Honey For A Child’s Heart – Book Review

bookThough I hadn’t listed this book in my 2009 reading list, I’m so glad I decided to borrow a copy and read it before Molly Kate got much older.  From the start of my parenting, I knew it was important to read to our daughter.  Hunt, who makes clear her devotion to the Lord, drove that importance home for me with sound wisdom and helpful suggestions.  She insists that children need a well-rounded dose of literature-the classics, fantasy and poetry can all have their proper place in the books we read to our children.  She also gives helpful points in distinguishing good childrens books from ones that are not so worthwhile.  One of the best parts of the book is the bibliography which list title after title of great books, for preschoolers through mature readers.  I found it so helpful  that I copied the list in order to have a portable version for our trips to the library and bookstore.  Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the book:

 

As Christian parents we are concerned about building whole people–people who are alive emotionally, spiritually, intellectually.  The instruction train up a child in the way he should go encompasses so much more than teaching him the facts of the gospel.  It is to train the child’s character, to give him high ideals, and to encourage integrity.  It is to provide largeness of thought, creative thinking, imaginative wondering–an adequate view of God and His world.  He can never really appreciate the finest without personal redemption.  But many a redeemed person lives in a small insecure world because he has never walked with God into the larger place which is His domain.  We have books and the Book at our disposal to use wisely for God’s glory. (p. 21)

Good literature teaches more than we know.  Example always speaks louder than precept, and books can do more to inspire honor and tenacity of purpose than all the scoldings and exhortations in the world.  (p. 49)

A good book inspires the inner person with hope for the future.  Books that do not stir a child’s imagination are a waste of time. (p. 58)

Practically speaking, my reading time with Molly Kate seems to work best right before nap time.  She naps everyday around 2 pm, so we sit down with a large stack of books and read for thirty or forty-five minutes prior to her nap (the ability to sit still for such a lengthy period of time has only come about in the last three or four months).  Of course, there are always random moments throughout the day when she walks up to me, book in hand and says “Read please.”  As best as I can, I stop whatever I’m doing and read the book as I long to continue growing her desire to read.  We also read a Bible story in the morning (from her Wee Sing Bible book-which she adores because it includes listening to a song!!), one after dinner (from her Bible in Pictures which also allows Mommy and Daddy to read the passage from one of our bibles) and then one before bed (from her Big Picture Story Bible).  I’ve definitely found that having a scheduled time for reading each day ensures that we actually do it and make it a priority!  And I’ve enjoyed watching her grow in her interest in books and finally have “favorites”!

What am I finally waiting for?

Yesterday was one of those Sundays where it felt like God ordered the entire day for my growth and sanctification.  I was so encouraged to be with the members of our local church, and from Sunday School to morning worship to our evening time of prayer, God was speaking to my heart and opening my eyes to see.  Our Sunday School class is currently going through the book of Matthew.  Yesterday’s lesson surrounded the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law at the end of chapter 7.  As we talked about the three healings in chapter 7, our teacher noted the bigger picture of Christ demonstrating what His Kingdom will be like…where every sickness and disease will be wiped away (Revelation 21).  As a way of practical application, we thought about whether we were seeking our final happiness and satisfaction in this world or this life.  Our teacher (and I’m paraphrasing!) said that if we are, we are setting ourselves up for an exercise in frustration, disappointment and unfulfilled expectations because this world is not as it should be.  It is full of sickness, disease, death…ultimately sin.  To seek our happiness here is futile, but there is a world to come in which we can hope because Christ has promised to restore all things, a new heaven and a new earth where He will reign forever as King!  This is what we as Christians are to be waiting for.  As I sat in the room, somewhat absorbed in my own thoughts, I became acutely aware of how much happiness I’m expecting by the arrival of our sons into our home.  In some ways, I’ve sought identity in being a mother to these adopted children and expected this role to bring some type of contentment or satisfaction in life that truly only Christ can bring to my life.  I’m thankful for God’s conviction of these sentiments and that I could repent from a warped thinking about our adoption.  By God’s grace at work in me, I was reminded that I am not finally waiting for our cases to be approved and our boys to come home, but I am waiting for the day Christ returns and removes the plight of all orphans everywhere by ushering in His glorious kingdom.

Happy Birthday Little Sister!

My little sis turns 27 today…I can’t believe how quickly time does fly.  Getting to spend the last week with her, I was reminded what a treasure she is in my life.  God has given me some of the most amazing women as friends, yet there will always be one person who knows me the best…Amy.  I was so encouraged by our conversations last week, even with most of them circulating around the deep waters God is taking both of us through right now.  It was a sweet time to be able to share our burdens and encourage each other with truth.  She brings a vibrance to my life and when she left Thursday, I felt an ache swell up in my heart.  I love you so much my sweet sister and praise God for the friendship He has knit between us these last 27 years.  I hope you have a wonderful birthday!

Molly Kate and her "Mamie"!
Molly Kate and her "Mamie"!

The Constant Storm

stormYesterday we received word that the organization which we need letters of recommendation from in order for our boys’ cases to be heard in court will be closed for training until July 22.  When they re-open, we only have about two weeks in which our cases might be heard before the courts close for the rainy season.  If our boys’ are not approved before the rainy season, it will be at least mid-November before our family gains its newest members.

In some ways, I simply feel numb.  We’ve been on such an emotional roller coaster the last two months with court dates, delays, postponements and now this.  We feel like we’ve been living life in these tiny two and three week increments waiting to see if the Lord is going to complete our family.  The image of a storm accurately describes our journey. Each time we receive news of further delay, our hearts fall, we face disappointment and we look to our Almighty God for comfort and safety.  Of course, this most recent news is the hardest of all because we face the very sad reality that our boys will be five and 18 months when they come home, instead of four and barely one.  We grieve for the time lost with these children, something that cannot be replaced.

I’m grateful for my sisters in the Lord who have been a loud voice of encouragement over the past week and a half.  One dear friend sent me the lyrics to a favorite hymn:

William Cowper (1731–1800)
God Moves in Mysterious Ways
God moves in a mysterious way,
His wonders to perform;
He plants his footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.
Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill,
He treasures up his bright designs,
And works his sovereign will.
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take,
The clouds ye so much dread
are big with mercy, and shall break
In blessings on your head.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust him for his grace;
Behind a frowning providence,
He hides a smiling face.
His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.
Blind unbelief is sure to err,
And scan his work in vain;
God is his own interpreter,
And he will make it plain.

Another friend reminded me of this quote from Charles Spurgeon:

“Remember this: had any other condition been better for you than the one in which you are, divine love would have put you there.  You are placed by God in the most suitable circumstances, and if you had the choosing of your lot, you would soon cry, “Lord, choose my inheritance for me, for by my self-will I am pierced through with many sorrows.”  Be content with such things as you have, since the Lord has ordered all things for your good.  Take up your own daily cross; it is the burden best suited for your shoulder, and will prove most effective to make you perfect in every good word and work to the glory of God.  Down, busy self and proud impatience; it is not for you to choose, but for the Lord of Love!”
 And yet another sweet sister gave me this verse:
“From of old no one has heard or perceived by ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for Him.”  Isaiah 64:4
God has certainly not forgotten me and even last night, as I pondered my own adoption in Christ, I became more    aware of how intimately God knows the suffering and heartache I am currently enduring.  For, in order for God to adopt me into His family, He had to lay down the life of His own Son.  My adoption cost Him the very life of Jesus and the pain that the cross brought to my Father will be something I will never fully comprehend in this life.  While the painful trials of our adoption journey are quite small in comparison, I am comforted to know that the One who saved me knows my burden well.  And so, I continue to flee unto and take refuge in Him as we wait out the storm.

Happy (Belated) Fourth of July!

We just returned from a fun trip to visit my sister and parents in Mississippi and enjoyed a happy 4th!  Molly Kate experienced her first real fireworks show and loved every minute of it!!  We “snuck” to the top of the football stadium which might be the best kept secret as to where to see the fireworks when in Oxford.  Molly Kate kept saying “sky” and “boom boom”.   It was a precious sight and I found myself a bit lost in the beauty of fireworks as I watched them through the eyes of a child.  Hope each of you had an enjoyable holiday and were able to thank God first and foremost for the freedom we have in Christ because of His death and resurrection.

Fourth of July 2008
Fourth of July 2008

 

Fourth of July 2009
Fourth of July 2009

Tomorrow Ends the Week…

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12

So, in effort to be hopeful and faithful in prayer, I’m once again asking you to beseech the Lord this evening for our boys.  Last week we were told that MOWA (Ministry of Women Affairs) had not written the required letters of recommendations for our cases and so they were not heard on Friday, June 26th.  A MOWA rep said they would complete the letters this week and our cases would then be heard.  Obviously, tomorrow is the last day of the week and I ask that you please  pray that MOWA would indeed be faithful to their responsibility and would have already written the letters that our cases might be heard in the morning.

We know in our hearts that God will complete this adoption in His wise and perfect time.  We also saw a picture this week of our baby about to start taking his first steps.  There’s no question that watching our children grow up in pictures for almost six months has brought much affliction to our hearts as we wait and pray to trust God.  We desire that Christ receive great glory through this adoption…please continue to pray with us to that end.

Remembering Jaiden

hydrangeaOne year ago today we received the news that we had lost our second child only 11 weeks after conception.  This trial was only the beginning of a series of trials that the Lord has taken us through over the course of this past year, and yet losing Jaiden will always be a marker of God’s faithfulness to me as I continue to persevere in my Christian journey.  I never would have believed that I could go through something as heart-wrenching as a miscarriage and not hate God, but quite the opposite resulted.  God not only sustained my faith, He strenghtened it in ways I didn’t know were possible and I actually love Him more because of it.  As I sit here today, wondering why God is not acting on behalf of our boys and why we are still waiting six months later, may I remember God’s mighty and faithful hand that held me close through each and every detail of losing Jaiden and may I not lose hope.

This is an excerpt from an e-mail that we sent out after the miscarriage.  Oh, how I look forward to the day when I will see Christ face-to-face and meet our sweet Jaiden for the first time!

Last week was one of the sweetest and most intimate times Kevin and I have had with the Lord in a while.  We were constantly encouraged to see the Lord carry us through the loss of our child with such tenderness and compassion and mercy.  I was reminded of how intimately God knows me and how I’m wired…all of the details of the entire week were orchestrated in such a way that revealed how deeply the Lord cares for me.  One thing Kevin and I really wanted to do was name the baby.  This was challenging because we didn’t know the gender, but because this was not just a baby, but our child, we prayed and searched for a name.  We finally decided on Jaiden, a Hebrew name that means ‘thankful’.  We are thankful for the short time God allowed me to carry this little one in my womb, we are thankful that Jaiden is now in the arms of our Savior, Jesus Christ where there are pleasures forevermore, and we are thankful that the Lord loves us enough to cause us to endure such a trial for our good and His glory.