Monday, March 31, 2014


One of our favorite things about our Hope at Home ministry is that we get to meet some of the most wonderful people! So happy to share one of these special people with you today, our friend Katie Gonzalez. She and her husband Tony are adoptive and foster parents, and they somehow find time to help other parents through Promise 686. Be encouraged by this testimony of Father God breaking in to Gonzalez bed-time routine. Let's trust God to do the same in our homes as well! 

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“I’m sitting here in awe of the testimony you so vulnerably share through your blog and your Christmas/New Years power point. There are so many emotions that surface while reading about what has taken place over the last few months in your family. The overarching theme is certainly God’s grace and His faithfulness! His Grace that is always present through the good days and bad and His faithfulness to restore what the enemy has tried to steal from your precious children.”  
This is what my friend Elizabeth said to me the other day.  And it got me thinking. Grace and faithfulness? I can see it in my life and I can see it in my children’s lives. But how can I help them to see it in their lives?  
How do you help a child to understand the Grace of God when they remember being hungry? 

Not hungry for lunch.


There’s no food and no adults and the gnawing in my belly feels like it’s eating me up. 

That hungry.

How do you prove to a child that they can trust their father in this new family, much less a Father in Heaven that they can’t see or touch, when they remember--remember Daddy is hitting mommy and she’s yelling and it’s a blur of fear so great it blots out all else.  
How do you teach a child that God is faithful when they remember being alone? 

Alone in a deserted alley.

Alone in a dirty, empty apartment. 


I am not a child expert, psychologist, or advanced-degree- holder. I am a flawed mama to 7 children from hard places. I am an imperfect wife to a blessing of a husband. I am a teacher who makes mistakes. But I am also a child of God who lives for His Grace and is so utterly lost without His Faithfulness. And I am doing my level best to help my deeply wounded, flawed but oh so beautiful children to understand that this God will not desert or leave them.  
How do we help them to heal, see the beauty within, and find their way to God? Those wounds are real, but will they define our children?  
My prayer is that my children will be defined by the knowledge that God brought them out of the desert so to speak. 

That they are the children of a KING! 

That He has a purpose for them that only they can fulfill.

That He finds them absolutely amazing, beautiful, valuable, and worthy of loving!

One night last week, as I bent over to kiss a precious child good night, I saw her.  

I mean, really saw her. 

I looked past her challenges for once that day and really saw HER. It was one of those moments when I believe God gives us a glimpse of His heart and love. I don’t know about you, but those moments are so overwhelming for me that I can’t truly articulate much. The words “I love her” seem so inadequate.  
This child has only been ours a short time.

155 bath and bedtimes.

155 days of dressing for school. 

And most of those days have been measured in the number of meltdowns, or lack thereof. The number of times she got in and out of bed before finally falling asleep at midnight, or not falling asleep at all. Therapy appointments, notes from school, and sibling fights. In 155 days, stories have been shared that make my heart sad, small milestones reached that made me cheer for joy, and realizations that this child may be forever a child, accepted.  
As I sat there, bent over her bed, I murmured a prayer of thanksgiving. Just

Thank you God for her

Thank you for her in my life
She is the baby of our seven kids, all of whom have come to us with wounds we did not inflict. Pain from a fallen, broken world has impacted their lives at far too young an age. In our bumbling efforts to parent, we have rare moments when we “get it right” but more often than not, we just exacerbate the wound. We snap, we yank, we yell, we grumble, we punish. Yet I’m trying to show her God’s Grace?
But last night? God’s love for this child washed over me in such an intense wave that all I could do was stroke her hair and thank him for this blessing. 

I wondered at the power of it. 

At how it spilled over onto all of the children as I watched them make last minute ditch efforts to avoid bedtime.  Instead of being irritated, for once I saw each child. I forgot about unbrushed teeth and instead saw scared eyes behind anxious laughter. I missed the spaghetti sauce splattered down a pajama shirt as I watched a blossoming ballerina who desperately wants to believe she is beautiful despite what she’s been told.  
I looked and saw seven precious works of art, beauty beyond compare, gifts in abundance. For a brief night I felt as if God removed my fogged up vision and gave my His sight for my children.  
I have prayed for this. I have begged and pleaded that He would give me feelings of love and joy for all of my children. All you mamas and daddies out there, you know what I’m lamenting--my desire to actually like all of my children in the face of my inability to do so.  
The ability to see the child, the child of God, not the child of their past.  
Not the survivor, but the creation.  
The beauty behind often sullen eyes and angry words.  
The preciousness behind slammed doors, temper tantrums, and closed hearts.  
How often am I that sullen child, and still God whispers, “Precious child, come to me. I love you.” 

Oh I so want that for my children. I want to show them a glimpse of this huge love their Heavenly Father has for them. How can I show them His love, His Grace, when I don’t want to forgive them for the small, insignificant annoyances they’ve committed?  
So I have begged. And I have failed as often as I’ve succeeded. Probably more.  
But this night, such a gift. Even in my memory it makes my heart feel glad in a way that leaves me bereft of words. And I beg for many more just like it as I remember my own lack of self control this very day.  
And then the reality hits me.

God’s Grace shining on ME despite how badly lacking in perfection I am! 

His faithfulness in holding me up through a journey I NEVER expected. 

His faithfulness at filling in the gaps I can never bridge. 

His faithfulness at caring for my soul when it is hungry and sore.  
Once again He is reminding me, “I didn’t call you to this because you have the answers. I called you to this because I have the answers. I will show them, not you.” 
I’ve often heard people say that God doesn’t give you more than you can handle. I would beg to differ. He gives us what only He can handle and then holds us up as we stumble through the journey with a promise that He will always be there.
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:1-4)
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:-10)

Thursday, March 27, 2014


From Susan:

"I know it's not THAT papaya.....but I still can't bring myself to try it."  

Years ago, I used to love papaya..... 
until that fateful afternoon in tropical Costa Rica, when eating a bad papaya made me so weakly dehydrated from food poisoning that I had to suffer the repeated humiliation of being carred to the commode by my new husband.  

Even though that was over 30 years ago and I KNOW that today's papaya is not THAT papaya, my stomach still turns in disinterest at the sight of one.  

My papaya story has helped me understand how some of our children felt after having suffered great harm at the hands of their first parents; while we know and they know that we are not THOSE parents, the experience of fear and rejection and self-protection often seems woven into their very framework. 

And all of these emotions often come to the surface during the teen years, when each of us has to work on figuring out who we are. 

One particular day I was surprised to hear these words from my beautiful, outgoing, winsome,16 year-old, "Every day when I look in the mirror I always am wondering...."
"Wondering about what?" I asked.
"Wondering if she every thinks about me and remembers me and wonders how I am doing."  

The 'she,' of course, was her Russian mama, whom she had not seen since age 4 when she was taken away from her home by the authorities.

It was during this same time period that outbursts of rage would sometimes arise like an unpredictable thunder storm. I would hear things like, 
"You are NOTHING to me! I am going to tear up those x*&$@# adoption papers and you will be NOTHING to me! NOTHING!"  

I cried because I felt so deeply saddened and confused and desperate for some comfort from above, and for some wisdom and insight into the cause of such outbursts, and for some leading about how to respond in love. 

Only later did I come to understand reflection. She was reflecting what she felt in that mirror: one feeling rejected naturally reflects rejection. And as the mama or daddy, at this moment we can choose to reflect rejection or distance or judgment or anger or disdain BACK to them, OR we can, instead, reflect Jesus' unconditional and indestructible love to them.  

In other words, we can respond out of who God is and not out of how we feel (read Ezekiel 20 in the Message! will see this 4 times!).  When I think about reflecting who God is, I think of being gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. 

It is as if Jesus is ever whispering to us, "Copy me, not them." It is what Paul says in Ephesians 1 "Be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love."

I think of this as attachment reordered.  God's love helping me respond rather than react.

Allowing me to reflect Him, not them.  

And with time, we are seeing they have this same attachment reordering that I do.....becoming secure in how much God loves them, in spite of the failures of even those they most expected love from.

So how did all this end up?

After years of rebellion, this same child tells me Sunday night, "Mom, you are the person I try to copy!" 

Amazing grace....aaammmmaaazzzziiinggg grace!!!!

Monday, March 24, 2014


We do love our children! But as this post from Brad Aldrich points out, sometimes our marriages can get "under the weather." 

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Does your marriage have a case of the children-pox? The possible signs of this insidious disease include:
You fall into a sleep coma the moment “time together” finally starts.The only thing going bump in the night is when you run into your kids toys while checking on them before bed.Your budget has more money for special times with the kids then it does for date night.
You fall into a sleep coma the moment “time together” finally starts.
The only thing going bump in the night is when you run into your kids toys while checking on them before bed.
Your budget has more money for special times with the kids then it does for date night.
Children-pox is an subtle marriage disease that happens when a couples allow their relationship to entropy into just being about the kids. Why is this such a problem in couples today?
Before we look at the solution to this problem let’s talk about how couples contract the illness. 

The Illness:

Contrary to popular belief, this illness is caught long before a couple has their first child. Part of the problem comes from how each of us defines the word happiness. Men tend to measure happiness in terms of results, while women tend to measure happiness in terms of relationships. As we are dating, both men and women see happiness in the same way--the advancement of the relationship. Once we are married this changes. 
Men have the result they were seeking and often fall into the magic ring disease. Which send them focusing on new challenges, often in the form of new careers full of potential for new results and happiness. While men are off hunting their next “result” their wives are seeking the “happily ever after” relationship they always dreamed of. 
When children enter, either biologically or by adoption, many women find exactly what they feel they have been missing, a special relationship with someone who needs them. They throw themselves into the life of this new addition and the children-pox starts in a full blown case.

Note to Husbands:

Guys, we often blame our wives for throwing themselves into the life of the kids and ignoring us; it is easy to blame your marriage struggles on your wife. I challenge all of you to look further--don’t ignore how your relationship, or lack of a relationship, with your wife has contributed to the two of you catching the children pox. This is not a mom disease. This is a couple issue!

The Treatments:

Early Inoculation

Any couples reading this that have not jumped into the children stage yet should think about getting your shots before you do! Don’t get me wrong, I love parenting! We have been blessed by our 2 biological children and 1 adopted child, but I am really glad that Kate and I had several years of just the two of us before we started having kids. I think this early inoculation of time can really help keep a couple focused even when kids come along later.

Annual Vaccination

The simplest form of vaccination is a vacation, a vacation away together for just the two of you! One time a year, take one day, or two if you can, to run away just the two of you! Spend time away reconnecting, talking, listening, loving, relaxing together! 
Don’t let money get in the way of this important time away. Budget for it all year if you have to. If you absolutely cannot afford to go away, then propose a kid swap with a couple that you trust. Offer to take their kids for a night or a weekend, while they get away then have them return the favor. That way you can at least have a night with the house all to yourselves. Just remember to spend the time reconnecting, not cleaning!

Monthly Treatment

Date nights. I know it is cliché but I think having a regular date night with your spouse is critical! Find time to get out of the house just the two of you at least once a month!

Daily Vitamins

Make a point to have regular, hopefully daily, conversation with each other that has nothing to do with the kids. What are you doing at work? What are you reading? What are you thinking? Talk! You managed to do it while you were dating; it is time to remember how now! This small dose of time about the two of you will go a long way to keeping the children pox from fully taking over!

Remember your Mission

God gave you the blessing of children to raise and release! He did not plan for you to keep them forever. I think all parents dream of seeing their child one day get married. I want my kids to have an amazing marriage! Guess what? I only have now to start teaching them what that looks like. 
Let’s all dedicate ourselves to growing our marriages to be a God-honoring example to the next generation! 
Take your vitamins and grow your marriage!
Have you successfully recovered your relationship from a case of the children-pox? 
Let us know how you did it in the comments!

Thursday, March 20, 2014


From Beth:

I have met the most amazing people in the world of adoption and foster care. What a group of powerful and brave people! It is an honor to sit with or have a Facebook conversation with other parents in this Great Journey of Love
You all are some impressive people and it is truly a privilege to get to know you!

The stories of sacrifice, 
of enduring love, 
of pursuit
and faith
and courage
And often they are most beautiful in the unsung, mundane acts of family life. 

For it takes courage to love.

You are a brave group of people my friends. And I was thinking of you as I worshiped God with a new song at church the other day, "You Make Me Brave" by Amanda Cook.

What makes you brave? 
Think about that. What has given you the courage to walk into the unknown of adoption or fostering? 

This song made it so clear to me--it is God who makes me brave. He is the One who calls me out into the storm of the unknown. 

I am willing to leave the shore of comfort and familiarity, and so are you, because there is a storm of His Love swirling around me. Wave after wave of His love for me and for my child!

These are not the waves of fear that overwhelm me. 
Not anymore. 

God is calling us, not just that first time when we began our adoption or fostering journey. His voice is beckoning me even today to walk out farther into the realms of love and relationship. 

Fear is driven out by these waves of perfect love (1 John 4:18)
not my love for my child
not my love for God. 
but His love for me
His love for my child.

This idea that I can be overwhelmed, not by waves of fear (fear of the future for each of my 7 children, fear of the myriad "what if's"), but rather by waves of love--this is where I want to live! 

And it is true, God's love for me and His love for my child has indeed made me brave. And it continues to make me brave. It has taken courage for me to speak and write and share through Hope at Home. You may not know, but I am really brave! I know it to be true, because I know me. 

But it is Knowing God that has set me free from the limitations of knowing me. 
Oh what freedom we have in the kingdom!! 
What courage to walk out into the storm and experience the waves of fear be replaced by waves of love!

So my friends, God is making us brave. 

Do you feel the waves of love calling you out into the storm?

You Make Me Brave
So I will let You draw me out
Beyond the shore into your grace.
As Your love in wave after wave
Crashes over me, crashes over me. 
You are for us,
You are not against us.
Champion of Heaven
You made a way for all to enter in! 
You make me brave,
You make me brave,
You call me out beyond
The shore into the waves. 
You make me brave,
You make me brave,
No fear can hinder now
The promises You’ve made.
We say no to fear
We say yes to love
We will go with You
Where You’re leading us.
I have heard You calling my name
I have heard the song of love that You sing
So I will let You draw me out beyond the shore
Into Your grace
Into Your grace

Monday, March 17, 2014


You may remember our friend Awara Fernandez from her post last month about how God showed her what was really going on underneath her son's behavior. We are honored to have her back today! You are going to love this one!
Sometimes I....


Okay. Usually I. . . {sigh}


All right...

Most of the time, I forget who my sons really are.  

I get so distracted by their behavior 
or my irritability
or my fatigue
or just my own sin 
that I don’t see them clearly.  

Today in fact, I asked both of them to show me their cards.  “What?” they asked. 
“The cards that you got in Peru, you know, the ones stamped with the official government seal. The ones that say, ‘This child does not have to do chores.’”   
Blank looks.  
“You didn’t bring your cards with you?” I ask, my voice rising in disbelief.  
Shaking of heads 
Cristian (8 years old) wails while patting his hips, “But I don’t have pockets!” 
He really wants that card!  
“Well, you had better go back and get them,” I reply, “or else you’ll have to stay here and do chores like the rest of the family.” 

I have cried out to the Lord, “Hey! Are these my sons? Did I carry them in my womb? Did I give birth to them? Did I nurse them?  No! They are YOUR sons, and they are driving me CRAZY!”  
And, weeping on my bed at night in my husband’s arms, “I would rather die and be with Jesus than live like this!” 
Recently I found myself reading in Numbers, 
Moses heard the people . . . wailing. . . and [he] was troubled. He asked the Lord,’ Why have you brought this trouble on your servant? What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me? Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant? The burden is too heavy for me. If this is how you are going to treat me, put me to death right now . . .” (parts of chapter 11: 10-15)  
"Oh!"  I exclaimed, “From Moses’ lips to Your ears, Lord!”  Wow. How gracious of the Lord to have recorded those words of Moses all those years ago, so that they could be an encouragement to those of us now finding ourselves in hard places as we parent our children adopted from hard places! I am personally thrilled to know that Moses, friend of God, felt just like I do!  

So, who are these boys?  
Children of the King  
Little Princes  
Even though they do not fully know their identity yet. 
Even though they sometimes . . . 


Okay. Usually....{sigh}


most of the time do not act like it

Thursday, March 13, 2014


From Beth:

Adoption has been a precious gift in my life. To be a part of God's redeeming and extravagant love for children, to be a part of the eternal work of the transformation of an orphan into a son or daughter--WOW! This is the ride of a life-time, and it only gets better with time--not always easier (sometimes, but not always), but definitely more powerful as the work of adoption reaches the deepest places in all of our lives. 

What has gotten me so excited once again about adoption? It has been 14 years since we brought our first two children home, so you might think that the deep satisfaction and excitement might have worn into an every-day kind of thing.

But there come these special moments when I feel the Holy Spirit whispering to me, "Hey Beth, take a look at this! Are you seeing what I have been doing here? How beautiful is this?! Is not the love of God amazing?!" 

My daughter Kristina and I hosted a Russian tea recently with lots of Russian chocolates and other special goodies to help celebrate Russian Women's Day. 
Celebrating Russian Women's Day

Our guest of honor, Judy Grout who was visiting from Russia, was the missionary who taught Kristina English lessons in the orphanage. She shared the wonderful testimony about how she had been trying to get permission to minister in the orphanage our children were in for years and had been turned away repeatedly by the director. When Stephen sent her an email after finding the Vyborg Christian Center on the internet, and we developed a friendship, she went back to the director and asked if she could teach English to the two children who were being adopted by an American family. 

The director agreed, and from that time on Judy has had an open invitation to minister in that orphanage. Many children have come to know the Lord, and many have experienced the love of God through this one door of adoption. 

Beloved friends, we do not know what other amazing things God has on His mind when He calls us to adopt. We see that He is doing a work in us and in our child, but you can be sure that His plans reach deeper and farther than even the amazing depth of His love for your child and for you. Many of these stories won't be told until we are together in eternity, but I am quite sure they will be told, and that our wonderful God will get all the glory. To our family, this one story is a taste of heaven.
Kristina and Judy

I sat there in our living room and looked at a sight that left me in awe again at who our God is. 
Kristina, Elena and Veronika

These three beautiful young women all told a little of their stories of being adopted from Russia and Ukraine. Kristina (on the left), Elena, and Veronika sat together as friends who have been given a future and a hope through adoption. Just seeing them with those beautiful smiles spoke to me of hope and God's extravagant love. 

For those of you who are in the earlier stages of adoption and raising your children, know that there have certainly been some significant challenges in the lives of these young women and in their families. But also, be encouraged to see that in the midst of these challenges, adoption is doing it's work in your child, and in you too! And it is a beautiful work, filled with hope and a future. 

And then there is this photo--the story behind this never ceases to amaze me. It is a story of the "immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine..." (Ephesians 3:20)

Jenny Grout with Kristina and Veronika.

On the left you see our dear Russian friend Jenny. She is married to Judy's son, Joe. They met and married in Russia and then decided to move to America so Joe could attend college. Jenny had worked, and even lived, in some of the places our children had lived. And of all the places they could go in the USA (the Grout family has no family or real connections in Georgia), they ended up in Toccoa, Georgia! Jenny became a wonderful friend to our family, and to Kristina especially. She helped her make the huge adjustment to life in America and to life in a family and to life in the kingdom. 

So, here is a young woman who not only is Russian, but from the same town as our children, who God sends to help them and us in the most amazing ways. Is this not extravagant? Seriously, I would never have thought to even ask God for such a gift. 

I hope that these stories encourage you dear friends. God is at work in our adoption stories. 

In the mundane, day-in-day-out realities of life, it is easy to forget that what is happening is a long story being told by the One who is The Beginning and The End of every one of these beautiful stories of sacrificial love. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014


From Beth:

I have no illusions about this; it is clear, sometimes painfully clear, that I do not have control. Parenting is not about control, though, is it?  

But just because we parents don't have ultimate control doesn't mean that we don't have influence, power, and authority. We are co-laboring with the God of the Universe as we raise our children, and I would say that is a role of powerful significance!

So today I want to share one of the key ways we parents can make use of the authority we have for the benefit of our children. I am talking about the unique role we have to bind and to loose in our homes. It is the "superpower" for parents!

Think of it this way: we "stand at the gate" of our home in a similar way to the city authorities who stood at the gate of their city in ancient times to refuse entry to anyone they deemed a threat. Likewise, dear friends, you and I refuse entry to fear, chaos, selfishness and anything else that is not of God. 

But we don't stop there! This superpower is not limited to our "NO." We always follow our "no entry" with a big WELCOME to peace, healing, order and whatever else we know is our inheritance in the kingdom. Our welcome is the allowing of free access to the wonderful work of the Holy Spirit in our homes. 

You and I have authority to bind an orphan spirit and to loose a spirit of sonship.

This Binding and Loosing, Allowing and Disallowing, are ours to do. 

For us "standing in the gate of our home" has looked different over the years, depending on what is going on. 
Stephen and I have made a decision that in our home we are going to welcome, that is we will loose, an atmosphere of peace, honor, and unity. 

This is our choice to make. We can't control the choices that others make, including our children, and we are actually ok with that because we see that this is by God's design. We are raising people created to have the power to make choices!

But we have a better super power than control! We have authority. Stephen and I have put this idea to the test many times; we have seen immediate change in the atmosphere of our home, and we have seen gradual change. But the truth is, sooner or later, we inevitably see the fruit of the two of us, in the unity of agreement, binding and loosing. 

Here are some of the ways we have done this:
  1. Play worship music. Anointed worship seeds the atmosphere of your home with truth, both in word and in spirit. I have watched an oppositional child soften before my eyes without me saying a word. I used to have music playing when our children came home from school, which for a few of our guys who had trouble with transitions was always a rough time of day. I found that for both me and my children, anxiety levels decreased and peace increased.
  2. Pray as you walk through the rooms of your house. Stephen will occasionally walk through the house simply interceding for our children and speaking words of Truth about who God is, inviting Him to fill our home with His presence. When we sense disunity and destruction at work in a child or in our family as a whole, we do address it directly through discipline, but we also address it directly in the Spirit.
  3. Speak directly, and aloud if possible, what you are binding, and then also what you are loosing. At one stage we were experiencing a lot of sibling meanness and division, and it wasn't "going away" easily. Of course we talked to our children about it, and we planned some family outings that would build unity, but we realized that for whatever reason this time, more was needed; we needed to change the atmosphere in prayer as well. "A spirit of division and meanness is not welcome in the Templeton home. This is a home of peace. We loose again the spirit of peace and honor in our home. We authorize unity amongst the members of this family."
  4. Be intentional to let your children hear what you are allowing and what you are not allowing. They will not always see or understand this authority we have (often we pray these things when they are not around), but letting them hear about how you are praying and letting them see this position you have in the family is great spiritual training.Tell them that you see some things going on that are simply not allowed in this home. Let them know that you are talking to God about it. We have said things like, "I know you are really struggling right now and you feel angry. That is ok. I understand. But we are not having foul or dishonoring language in our home. This is a home of honor and peace." Saying this does not necessarily change their behavior at that moment, but it absolutely does make a statement that is important for them to hear. 
We have experienced many difficult times over the years as we walk our children through the realities of their losses and the trauma of the past. And we have seen what an orphan spirit looks like up close and personal. 

It is ugly. 

It seeks to push away peace, hope and freedom with its dark weight of fear, self-hatred, and rejection. 

There have definitely been times when you could have walked in our house and thought, "someone forgot to bind a few things here!" I so enjoyed a post I read while I was writing this by a fellow adoptive mommy blogger about how she managed the "eviction of the the unwanted tenants" of fear and insecurity. You'll want to check that out for some encouragement and practical ideas in this area. 

But even in the heat of the battle, I can honestly tell you that we do experience the abiding presence of God's peace in our home. When we find that any unwelcome presence is working to settle in, we have learned to once again stand at the spiritual gate of our home and do some evicting and welcoming. It has been a real encouragement to us that many times people have commented on how peaceful our home feels. And I sometimes think, "if you only knew!" 

But I believe the peace of God abides in us and in our homes in the most chaotic of parenting seasons when we are intentional to welcome and release the Spirit of God through the authority He has given us as parents. 

Yes, other spirits have tried to make their home with us, but when the Holy Spirit is welcome, those spirits are displaced. 

Let's take up our authority in this area my friends. It is ours to do. We are qualified for this role, even in our weakest parenting moments, for God has made it so. It is not a role reserved for the "super spiritual" mothers and fathers. 

You are the parent God has chosen for your children. 

You have authority to bind and to loose! 

I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. (Matthew 16:19)

Monday, March 3, 2014


From Beth:

So often God encourages me through His Word. Not just broad encouragement for life (although I do love that!), but often very specific words or pictures that are like an army general putting the enemies of parental anxiety or disappointment to flight. The Word of God is truly living my friends, filled with solutions and direction for us as we parent our children. 

At church on Sunday a young mother shared something God had shown her from Acts 16 that has become a prayer for me this week. I thought you also might like to join me in this Word Prayer for your child too. 

So, the scene is this: Paul and Timothy are preaching and praying, and in the process making some folks pretty angry. They get thrown into jail as a result. Their enemies are so filled with hatred for them that the guard who took the orders to imprison them 
put them into the inner prison (the dungeon) and fastened their feet in the stocks. (v. 24)
It wasn't enough to put them in the most remote, and presumably most secure, cell. The guard added another layer to their captivity, chaining their feet as well. 

I have seen a similar attempt at imprisonment in many children who have experienced trauma. The enemy saw an opportune time to bring darkness and limitations where brightness and open vistas should have been. 

For of this I am sure, not one of our children who came to us through adoption was destined for the prison of rejection, trauma and neglect! 

But take a look at what happens next. This is where our prayer comes in!
Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the very foundations of the prison were shaken; and at once all the doors were opened and everyone’s shackles were unfastened. (v.26)
I have thought a lot about foundations since we adopted. Our children were older when they came home (5, 10 and 7, 10 years old) so the realities of the foundations that were laid in the atmosphere of relinquishment, and then their Russian orphanage, have been painfully clear in my mind. So I LOVE this story in Acts 16.

God sends an earthquake of destruction--a LOVE EARTHQUAKE!  This is a destruction you and I welcome though, for this Father Love  breaks up the hardened stone of rejection and all it's residue. 

The very foundations of the prison of trauma are shaken and those who were held captive are SET FREE. 

Bondage Broken
Chains Undone
Shackles Unfastened
Doors Opened

This is the Gospel, friends! This is what Jesus died to accomplish in my life, in yours, and in each of our children. I am seeing it happen before my eyes right here in our family! No amount of time passing or circumstance shouting at me will make me back away from this promise for my children. It is the Promise of Adoption. 
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,Because the Lord has anointed heal the brokenhearted,To proclaim liberty to the captives,And the opening of the prison to those who are bound. (Isaiah 61:1)

Father, I simply pray Your Word over  _____________. Send an earthquake of Your love--I welcome this in whatever form you think best. And may the result of this shaking in his/her life be Freedom to live unhindered. For You have said that indeed, "it is for freedom" that You have set ______________ free. (Galatians 5:1) Amen.