Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Cheers and Tears

Today was the awards ceremony at Kristina's school. Robert was able to go and snap a few pics of her and Hannah receiving special awards. Kristina received the Language Arts Award. Pretty impressive for a kid who spoke Russian just a few months ago! She has accomplished so much in her short time in school and we are so proud of her. She's jumped right in and tried everything. When she's stumbled, its just made her try harder. She's made lots of friends and is rarely afraid to try things. If something's happening, she's right in the middle of it.

One place she's always elbowing her way into is the kitchen. Robert was making hamburgers this evening and Kristina offered to pitch in. She got a little more than she bargained for!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

To the Adoption Community

I was broken this morning when I heard the news about the death of Maria Chapman. Maria is the youngest adopted daughter of Christian singer/songwriter Steven Curtis Chapman. I cannot begin to grasp the grief this family is experiencing. The Chapmans have done so much to raise awareness for international adoption. Maria was the youngest of three girls the Chapmans adopted from China. I am comforted to know that God has numbered each of our days and even this seemingly tragic turn of events is part of God's sovereign plan. Maria's brief life was not in vain. She fulfilled the purpose God had intended for her.

When I got home from school, there was a package waiting for me. Inside was the new edition of Tom Davis' book Fields of the Fatherless. I read the first edition two years ago and it has profoundly shaped my understanding of mercy ministry. Opening the cover, I was touched to find that Tom had sent me a signed copy. I re-read the foreword by Steven Curtis Chapman and was reminded what a immense effect orphan ministry has on the world around us.

Robert and I have just completed the first in a series on adoption that we've been asked to write for The Progress, our church's magazine. As we reflect on the journey we've taken to find and claim Kristina as our own, God has brought to mind what an important role the adoption community has played in our experience. We found wisdom, direction, prayer, and strength in the words and efforts of hundreds of people united to practice mercy ministry on the behalf of one little girl. Let us unite again to seek God. Pray that God will comfort the Chapman family with His presence and surround them with believers who will lighten this burden for them. And continue to pray for the millions of Marias still waiting for families.

A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows,
Is God in His holy habitation.
God sets the solitary in families;
He brings out those who are bound into prosperity.
-Psalm 68:5-6

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Rock On

I hate store bought cards. I won't send them and I forbid Robert & the kids from buying them for me. So the kids made me their own cards on Mother's Day. Kristina wrote in big letters: Mom, you're rocks!!!"

. . .

Okay, I get what she meant, but perhaps she wasn't too far off.

But He answered and said to them, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.” - Luke 19:40

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Liar, Liar

Guess what phase Kristina is going through. Not that this is my first time dealing with this issue; all of my children have tried on their fire britches at some stage. Thankfully, their conscience usually got the best of them, they confessed, and quickly learned the consequences of lying. Kristina, however, has been a tough cookie. Even when confronted with the truth, she digs her toes in and clings to the lie. I haven't known exactly what to do with this; its been a difficult thing to process. Sometimes when she does confess her transgressions, I find myself tensing for the next time, not fully able to let go.

As always, God has chosen to teach me through this experience. We are abundantly blessed to have Dr. Don Kistler as a Sunday school teacher. His lessons are the kind that Robert and I find ourselves still talking about and wrestling with days and even weeks later. We completed a series on forgiveness recently and I was unpleasantly surprised to learn how short I have fallen in this area. At one point, Dr Kistler raised the question, "Why does God not grow weary with us continually asking for forgiveness?"

I never really thought about that before. Our omniscient God knows when we sin against Him. He knows the sincerity of our repentance. And He knows when and if we'll commit that sin again. If He knows we'll sin against him in the same manner in the next moment, how is He able to extend abundant grace and forgiveness to us? I was struck by Dr Kistler's answer, "God never grows weary of forgiving because He is able to manifest His true nature in the act of forgiveness. He joys in offering mercy."

I understand that there is no greater act of forgiveness than what my Father did by sending His Son to the cross on behalf of my transgression. What I didn't fully grasp is how we are like the Father when we forgive . . . repeatedly . . . without guarantee from future trespasses, and with great joy. It sheds light on my difficulty with letting things go, which in essence, is a pride issue. I haven't found joy in the act of extending mercy and forgiveness like I should. Pray that I will be conformed to the image of the Father and in so doing, will show my daughter the depth of His love.

Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry for ever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.
- Micah 7:18,19

Sunday, May 04, 2008

God Loves TV?

I hum unconsciously all the time. My students will catch me and ask what song is playing in my mind. When I tell them "The Old Rugged Cross" or "The King is Coming", they remind me that I'm not at church. One of the things we miss about the Baptist church is the music. We have an old hymnal and these are the songs we sing during family devotions.

Yesterday we were headed to Cocoa Beach singing along with a CD of these songs when Kristina interrupted and asked, "Mom, why does God love TV?" A little puzzled, I glanced at her in the rear view mirror and asked, "What makes you think God loves TV?" "The song is singing about it," she replied. We laughed when we realized she was referring to the song playing: Love Lifted Me.