Friday, February 28, 2014


From Susan:

Bean-Bag Tag!

We have lots of Hillis family variations of hide-n-seek. My all time favorite is beanie-bag tag, in which the person who is IT counts to 50 while everyone else hides in a dimly lit basement or outside at after dusk, and then tries to run and catch everyone else by throwing the bean bag at them and hitting them with it. Since I am slow but have a pretty good aim, this is a game I could actually win from time to time by getting everybody OUT! Every one of  you remembers the joy of finding the person who is hiding, lost to our sight! 

It is so natural as a parent to chase after our kids, literally and figuratively. 

There are times to chase, and as they get older there are also times not to go running after them!  

To Chase or Not to Chase: That is the Question!

I particularly struggled with this question when one of our high-maintanance kids was sneaking out of the house in the middle of the night at age 16, making irresponsible choices about school, and choosing friends who were corrupting her morals. 

Saying no to our yes, up to our down, right to our left, and generally speaking, exhibiting those unique qualities characteristic of kids with reactive attachment disorder--
at every step

I felt EXHAUSTED and FRUSTRATED and CONCERNED about where she would end up! 

I felt OVERWHELMED with the demands of homework and sports and music lessons and friends and life for 10 kids, particularly since 1 of them seemed to need more attention than all the other 9 combined! 

Faced with this conundrum, Brian and I were praying, "Lord, do we go after this lost sheep or do we focus on the disciples?"  

We kept asking in prayer for the Lord's advice and direction, as there was NO WAY to care for the other 9 wanting to head in the right direction AND to care for the very needy one who was daily being pulled into more and more danger and destruction. After several weeks of praying with no apparent answer, the Lord whispered to me by His Spirit ever so simply and clearly one morning while I was looking in the mirror and brushing my teeth and not even thinking of our conundrum:  
"She is not a lost sheep. Where is her face pointed? Lost sheep would point their faces toward home if they knew where home was. Her face is pointed away."  

Then I understood that Luke 15 contrasts the difference in what the parent/shepherd does with a prodigal versus lost sheep. He lets one go, and goes chasing after the other! All I needed to do was to just copy the prodigal's father in Luke 15. Let the prodigal go her way until she wants to return--

Trusting You, Lord, to be her Father as she wanders. 

Trusting You, Lord, to bring ours and yours home to Yourself and to us, once they come to their senses.

Then, after a few days, in our good Father's sweet way, the Lord added to this sense of direction by a paraphrase from Acts 19:9, 
But some of them become obstinate, Paul left them, [and he] took the discples with him. 
Another version expresses that last part this way, "he went on with the disciples."  

Brian and I experienced the living and abiding word of God that was exactly what we needed in this moment.  
"Many became obstinate, so he left them and went on with the disciples!"   

I do not expect this would be the same answer for everyone, but it was our Wonderful Counselor's answer to us in our particular situation. 

Please don't misunderstand this "leaving." We continue unchanged in our abiding and enduring love for them, and pray for them and keep the relationship with them. But our focus is on those who are disciples and on those who may be lost, whose faces are pointed towards home.  

And we continue to hold the prodigals tightly in prayer, believing that faith even as small as a mustard seed can move those mountains of fear, theirs and ours!

I wish I could say that life was easy from the day we fully understood God's answer to our prayer; it wasn't easy, but as Aslan says to Lucy in Chronicles of Narnia, it was "good!"  

So the end of the story is this: our prodigal did come home after many years of wandering, which culminated in two years on the streets of Atlanta when she was 19 and 20.  Now she is 23 and doing very well - we talk by phone almost every day! 

So let me close with a new appreciation of Jesus's word in Luke 14,
How often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! Look, your house is left to you desolate!  
Just this week end, yet again, I felt nudged to leave one of our kids to the Lord's care and allow Him to gather this sweet soul of my heart, rather than try to meet all the needs. I took a step away and let the Lord gather this treasure--and gather, He did!  I am amazed by the miraculous transformation that occurs with even mustard seed sized faith!!  

It does, indeed, still move mountains! Just dig that tiny hole of faith, instead of exhausting yourself with running!

May you and yours experience the Lord's Wonderful Counsel and Presence, this and every day!
Love eternal,


Monday, February 24, 2014


From Kate:

We have all heard it said that words can kill or words can give life. I think we feel that most when we are receiving words or perceiving them from others. I would like to think that I actually think through what I say before I say it, but upon reflection, I think that I assess words more when I am the recipient of them than when I am speaking them.  
God has been writing this post on my heart for the last week and confirming it everywhere I turn. We all know that the words we speak have impact. Big impact. On a communication level, it is not hard to see. How we speak to our spouse tells them how we feel about them. Because of that, we are often challenged to speak kindly--to make sure we think before we speak and to seek forgiveness and apologize when we didn’t use the best words or tone. 
Words are so much more than that. 
Words are life. 
Words have breath. 
Words are the link between life and death. 

No matter how good or how challenging things are in marriage, we can all choose to speak life into our marriage. I have had the blessing of hearing many marriage stories. I know our own marriage story. And because of that, I know it is hard at times to speak life. 
Proverbs 18:21 says:
The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.
Choosing to speak life into your marriage is much more than watching your tongue and seeking to speak nice words to your spouse. Those things are great and much needed-- continue to do them! What I am challenging you to is a bit different. 
My challenge to you is to speak life into your marriage every day. 
Here’s how:

Surround Yourself with Marriage-Positive People

Many of us have friends in all walks of life. Yet, who we choose to talk marriage with, greatly impacts how we think about our marriage. When you need to talk marriage, choose a couple or a group of couples that are marriage-positive and will uplift you. While being real, they will pray with you and challenge you as well as celebrate the victories with you.
If you have a group of the same sex that you meet with, be intentional about who you share the inner most parts of your marriage with. I have a wonderful group of ladies who I can always talk to about my marriage. I know it is safe and that they won’t allow me to be harsh about my hubby. They will also listen and challenge me. 
Who do you talk marriage with and are they marriage positive?

Build Up Your Spouse 

I have seen in the past 2 years of our marriage, how much my words of encouragement and affirmation can bless my husband. He is empowered, and knows that I am right there beside him. Proud to be his wife, proud of who he is, proud of how he looks--he rocks! I seek to be his biggest cheerleader. 
That does not mean that we are never frustrated with one another. It simply means that one of my highest callings in life is being his wife. That means serving and loving my hubby only second to God. 
If you don’t speak life into that amazing man God has given you, who will? 

Speak Life into Yourself

It’s really hard to speak life into your marriage when you aren’t speaking it into your own life. When you feel unworthy and speak down to yourself, it will pour over into your marriage. I know that self-worth is hard for many people. Yet it is hard to feel good about our marriage, to see life in it, when we don’t see those things in our self. 
There is no easy way to “fix” this other than seeking out the Father and basking in His love for you. Allow him to fill you up and seek to see yourself as He sees you!  
Easy, no! Life changing, yes! 

When Troubles Come, and They Will . . . Speak Life!

It is so easy to look at hard times as all-encompassing. It can be easy to have a discouraged and defeated attitude, an attitude that often comes out in our words. When we allow ourselves to be pulled in to this type of thinking, the enemy is pleased. 
Speaking good things over your marriage, truth and love, will give life. Will it make all of your problems go away? No, it won’t. But that is not really the point. The point is words. God has gifted us with a tongue and words. They can either give life or bring destruction. 

Say This / Not That!

Choose to say: “we will work through this” rather than “I don’t see any way through this”
Choose to say: “I love my husband/wife and know that God desires good in our marriage. I will not stop trying and seeking for us to grow through this” rather than “I love my husband/wife, but I have tried everything and see no change.” 

Choose to say: “God is for our marriage not against it. Anything that says otherwise is not of God!” rather than “Maybe God is punishing me!” 

Father God, I look to you today for words of life to speak aloud to and about my spouse, my marriage, and my self. Would you help me to hear some of the good things You are saying about my spouse today? I want to think like you think about him/her and about our marriage. Amen.

To read more from Kate Aldrich, check out her wonderful marriage blog, One Flesh Marriage. You'll also find more encouragement for your marriage in our Marriage Monday section. 
When you bless our marriage, you bless your children! 

Monday, February 17, 2014


From Beth:

Stephen recently went to the optometrist and came back with new glasses. His eyes are pretty bad and if it weren't for new technology he would totally have the "coke bottle" look. But even so, he ended up returning the new frames because he found they limited his peripheral vision. 

Does that ever happen to you? I mean, you put on a pair of glasses through which you will view your children and find you cannot see accurately, or you realize your focus is "off"--yeah, I'm actually talking about me, but I figure you know that!

I am aware that sometimes I pick up unhelpful frames when I look at my children. If I pick put the frames of criticism, I see that which disappoints. But I have these grace frames that I prefer to wear. They are wonderful! 

With my grace frames on, I can see accurately and move about freely without stubbing my toe on some offense or spraining my ankle in some area of lack. 

In grace I see my child as God sees him. I see with lenses that focus on what God is doing and has done, rather than what still needs to be done. My eyes begin to catch the lines of definition in his spirit, enjoying what God enjoys about this treasured child. 

And then I am able to say, "I see you!"--not to call out what is wrong or missing, but to define and declare what is true. I have the privilege to define my child, not by his current behavior, nor by his past, but by his identity and calling. 

Our pastor, Greg Haswell, shared this wonderful truth in a sermon at Northlands Church recently:
It is the nature of the enemy to want to capture you in the worst and weakest moments of your life and then suspend you with that view of yourself, and to constantly remind you “This is who you are!”--that is why he is called the accuser. 
 It is the nature of God to capture you in the victory won by Jesus in His death, burial and resurrection and suspend you in that view of yourself, and to constantly remind you “This is who you are!”--that is why He is called the comforter.

You and I have the unique opportunity to be ones who speak into the identity and calling of our sons and daughters. That is, we get to constantly remind them who they are. 

We pick out the frames of grace and start our own name-calling campaign! We refuse to wear the glasses that can only see best what is wrong, what is weak, what needs 'fixing.' Instead, we don those frames that catch each one in his or her identity in Christ, viewing them as their heavenly Father views them. 

This is powerful parenting. 
This is parenting in grace. This is what love looks like. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014


From Susan:

Do Not Forget

I remember as though it was yesterday, visiting the sweet young 17 year old Tanya, a young orphaned girl studying in one of the Tech Schools in St. Petersburg. I had gone with our daughter Cristi, who was living in Russia for a semeseter of college, to visit one of the orphan girls she had befriended.  As we said our goodbyes, Tanya looked at me in the eyes and said, "Ni zabui" which means, "Do not forget." And I understood what she did not say, but was thinking:  "Everyone forgets girls like me, but please remember me.  Remember me as someone who matters and has worth. Do not forget about me as though I am invisible and never lived."


So, this past week I have loved reflecting on two things: 
What God Remembers, and What God Does Not Remember.

1) Remember Mercy and Steadfast Love

David says in the Psalm 25:6-7 
Remember your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast love; Remember not my sins. 
When I, like the Lord, remember God's mercy and steadfast love for me and for my children, I focus on their gifts and strengths rather than on their moodiness or failures and choices that disappoint me. And we go on to remember God's mercy for those children like Tanya who are still living without families, we wilI pray and speak out for the love and mercy due them, before a world that so comfortably forgets.

2) Remember God's Power to Turn Even Our Worst Tragedies and Theirs Into His Miraculous Blessing

In spite of his brothers' guilt for their horrible mistreatment that leaves Joseph living like an orphan, Joseph instead remembers God's redemption,
Fear not - you meant it for evIl, but God meant it for good, that many people should be kept alive. 
This mirculous redemption of family dysfunction is our hope and prayer....for our own families and for those dear ones like Tanya who are waiting and hoping and praying for someone to remember them. 

3) Remember to Listen to God's Words and Accept Them

We see in the parable of the sower (Mark 4), that we are encouraged to remember/listen to God's words (the person whose seed is planted in deep soil) and that these should fill our memory! In contrast, we do well NOT to remember/focus on tribulation or persecution or cares of the world, or riches, or the desire for other things, like those for whom the seed falls on rocky ground or among the thorns.

As we hear many conversations among our teen and young adult kids, and in our myriad social spheres, we realize that our memories and stories will help drive and shape theirs.  So we will speak of the kind of things that God values we remember, as He opened to me this week:

  1. His mercy and love for me and my own and for kids and adults still waiting for someone to love them, and we look at others, really seeing them, sensitive to chances our Lord gives us to love them.
  2. His power to redeem even the most hopeless of circumstances. Those of you who know us, know we have had many!
  3. His intimate friendship in inviting us to let God's words fill our memories and shape all aspects of our lives -- so that we will naturally find Jesus' life and love multiplied in us, contagious, spreading to scores of others in our spheres of influence. 

For you, dear reader, may you remember and speak to others of your stories of mercy and love and redemption and revelation. As we do, others are encouraged by the Lord's intent to enter and transform their stories!

Monday, February 10, 2014


From Stephen:

Well, here we are finishing up our series for dads with my last two gifts for your children. You can read the first 8 in Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3. We'd love to see you over on our Facebook page too!

9. Don't Succumb To the Spirit of the Age 

As Jesus prayed for his disciples (and for us!) he stated that they/we are "sent into the world" but are "not of this world". What did he mean? In his letter to the Romans, Paul encourages believers to 
not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2 NIV)
For all of us who have said "yes" to Jesus, we have become "new creations," and the old has passed away, and we are living in his abundant new life. We are hidden in Christ, we sit with him in heavenly places and he lives in us. He has given us a new nature, and we can boldly approach the throne of grace. All of this is for today and now, and his joy and peace are ours now.

Still, while we live in this world, we are all very aware of the fact that we are surrounded by subtle and glaring ungodliness. The obvious sin and ungodliness is easier to confront because it is so in-your-face. It is the subtle worldliness that is insidious and creeps into our thoughts and world views. Here are a few "spirits of the age" that we tend to combat in our home:

"It's all about me"--The selfish Me-Monster is an ugly yet prevalent attitude that we all battle in ourselves and in our children. Kindling an unselfish attitude and spirit in your child will engender such maturity in him and set him apart from most. While we want our children to be self-confident, we don't want them to be self-absorbed and self-focused. As parents we must not create a culture founded on the desire to assure our children's pleasure at any cost. Our goal is not that our children are constantly pleased and entertained. If it is, we are forming an unhealthy and ultimately destructive world view for them. If only experiencing pleasurable feelings is okay for our children, the result will be a selfish and self absorbed mindset.

How do you battle the Me-Monster? Here are some ideas: Have them help others--volunteering at church, homeless shelters, neighbors in need, yard work or house cleaning/organizing for someone else. 
Find times to work at a family project--help a family in need, use some of your Christmas gift money for others. 
Create opportunities where they are having to think of others and give of themselves for other's benefit. Be creative!

"You owe me"--Ungratefulness and an entitlement attitude really get under my skin. If you're like me there are some worldly attitudes that really get your goat, and this is the one that pushes my button. This attitude is rooted in selfishness, so set the thermostat to "Thankfulness" and "Gratitude" in your home. Seed the atmosphere of your family with thanksgiving and gratefulness. Don't be afraid to call this attitude for what it is and snuff it out quickly.

"I'm glad believing in Jesus works for you, but…"--Everything you do and believe is okay, and everything I do and believe is just as fine. This one can be tricky, because we don't want to be heavy handed, controlling or legalistic, but there is an absolute truth that the Scriptures proclaim, and we do want our children to walk into the spiritual inheritance that is theirs. So it means helping them discern that everything, every thought pattern, every value system is not okay. This really comes to the forefront in adolescence and later teen years, especially when they begin exploring the world on their own. Coming home from college after living on their own and seeing how the world lives can be a challenge. The most important thing is to love, love, love. Maintaining your connection with your child while affirming their true identity in Christ in love will bring you through.

I'm sure you can think of many other examples of the spirit of this world subtly or aggressively challenging us in our families. Stand strong, and as always stand, speak and act in love.

10. Give Your Children a Father's Blessing 

As their father, your words have enormous power. Use them to give life to your children. Day in and day out we can speak encouragement to them. We can "catch" them doing well, notice it, and speak out our affirmation. Doing this hundreds of times over builds such self confidence and self assurance in them. I'm not talking about overindulgence or "blowing sunshine up their noses", but accurately noticing and affirming their good choices and actions is a powerful tool in a father's tool chest.

Give them a written and spoken blessing. When your child is older, at some meaningful point in their adolescence, take time to formally bless them. Be creative--you might consider having a formal ceremony with family and friends in which you recognize who your child is in the Lord and formally pronounce your father's blessing over their lives. This is a great time for you to ask the Lord for specific scriptures, words and direction for them. Your children have a spiritual inheritance in the Lord, and your written and spoken blessing over their lives helps release this inheritance for them. Take a page from the Old Testament patriarchs; see how they blessed their children to help launch them into their destiny. In our nanosecond digital age, actually putting pen to paper and writing words of blessing and encouragement to your child can be very powerful. So dads, pick up your pens and start blessing your children.

I hope you've found these gifts useful and life giving. As fathers, our plates always seem to be full to overflowing, so I don't want these ideas to be a burden or a source of guilt. Rather, let them be a springboard for you to bring life and freedom to your children and your family.

Thursday, February 6, 2014


From Beth:

I am so close to getting cured! I think my antidote is this close to completion. No doubt there will be pinches of this and dollops of that as the recipe is perfected, but I've decided to share my antidote to my disease of Parenting Pride with you, thinking some of you parents may be somewhat familiar with this concoction.

As you'll notice I'm sure, your antidote may differ from mine in details. But I have a feeling that this simple recipe will not be too different from your own! Really, there are only a few ingredients, but in my case their effectiveness seems to have come in the consistent dosing regimen. And our adoptions have been the perfect environment for the creation of my cure. 

I started out in our adoption journey feeling pretty confident in my parenting skills. We had three daughters and were 10 years down this parenting road when our first two children came home from Russia. I so enjoyed being a mother (I still do!) and felt pretty confident in my role. Looking back I see that my approach to parenting at the time was full frontal attack on anything that didn't belong in our home, or didn't fit with what God says about who our children are. And it worked. Our girls responded. When an issue popped up I simply parented that issue right out the door! Simple and effective. Feeling pretty darn good about myself, I must admit. 

Mind you, I had no idea I was prideful-- I just thought I was pretty good at this mothering thing!

Then we adopted and quickly entered a season of intense and pronounced parenting, a perfect setting for God to do what He does so well, that is to help me experience more of the freedom that is mine in Jesus.

Ingredient 1: A Good Healthy Dose of Public Embarrassment

One of our friends at our previous church, an older lady whom we had known for years, was clearly not thrilled when we shared that we were going to adopt children from Russia. She just didn't "get it." Her response was more about what could go wrong than about celebrating what God was doing. She told us that we would know if it was God if all went smoothly. 
Hmmmmmm........ I don't think so!
I know that many of you are painfully familiar with what it is like to have people close to you be critical of your choice to answer the call to adopt. 
So, one day very shortly after we brought our second two boys home we went to the ballet recital of a dear family friend. Yes I know, taking a 10 year old boy who just came home from Russia to a ballet recital may not have been the best idea, but we were determined to do things together as a family and figured it wouldn't be too bad.
This friend of ours from church was also at the recital, sitting just down the row. And our dear 10 year old son, a few minutes into the show, decided that he didn't like this one bit. Kind of hard to blame him. He began to throw a fit--writhing around and saying something that didn't sound so nice in Russian. Are you picturing this? A ballet recital has begun, the place is full of people queitly watching the stage, and we have a TEN YEAR OLD throwing fit. Poor Stephen had to literally pick him up-- he was 10, but very thin and small at that point from lack of a healthy diet in the orphanage, which worked in our favor this one time! He had to carry him along the row of stadium seating, requiring everyone to stand in order to make room for them to pass, including this friend of ours. Everyone in that theater turned to look at us. So embarrassing! But the worse part of the whole scene was having to walk by that one woman who we were quite sure was thinking, "See, I told you so!"

Since that time we have had an uncomfortably regular dosage and  variety of public embarrassment, marked by visits with teachers, school officials, coaches, parents, and more than a few uncomfortable exits.... 

Ingredient 2: Picking Your Battles- On Steroids

Most parents learn about "picking your battles" at some point. It's just good wisdom. Maybe some of you who have adopted older children can relate to this, but I know Stephen and I have felt this sense of urgency, like we have to parent in double time to make up for the years we didn't have, as well as to compensate for the fact that we have less time ahead of us before our children become adults. So much of the behavior our children learned from growing up in an orphanage and from their years without loving parental supervision clearly needed our attention! But we soon realized that if we were to address every issue every time (full frontal attack style), then our relationship with our children would be always and only about correction. Who wants that?! So we learned to pick our battles. But that meant that we had to let some things go that were seriously not good-- the kind of things you are not wanting your friends to see. The kind of behaviors that good Christian parents simply do not let stand.
For example, it is a good thing for us to teach our children to greet a guest, to stand up, look them in the eye and respond-- in full sentences. No "uhuh" or "nope" for us! And when our children do this it feels pretty darn good. Chalk up a success for good parenting! But with so many issues to deal with, almost all more important and more pressing than good manners, we simply had to let it go for a season. It might not be that big a deal, except that I couldn't explain why we were not responding when our child did not greet our guest. If I could I might have been able to maintain a bit more of my pride, but it was unwise and unreasonable to go into our parenting strategies and our defense of how we really are trying to be good parents even though it doesn't look like it, every time it happened- or didn't happen as the case may be. 


So, once again, I was fed my medicine. And although it didn't taste good at all--no cherry flavor to cover up the bitter aftertaste, no food coloring to disguise the distinctly unappetizing color--I have to admit that the after effect has been so good for me. I am thankful that God has loved me enough to put me on this regimen that is my cure for parenting pride.

I see that I am responding well to my medicine, too. I am increasingly less aware of what others think, and increasingly more at peace with the fact that my mothering is not actually about my strength and ability but about God's love and patient pursuit of my children's hearts and spirits through me. And it seems that increases in compassion and understanding are side-effects, and these are side-effects I can live with! And I have experienced a decrease in my self-reliance levels, accompanied by a marked increase in my God-reliance.  

So what do you think of my antidote to parenting pride? I'm pretty sure I have a few more doses to take before it's all done, and I'm ready!

Monday, February 3, 2014


You are in for a treat friends! I want to introduce you to Awara Fernandez. She and her husband Ernesto, church planting pastor of Iglesia del Redentor, are in their 25th year of marriage and have four children; Kathryn & Amanda, their biological daughters, and Benjamin & Cristian, their sons adopted from Peru in 2010. In 2009 Awara began an adoption support group, pure1.27, to provide encouragement to adoptive families in their church and community. The family lives in Indian Trail, NC, where together they are journeying "further up and further in" every day!

“What is for eat?” my new son Cristian began to ask soon after we brought him home from Peru. It is such a charming phrase that we did not correct him but simply enjoyed his language learning process. And I answered that question hundreds of times over the first couple of years, carefully telling him what was on the menu, hoping to quell some of his anxiety at being in a new (different) place, with new (different) people, family, friends, and new (different) clothes, a new (different) home, a new (different) school, a new (different) language, a new (different) climate, and new (different) foods.  So I answered his question again and again, until . . . I didn’t.  
We were traveling home to Charlotte after visiting family in Atlanta, a trip that takes us from five to six hours, and we were just finishing our lunch when Cristian piped up from the backseat of our van. “Mommy?” he asked as he was shoveling the last few French fries into his mouth, “what is for dinner?”  He had graduated to this less charming, but more acceptable, phraseology, and I was stumped.  Not by his language, but by the fact of the question itself.  I began to get irritated as I wondered, was he ungrateful that he could not enjoy his meal and the satisfaction of being well-fed for just a few moments?  And, how could I possibly know where we would be on the highway in a few hours, and what restaurant choices would be available to us, and what if we needed to stop earlier for gas or a bathroom break? One thing we have learned in our dealings with children who have suffered trauma is that if you tell them you will do something, be it read them a story, jump up and down three times in a row, or stop at a specific place to eat, if you do not do what you have said (promised), they believe that you have lied to them. And they have one more reason not to trust you. And they may shut down or explode in a tantrum, either one. There is, at least at first, little give and take with them. I think it is because these children from hard places have had lives that were more take than give, and what was taken from them is incalculable. I knew that I was walking through a mine-field and any one of a dozen different responses was sure to set off a reaction that the rest of us would have live with at close quarters (our van) for the next few hours. And I felt my anxiety rise as I realized that it was simply impossible for me to answer him.  
And then the Lord gently spoke to me and said, “The question Cristian is asking is not the one he is asking.” 
And I realized that what Cristian was really asking was not “What is for dinner,?” but “Will there be dinner?” And I breathed a sigh of relief and a prayer of gratitude to the Lord as I turned to Cristian and said, “Cristian, I do not know what we will eat for dinner, but I promise you that we will eat dinner.” I reminded him that he had not missed a meal since we brought him home from the orphanage and I told him, again, that we would take care of him. And that answered his question. His real question. And he was satisfied.  
And, I have wondered . . .  how often when I speak with the Lord am I asking what I’m really asking?  I ask, “Lord, what if . . . my husband loses his job?  What if my daughter and her boyfriend breakup? What if my father’s test result comes back positive for cancer? What if my son doesn’t pass his end-of-grade level tests?” The Lord doesn’t answer those questions because He knows that I’m really asking, “Father, will you take care of me?” He reminds me that I am his beloved child, chosen for adoption before the world began and He tells me, again, that He will take care of me.  
And that answers my question. My real question. And I am satisfied.

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