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.

Monday, August 27, 2012


Marriage Monday
We always look forward to hearing from Scott Means from Journey to Surrender marriage blog. When our marriages are strong, our children are blessed, so we at Hope at Home want to encourage you that time spent on your marriage is part of good parenting! We hope you find this post as timely and encouraging as we have.

You will hear more from Scott on this topic at HOPE AT HOME 2012. For more information and to register, click HERE.

At some point we will all have seasons when we aren’t sure we can face the tough challenges in front of us. Such times of great stress are inevitable. I’m sure the adoptive and foster parents reading this blog are nodding their heads in agreement.
The source of my current stress is some especially tough challenges I’m facing at work. I know that difficulties with family and children have a more severe emotional impact than job issues, but the things I want to share with you are universal – they apply no matter the source of your troubles. 

What follows are three truths that have helped me recently. I pray they do the same for you.

We Become What We Behold

I don’t know who coined the phrase, “we become what we behold,” but the principle is clearly a scriptural one. 
“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory…” (2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV) 

The truth is that whatever we keep our focus on has a significant impact on us either positively or negatively. It’s easy to get caught up in our problems. More than once in the past few weeks I’ve found myself completely absorbed by my circumstances, and I’ve discovered that the more I dwell on them, the more of my life they overtake.  

But when I am able to focus on the Lord and on His many amazing and wonderful attributes, my troubles no longer determine my demeanor. When compared to the magnificence of His hugeness, the size of my difficulties is diminished.  When I gaze upon his beauty, the ugliness of the world is dimmed.  When I abide in His presence, I feel the protection of His strength and the warmth of His passionate love for me. When I’m talking to God and listening to His voice, the lies of the enemy are silenced. 

So, as the twelfth chapter Hebrews encourages us, let us determine to “fix our eyes on Jesus,” so that our struggles don’t cause us to “grow weary and lose heart.” 

Keeping our eyes on Jesus isn’t necessarily easy, and that brings me to my next bit of truth.

Together is Always Better

On several occasions over the past few weeks, my wife has been a great source of encouragement to me. More than just a listening ear, which is helpful, she has reminded me to look to Jesus.
I am thankful to have a spouse who points me toward the goodness and greatness of the Lord. That is also the kind of spouse I endeavor to be for her. The truth is that together we can face more than either of us can separately.

I’m not talking about preaching at your wife or husband. I’m not talking about making him or her feel guilty for their struggles. I’m talking about being a constant source of little encouragements. 

  • Pray together and pray for each other out loud
  • Let your spouse know you are praying for them individually
  • Send little notes, texts or emails of encouragement with words of truth
  • Find and share scriptures that speak truth into to your spouse’s circumstances
  • Remind each other of past times when God’s goodness has saved the day
One other really important thing about helping each other in times of hardship: love each other unconditionally. It’s easy to let difficulties come between you, as we withdraw into ourselves to deal with our issues. But if you can push past your circumstances and reach for each other with love and intimacy in times of difficulty, it will strengthen your marriage like little else can.  

Celebrate the Good Stuff

On the advice of a friend and ministry mentor, my wife has recently started making little lists of things to celebrate. He wisely advised her that when faced with a difficult relationship or circumstance, to make a short list of things to celebrate about the person or situation. Keep it handy; remind yourself of them often.

The many positives in our lives can easily get swallowed up by the negatives unless we are purposeful about recalling and celebrating the many praiseworthy blessings we have. 

Applying this idea to my work stress, I can celebrate the fact that I have a steady, good-paying job when so many are facing unemployment. I can celebrate that I’ve had the rare privilege of working for the same company for 28 years. In the face of the craziness, I can celebrate the fact that management is choosing to invest in my product lines in an unprecedented manner.

This “celebration list” is actually an extrapolation of the principle of becoming what you behold. By choosing purposefully to celebrate the good, the bad is naturally diminished. Amplifying your blessings has a way of shrinking your problems. 

Since I’m a marriage blogger at heart, I want to close by encouraging you to celebrate your marriage as well. I have a short series on my blog, Journey to Surrender, entitled The Power of Positive. It includes suggestions on ways you can transform your marriage by positive Thinking, Speaking and Doing

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Thursday, August 16, 2012


When we read this post from our friend Kate at One Flesh Marriage we asked if we could share it here. She and her husband, Brad, will be at Hope at Home 2012 sharing on marriage and transracial adoption. Can't wait!!
Today we want to share a little different side of our story! The story of a journey. A journey to find our son!
1 year of waiting, and 16-hours of traveling, and 1/2 way around the world on a plane . . . we were finally here at the start of our Forever Family!
We enter the locked, guarded compound and our eyes were immediately drawn to a group of precious children playing in a circle with a ball. 
Was he there? Would we see him for the first time? 
It was incredibly over stimulating and made me light-headed. Brad and I looked, hand in hand, searching--and yet no one quite looked like him. Then a nanny called to us and said “Come, your son is inside.”
My heart sped up, tears pooled in my eyes; he was close and we were going to get to see him. Would he be shy? Happy? Or completely confused and upset at these new people wanting to hold and love on him? We were ready to give him the time he needed to warm up to us. His Daddy had a pocket full of race cars for that purpose. What little boy doesn’t love cars?
We followed the nanny down a dark hallway leading to a bunch of rooms lined with bunk beds. The next thing we heard was the nanny saying,
 “This is your Mommy and Daddy!” 
Around the corner bounded a huge pair of brown eyes and the most brilliant smile--belonging to our son!  He leapt from the nanny’s arms into mine, shouting “MOMMY!” and embracing me with all this tiny might! Not all first meetings are this way, but for us this is how it happened and it will forever be a treasured memory.
Words cannot express that moment. Even now as I sit here sharing with you all, tears are running down my face. It was just like the first moment we held our biological son and daughter in our arms. This little boy was our son. He is also the son of a beautiful family in Ethiopia. We don’t take that lightly. We are proud to share this little boy with his biological family. They are a part of our family as well. We have been given this time with our son as a precious gift.

The Real Journey Begins

As we left this beautiful land and embarked on our journey home we knew we would face tough times, but we were overjoyed and on cloud nine. Not long after arriving home and uniting all of our family, difficult times came. Unique challenges of introducing a new member into the family who already has a personality, but doesn't speak a word of English. Not unlike the first night a newborn screams ALL night long, we recognized that as parents we don’t always know what to do. Even with all the books, education and training, we didn't know how to handle these challenges. There has been an immeasurable joy, but also great confusion and frustration.
Many times families going through the journey of adoption feel lost. They don't know where to turn, where to go for help or guidance!

What If...

What if there was an adoption conference that sought to share wisdom and experiences with adoptive parents? But what if it didn’t stop there? What if the conference also took time for parents to seek out the Holy Spirit so that He can lead them in their journey? What if there was a place that parents still waiting for children or who already have them home could come together to seek God's will for their families?
Hope at Home 2012 is just that place! An adoption conference where parents can not only find information, but find comfort in time with the Holy Spirit, learning to seek God in new ways as they lay their burdens and troubles on Him, and find His abundant guidance as they make this journey together.

Hope At Home

Good information as well as seeking the Holy Spirit? I don’t know about you, but that sounds awesome to me! Brad and I are so excited to share with you the Hope at Home Conference 2012. We were excited to be attending this conference, and thrilled that they asked us to present two of the break-out sessions. 
We are honored to be presenting session on marriage. Adoption Through the Eyes of Marriage, and one on transracial adoption, The Joys of Godly Diversity. Good friends, Scott and Jenni Means from Journey to Surrender ,will be presenting A Marriage Made in Heaven and Helping Your Child Hear and Experience God. These are just 4 of the many awesome seminars planned for October 5th & 6th, 2012. To read more of the details, including the other breakout topics and speakers, click HERE.

God Has A Plan!

God has a plan and a purpose for our time with our kids. We need to remember that God has given us all we need for parenting in His Word and His Spirit! We only need to ask and draw near to Him. Is it always that easy? Well it certainly is the best place to start. Books, experts--we often try them first and then go to God only in desperation. Seeking Him is the place to start!
Children, adopted or biological, are a gift and a product of our marriage relationship. They are to add to it (yes, they add stress too!) and then we allow and encourage them to take flight on their own, pursuing God with all of their hearts. Children are not our hope in life, no matter how much we desire them--God is our hope. Brad and I have learned some of these lessons the hard way. That is why we are so thankful for God’s renewing our hearts.

Join Us!

Watch the conference video below and if you are an adoptive or waiting parent, please consider joining us. I am excited to see what God has in store. When we draw near to God, he draws near to us. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

Spread The Word

Would you help us spread the word about Hope at Home 2012 by sharing on your Facebook page, Twitter, email and word of mouth? If you know adoptive parents, please share with them.

Monday, August 13, 2012


Quick reminder: 

Early Bird Rate for HOPE AT HOME 2012 ends on Wednesday. Register early and save some money! Click 


From Susan Hillis:

The unexpected text from a trusted friend left a clear message: "you are totally missing one of your children's biggest needs."  All of us have our insecurities and for me, one of those circumstances that makes me feel insecure is when it seems that others I respect think I am failing as a mom -- which in fact, I and most moms I know, do from time to time, if we are honest!  After I recovered from knee-jerk defensiveness, it became clear to me I needed to talk with my child (and with the Lord) about this.  In fact, I needed to ask my child two questions that used to be included among my habitual practices as a mom. (Keep reading and I will explain the questions soon.)

I Had Let Go of a Good Habit

As I did not grow up in a Christian home, I have spent a lot of my parenting years copying those whom I respect as being excellent parents -- this includes folks I know, books I read, and talks I hear on the radio.  Years ago I heard a dad sharing on some radio talk-show about the two questions he asked each of his kids privately, about once a month:

1) How am I doing as a dad (which I changed to 'MOM!)?  AND
2) What do you need from me that you are not getting?

I have great memories of some the our kids when one of our sons was 5 and he said:
1) You're doing pretty good as a mom
2) BUT I need some more legos and my monkey (stuffed, not real!) needs a birthday cake!  
So I explained that the question was about character traits not toys, but that I would be happy to help  him love his toy monkey well and we could make a cake for him together, then help eat it!  

On another occasion as our kids were adjusting to sharing me, their mommy, with newly adopted kids, one of our daughters answered like this:
1) Daddy is doing better at being a daddy than you are at being a mommy, because you are so busy with work and the new kids that I don't get much attention.
2) I need for us to spend some regular time together doing something special.
So we decided to go out for a Dairy Queen Blizzard (her favorite) from time to time, as needed.  She would just need to mention the idea to me privately and I would get the message that she needed some time.


But as our kids grew up and we got busy with sports, music lessons, college applications for some, studying, and teen social life, I let go of this good habit.  That text I mentioned helped me realize that I could 'repent.'  I could repent, not by groveling in guilt and engaging in deep introspective analysis about my sin, but by thanking the Lord for His love and forgiveness of me, and engaging in the fuller meaning of the New Testament idea of repentance:  to have a change of mind and heart that often is manifested in our attitudes and actions.  So I have been realizing I need the Lord to help me hold on to this good habit.  For this child, and for all of them.  So I had the conversation and asked the two questions, and realized that, once again, the main thing my child needed from me was time and attention and encouragement and understanding.  Basically, they need me to LISTEN to them!  

I recently asked this child the same two questions, after a number of weeks of being intentional in our relationship.  The answers were something like this:
1) You are doing a lot better at being a mom since we talked.
2) I just need you to keep taking initiative in talking with me.

I urge you, dear reader, if you are not already doing so, to ask your kids these questions and see what they say - I would love to hear how it goes!! As a matter of fact, would you share what you hear in the comment section below?

Jesus asked the same question!

I will close with encouraging you to let Jesus ask you His version of my second question.  It is the question that the Lord asks 3 times - twice to a blind man and once to His disciples:  
"What do you want me to do for  you?"  
So I close, dear reader, with this encouragement:  
Ask your children the questions they long to answer, and let our Lord ask you the question you long to answer! 

Thursday, August 9, 2012


It has been an amazing thing to watch over the years how Father God is opening the eyes, hearts and homes of His people to the Fatherless children around the world. So many of us are increasingly aware of His heart of love and His great passion to see orphans become Sons and Daughters. And what a glorious thing to see so many believers rise up to advocate for and defend these treasures! 

For us at Hope at Home, we have been experiencing another closely related awakening-- the increasing awareness of Father God's great and effective love for the parents He is calling to co-labor with Him in this process of transforming orphans into Sons and Daughters. Oh how He LOVES each mother and each father! His heart for you, dear parent, is no less passionate and no less mighty than His love for your children and for the treasures who are still without a family. Just as He has plans of rescue, healing, provision, goodness, and peace for each orphan, so does He have plans for you as a parent. Jeremiah 29:11 is for you and me as much as it is for our children!
 I'll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.

HOPE AT HOME  was birthed a few years ago out of this awareness of God's desire to pour out His love and provision for each mother and father, and others who He is calling to come alongside adoptive and foster families. We desire to be an expression of this Great Love of Father God for you. So if you are able to take a few days, October 5-6, we invite you to join us as we receive the Help and Hope that God is pouring out. (click on Hope at Home 2012 to register)

To end this post, we'd like to share with you some photos taken by our friend Laura (Jenni and Scott Means' daughter) at H@HKids. This was an evening created for children from adoptive and foster families. You can read more about it here. It was pure joy for us to partner with older adopted and bio teens and college students, and others who God called to minister His love that night. A night of encounter with Father God and good fun for us all! For us it was part of the expression of God's heart of love for these parents-- we set up a Date with God for the children, giving the parents a chance to have a date with each other. In our planning we noted whether the child was a foster, adopted or biological sibling by using the letter F, A, and B. FAB! They were FABULOUS for sure! We will definitely do this again! 
Enjoy these shots of some of God's favorites.

Praying for the nations.

Watching a skit about hearing from God.

Drawing what God likes best about you.

Some old friends!

Great to have older children from adoptive families to
lead the younger!

Each child was prayed for while
their hands were washed.


Prayer and love from one adopted child to another.

Hearing from God through the Word.

Writing out prayer requests, knowing
others will pray for it!

Just spending time resting and soaking in
Father God's Love.

So cool to see what comes out when you
give children a chance to express what they
are hearing from God!


Painting what God is saying.

It is exciting to hear what children say about their
sculptures as they express what is in their
Worship team and testimonies from older adopted
sons and daughters-- how cool is that?!

Monday, August 6, 2012



I have lived in both of these places....Sunshine Circle and Thunderbolt Alley!  Our friend Brad sent me a note this week connecting me with other dear friends of his who had lived in both these places! What about you?  Where are you living right now?  I am here to say that no matter where you are living today, in the sunshine, in the storm, or somewhere between, Jesus is there walking right beside you, ready to enter your experience. Here's a true story about what happened to me just one week ago!

When Thunderbolt Alley becomes Sunshine Circle

The family of 5 who were standing in front of me at the taxi stand at 11 PM Friday night at the Atlanta Airport looked confused.  I saw the kind-faced mom and dad, standing with 2 sons who looked about 11 and 12, and a cute little 4 year old Chinese daughter.  I overheard the dad asking the dispatcher, "Can you tell us how far Fairburn (a distant suburb) is and how much it costs to get there?"  After hearing the high cost, they stepped back, looking as though they were wondering what to do.  The dad says to the mom, "Well, Delta didn't give us an vouchers for taxi fare;  I'm not sure we should go all the way out there to the hotel."  Bad weather in multiple cities had stranded them and countless others for the night who had missed their connecting flights out of Atlanta. 

Now, I am not nosey;  there are just lots of things God wants me to know about.  So I asked, "Excuse me, you don't know me, but I promise you I am a safe stranger.  My husband and I have 10 kids, 8 adopted, and I work for the government.  I am wondering where you are trying to go and if there is some way I could help you." 

The dad says, "Well, we missed our connection and Delta didn't give us enough to cover the cab fare, so we don't quite know what to do for the night.  Our connection to Talahassess leaves tomorrow morning." 

"Well, I have an idea," I say. "My husband and most of our kids are out of town, so why don't you just come sleep at our house and I will take you back to the airport tomorrow morning."  The mom and dad exchange a surprised glance.  "If you want to have a few minutes of privacy to talk about it, that's fine; I'll wait."  They both say, "No, we don't need to talk about it - that would be GREAT!"  So we all climb in the car and they begin to share their story.  "We have been up nearly 36 hours, travelling back from China with our little girl who we just adopted."  I tried to speak to the little girl, EmmaLin, who did not reply, and the mom explained, "she can't hear."  As we talked more it became clear they were believers and saw the hand of God in their struggle to be home at last, after the long two week trip.  (If you want to see her beautiful picture and read their version of the story, look here.

As we were riding back in that taxi I remembered the times our church had prayed, "Lord, please place at least one believer in the life of every orphan in the world."  I could only pray in my heart, "Thank you, Lord,  You have done it again, and you have let me see it!"  As I was riding in the Yellow Cab with this little girl who couldn't hear, by mind flashed back to the time I couldn't see.  It was 2005 right after Hurricane Katrina, and I suddenly lost 25% of my vision - I was blind in the entire bottom half of my left eye. Reflecting on the multiple times God wants to get folks' attention when blindness occurs in the Scriptures, I prayed,  "Lord, I am wondering if there is something you want to show me through this blindness."  As I stood quietly, the thought that came very clearly into my mind was this, "About 75% of your life I would say, 'Well done, my good and faithful servant.'  But I would also say there is 25% of my call on your life that you are blind to.  I am not calling you to love only the orphans you have adopted, or the ones in your church, or the ones your friends have adopted, or the ones in Russia, but to all the orphans of the world."  (Aside: I once was blind but now I see!) In that taxi on that Friday night, I felt so full of thanks to the Lord for letting me participate in a small way in His plan to love that little Chinese treasure.  I glance back and see EmmaLin lift her mom's left arm from the seat to place it around her own waist, and lift her mom's right arm from the seat to place it around her own waist,  I see that this sweet little one has already become confident that she has found love in the arms of her dear mama.

We find Love in the Father's Arms

The predictable pattern is that our heavenly Father wants to wrap His loving arms around us as our good shepherd in EVERY place.  In Thunderbolt Alley -- when we are exhausted and needy and confused and broken, and bad weather has left us stranded;  

and in Sunshine Circle -- when the fellowship is wonderful, the relationships close, jobs exciting, provision abundant. 

And He is the supreme expert in climate change -- in turning Thunderbolt Alley into Sunshine Circle.  In rising above every storm to bring His sweet provision of calm.  This past week or so, I read twice in the gospel of Mark, the Father's words, "This is my beloved Son."  The Father announces it from heaven's loud speakers right before Jesus enters the anguish in the long desert temptation, and He repeats the same words as Jesus shines on the mountaintop of transfiguration.  In the desert and on the mountain, we find love in the Father's arms and words.  We are the BeLoved, created to Be-Loved.  

An Invitation

I will close by inviting you, dear reader, to join us and others for a Friday and Saturday of refreshment together, as adoptive and foster moms and dads and their friends gather to find rest together in the Father's love, to 'Be-Loved' together at the 
conference at our church, Northlands, in Atlanta, on October 5 and 6. Early Bird Registration rates are good until August 15, so register soon!
Here is a short video about it.  May you Be-Loved today! 

Hope at Home 2012 from Hope at Home on Vimeo.

Thursday, August 2, 2012


I've tried this. I've given a really great effort, backing it up with all the force of motherhood. And I am here to tell you, 


Parenting in Fear 
simply does not work. 
It is 

I find it oddly attractive in it's seeming logic though. You parents know what I mean, don't you? (I'm hoping I'm not out here on my own!) I find it very easy to identify what is wrong, what needs "fixing" in my children. I so want for them to live a life of radical freedom that is their inheritance in Christ. A behavior pattern or personality trait makes itself blatantly evident and boy, am I quick to see the end result in my mind. It doesn't take me long at all to see this weakness, or that sin, or the other brokenness played out over the years. I am embarrassed to say how quickly I can go to the worst-case scenario-- I mean broken relationships, failure, jail.... 
It's Horrible!

And when I have allowed myself to go there in my mind, I find fear is the motivating force behind my response to my child. Fear of what will happen if I don't help them now, fear for their future and fear for our present, fear of being out of control as a parent. 
Not Good! 

Have you ever noticed that there is 
No Future in 
But that LOVE
always sees a

This is what John says about it:

There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and so he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love’s complete perfection]. (AMP)

 God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we're free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ's. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love. (MSG)
1 John 4:18

When I am aware of God's love, 
 for me and to me, 
for my child and to my child,
then I parent differently. 
I don't parent in dread of what 
will happen in the future.

Parenting in and from Fear 
causes me to be harsh.
Parenting in and from Love 
frees me to draw close to my beloved child
 to see and release Hope,
 to call forth the Treasure.

What does "fully formed" love look like in our homes I wonder? From my experience in giving in to fear, and yielding to love as a parent, there are a few things I have discovered. 
Love places the highest value on relationship.
It is firm, but never harsh.
It seeks and calls forth identity and destiny.
It results in more freedom in and for me
and in and for my child.

May LOVE have the run of my house and yours, and may LOVE become at home and mature in us!

Friends, Register for HOPE AT HOME 2012, October 5-6 in Atlanta by August 15 and enjoy the Early Bird Registration Rate.
We would so love to get to know you and enjoy the Freeing Love of God together!