jesus raising to life the son of the widow of Nain..."both the crucifixion and the resurrection are critically important but if I had to choose which of the 2 is most important I would say the resurrection." 
Recently I searched the gospels for every time Jesus tells the disciples he will be crucified, trying to find even once when He stopped there. I failed. Every one of His 12 mentions of His crucifixion--one for every disciple!-- includes the certainty of what's next "AND (not perhaps) the third day He will be raised." 
Let's trust the Lord to raise up His image in us and in these 'children of the resurrection' whom He has entrusted to our care!! 

Always raised,