Tuesday, November 25, 2008

And God Remembered Elizabeth

I guess I should start out by saying that for any of you who aren't aware of Elli's story, you might want to start by reading her adoption blog. Elli has been in our family for over a year and a half, and the love we have for her is beyond description. It is this love that has prompted me to start this blog-- to document the answer to a prayer of mine. Let's see... where do I begin? Maybe I should start by sharing a section of a talk given by Spencer J. Condie, one of the leaders in our church:

s Jacob matured and became of appropriate age, his parents sent him to the household of Laban, where he would meet Laban’s two daughters, Leah and Rachel. Jacob told Laban, “I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter. … And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her” (Genesis 29:18, 20).

You will recall how Laban beguiled young Jacob into first marrying Leah and then Rachel. “And when the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren” (Genesis 29:31). And Leah bore Reuben, then Simeon, then Levi, and Judah. Meanwhile, Rachel remained childless (see Genesis 29:32–35).

With ever-increasing envy and mounting desperation, one day Rachel explosively demanded of Jacob, “Give me children, or else I die” (Genesis 30:1). Leah subsequently bore two more sons and a daughter.

The Apostle Peter testified that “the Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering” toward us (2 Peter 3:9). In this age of one-hour dry cleaning and one-minute fast-food franchises, it may at times seem to us as though a loving Heavenly Father has misplaced our precious promises or He has put them on hold or filed them under the wrong name. Such were the feelings of Rachel.

But with the passage of time, we encounter four of the most beautiful words in holy writ: “And God remembered Rachel” (Genesis 30:22). And she was blessed with the birth of Joseph and later the birth of Benjamin. There are millions on earth today who are descendants of Joseph who have embraced the Abrahamic promise that through their efforts “shall all the families of the earth be blessed, even with the blessings of the Gospel, which are the blessings of salvation, even of life eternal” (Abraham 2:11).

When heaven’s promises sometimes seem afar off, I pray that each of us will embrace these exceeding great and precious promises and never let go. And just as God remembered Rachel, God will remember you. I so testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

I remember well the feelings I had when I heard this talk. Immediately, I looked over at my sweet Elizabeth Mei, and my heart was full as the Spirit testified to me that those beautiful words, "And God remembered Rachel," were meant for her, every bit as much as they were meant for Rachel. The words came with such force that I knew I would never forget it.. They have played over and over in my mind over the last several months, "And God remembered... Elizabeth."

We have over the last year prayed most earnestly for miracles to happen in Elli's life. Because she spent the first two and a half years of her life in such difficult circumstances-- abandoned on a street at six months, moved from orphanage to orphanage to foster care, then moving to a new country, family, language, environment, etc.-- it is no wonder that she is extremely delayed. As of today, we are not sure if those delays are from those early life experiences, coupled with being completely blind, or if she has other medical/cognitive issues. An educator once told me, "Imagine that you, with all your life experience, were permanently blindfolded and taken to China. Just how long would it take you to learn basic life skills and master the language?" I thought it a very thought-provoking question. How in the world can we expect Elli to be ANYWHERE developmentally when she is BLIND and has had the life she's had. It's just incomprehensible to think about.

Anyway, just after Elli's fourth birthday, I was on my knees and felt the Lord whisper a challenge to me. Now, I didn't hear words, but I felt very strongly in my heart that I knew what He wanted me to do. I was to write down the specific miracles I wanted for Elli in the next year of her life, and then watch His hand at work. I felt that maybe He was saying to me, "You know, Christianne, I have already done miracles in your daughter's life, but you are not always seeing them. Maybe if you write them down, it will be easier for you to acknowledge them when they happen."

So, as we drove up to Oregon last month, Jeremy and I had a good talk about what we would consider "miracles" in Elli's life. I told Jeremy to "think big!" To really have faith in the Lord and write down even the things that seemed impossible right now. We came up with a short list, and we both agreed that if those things on the list ever came to pass, that we would have witnessed a miracle-- one as significant and meaningful to us as Rachel's was to her.

Our list:

* be able to answer "yes" or "no" to a simple question
* sing along with songs (right now she will sing on her own, but not with anyone else)
* spoon-feed herself
* simple communication-- like "Hi, Mommy!" or "I love you."
* become potty trained
* appropriately answer the question, "How are you?"
* put shoes on by herself
* stop rubbing her eyes constantly
* play more interactively with siblings

And so, I am beginning this blog tonight for our Elli-- mostly for her and for us-- but also for anyone else that would like to join us in witnessing a miracle. I feel like sharing our list is a testament of sorts-- I want my Heavenly Father to know that I am trying my hardest to exercise faith in His mighty hand. That I am willing to share the deepest desires of my heart in hopes that others will join their faith with mine and pray for miracles.

Miracles for Elli.


  1. Oh, this is so beautiful! Thank you, thank you for sharing your faith in miracles! Not even one-half hour ago, I wrote out these thoughts on faith that I've had recently:

    People may claim to have faith simply because they believe that Heavenly Father will perform miracles for them. I don't think that only believing that miracles happen is really faith, though. I think that the belief becomes faith when you actually ask for a miracle and test your belief. That is the really hard part. What would happen to your belief if the miracle didn't come? (Factor in here the "But if not . . . " talk from conference a few years ago.) Sometimes it can be scary to test something that you believe in, because if it doesn't end up the way that you believed it would, then the belief will lose all of its validity. It's easy to have "faith" if you never test it; it will always be "true" if you don't ever challenge it. Maybe people don't like to test their faith because they can keep it "safe" that way. But when you test your belief, you prove to Heavenly Father that you have true faith and He rewards you.

    Thanks for illustrating this for me. I'm going to test my belief and pray for miracles for Elli!


  2. You are simply amazing... I can't wait to see all these miracles happen!!

  3. I have GOT to stop reading these at work. Half your blogs have me in tears. Thanks for sharing this very personal quest for miracles. They happen every day, but we do not see them. I am so glad you followed the inspiration to write the list and make sure you see them!

  4. Weeping at my keyboard. Blinking back the tears--failing miserably.

    You know what I want? I want to MOVE to Utah and assist (in prayer and therapy) in making every one of those dreams come to pass for you and Elli.

    The Bible says, "You do not have because you do not ask". It really can be that simple.

    So, Lord, we are asking. For the sake of Elli. For the love of this family. For the glory of God. For the furthering of Your Kingdom.

    Christianne: Do not be surprised when I flippin' show up on your doorstep and begin to work with Elli. Only half-kidding...just so ya know.

    Praise God from Whom all blessings flow.

  5. PS Hope this is OK. I've sort of invited a few people along on the journey....Here is the link.


    Happy Thanksgiving!

  6. I love this Christianne. You are an amazing mother and such a great example! Can't wait to watch these miracles unfold !

  7. Howdy!
    Heather BT here, mom to Acer, blind, home with us for 18 months from China, almost age 4. I was wondering if you've tried putting her in glasses to both protect her eyes from UV and stop the rubbing. We got sports glasses for Acer because he's so fast we were worried he'd injure himself on something and when he wears them he doesn't rub his eyes.

    Have you taken any of the Hadley school for the blind classes yet? My favorite was Learning through play. It also had a section about age appropriate activities for blind children.

    Also are you on any yahoo groups, they're great sources of information for me from parents who are been there, done that.

    If you want to email me off line to compare notes so to speak on our kiddos, it's heatherbt at mac dot com

    Heather BT

  8. Good morning guys - I caught this a couple days ago - but wanted to wait to read and absorbe again....there are all kinds of things I'd like to say and the words escape me - so let me say simply that we are adding our prayers to your's and wait with joyful hope for the miracles to happen!

    love you guys -

    aus and family

  9. I am so glad you started this blog. It may be for you and your family, but is sure is thought provoking to remind each of us in our own lives to realize the love the Lord has for each of us. This was a nice reminder for me. You guys inspire me each time I read your blog and I am mezmerized by for strength and faith.

  10. Christianne, I am always in awe as I watch you listen to the spirits promptings and then act on them. You have inspired so many of us and I will add my prayers to yours for Elli's miracles! I love you! H

  11. Just finished reading these two entries. Christianne...I miss you SO much! Once again, you inspire me... Thank you for sharing this journey with us. Elizabeth is so blessed to have such an amazing family. I can't wait to read all that will transpire... :)

    I was just telling Trip that I HAVE to make the time to keep a decent journal. The times in my life when I have done this, I have always felt so overwhelmed with the many ways the Lord blesses me and my family. Like you've said, it isn't just recognizing the blessings and miracles, but remembering them. What better way than through journaling?

    Now, if I can just get my children in bed, so I can find a minute to write before I crash... :)

    I LOVE YOU!!!!

    Jen M.

  12. Oh Christianne,
    This is going to be an AWESOME blog and I can't wait to follow along as I KNOW that the Lord is just sitting back and LOVING this as you hope to Glorify HIM in every detail of sweet Elli's life. Call me a stalker .... I'll be reading and waiting to praise him for all he does (and has already done) in her life!
    Cristie Martine

  13. April 9, 2009

    I love Elli with all my heart. She has brought amazing joy to me personally and has set a fine example of living through hardships. I already have been praying for her miracles, but now I have copied them to put by my bed to remind me daily of this great exercise in faith. Love, Grandma Rose

  14. Hello!

    I just found your blog via "no hands but ours". We have adopted a little girl from China who is blind in one eye.

    Anyway...I was just reading over some of your blog, and saw your struggles with her talking....talking one day and the next not. Have you ever looked into it being aphasia? My son was diagnosed with this and I can so relate to how maddening it can be. You should be able to respond to me by just replying in email to this comment if you would like. And..small world....I'm friends (like real life friends...ha ha) .with Cristie Martine. :)

    Blessings to you!