Thursday, October 9, 2014

Show Me Your Ways.....

        Our girl is incredibly lovable....super sweet, always giving hugs and kisses...telling us she loves us over and over throughout the day.  She's picked up some English and one of her phrases is "I love you so much, very much."  I love it.  And when I say that I hear it 500 times each day, I'm not exaggerating.  Sometimes it's like she's on autopilot as she's doing her school work, but softly saying in a distant voice, I love you so much very much.  We are so thankful that she loves affection and wants to hear that we love her time and time again.  I think we truly are making up for all of the years I wish we could have been telling her.....

          And of everything we hope for and desire for our know she is loved, unconditionally and always, is one of the greatest.  She's already opened up and shared bits and pieces of the pain she has experienced, and we so badly want for her to know how precious she much she did not deserve those things....  But even beyond our love for her....most of all..we want her to know the love of her heavenly father...

         At first I felt frustrated that we couldn't really explain this most important concept....the fact that she is a child of the king, that she is a treasure, made in God's image, and loved unconditionally by Him.  And today as I reflected on the many ways God is working, I realized that we really can....not with words, but in so many many other ways that He has provided....

         I know she has some concept of who God is, but I'm really not sure what exactly that is.  She suggested that we pray a few nights when Caleb and I were sick, so that we would get better, which I thought was super sweet....surprising even.  And one night recently, she wasn't herself....we could tell something was bothering her.  She said she was fine at first and then later asked to talk to me (big step! woohoo!).  In all of her sweetness and compassion, she was so sad for her best friend that has not been adopted (pleassee ask if you'd like more info about this sweet girl!!).  I was so thankful for her openness and for the conversation that followed as well as ways I was able to help her.  But what will forever remain in my memory was as she was expressing her gratitude for a family and she said "thank you Nicole....and (holding her hands up towards the sky) thank you God."  She is one special girl.

       She recently started Awana with's a children's program through our church, held at a local elementary school and it's a lot of fun.  I wasn't sure how it would go as Luke and I can't be there on that particular night.  My parents and aunt are there so we figured we would give it a try.  She.Loves.It.  There's a time where the kids recite the bible verses that they've learned throughout the week and I hoped this wouldn't be a deal breaker if she just sort of sat there the entire time....  So last night was her second week and this morning I asked if she wanted to work on the verses each week and try them.  I really wasn't even sure I should ask, but she agreed and we started working on it.  Within a few minutes she was reciting the verse to me.....and I was thinking, is this real life?  She said it randomly throughout the day after that, excited to tell it to Luke at dinner time, and excited about how proud we were.  And I she is, hiding God's word in her heart.....though she may not know what the words mean now....someday she will, and they will be there.  So cool.

       Each night before bed we all pile onto our bed and read a book that each child chose, followed by the Jesus Storybook Bible.  Since Keira came home, we have been reading ours in English while she reads the same page aloud in Russian or Ukrainian.  I sometimes wonder what she thinks about what she is reading....if it's really making sense..or it's just mere words on a page.  But it's a start, and I'm so thankful for even that.

      Just before she came home, I remembered an old email I saved from when we adopted Levi.  A family had offered to share a link to some christian Russian radio programs that one of their family members had done some years ago.  I had requested the link, but never ended up using them with Levi as he was too little to care about sitting and listening :)  I fished through my old messages and finally found it.  There are dozens of them, and they are (I think) designed for bedtime.  Bedtime can be tricky around here, although we have already come a long way in finding what our girl needs.  She was mesmerized by Levi's bedtime routine and all of the things that she missed as a baby (she recognized this and verbalized it) so we have learned together how to make bedtime a positive experience.  I wanted to include these radio programs, so I purchased an old ipod from craigslist and just finally got it all to work.  She was beside herself with excitement tonight and lay down to listen.  The deal is, she has to be in bed at a certain time, but can stay up reading/playing quietly until a later time.  Tonight, she came in early to say she was going to sleep (early, what? on her own?!).....listening to the program had made her tired....and she loved it by the way.  I wish I knew what they said, but just knowing that she is hearing about God in her own language, in another way, is so very exciting to me.

        And as I think of each way God is revealing himself to her, I've started to realize that maybe this is best.....okay God's way is always best....and maybe all of the words would have come to soon..maybe she wouldn't have been ready for us to try to share...maybe just seeing us live it out...seeing Jesus in us and in our friends and family..and learning about him through her own bible, radio program and memorizing of really best.  I know she sees Jesus in so many of you...who have gone out of your way to be so sweet and kind to her...your generosity and the many ways in which you've welcomed her and made her feel special, have gone such a long way.  She loves to go to church.....I thought she would be hesitant last week when I couldn't go...or just want to stay home with me...but no, she was not about to miss it, even if it meant sitting in on Luke's Sunday school class without knowing what was being said.  I remember after the first week, as we introduced her to people, her eyes got wide and she said "friend, friend, friend, friend, friend," as in wow there are a lot of friends here.  Thank you all for showing her Jesus love....we are so grateful.

                                .....oh, and the first bible verse our girl memorized today?


Psalm 25:4

Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths.


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