A Father’s love

Last Sunday was father’s day.

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This week I have been thinking on who my father is and all that he has done for me over my life. I think of the early morning drives to practice at 5 am and of the weekends he gave up so that I could go to meets. I think of the decisions and sacrifices that he made so that I could get a unique and lasting education, one that prepared me academically and spiritually for the wide range of information and circumstances that are out there in the world. I think of the dedication that he has shown me through example and the God centered choices he has made despite the challenges these decisions have made. I know that I wouldn’t be me without who Dad has been in my life.

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Reflecting on who my Dad is and the influence that he has on me caused me to think on the responsibilities that we have and the influences that we have on others. In this regard, all of us have a responsibility to those around us. To show others, especially those who are younger and look up to us, what it means to be a child of God. To be steadfast in our faith, to be kind and wise, to be strong and gentle, and to show love to all. We have a great responsibility as daughters and sons, sisters and brothers, mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles, mentors, coaches, and friends. It is my hope that those who do not yet have a family to call their own will soon find themselves among a family that examples to them what it means to be a child of God.

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Please pray with me,

Dear Lord,

Thank you for my Dad. Thank you for the dads and dad figures around the world who give an example of what it means to walk in accordance to your will. The dads who show us how to love and care for others, to be strong and gentle, and to be as wise as serpents and gentle as doves.

Lord, I pray that there will be many birth-dads, adoptive-dads, foster-dads, and dad-figures that will step up and show girls what a man should be like, kind, respectful, strong, encouraging, God-fearing etc. I pray that they will also an example to boys in what they should strive to be like as they grow older and into men of God.

For those that have yet to have a positive father-figure or a family I pray that they will soon have a man in their lives who will support and encourage them. Who will show them love and will have their backs as they navigate life.

Lord, I pray most of all that we will recognize you as our Father. Our perfect Father who has shown us great love and who will never abandon us nor forsake us. Though we may fight you and push away from your love you stand steadfast in your promises and care for us in a way that no earthly father can. I pray that we will always look to you for the ultimate example and to Jesus Christ your Son.

In your name I pray,

Amen

 

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A busy week and a fuller heart

Commissioning

 

This last week has proved to be busy but also gratifying. It started off with Commissioning for the graduating students within the faculty of Theology. I was privileged to be one of those reading the Scripture. It was especially meaningful as I was one of the students who were graduating.

This brings me to the next exciting thing that happened. Graduation!

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I almost can’t believe that I made it. I am truly indebted to my family, friends, and professors.

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This week has also been marked by traveling with family (my Aunt and Uncle came for a visit and for graduation from New Zealand) and finally by celebrating Family Day.

Family Day is the day that my family celebrates the day my youngest four siblings legally became apart of the family. Family Day is usually marked with ice cream, a visit to the beach, and mixed feelings. There is excitement at another year together and thankfulness at being together but there is also some sorrow and anger at what once was and what could have been.

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Despite the mixed feelings it was a great day. I got to spend time with my family and celebrate that we don’t have to be biologically connected in order to be connected in the best of senses. It is about sharing and being with one another through good times and bad. I think families with adopted children see this reality regularly. There needs to be an acceptance of differences and a celebration of our uniqueness that comes together to make a wonderful whole.

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Dear Lord,

Thank you for families. Thank you for the ones who stand beside us. Thank you for the ones who support us and are there when times get tough. Thank you for the people who love us and care for us. Thank you for the ones that we can laugh with and and be silly with. Thank you for the ones that we can be ourselves with.

Lord, I pray that the children around the world who wait for families will not have to wait much longer. I pray that they will know what it means to be apart of a family that loves, laughs, and lives together.

In your name and for your glory I pray,

Amen.

May we show others what it means to be in a family and to care for one another whether or not blood connects us.

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Ever Thankful

Recently my sister wrote a letter to the Central Authority, Children’s Services in her birth country. This is what she wrote….

Dear Sir/Madam,

My name is A_______, I live in Canada. I am twelve years old. I was born in Lithuania. My Lithuanian name was E_______. I was adopted on May 19, 2014 by C_______ and A_______. I would like to thank you for finding me a family.

Sometimes we go out to the beach on family day when we celebrate becoming a family. We take photos there and play in the water. We may go to the movies, or the park where we have fun as a family. At meal time we eat together, and talk, and laugh. When we go to bed Mummy comes up to pray for us!

On Sundays we go to church and we pray. A person teaches us about Jesus. On Holidays like Easter and Christmas we remember Jesus. On Thanksgiving we sit at the table and talk about what we are thankful for. I am always thankful for my family and friends.

Once a week I go to Youth Group where I can spend time with my friends and do Bible study! Sometimes our friends come to our house to play. We play tag, hide-and-go-seek, and other running games. We have lots of fun.

In the summer time we play water fights and take turns on the swing. We climb trees and eat cherries off of the trees in the back yard. We also say hi to our rabbits, chickens, and our barn cats.

We stay at home and do school with Mum. We can do school as fast as we want or as slow as we need. Daddy buys us the supplies we need for schooling and then the delivery truck brings the books. I read history that is about wars and about how we got governments. We read the Bible; it tells us about Jesus Christ, God’s Son, and what miracles he has done! I read science books about how things work and where electricity comes from.

We also do drawing and art for school. I love to learn about different animals from all over the world. And on Fridays our friends come to do science experiments with us.

I love my family very much, I think being in a family is the most glorious thing there is. Thank you for finding me a family.

Sincerely,

A_______

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As we get closer to celebrating the birth of Jesus I am reminded that though the exact date of his birth is unknown we can still celebrate with joy. As my sister grows and learns what it means to be in a family she has shown joy and thankfulness for what she has. I think this is a testament for us this season. To be thankful for those around us that we celebrate with.

Though people we love may be missing this year and despite the hard financial times that many are in there is still a chance to be thankful. My sister has many things sheImage result for christmas could complain about and while she is not in a perpetual state of contentedness and thankfulness (who is?!) she does remind me of all the amazing things that I do have. Such as the great blessing of being able to call her my sister.

May this Christmas season find you ever thankful and looking to the One who given us so much to be thankful for.

Dear Lord,

Thank you that we can anticipate when Christ is coming again by celebrating when you sent your Son to us the first time. As we celebrate Jesus’ birth please helps us to remember why you sent him. So that we could call you Father. So that we can be joined in relationship with you as your children, saved and redeemed from the sin that had held us captive.

In your precious gift we have found life. May we be thankful for the life and for the love that you have shown. You gave Jesus, the eternal Son, so that we could be called children of God. You continually give us the Holy Spirit who cries “Abba, Father” with our spirits, testifying of who we are.

I pray that as we celebrate this year we will not forget those that still wait for families. My we show love and life to them as you have shown it for us.

Thank you,

In Jesus Christ’s holy name,

Amen.

 

We must not forget

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Though I have not posted in a few weeks due to sickness and a heap of coursework that I am slowly making my way through, I don’t want to give the impression that I have forgotten why I do this. Why I write and pray.

Unfortunately, I think forgetting is something that we are all guilty of. The busyness of life catches up and we find ourselves trying to just stay afloat, and that which is close and dear to our hearts gets choked out, pushed to the side, and forgotten. But we must not forget!

amberWhile I may not be posting as much with the busyness of life I am striving not to forget those that have been forgotten by many in the world. In tears and joy there is prayer for those that are still waiting. Not a prayer given in haste once a week or once a month but a heart-felt yearning shared with our Father in heaven for those that wait.

As we approach a time of year that is marked with busyness, whether in school, work, or life, please join me in remembering those that have been forgotten. Pray for them, talk about them, decide how you will remember them.

In the world of orphan care there is many ways in which we can remember. We can advocate, support, sponsor, pray, foster, or adopt. No doubt that there are other ways in which we can remember. So in this season of busyness please remember.

 

Dear Lord,

Thank you for your gifts of grace. Thank you that you are with us wherever we go and whatever we do. Please help us to make a difference in other people’s lives. Thank you for those that you have placed on our path so that we may walk with them.

As we get busy and find ourselves overwhelmed please grant us peace and strength for your name’s sake. Please cause us not to forget those that are downtrodden and forgotten by others of this world. May we be a beacon of light in their lives and within the world.

Please bring children home, bring light into their lives, give them a chance to see that they are loved and have immeasurable worth.

To you be the glory forever,

Amen.

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Thankful

There is so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving! I am thankful for thought provoking classes. I am thankful for amazing professors and mentors. I am thankful to be able to coach an awesome swim team and work with some great students as their TA. I am also thankful for good friends and amazing family (my parents have been married 25 years this month!).

Speaking of my family, there are some challenging circumstances that they are going through at the moment. It has been and will continue to be a hard time in my family but I want to say that I am exceedingly proud of all of them. They have truly shown what it means to be gracious under pressure.

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As we continue to walk through this challenging time in life I am exceedingly thankful to our Father who is heaven. Despite our circumstances and those times our actions are less than gracious He continues to love and care for us. In His gracious love and mercy He has given us the gift of salvation through Christ and continues to sustain us through the Spirit.

Truly God is a good God. He is holy and His holiness perfects His love; a love which He chooses to show to us despite the trials we may face. For this I am so very thankful. I choose to rest in His love and strength as I walk with my family through this time and as I work towards the completion of my thesis.

These three are Sophie, Bronson, and Brenna (http://reecesrainbow.org/category/sponsorafamily/newcommitments). They have families that have committed to them and beginning the process of bringing them home. They are embarking on a long hard journey that won’t end when their children come home. Lives will be changed and it will not come easy but that does not mean that it is not worth it.

This year many beautiful children have made it home (http://reecesrainbow.org/category/sponsorafamily/alreadyhome2017). Surely this is a wonderful thing! May God be praised for His provision! Daniel, Mikayla, and Poppy Mae are among these children that are now home. Would you pray with me for God’s continual providence over their lives and their families? Would you also join me in a prayer of praise and thanksgiving for God’s faithfulness?

Dear Lord,

You have done great things this year. You have shown Your love and mighty power in the lives of children like Daniel, Mikayla, and Poppy Mae. Thank You that they now have a family to call their own. May You be glorified through their lives.

Please be with them and their families as they learn what it means to be a member of a family and what it means to love and be loved. Please be with them and strengthen them. May they know that You are with them both through the times of hardship and the times of great joy.

To You be the glory forever!

Amen

I just want to make one more comment – I am extra thankful for my wonderful sister. We are very close and though it has been hard since she got married and moved with her husband (a wonderful man) to the other side of the country she has remained a rock in my life. I am eternally grateful that God has blessed me with her. She is a great encouragement in my life and I do not know what I would do without her.

Tori and Nick

May we always be thankful!

A Time to Celebrate

Yesterday was a big day in my family. My sister was married!!! It has gone so fast and to see her continue to grow and become an amazing steadfast strong woman is wonderful. Her and her new husband are now embarking on their new journey as a married couple. I am excited to watch them as they grow in love together and show their commitment to each other through the way they live.

In celebration of this new time in their lives I decided to do my blog on some of the kids who now have families coming for them. On Reece’s Rainbow there is a page for all the kids who have families who are going through the process to adopt them ( http://reecesrainbow.org/category/rescued#top ). These children will soon be embarking on their new journey. A life with a family! Just like my sister and her husband are beginning a new journey as a family, these children will also get to explore the new dynamics that come with being loved and learning to love.

Dear Lord,

Thank you for kids like Hank Alan, Eliza, Lylah, Mayson, Wrayna, and Oliver . Thank you that they are about to experience the new life of a family. Thank you for the families that have come forward. I pray that as they continue to wait for their families to complete the process to bring them home that the children will have hope.

Please help the families to give themselves grace as they adjust to their new normal and learn who their children are – what they like and don’t like, what makes them laugh, what makes them cry, what their favorite food is, and what they wouldn’t touch in a million years.

Please help the children learn to love and trust. Please help them to feel safe. Thank you for the support around the families, please give the friends and family the wisdom to know how to help and when to give the new families space.

Thank you for all that You have done. May You be glorified through these adoptions and through the new futures that have opened up to these families.

In Your name I pray,

Amen