Monday, July 25, 2011


A Time of Refreshing:

Dr. Susan Hillis along with others whose hearts are full with the desire to serve adoptive and foster parents are so excited to have the opportunity to meet you and to come alongside you during HOPE AT HOME 2011 here in Atlanta, Georgia, September 23-24.

We see HOPE AT HOME 2011 as a time of refreshing for both husbands and wives as we encounter the Father's Heart for adoptive families. We are looking to God to fill our hearts with His Hope.

From Susan Hillis:

Connecting with Kind Eyes
Never.  I have never been so impacted by a message I did not hear.  My friend Amelia told me of Dr. Karyn Purvis' talk from the Louisville Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit, about connecting with kind eyes.  Being a researcher, I began to investigate this ‘still face’ phenomenon.  More than 25 years of research on this topic show how deeply a child’s emotional health hinges on whether there has been a stable caretaker in their lives who connects eye-to-eye with them.  But the connection has to have those love-brimming eyes.  The eyes of the little baby, cradled in her mother’s warm arms, drinks in hope, trust, safety, security, peace, and joy from her mama’s adoring gaze.  Here is a research clip introduced by the director of the Child Development Institute at Harvard, showing what I mean.  
In this link, it is clear that the child must have this eye-to-eye connectedness, or she will grow visibly distraught, shrieking, flailing side-to-side.  In contrast, when the eye-to-eye ‘favor’ is filling the mama’s eyes, the little baby is a paragon of peace and contentment.  It brings back memories of that old book that was the foundation for my parenting in the early years, 'How to Really Love your Child,' by Ross Campbell.  Eye contact is one of the four critical ways kids 'hear' love.  And it doesn’t stop with the baby/young child phase.  Dr. Purvis emphasized that children who spend their early years in orphanages or outside of family care and then come into homes through adoption/fostering need their new parents to ‘backfill’ this eye-to-eye connectedness.

Am I in trouble?
As I was meditating on this theme of ‘eyes-filled-with-unfailing-love,’ I had one of those ‘ah-hah’ moments.  I realized what is behind a rather common occurrence that had always perplexed me.  It happens like this.  I am sitting in our family room lost in thought, or reading, or praying, or composing a blog post (J), or mentally doing some problem-solving.  One of my teenage daughters walks by and comments, “Mommy, what’s wrong?  Am I in trouble?”  And I reply, feeling confused by her question, “No sweetie, why in the world would you ask me that?  I am just sitting here thinking.  Why in the world do you ask me that all the time?”   After hearing the story of the talk I didn't hear, I determined to try my best to stop my reflections/ thinking/ musings/ mediations whenever this daughter walks by the family room and look into her in the eyes with 'favor,' or to put differently, like she is my favorite!  That is, with kindness and love and joy and hope and trust and compassion and understanding.  What is even more amazing is that if I determine to also wear inside my gaze this ‘unfailing favor’ when we are talking out a difference or conflict or disappointment, it appears impossible for either of us to be filled with anger.  Love wins instead.  Somehow she knows I am for her and not against her.

Finding favor in the eyes of the Lord
Loving the Scriptures as I do (the Word of the Lord endures forever!), I grew excited about studying the phrase ‘favor in the eyes of the Lord.’  I learned of four Old Testament characters who ‘found favor in the eyes of the Lord.’  They were Noah (Gen 6:8), Moses (Ex 34:9), Abraham (Gen 18:3), and Gideon (Judges 6:17).  Each of these servants of God had this pattern:

·      First, they found favor in the eyes of the Lord 
·      Second they were asked by God to do something heroic/ impossible/ crazy/ miraculous (build an ark, lead a stubborn people out of 400 years of slavery across the miraculously parted Red Sea, sacrifice the long-awaited son of promise, defeat the countless Midianite army with 300 men blowing bugles)
·      Third, the impact of their obedience was vast;  Noah: a new beginning for mankind after the flood; Moses: an entire nation entering the Promised Land with the written commandments of God; Abraham: blessing for all the nations in the world, and Gideon: 40 years of peace.

During this same time, I had been praying like this, “Lord, you have taught me a lot about hearing Your voice, but I know little about seeing your face.  Please teach me what it means to see your face.   Like Job at the end, when he said, ‘my ears had heard of You but now my eyes have seen you.' (Job 42:5) Lord I want to see you.”  And the Lord brought into my path a painting of Jesus done by a 9 year old little girl with an Atheist mother, after Jesus had appeared to her in a vision.  You can see the painting at -- when you enter the site, click the first video link on the top left over the painting of the African American woman.  I saw such a deep love and compassion and understanding and acceptance in those eyes of Jesus for me.  And I have been asking Him, ‘Lord Jesus, can you put that love, Your love, in my eyes, for my children and for my husband.’  And the prayer is spreading.  I am beginning to ask, especially when I am about to spend time with someone I dislike, “Lord, can you please put Your love in my eyes and heart for this person.”  And my eyes are being opened to countless verses that speak to me of this same theme:  Love in the eyes.

·      The eyes of the Lord see the children of men (Ps 11:4)
·   My [the Lord’s] eyes and my heart shall be there for all time (II Chron 7:16)
·  The looked unto Him and were radiant (Ps 34:5)
·  And [we all] found favor in the eyes of the Lord (Gen 6:8)

1 comment:

  1. Wow! I'm a big fan of Karyn Purvis since I read her book The Connected Child. I totally agree about making eye contact with love, but I never really thought about doing it when I am with someone more difficult to love. I think this is a prayer I will add to my prayer list as well. Funny thing, the first thing I started to think about when I first started reading this post was this very picture of Jesus. I have just finished reading the book "Heaven is for Real", and this painting and this little girl's story was in it. Every time I think about how much our Lord loves us, I just hope and pray for the ability to love my girls (and people in general) the way He does. Beautiful! Thanks for the encouragement!