Thursday, August 30, 2012


From Susan:

On whom are you depending?

I chuckle each time I remember that audacious prayer uttered with a mixture of sincerity and fear at 30,000 feet over the Atlantic Ocean that May, after meeting the three 'other sisters' (Masha-14, Lana-10, Ksusha-7) of our first two adopted kids, Anya and Alex--  "Lord, I promise if You show me your will, I will obey you, but ALL the problems (like having money for education, giving each of them all they need) will be YOURS, not mine!"

You see, we already had 7 kids, and I felt like I was barely making it with all the homework, sports, music and art lessons, social activities, and intentional nurturing.  Yet we had just discovered (in answer to Alex's prayers - but that's another story!) the whereabouts and newly orphaned status of the other three sisters.  Now, in my world view, sisters of my children are also my children.  Yet, this was not so.  Should they be?  Would they be?

As I look back on that prayer, I realize that my mindset was often one of slipping into depending on myself.  Like the verse from Isaiah 36:5, "On whom are you depending?" Maybe Susan Hillis could provide the needed mothering for 7 kids, but oh my ....  if there were 10, God would have to provide all the nurturing and protection and provision and wisdom and love through me that they needed from me!  Honestly, that was ridiculous!  I still wonder if the reason I ended up with 10 kids is that it took that many for me to learn to depend on God more than on myself.  And I tell you, I would not change A THING!  He has been exceedingly faithful in ways as big as providing a private anonymous donor who paid half of the school fees for all our kids to be in a private Christian school, to as small as having a dear friend from work surprise us by knocking on the door with a huge pot of steamy soup on that winter night when, at 6:30 PM, I realized that Brian and I had both totally forgotten to fix supper and we were all starvingly hungry! 

One thing is necessary

This past week I have had wonderful reminders in my early morning times with the Lord about the glorious Joy and Hope that comes from trusting in the Lord for the big and little things of life....I just have to share this list!
  • "One thing is necessary" is how Jesus describes Mary's decision to "sit at the Lord's feet and listen" to Him speak!(Luke 7)  I find when I do this, the Lord often shows me to do less and trust Him to do more.  In other words, to focus on loving over controlling, on caring over curing, as Henry Nouwen so persuasively writes in his essay, "Out of Solitude." 

  • As parents we often get to the end of our ropes when faced with sickness or emotional scars in our children.  In Luke 8, Jesus tells the parents of a sick teenager, "Do not fear; only believe and she will be well."  Then Jesus himself speaks to the ailing girl and says, "Child arise."  The next part I love- "And her parents were amazed."  Over and over and over, I find Jesus just amazes me with what He does for my children.  He has been so repeatedly faithful that I am shifting in my expectations when faced with impossible circumstances.  Instead of wondering about how horrible the problem may become, I am beginning to wonder about how marvelous and story-book-like God's provision will be!

  • Or one other example--what comes next in Luke 9....for a boy who has horrible spiritual or emotional problems, the parents have no part in his recovery other than to talk to Jesus about him.  Jesus then "rebuked the unclean spirit and healed the boy and gave him back to his father."  I just love this notion of Jesus releasing from my children that very person He created them to be, regardless of how much baggage there is inside.  Often we must wait.  Often in the Scriptures problems went on for years before there was reversal and recovery.  Like the man who sat by that pool for 38 years.  Or the boy born blind from birth.  Or the women who bled for 12 years.  Or Lazarus, who was dead for 4 days before Jesus arrives on the scene.  There are some of our kids who we have prayed over for years.  We are at the point of seeing all of them walking towards becoming who they were intended to be in Christ!  WAIT FOR IT, dear one.  Do not fear!!!  Hope in God!

When the end of our rope is the beginning of our hope!

Finally, dear friends, I invite you to read and reflect on Nehemiah chapter 4!  It is chock-full of what we need!  First there is this realization in verse 6 - they can get half way to their goal of restoration by their own determination - but that's as far as it gets.  They realize in verse 10:  "By ourselves we will not be able to rebuild the wall~!"  Then the reminder, "Do not be afraid...remember the Lord who is great and awesome,"  But the amplified says this, "BE IMPRINTED ONTO GOD!"  In other words, I must, like that little hatchling duck who sees its mama and knows it is a duck and acts like a duck, see my Lord and realize I am created to act like I am His daughter!  From that place of seeing Him and following Him, I am given courage to fight for my family and my home!  MEDITATE on this and it will be soooo encouraging!!! 

And finally, as the believers realize they are separated and far from each other in this challenge of rebuilding ruins, the trumpet sounds and they all come together to see "Our God will fight for us!"  So the end of their rope....when they are unable to rebuild...becomes the beginning of their hope - because the Almighty God is the one who fights for them.  There is just something mysteriously and supernaturally powerful when we come together to worship our Lord and seek Him, for ourselves and for our children.  I am excited about doing this with many of you moms and dads at our Atlanta church the upcoming HOPE AT HOME 2012 Conference on my birthday, (October 6!)-- and later at Created for Care with moms in February and March!! Until then, I invite you to see the end of your rope as the beginning of your hope! And may we all be amazed at the tender care of our heavenly Father for us and for our children. 

To register and for more information about
 Hope at Home 2012 Conference
October 5-6 in Atlanta, GA
click HERE.

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