Thursday, September 13, 2012


Papa leading staff devotions today at Home of Love.

We count ourselves so blessed that ALL of our children love being at Home of Love. This is the children's home that Moses is from. The home that is "ours" as one of the key ACTION ministries in Gulu. And all of our children love going there.

Many adoptive children want desperately to form their new identity with their forever family and want nothing to do with the "old life." Now, Moses is definitely doing a lot of that - in fact, we are already working on teaching him Acholi. What little he spoke 5 months ago, he is already working hard to not use. "I like leb English not leb Acholi." (leb is language in Acholi)

But one constant is his love for his aunties and uncles at Home of Love and his love in general for Home of Love. He always wants me to bake cookies to take there, share stickers, and points down the road to Home of Love any opportunity that he has. He has no desire to live there but he does hold it in high (albeit idealized) esteem.

We love that!

We love that Gracie is not only greeted warmly by everyone at Home of Love but is so very alive when she's there, interacting to her fullest abilities. Noah and Ana believe that they own the place, and the goats.

There are things that we're all working to change at Home of Love, just like there are things in our own home that we're working to change. But what a blessing that our children love the place despite their different connections to it!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

In the trenches of parenting

God has graciously brought us out of a very intense season of life with Moses into a more predictable season. I wondered what it would be like to transition from having Elizabeth around (young adult who spent 3 months in our home) to having Mimi and Papa around (for one month from the USA). The transition has been nearly seamless! Most other transitions have involved ... headache ... as the children act out their insecurities and test boundaries with each new transition. This one has been less painful! Thank you, Lord!

Ministry is still intense, but the dramatic unknowns and sudden shifting of responsibilities from none to full-on, have calmed down as we grasp more and more of what God's direction is for these ministries.

Now, I sit here blogging at 4pm. There is quiet in the house. Dinner is prepared and just waiting to be baked, so is dessert. The power is off, but I got two loads of laundry done this morning and nearly dried before the rain arrived. Mimi did the dishes and mopped the floor (bless her!!!).

But lest you think "this could never happen in my house!" let me encourage you! This is a result of three months of "battle." It did not come easy. Front lines, in the trenches, sweating, no rest for the weary. All of my children go down for rest time at the same time, in the same room (except Gracie who rests on the couch under my supervision as I prep dinner).

We started with each child in a separate room, and, of course, that worked well once we trained each one to stay in their assigned bed. That initial training took months in itself. We've got an independent-minded extremely intelligent four year old who is pretty sure that she already knows more than us (probably not far from the truth, but don't tell her that!). We've got a five-year old who has never had a day of structure in his life, nor any demands placed on him. We've got a just-two-year old who doesn't seem to understand the concept of "no talking/noise." And we've got Gracie who gets a kick out of making Ana scream by pulling her hair (nice, Grace!).

Just recently, we moved the three younger ones into their own beds for naptime - the boys in their bunkbed, Ana on her shared bed with Gracie - all in the same room (kinda close quarters at this time due to having guests for the last four months). They are allowed a certain number of books which they must take good care of (that took a great deal of training too!) and they are not required to sleep, but must stay quiet so that the others may sleep.

This has only been accomplished through lots of discipline and intense training. If I skip rest-time, the children are defiant, self-centered, selfish, non-listening children the rest of the day. And we all end the day on a sour note. The two year old definitely needs his nap. The five year old sometimes sleeps and otherwise looks at books. The four year old reads and definitely needs that quiet "alone" time to recenter. Gracie often takes a short nap and wakes up giggling and "talking" loudly, refreshed. I need the quiet so that I can get the house and dinner ready for Josh's arrival back home.

(A newborn is about to challenge this, but one of my goals is to train the baby to rest during the same rest time as the others.)

My commitment to rest-time has only grown with each child added to the home. I haven't figured out how to fit in those great opportunities that happen in the afternoon - playtime at Home of Love, missionary-kid get-togethers, missionary-mom get-togethers, etc. But with time, once I've put in the hard work, I might be able to trust the children to take their rests with a babysitter supervising instead of me.

All this to say that parenting is HARD. The goal is to train these precious children to trust us as we trust God, to obey us as we obey God, etc. And I never want to blog in such a way that makes this task seem easy - that only serves to discourage. As moms, we are given an intensely challenging task to raise and disciple our children to know more about Christ through our parenting. None of us are up to the task. All of us fail, daily! But God's grace abounds and each day is a new opportunity to train and disciple and shepard your child's heart!

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