Thursday, January 23, 2014


From Beth:

Looking back it is so easy to see that our family trip to Disney World not long after we adopted our first two children from Russia was a mistake. Looking back it is clear that there was WAY too much stimulation and overwhelming input for our newly adopted 5 and 10 year olds. (I know, you are probably saying, "Duh!" but there it is nevertheless!) We made it through, and even had some wonderful times together those few days, but it cost our two new treasures a lot emotionally and if we had to do it all over again, we would wait longer before we went. 

We have made many mistakes. 
We have pushed when we should have backed off. We have backed off when we should have pushed. We have yelled in anger and withdrawn in disappointment. We have said yes to things we should have taken a firm stand against, and we have said no to things we should have allowed. 

We have made many mistakes. 
And I am OK with that, more so now than ever. Here is why:

Christmas morning we had all 9 of us Templetons together. As our children continue to grow into independent adults I am aware that the time will come when we will not all be home for Christmas, so this year I was especially happy that we were all together once more. 

We decided to do something different this year and I honestly had no idea how it would turn out. But I figured it was worth the try! Before we opened our first gifts of the morning (we take turns opening them so that we can all enjoy each one), we asked everyone to share one or two things we appreciate about that person whose turn it was. It was absolutely amazing to hear what was said. We had done this before, but it had been awhile, and never Christmas morning. When it was my turn to receive, I realized I was being given a precious gift way beyond the value or meaning of anything wrapped in paper. But as much as I enjoyed hearing the beautiful things that my family had to say about me, I was even more blessed to hear what they had to say about each other. 

They honored one another, they discerned things about one another, they enjoyed one another. 

It was one of those moments in our life as a family that was "picture perfect" and filled with love. And it was one of those moments that is a balm to a mother's heart.

It was a gift made more precious because it was set in the context of the last few years, which have been marked by intensely difficult, scary, ugly, and sad moments in our family. The total antithesis of "picture perfect"--no one was reaching for a camera to capture those moments, I can tell you that! (Thank God!) I am not complaining, because it is clear to me that it was for exactly these difficult realities that God brought our children into our family. 

As I lay in my bed that night and thought about our Christmas day I felt the Lord tell me, "Beth, this time was a gift from me to you and Stephen. I wanted you to see that I am and have been at work in the lives of each one of your children, even when you mess up and even when they mess up. What you experienced this morning was the fruit of many many years of sowing love and honor. It is real and it is eternal and it exists in your family on the good days and the bad. Enjoy!"

I so loved reading Susan's post about how God's love is changing her, rather than her love changing her children. It really encouraged me to read of Father God's faithfulness to and in her wonderful family! We all need that encouragement along the way I think, especially when we are painfully aware of our shortcomings and failures as parents. The truth is there isn't a one of us who has done or will do it all right. We will make mistakes, and sometimes they will be big ones. But I am OK with that, and I hope you are too. 

So next time you are having a bad mommy/daddy day, I hope this testimony will encourage you and give you hope. 
Your mistakes and failures will never be able to diminish or nullify God's work of love in your family. 
Keep sowing love and honor, and trust God to guard the seeds in every season, especially the non "picture prefect" ones. Those imperfections, yours and theirs, are not the problem I thought they were, as it turns out. What a wonderful gift to us! 

Father God, thank You for Your love, which covers, guards and frees me, and every member of my family. Thank You for Your faithfulness in us and to us. Thank You that my parenting mistakes are not a problem for You--that in Jesus we are made whole and holy. Lord, give my family some moments like this Christmas morning testimony, marked by honor and love. Amen.


  1. I love this post mommy! Those words were definitely the best Christmas presents anyone received. I love you!

    1. Thank you sweet Emma-- I LOVE getting a comment from you and I LOVE YOU!

  2. This is so beautiful and encouraging. Thanks for sharing honestly for those of us coming along behind you in this parenting journey. Blessings and joy!