So this fall all three of my children have entered into the
world of essay writing. You would think I’d be thrilled that their writing
skills have developed to the point where they can string lovely words together
into happy little sentences that all work together around a coherent theme.
But not so much.
These writing assignments are killing me. 5 paragraphs, each
with a topic sentence and supporting details, thesis statements and conclusion
Technically correct and boring as all get out.
Who wants to write like that? More importantly who wants to
read such lifeless crap?
Who wants to BS their way through stupid essay questions
that don’t ignite passion? What moron wants to pursue topics that don’t allow
them the joy of stringing words together into fiery sentences?
Not me. But such is the life of a writer.
So as we cross this threshold into a brave new world of the
realities of the writer’s life, we tip our hats to those who fight hard to suck
all the joy out of writing.
And then we acknowledge that there’s more than one way to
write a paragraph.
You have the boring way that will get you an A on your
assignment. And then the spit and fire way that will make you want to get up
and dance. But will probably earn you a C- on your assignment.
We acknowledge that teachers probably won’t appreciate it,
but its way more fun to write with snark. With a bit of piss and vinegar. With
sentences that. Aren’t. Really. Sentences.
And frankly it’s way more fun to read essays that would
probably earn you a C- anyway.
So we commented a while back on the 2 year milestone we
passed as a family of six. I thought you might find it interesting to note that
as of this month, Max has been with us longer than any other set of care
providers in his short little life.
We just passed Orphanage # 3 as his longest running source
of food and stability. The orphanage he was in when we met him, his third of four
that he called home during the seven years he lived in Russia. We think we
counted as many as seven sets of Russian care providers who housed him, making
us his eighth set. But who knows how many people cared for him off of his
official record. Strangers who passed him on the street and turned a kind eye toward
him for just a moment. People who played their own little part in keeping him
alive until our names were called.
First off we’d just like to tip our hats to all those who
came before us, surely God has raised a community to shelter this child. Two
really, his first in Russia, and his new found one here in America. To you we
say “thanks for doing what you could for our son”.
Secondly we can only wonder if our heroic milestone means
anything to him at all. We’d like to think that we’ve proved ourselves
trustworthy by now. We’d like to think he knows he no longer has any reason to fear
rejection. That he no longer thinks we’re just a stepping stone in his path towards a
“real family”. That we aren’t going to give up on him and send him away. That
whether he likes it or not, he really is stuck with us until we all go see
Jesus face to face.
These are the truths that I’ve been begging him to accept
since the beginning. Truths he hasn’t yet been able to process.Truths he may not be able to process for some
time to come.
But truths we will continue to pray over him as we ask God
for a revelation on our son’s behalf. Please God show what a family really is.
And help him to forgive those who’ve failed him in the past.
Hey there! Today we have a fun little guest post from the lovely and talented Hannah Bryant. Won't you give her a bit of blog love?
wasn’t even a question. I needed to act and the time was now.
was a few years back when I worked as a solo Flight Attendant on a small
aircraft, the pilots flew the plane and I got a group of thirty passengers to
myself. I must admit, I had a lot of fun on longer flights playing games with
those I welcomed on board. I always wanted to have a karaoke competition but
never found the courage to be the first one to start singing.
particular day had seen a lot of rain, there before me was a mother who had an
intellectual delay in my cabin with her eight month old baby. She was flying
into Sydney where she would catch a connecting flight to Lismore, a rural
country town north of New South Wales. The straight forward journey had been
complicated due to the runway at her destination being under water-flooded.
sat next to her and asked if she had a ‘plan of attack’ as she would not be
flying out of Sydney until the following morning. She would need to wait a full
answer was to stay in the airport where she and her baby would sleep and
survive the night as she didn’t know anyone in the big smoke and had a small
amount of money.
on my watch.
had a decision right there, in that moment, to choose a love which Christ
demonstrates to me. A type of love which begs a response in practical measures.
gently asked her if she wanted to come to my home? I had been fostering infants
(as my three children weren’t thought of) and had a car seat set up, clothes
which would fit her baby, a crib and all things needed to make her stay
comfortable. She agreed.
a call to management and my husband, giving him a “heads up” it was settled, my
passenger was coming home with me.
feel a little sheepish writing about my morning flight to Sydney as this is a
very small gesture of extending love.
know that you are being more radical in your expression of agape, so my story
is to simply spur you on, to encourage and remind you,
love finds a way to demonstrate itself in our everyday life.
just need to be willing and then compelled to act accordingly.
love moves us to act, it motivates action so His goodness can be displayed.
ironic part is…Displaying His love is often done with things unseen.
someone a meal, cleaning a friend’s home, bending knees on the hard floor
petitioning on behalf of a brother or sister, being generous with finances,
placing others needs before your own, the list is endless.
the kind of love that God created and demonstrated is a costly one because it
involves sacrifice and presence. It’s a love that operates more like a sign
language than being spoken outright.”
Bob Goff, Love Does
unseen’ moves you into a decision making process that often doesn’t make sense
to the naked eye, but makes complete sense in the spiritual world.
your hands dirty for the name of Jesus is not in vain my friend, He sees the
unnoticed and smiles at your heart with sheer delight.
understands that its costly, requires energy, using your resources, sacrificing
self and interrupting your plans.
may not make sense in the moment when you hear the Holy Spirit inviting you to
step out on His behalf, but the thing is this, you don’t need all the answers
to respond immediately, just a willingness to listen and obey.
is going to be a moment presented to you in the very near future where loving
outwardly calls your name.
is your response going to be?
Hannah, her husband & three children are currently living in
Ontario Canada and are heading home this December to Sydney Australia
to begin Three Rivers Church, a home church movement. Hannah is
passionate about teaching women about their uniqueness in Christ and
encouraging them to abandon fear in order to live radically for Jesus.
You can keep up to date with her at Ashes-to-beauty.com
As Thanksgiving approaches we pause to remember a pivotal
date in our family history. On the 23rd of this month we will celebrate
the second anniversary of our homecoming with little Max. The day we landed in
the Detroit airport, weary and exhausted from nearly 24 hours of traveling with
a terrified seven year old who didn’t speak English.
The day I finally let my guard down because I knew that the
Russian’s could no longer state claim over what was rightfully mine. No long
lost relative could spot us in a Russian alleyway and drag Max away from us,
into the undergrowth causing him to disappear forever. The day that no Russian
official could claim that my E’s looked a little too much like A’s and throw a
year’s worth of paperwork into the trash. Condemning my son to a longer
sentence of time away from the ones who loved him enough to fight for him.
How on that day, I thought I’d won the battle. But little did I know that the battle had
really just begun. That removing my son from the terrifying environment of a
Russian orphanage would do so little to calm the fear that threatened his fragile
heart, and that I would have to fight tooth and nail for an entire first year
(and then some) as we continued to prove ourselves trustworthy and loyal.
And the big, scary decisions we would have to make about
schooling and medication to get this kid to calm down enough for us to figure
out what he was so afraid of all the time. Decisions I never thought we would
have to make over one of our children. But so grateful that God gave us the
courage to do so.
And I still feel like I’m peeling back the layers of this
gift that God has dropped into my life. And how his adoption wasn’t nearly as
much about my “rescuing” a boy from certain doom, as it was about him teaching
me about what’s really happening outside my happy little homeschooling bubble.
That pain, heartbreak, and courage aren’t just noble concepts to read about,
but raw, life changing emotions that real people struggle with on a daily
And traumatic social histories aren’t things to be cured in
a day’s time. Or a month. Or a year.
And so we travel forward, bolstered with another year’s
experience, another year stronger. Into what? God can only tell what the future
holds for my special boy. I can only wonder what lessons he will teach us
without even knowing it.
Maybe this year he’ll be brave enough to look at the
pictures and remember where he’s come from. Maybe it’s still too early. I’ll
let you know how it goes.
So adoption isn't really on your radar (which does not make you a bad person, trust me) but you do get a little hitch in your gut each time you think about the problem. I put together a little list of practical ways you can love on orphans without taking on a mountain of debt and tangling with a mountain of legal paperwork.
Pray for them
Pray for them by country or continent. Print out a little world map to keep in your prayer journal or use photos of waiting children / adoptable children. Find out what are the issues children on each continent face, including what countries are currently closed for adoption.
Pray for their hearts that Jesus would reveal Himself to them.
Pray that God would provide for all of their needs in His perfect way.
Speak for them
In your home, in your church, on your social media, to anyone who will listen.
Research the truth and hit that share button.
Connect with them personally
First understand that what each child really needs is a family. But if you can't be the one who offers them a forever family, then show up to visit them. Hug them, play age appropriate games with them. Take your commitment a step further by lending your emotional support to orphanage care givers, local church and community leaders. Empower these adults to connect with the children on a personal level after you go home.
Support adoptive families
I'm sure most of you know at least one family who has adopted or fostered children. Sit down with them to see what their biggest challenges are and figure out how to support them. Offer to pray with them, offer respite care, bring them a meal.
Ease their burdens
While throwing money and trinkets at people isn't usually the best way to solve their problems, sometimes it is the most practical way to get involved. Research their needs and give appropriately. If at all possible, invest in sponsorship programs, scholarships and education efforts.