Monday, September 10, 2012

Oh, Praise Him!

Conner is home from the hospital and doing well.  We believe his immune system is compromised right now, making him more susceptible to illness.  With the start of school, and thus more exposure to germs, it will probably take his immune system some time to build up antibodies and be able to fight off some of the many cooties he’ll undoubtedly be exposed to over time.  We just praise God for His healing—and the awesome care Conner always receives at Dell Children’s Hospital!!!


Conner and Cooper’s teacher emailed me some precious pictures of the boys during their first two weeks of school.  (Conner has already missed 4 out of his 8 days of school…ugh!)  The boys are being loved on by everyone who crosses their paths.  They’re still undergoing assessments so we can get their IEP’s (Individualized Educational Plans) in place, but in the meantime, they’re adjusting well to their new routine.  God has provided abundantly, right down to the boys’ awesome bus driver and aide.  (The boys’ bus driver took our family photos years ago…small world!!!)  God is always weaving such a beautiful tapestry, even when we have no idea what He’s up to.  The intricacy of every detail He plans, knitting relationships years prior, overwhelms me. We can get so lost in the intricate “mess” on the backside of the tapestry that we forget there’s a beautiful front side—oh how glorious the day will be when the front side is fully revealed.  If we have to name the tapestry, I’m surely going to call it heaven. 

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Often times, people will tell us that we’re saints, or they’ll praise us for “what we’re doing for these children”.  I rarely know how to respond to that for a variety of reasons, but my main thought is that this is not about us.  We should never be praised for “what we’re doing”; we should praise GOD for what He’s doing.  We are just average, ordinary people, like everyone else, and, believe me, we’re not worthy of praise in any way.  We fall short every single time, but our Father always hits the mark.

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Regarding sainthood, I believe that all of us who belong to Jesus Christ are saints, not because of our works, but because we are sanctified by His blood.  We are either a lost sinner or a saved saint.  Sinners become saints when we put our trust in Jesus Christ and become saved, being set apart (sanctified) from sin and the lost world.  We (all believers) are saints because we belong to God, not as a small group of believers who do good works, but as ALL believers who are saved by the blood of our Lamb.  Being sanctified means we belong to God, and ALL of us, as believers, would have been called saints in biblical times.  We just use the term ‘saint’ in our day differently than the term was originally intended.  So, yes, we technically are saints because we belong to our Father, but not because of anything we do here on earth. 

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Due to today’s connotation of the word “saint”, my skin crawls a little when someone tells us we’re saints.  As I explained in the above paragraph, technically, by the original definition of what a saint is, yes, we are saints by the grace and blood of Jesus, but SERVANTS is what we really are.  We serve a mighty God who loves each of us dearly.  We truly are no different than any other believer.  We are all servants, we all serve Him differently, in whatever way He asks of us.  It is our joy and pleasure to serve our Father, and it just so happens that having a large family with lots of special needs kiddos is the way He’s asked us to serve Him.  For me, I cannot think of anything more glorious, but for you, He might call you to do something completely different.  If we’re believers, we might be saints by default, but servants is the title we should strive for.  How will you serve Him today?  Don’t limit what He can do by disobeying what He’s calling you to.  Obey and watch Him work.  It’s a glorious thing to witness, especially when there’s absolutely no way we could do it on our own—that truly gives Him ALL the glory.


Some say they could never do what we do, but I beg to differ.  If you are a believer, if you love the same God we love, if you are His servant, you will WANT to do whatever it is He calls you to.  Now, you might be begging that He doesn’t call you to care for lots of kiddos, but if He does, He WILL equip you.  To say that you could never do something is to put God in a box.  Scripture tells us that with God, all things are possible.  You either believe His Word as Truth or you don’t.  Don’t think for a second that you can’t do this or that—IF God calls you to it, He will see you through it.


I can’t imagine our life any differently.  I feel so very blessed that this is the ministry God has called us to.  Children are truly a blessing of the Lord, a reward from Him, and blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.  Blessed.  There’s no better way to describe our lives.  The richness we receive from each and every treasure God has chosen to bless us with is simply indescribable.  To see our children in relationship with one another, regardless of ability, is one of the greatest blessings we will ever receive.  Watching Kiefer try to get Cooper to talk, watching Selah reprimand Conner for stimming (self-stimulating), watching Ella mother all her little chicks (her younger siblings), watching our older kids doing physical, occupational, and speech therapy with many of our younger children, encouraging them to reach beyond their current ability, watching each member come together as a whole, a team united by love, well, it’s heaven on earth.  To see children of different skin color, speaking different languages, from different lands, all playing together, laughing together, growing together, learning together, and loving together--it’s truly a glimpse of paradise. 


I can only imagine what heaven will be like one day, but for now, I praise our Father for blessing us with these glimpses of heaven on earth.  There are so many lessons to be learned here on earth, but there is truly no greater joy than to hear my children walk in truth, loving others the way He’s demonstrated:  unconditionally, wholeheartedly, selflessly, sacrificially.  This is not something *we* should be praised for, this is what He is worthy to be praised for.  And whatever it is that He calls you to do, obey Him, praise Him, and trust that He will enable you to do what you might consider impossible.  He is faithful and worthy of your obedience and your praise.  Remember, God takes ordinary people and equips them to do extraordinary tasks for His glory.  It doesn’t take anything special, just a willing spirit and a heart for Him.  He takes care of the rest.  Oh, praise Him!

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