Friday, December 30, 2011

My Daughter's Prayers

Despite the fact that my daughter, Lissie, is thirty years my junior, I find myself learning much from her. She has an exceptional faith in God.

One of the ways Lissie's belief in our astonishing God has grown wings is in her prayers for orphaned children. In 2009, Lissie learned of a boy who needed parents, a home, a family, and, most importantly, the ONLY answer to his numberless needs--the gospel. Unbeknownst to her parents, she began to pray. She tells the story of Christmas 2009 far better than I can. Please take a look at her most recent post.

I want to pray, believing--like my Lissie does--that God hears. I want to pray, believing--like my Lissie does--that God moves. I want to pray, believing--like my Lissie does--that God reaches down into broken lives and heals. I want to pray like my Lissie does--believing.

Although Lissie's story in her post is about God's answer to her prayers about her newest brother, I couldn't easily find a photo of Lissie and "Alexander" (Nikolai) together in Russia, so I've posted pictures of Lissie and the two girls we adopted at the same time. Lissie has played a key role in each of our adoptions of nine older children over the past decade. She prays, and then she loves--while continuing to pray fervently for each of her siblings' healing and salvation. She prays--believing. She's a hero to me.

Oksana (6) and Lissie (18) in G.U.M., the elegant mall in Red Square, Moscow,
November 2010, the week our family traveled to Russia
to bring home our three new family members

Lissie and Daria (15) in G.U.M.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Penetrating Light

O Great God Who Sees All, Knows All and is All Wise,

Please make Jim and me aware of any sin in our home with which You know we need to deal.

Please start Your sin-illumination by showing Jim and me our "logs" (Luke 6:41). Please help the two of us to see our sin, loathe our sin, and be filled with humble self-abasement that fills us with love for You, the wrath-enduring substitute who makes our forgiveness possible.

Lord, as You shine your Light on our children's "splinters" (Luke 6:41), please fill us with Christ's compassion for the lost. Please grant that, with the Holy Spirit living in us, we might overflow with patience.

We are unworthy parents marred by rebellion against You, and yet you've blessed us with 13 children and a grandchild on the way. You are so good. Please mold us into the image of Your Son that we might parent in a way that glorifies You.

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Safe Place

Cottage on the grounds of the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska

This morning I pulled out a book called Christlike Parenting that I read several years ago. This book has so many well-articulated insights that when I read it, I seriously "porcupined" it. (In other words, I put enough sticky tabs next to passages that caught my attention that the book looked like a porcupine by the time I finished).

I got Christlike Parenting back out because I sensed I was starting the day all too much like a real porcupine--prickly toward my children as I saw this or that wrong they'd done. I flipped open the book to one of the tabs and read. I found the Lord had led me to just the right reminder:
"As parents, it is our responsibility to create a Christlike 'world' in our homes, a safe place where children behave because they enjoy the pleasant consequences of doing so, rather than to avoid the unpleasant consequences of behaving badly. It is a world in which a child thinks 'I know my parents will appreciate me,' rather than thinking, 'I'm only doing this to get my parents off my back,' or 'I am only doing this because I don't want to get beat on' (verbally or physically)." Glenn Latham, Christlike Parenting, pg.52
I immediately thought of Proverbs 16:24:
"Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones."
I think the proverb could be paraphrased in these ways (and probably many more):
"Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to my child."
"Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the relationship."

"Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the family."
Words that build up and demonstrate gratitude have such power! God designed encouraging words that way, and He designed we humans to need encouragement. When we nurture our children with words, they are more likely to be attracted to us and our love of Christ, rather than being repelled by us and that which is most important to us--our Saviour. What a simple tool encouraging words are and they're always right at our disposal! But, of course, the use of any tool takes intentionality.

I finished my perusal of Latham's book begging the Lord to help me make our home the "safe place" the author describes, giving me the the will to bathe my children in words which will build them up and encourage a hunger for a personal relationship with Jesus.
(I want to state plainly that Mr. Latham shares many ideas in his book with which my husband and I DO NOT agree. For example, he does not believe in the use of the rod, while we see clear evidence that the Bible commands us to use the rod under certain circumstances and ALWAYS with a humble, anger-free heart. If you purchase the book, please pass each of the author's thoughts through the sieve of the Bible.)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Wonder of Babies

With my first grandchild due in June and the celebration of Christ's birth nearly upon us, I have been thinking about what a wonder babies are. What a wonder our God is!

Here are more photos of Caleb:

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

God's Jewels

Yesterday morning our world was dusted with diamonds. 
For those of you who live in a warmer climate and are unfamiliar with this phenomenon, it's called hoar frost. It often follows nighttime fog.

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Visit to a Poinsettia Palace

Last week Nathaniel, Tatiana and Amy had dental appointments. On our way home, we passed the largest nursery in town. Since I love, love, love taking photos of flowers, we stopped in to see what sort of pictures I could capture of the plant which is most closely associated with Christmas: the poinsettia. This poinsettia palace gave me countless photo ops. I hope to have a "Poinsettia Parade" each week as Christmas draws nearer. My goal is to bring some colorful cheer to your holiday.

We found hundreds of the plants in a variety of sizes and a rainbow of colors.

On my "Poinsettia Parade" this week is a rich red plant with gold glitter gracing the leaves.

We left the building amazed that so many hundreds of poinsettia's could be housed in one room (under three roofs).