Thursday, July 25, 2013


Lots going on these days at Hope at Home as we gear up for H@HKids! August 10. 
And Hope at Home 2013, conference for adoptive, foster and waiting parents is September 27-28. We would love to see you in Atlanta as we spend time being refreshed and equipped to parent our children!

From Beth:
We talk a lot about our children's identity at Hope at Home, but today I want to talk about me and you. Who am I? Who are you? And maybe a more fitting question--Who do you think you are? How do we define ourselves? 

A few years ago I heard a sermon by Joseph Prince that inspired me to think again about my identity. And I am learning that I am definitely a better mother and wife when I walk in my true identity! Far from being selfish to think about myself, I am loving and serving my family best when I am aware of this truth I am about to share with you.

So, check this out--Jesus loved all of his disciples equally, right? Right. But then we see this phrase multiple times, "the disciple whom Jesus loved." What do we make of that?! It was John himself who was writing this-- about himself! Apparently he referred to himself this way, even including it in his own telling of the story of Jesus. How bold! How wonderfully brazen! Some might even call him arrogant. 

I Am the Mother Jesus Loves!

It would be like me writing on this blog or on our Facebook page saying, “Hello. I am Beth Templeton-- I am the mother Jesus loves!” What would I have to be thinking about myself to say or write such a thing?! 

I think it is actually pretty wonderful that this phrase is only used in John’s gospel. No one else refers to him as that. I love that about him. I am intrigued!

John was more conscious of Jesus’ love for him than his own love for Jesus. So much so that clearly that became his identity--'the one Jesus loved.' We sing of our love for God every Sunday, and when things are going well we may even boast of it. For most of us reading this blog, we see adoption as beautiful expression of our love for God. And indeed, it is! There is nothing wrong with displaying our love for God. I SO want my life to be a display of love! 

But what I learned from this teaching about John is that when I focus not on my own love (which is so often weak and performance-based), but rather focus on God’s love for me, I become free and empowered to serve and love. 

When I focus on God’s love for me, I find that I can go the long haul and make it through the difficult times. I am immovable. I may be shaken by my children's behavior or my concerns for their future, but like John, I am not moved because I am defined by the perfect and eternal Love of the God of Love.
Our love then becomes not primarily a WORK of service, but rather a RESPONSE to the revelation of God's love. 

What is Love?

I love a good definition! God defines love very clearly through John,
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4:10)
We love Him, because He first loved us. (4:19) 
When we are conscious of God’s love for us, we end up able to love Him and others more! John, in defining himself as the one Jesus loved, was then perfectly positioned in the place of intimacy with the Lord. He was the one at the foot of the cross; he was the one Jesus asked to take care of His mother.

Seeing myself as the mother who Jesus loves empowers me to serve Him way beyond my natural capacity, because I am accessing the supernatural love of God.

Boasting of Love

How often do we live out our lives more like Peter rather than John? Peter boasted of his own love for Jesus, didn’t he? Remember what happened? Jesus says,
“But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee.” Peter answered and said to Him, “Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble.”...
Peter said to Him, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” (Matthew 26:31-35)
Peter's declaration, his identity, was, “I am the one who loves the Lord.” Peter ended up denying Jesus, and was so deeply distraught by this denial that he was not able to be there for him in the end as John was. 

I believe that the key to me loving my children through every stage of their lives is found in this-- not that I love my children, but that God loves me. 

Who do I think I am? 

I am the mother that Jesus loves!
I love what my friend and fellow adoptive mother, Kelly Raudenbush, shared on her blog, My Overthinking (check it out--she is a treasure!) She even had a talented friend design these graphics boldly declaring this identity so that we would be reminded to be like John, thinking of ourselves as the beloved of God. 

And so are you my friends. Let's say it out loud; it is a declaration of identity that will change the way you love!

Register Now for Hope at Home 2013!

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