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Praying for Your Children to Love Each Other Well

Last week we had a special day in our home and as a result, we have more evidence that prayer changes things. Eight years ago today we walked into an orphanage in a tiny village in Bulgaria and walked out with our daughter forever in our arms.

It’s a miraculous day. One that forever changed us as a family. Yet as much as we celebrate that day, it’s also a day marked with pain. I’ve written about it before – the fact that adoption is God’s beautiful way of making beauty come from ashes.

Every adoption story begins in grief.

And for anyone who has walked the pain of grief, you know that the pain of loss doesn’t magically disappear because of a new beautiful that enters your life. The loss is still there. It weaves its way throughout your life. It doesn’t take away from the new beautiful, instead, it creates a unique poignancy to it.

So, on this day, yes, we celebrate our beautiful daughter. But we grieve with her, too. Because her speech and ability to process and express herself is limited, we don’t know exactly what she is thinking.

But she’s talked of a few memories that seem to hurt deeply as she cries. And then she acts out and pushes me away. Then, even though my mind understands the grief, my heart aches and my own tears fall.

On days like today, I think about the years of prayer before she came home. And I am reminded to never relent in those prayers because prayer changes things.

Because adoption blows us away with the beauty of love, we fail to realize that every adoption story begins with the broken and begins with grief. #prayer #hope Click To Tweet

Prayer changes things. As parents we want nothing more than for our children to love each other well. To grow up supporting each other and being close. So why not pray? Prayer changes things for the better - even one heartfelt prayer makes all the difference. #prayer #surrenderedheartsbook #godslove #adoption #family #love #hope

It was as if He’d spoken to me. No, not that audible Morgan Freeman-as-God type of voice. But in a way that I felt the message to the core of my soul. It was a message that said I needed to pray for the hearts of my boys. Pray like crazy that they will love their sister well no matter what happens.

At the time we didn’t even know who our daughter would be. We only knew that we were beginning to step into the waters of international adoption.

It was one of the steps toward full surrender. Because I loved praying and knew the power of prayer, it wasn’t a huge step. Yet, still an act of obedience and trusting God’s lead. So, I prayed for the hearts of our boys.

I prayed for God to:

  • Prepare their hearts to love their someday sister well in all circumstances.
  • Place a desire in them to be Godly role models for her.
  • Instill gentleness within them for all matters pertaining to their sister.
  • Extinguish any jealousy from rising up within them.
  • Reveal Himself to them as the very Heart of adoption.
  • Ignite a passion within them to forever advocate for adoption.

Prayer changes things. As parents we want nothing more than for our children to love each other well. To grow up supporting each other and being close. So why not pray? Prayer changes things for the better - even one heartfelt prayer makes all the difference. #prayer #surrenderedheartsbook #godslove #adoption #family #love #hope

Every mama wants her children to love each other well. Let's start by praying because one prayer makes all the difference! #livesurrendered #prayer Click To Tweet

Two years later, after great heartbreak and even greater joy, we brought their sister home. Our hearts were full and we knew we were finally the family God had designed long before time.

Yet, as I write about in my book, Surrendered Hearts: An Adoption Story of Love, Loss, and Learning to Trust, all adoption journeys weave both grief and joy into its very fabric. Just as our story to our daughter contained both grief and joy, our story on the other side of home held much of the same.

As much as we prepared as a family and learned along the way that anything was possible, our vision of homecoming didn’t align with the reality we faced.

When our vision of what will be turns out differently than what is, it hurts. It takes a lot of faith, prayer, and surrender to embrace the new reality. #livesurrendered #prayer Click To Tweet

Each of us entered with our unique hopes and dreams, but found an upside-down world greeting us. Broken lives and broken people had left their impact on our sweet girl. Not only were her physical health needs beyond what any of us knew about, but the enemy had worked heavily on her emotional health as well.

We were in for a fight. A fight to save our little girl. One that meant almost daily drives into Phoenix Children’s Hospital to see specialists, therapists, and run more tests than I could keep track of. That lead to medications, treatment plans, and learning how to be a new kind of family.

A family that could face the chains of discouragement, fear, and hopelessness but not succumbs to them.

Our world was turned upside down. Two boys ages nine and six had every right to be angry – to complain – to resent.

But never once did their love waver or fade.

Prayer changes things. As parents we want nothing more than for our children to love each other well. To grow up supporting each other and being close. So why not pray? Prayer changes things for the better - even one heartfelt prayer makes all the difference. #prayer #surrenderedheartsbook #godslove #adoption #family #love #hope

Yes, they had tears and needed to talk. But it came from a place of grief and learning to embrace what was.

To this very day, almost eight years after she has come home, their love for their sister continues to blow our family away. We’ve witnessed the undeniable hand of God in their lives and on their hearts. We’ve witnessed how prayer changes things.

Our Selah knows she is loved. She knows she is a princess to these boys and looks to them like her knights in shining armor.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. -1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV 

Last fall on a hot Arizona evening, our high school celebrated homecoming. As a Junior in high school, one would think our son would want to join friends and do what regular teenagers do. However, instead, he and his 13-year-old brother brought their very excited little sister to the football game so she could enjoy the fun.

For them, her joy is their joy. It rises above friends and parties and school activities.

… Only the hand of God.

I have to believe that voice I heard nearly 10 years ago telling me to pray for them to love their sister well was Him. What if I hadn’t listened? Or hadn’t prayed those prayers? What might our lives be like now? Would I have foregone the maturity of love that now lives in the hearts of these boys? Might our family have struggled even more?

Prayer changes things. Sometimes we wonder. We find ourselves too busy and not even sure if it makes that much of a difference. It does - even one heartfelt prayer makes all the difference. #prayer #surrenderedheartsbook #godslove #adoption #family #love #hope

Friend, you may not be on an adoption journey like us. But chances are you are embarking on something – career change, relocation, school decision, relationship, or ministry. Maybe you are facing a new chapter in life that you never wanted to face such as divorce or loss.

Whatever it is, take a moment to stop and listen. Read the Word of God, worship, praise, and friends, above all, pray.

It is the most powerful thing you can do as you face your next journey.

Prayer is the most powerful thing we can do for our children. #prayer #hope #livesurrendered Click To Tweet

Have You Read Our Story of Hope?

Read our story of hope - our story of learning to surrender ... because we all need the help in letting go of what isn't ours to hold. #surrenderedheartsbook #hope Click To Tweet

In a true story of learning that trust means surrendering your version of how the story should unfold, Lori and Bryan finally let go--of their adoption dream, of their daughter, of their fears and frustrations. And in that relinquishment, God began to move. #adoption #nationaladoptionmonth #adoptionstories #godslove

The Surrendered Hearts book is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, ChristianBook.com, and Redemption Press.


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The Moments of Hope Link-Up

My last words here are ones I have wrestled with for awhile now. You see, I love what the #MomentsofHope Link-Up has done over the years. I love those I have met and encouraging others to continue sharing words that point to Jesus. But friends, it seems I simply can’t keep all the blogging “balls” high enough in the air as I juggle them … right now.

My intention has not only been to share hope with my readers. It has been to share hope with you, the writers, as you share your words with the world. So, when I can’t visit and promote those who link up here as much as I desire, my heart is burdened. I want to be one of your greatest cheerleaders and I just can’t do it well right now. But it’s not forever. My hope is that the #MomentsofHope Link-Up will return in the fall.

But wait … don’t think I won’t still be here sharing all that God places on my heart! I will still be here on Thursdays (most of them anyway ♥) 

I also have some projects to complete (including some new additions to the Library of Hope) and a few new speaking engagements to fit into my days.

So, it’s not really like “good-bye”. It’s more like the scenery is changing for just a bit. ♥

If you haven’t signed up on my email list, now would be a great time. I’ll be able to let you know what I’m working on that way! Also, you can find out what is going on through social media. You can “like” my pages directly from the sidebar or use these links. I love hearing from you!

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12 Comments

  1. I certainly understand what you mean about keeping all the balls in the air. Blessings as you focus on what God is calling you to do. I look forward to hearing more about that in the future!

  2. Lori –
    I love that you are “A family that could face the chains of discouragement, fear, and hopelessness but not succumb to them.” Yes, prayer works. I loved reading about your boys in this posts. What a precious family you have and yes, prayer works.

    I completely understand. It sounds like you have a full schedule. I hope you will join us over on Grace & Truth and link-up your posts. I know our readers would love to see you there. Thank you for hosting this wonderful link-up. I have enjoyed it over the years and I have loved getting to know you through your writing. I will still be here when you post.

    Blessings,

    Maree

    1. God has answered that very prayer in such a profound way. I am reminded of it almost daily. The relentless love of her brothers absolutely astounds me at times. Prayer most definitely works ♥

      Thanks so much for understanding. It was so hard to make the decision, but I knew it just wasn’t possible to keep up right now. I will definitely try to stop by Grace & Truth. I want to stay connected ♥

  3. Angela Johnson says:

    Lori, I understand your struggle. I will miss linking up with you. I hope to join you again in the fall. By the way beautiful story, and you are exactly right prayer changes things!

    1. Thank you so much for the kind words, Angela. It’s so tough to let go of the things we love – even when we know it’s the best thing. I plan to be back, though, and look forward to connecting even more♥ Blessings to you!

  4. Lori, what a beautiful story. I love that you recorded these prayers and shared the impact you feel they have made over time. What joy it is to our kids loving each other well!
    Blessings,
    Kevin

    1. Thanks, Kevin. I am reminded of God’s answering to that very prayer almost every day – Such a gift! Blessings to you!

  5. I hope you can return in the fall but I understand completely, and you are right about the prayers we pray, what if we had not? Grace.

    1. Thank you so much, Becky! I hope to be back as well! I’m praying so! Blessings to you!

  6. Thanks so much for sharing your story, Lori! Thank you for your encouraging reminder that “prayer is the most powerful thing you can do as you face your next journey.” May God continually bless you and your beautiful family!:)

    Blessings, Bomi.

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