Stephen and Courtney

Stephen and Courtney

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Our African Names

When Stephen and I were trying to get pregnant or adopt we were blessed with many prayer warriors coming alongside us.  Some of these people we knew well and some we only heard about.  One woman, an amazing woman of prayer from my grandparents' church, fervently prayed for us to have a child and then she said "God, why not two?".

Her name is Maria.  Maria is from Africa and can pray prayer that shakes the building.  When she has finished praying you know you have been prayed for.  At a baby shower she gave us a children's book with two names written in it.  She told me that was the twins African names.  I was appreciative and thought it was how you say their names in her native language.  

God saved a special moment of understanding for me this month. Maria told me the whole story a few weeks ago.  The kids and I saw Maria while visiting my Mimi in the hospital. She was telling the kids about their African names and told us that the morning I found out I was pregnant she was driving and praying for us.  At that time she pulled over and wrote down two names that the Lord gave her.  She wrote down Joyful and Grace in her language.  I love how God works!  Maria did not know that we were pregnant, that it was twins, or that my prayer had been in God's charis to give us Charis.  Charis means grace, a gift of grace.  The names He gave her fit our children perfectly.
From birth Drew has been a child the exudes JOY and Charis is the gift of grace that we prayed for.  

Over eight years later I am still getting glimpses of how God was at work through the prayers of His people.  That was a hard and sometimes dark time for us but I can always see His hand working.  I am so thankful that shortly after He knit my babies together He chose names that fit them so well.  He is a Creator and His love is forever.

A Costly Gift

Every Gift Has a Cost

The other night as I watched my kids sleep it struck me… The thing that I have most poured myself into in life is teaching them about the Lord, with the prayer that they will accept Him as their Lord and Savior.  I have worked hard at jobs, desires, and goals before but never have I so completely poured my life into something.  The salvation of my kids has been a prayer since before I met them, directed EVERY decision I make for them, and occupied so many of our conversations.  As I thought about this I reflected on these verses:

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Eph 2:8

The wages of sin is death but, the gift of God is eternal life. Romans 6:23

These verses are referring to how I received my salvation.  It was no work of my own.  However, it struck me what Jesus gave for me to have salvation.  He gave His own life, he took my sin, and He was separated from His Father.  My salvation was only free to me.  Not to Jesus and not to the people that sowed His name into my life.  Let’s thank the people that spent time in prayer for us and taught us who He is so that we could experience and know Him.  Let’s live a life of gratitude to Jesus for His costly gift. 

Raising children is hard.  Being a parent, in general, is difficult.  But being a parent that seeks to raise their children to go against the grain of culture and societal norms, to seek the face of the Lord, and follow His voice over the roar of culture is down right TOUGH!  It takes His Spirit renewing us each day and prayer that feels repetitive.  However, now as I look at them sleeping and wonder if what I am teaching is sinking in I can stand encouraged.  I am sowing into them.  A farmer’s life is full of hard work and prayer.  He can tell you that never once did he win an award for how well he sowed seed.  However, his work provided food for many.  As we sow into the hearts of our little ones we are helping to produce a food that will one day feed someone.  The work can be hard but don’t lose heart. Keep plowing parents!