A number of years ago, I felt clearly led to write a book that recorded how the Lord has helped our family of 12. Having obeyed and submitted it to several publishers, it has received helpful reviews but is not yet in print. It is becoming clear that I can begin to pass on some of the best of our testimonies of the supernatural power of our Lord through this blog.
Here is one of my favorite memories.
Needing a New NameIronically, as I was writing, I was feeling absolutely overwhelmed by the needs of one of our children. My kindness was met with a deep anger that appeared to erupt randomly without warning, like some subterranean dormant volcano, totally unanticipated yet dumping destructive burning coals in its wake. Years of orphanage-living that leaves a love-deficit can make children go through stages of being as difficult to love as a bristly porcupine--when they are rebellious or disrespectful or angry or resentful or dishonest or indifferent or unresponsive.
Yet amidst such circumstances, loving with God’s sacrificial love is precisely what God called Hosea to do, and precisely what I look to the Lord’s Spirit to enable me to do.
|Susan with some of her daughters, and grand daughters!|
I remember that love is a supernatural quality and not a natural human trait.
I must receive it.
It is the kind of supernatural love God has for me that I long to pass along to them. A love based on forgiveness and acceptance. It is a love that I cannot lose. I ponder how nothing can separate me from the love of Christ (Romans 8)…certainly not my own sin or unpleasant behavior or disparaging attitudes.
I thanked the Lord for being allowed to see gradual changes emerging in the character of the daughter who was struggling so much with her anger. But I was absolutely shocked one rather normal day, after I had been praying for about six months for her character to be transformed as much as that of Hosea’s children, so transformed that it would be as if she had a new name.
She walked in after an afternoon with a close family friend, and she said, "I want to tell you all that I have a new name and my name is now Lana Grace. I do not want to be Sveta any more. Please be sure to only call me Lana Grace. Mama and Daddy, I want to ask your forgiveness for all the ways I have hurt you and disobeyed you and abused you. I did not understand. I remembered that when my Russian mama said she loved me I did not believe her. I could tell it was not really true. So I thought that you and daddy really do not love me. But today I realized that you and daddy really do love me. All you have done for me is only good. Today when we were praying I cut those ties to my Russian mama. I forgave her. The hole in my heart is gone. As we were praying today we had a chair that was there for the Lord…the Lord showed me that my Russian mom was trying to lead me to the wrong path, but that the Lord put a tall white wall up and He was on my side of the wall with me to protect me. He also showed me that He put shields all around me to protect me. I also realized that I have the same name as my Russian mom and every time I heard my name I felt kind of bad....like I was going to be like her and could not get away from that. But now I have a new name-- Lana Grace. My whole name, Svetlana, in Russian means "light." Mom, did you know that? I can't believe how free I feel and what a wonderful day I had with the Lord; I was just rejoicing all day. Mom.....I am a new creation."
Nothing short of a transformation in character, nothing short of a new creation, nothing short of the hardened and lonely becoming healed and whole, is precisely what emerges when we pass along to our children that authentic love. We, like Hosea, have received this love as it is poured out within our hearts by the Holy Spirit through our Lord Jesus.
Hope in Our New NameEven with all this, I can become despondently hopeless if I meditate too long on the plight of the 150 million orphans in the world today--drugs, suicide, prostitution, criminal behavior, isolation, discrimination, disease, abuse, exploitation…the list goes on and on. Figures of what happens after years of orphanage living in Russia are bleak: the majority become either homeless, jobless, criminals, or suicide victims. Certainly, apart from the Lord’s supernatural intervention through His people, many orphans will face that same tragic fate that was faced by our son Jonny--death at a young age of a life full or promise.
As it currently stands, vast numbers of the worlds’ orphans will die having experienced neither the love of God nor the love of family. Reversing such a desperate fate will require believers throughout the world to overcome impossible obstacles. Obstacles of our own personal natures such as ignorance, indifference, selfishness, prejudice, ambition, greed, unbelief; obstacles of a systematic nature, such as cultural barriers, governmental regulations, and ravages of HIV/AIDS; and obstacles of neglect and abuse, including open wounds of past emotional, physical, and sexual abuse, as well as the pain of alcohol and drug abuse. And riddled through all these obstacles, the constant tensions between good and evil, hope and despair, light and darkness, life and death.
Yet we worship a God for whom no obstacle is insurmountable. For Him, nothing is impossible. He is the one who still, today, replaces the old creation riddled with the names of 'rejection' and 'abandonment,' for us and for them, with His New Name, engraving instead, 'beloved' and 'children of the living God.'
Those who were not my people I will call 'my people,' and her who was not beloved I will call 'beloved,' and in the very place where it was said to them, 'you are not my people,' they will be called, 'children of the living God.
And what does all this have to do with us?
We simply are called to copy Jesus, who says so simply and so profoundly in Matthew 19, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God."
It may take time, and it is not our first call to let them "come to me," but to let them "come to Jesus." He has open arms and will receive them when they are ready.
We must not despair over those not yet ready. We pray they will be given eyes to see His open arms, through ours.