Eighteen months ago God made them our children forever. Zach and I, with much fear of doing it all wrong, began to teach them about God's love for them. Sometimes it made them furious at first. When I would tell them that He saw them as beautiful girls whom He had created and loved since before they were born, tears would stream down their faces as they shook their heads in disbelief that they could be so lovable. When I would tell them that God had been with them even when their lives were literally hell on earth, they slowly began to see how even in the midst of abandonment, severe hunger, verbal and sometimes physical abuse, God protected them in so many ways. He sent caring people who were angels to them to care for them. A young teenage girl took them under her wing and would feed them, bathe them, house them, and just be a friend when their Ukraine family would not or could not do these things. And eventually they were removed from this terrible situation and placed into an orphanage with some truly caring people who helped them to begin healing from all that and preparing them for what was next in their lives. When I would tell them that He loved them so much that He didn't want them to do things that would hurt their bodies or minds or spirits, it often resulted in anger or rebellion at first. When I would tell them that certain videos, music, magazines, immodest clothes, etc, was hurtful for them, there was major resistance to my authority or God's authority in their lives.
We could tell them all these truths about His love, but it was with a heart of fervent prayer. Prayer that God would reveal Himself to them. We could say the words but it was only God who could really open their eyes of understanding.
But then, the truth of God's love and grace began to take root in their lives. The resistance that we had seen (more in one than the other) began to melt away, and they began to see God's incredible love for them and that He had always loved them. They began to see that this world is hopeless and broken and that the only hope that any of us has is in His power in our lives to turn our ashes into beauty and our darkness into light. They began to know and experience, deep down inside, that His love is real and complete and they began to experience the healing that can only come from our Lord. And He more than answered our prayers. They began to seek Him on their own and to receive the truth that He began to reveal to them. We began to see their lives transformed as they surrendered to His love.
And so, it was with great joy that on this past Sunday, Zach had the incredible honor to baptize Katya and Nastya in the San Marcos River. It was a beautiful symbol of the new life that they now have in Him and how it is their desire now to share His love with others and to live their lives for His glory. They are not only our daughters but now our sisters in Christ.
I just stand in awe of how God has fulfilled the vision that He first gave us of what He would do in their lives. Thank you Lord. To You alone be the glory!!
Isaiah 61:3 To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified."