Sunday, July 1, 2012


From Susan:

I am at that glorious stage of life in which three of my sweet daughters -- Cristi, Masha, and Ksusha -- have little baby girls of their own, ages 1 year, 2 months, and 1 week!  They live in North Carolina, Atlanta, and Texas!  Brian and I have had some time with all of them over the past week!  And of course I was longing to pour what I learned over all my 150 plus years of cumulative parenting experience into my sweet daughters (poor things!), and a deep longing to pass some of this along to you has been awakened as well!  (Please keep reading - this post will be short I promise!) 

A Way of Seeing

A Christian classic I love is a book by Edith Schaeffer called A Way of Seeing.  In this book of essays, Schaeffer takes something as simple as a rock and writes of fresh truths revealed through the beauty and majesty of creation.  I have made it my habit in life to look for people whose habits I want to copy in areas where I am weak. Having not grown up in a Christian home, when our kids were little I realized I had NO IDEA how to help them become strong in faith.  Schaeffer's habit of intentionally having open eyes was something I copied, big time!  And if I am really honest, I am hoping some of you will copy her indirectly after reading this post!  I learned from Schaeffer that from the youngest age, opportunities abound to talk with our children and indeed with other peoples' children, about the ways and wonders of God.  Because children are quick to see what adults miss (thus all Jesus' injunctions to us to 'become as children'), their hearts tend to be oh so open to the love of God!  All that is required from us is 'a way of seeing' God's glory bursting forth all round! are just a few examples from the past week:

Playing in the River and Deep Roots 

Yesterday it was our great honor and joy for none other than one of my heroes, Andrea Young, and her whole crew to come visit with their sweet Ukrainian summer guest Tanya.  As we were out playing in the river behind our house and saw deep roots, I was playing with sweet little Frank, who swims like a fish at age 3!!!  Here is our interchange.
Frank says to me: "Hey, why are those big logs lying flat in the river?"  
Richard, Frank, and Isaac
I reply, "Frank, do you see those big roots over there on the riverbank of all the trees standing tall, buddy?  Well, all these trees you see lying flat and dead in the river fell down with a CRASH when we had the big flood, because they had weak roots.  The Bible says we are supposed to be like those BIG tall trees with BIG roots that hold us STRONG in the soil of Jesus love, so that when problems of life come we will be able to stand strong."  Frank's eyes were big and bright and engaged, and I sensed he understood me in a real way!  It was so exciting!!!  Passing on those words of life to this sweet boy!!! 

Many Opportunities, in English and Russian!

Susan, Andrea, and the whole crew!
God also gave some wonderful opportunities to do this in Russian with Andrea and Richard's dear 15 year old guest Tanya, but I will refrain from writing all that Russian.  We had a number of our Hillis kids here at home, and Kristina Templeton (that treasure of a girl!!), and Andrea's family I am already thinking of playing matchmaker with little Isaac and our little granddaughter Naomi, seated at each end of the couch.  Everytime I see Naomi I lift my right pointer finger and sing 'this little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine!'  And I end looking in her eyes and saying some iteration of this: 'You are gonna let your little light shine, Naomi!  It is the light of Jesus' love!'

Sit, Stand, Walk

So here's one final example. Our daughter Cristi visited last week from North Carolina with her little 2 month old, Elyse. All little babies love music, and I am beginning to get the truth and word of God into her little soul by singing. And what is AAAMMMAAZZZIIINGGG is that she is beginning to sing with me.  Here is a short clip of us looking deep into each other's eyes and singing 'give thanks with a grateful heart...and now let the weak say I am STRONG!'  SHE IS SINGING!  At 2 months!!!  Just LOOK for yourself! 

All those examples above are applications of the Lord's words to us in Deuteronomy 6: "And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise."

No Junior Holy Spirit 

I learned from my friend Jenni Means that children do not have a junior version of the Holy Spirit, but they are fully blessed by the entire presence of the Holy Spirit -- go back and review those verses about when Mary and Elizabeth visited each other in the first chapter of Luke!  And if you want YOUR kids to benefit from Jenni Means gifts of leading children into intimacy with the Lord (Beth Templeton and I, along with some of our older children will also be helping), you may want to bring them to Hope at Home Kids on August 4 (for those of you at the Created for Care conference, Jenni will be doing the Date with God time for kids!) 

The Blessing

What accrues to our little children as we speak words of life is that their internal spiritual roots are strengthened, which helps protect them from the wrong kind of 'sitting, standing, and walking' that Psalm 1 warns against:

 Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers

(I just have to add that our college age son Alex and I spent a morning at the beach 2 weeks ago doing a bible study on these dangers from Psalm 1 - what a blessing to hear all God was showing him!!!)  What accrues to our dear children instead when we talk with them as we "sit, stand, and walk," about the wonders and ways of our Lord and His love, is that they begin to grow with the blessing of those whose "God is the Lord and whose hope is in the Lord.. they will be like a tree planted by streams of water."(Psalm 1)   
Yes, Lord, this is our prayer - for all the kids entrusted to our care, those near and those far, both literally and figuratively.  Amen and Amen.


  1. what a beautiful post my friend
    & i LOVE hearing elyse sing along!!! so so so so so very sweet!!

  2. Paige! Thank you so much for these kind words! I keep listening to Elyse sing over and over! Pray the Lords goodness is making your days brighter! Xoxoxo

  3. Paige! Thank you so much for these kind words! I keep listening to Elyse sing over and over! Pray the Lords goodness is making your days brighter! Xoxoxo

  4. I love your examples, especially as I'm taking care of 2 grandchildren today! Your words are good reminders about how to make good use of the opportunities all around us. (I love seeing pictures of your grown-up kids, too!)

    1. Dear lynn, what an important way to spend your day! Thank you so much for the comment!