I’m still thinking about all that I learned at the Christian Alliance Orphans Summit and I want to continue sharing it with you as I can. Of course, I only have my notes to refresh my memory, so you are getting snippets of what was taught, but perhaps these little bits will be helpful.
As always, I also encourage you to watch Dr. Purvis’ videos available on the Empowered to Connect website. These videos are extremely helpful. I love the new short clips in the Insights and Gifts series, but the longer talks were what rescued us when we were desperately seeking help.
Dr. Purvis’ session was titled, Giving Voice to the Orphan.
She taught that in order to hear the voice of a child, we must:
1. Hear God’s voice
We need to quiet our lives in order to hear God. She spoke about fasting, praying, and going to bed early in order to get restorative sleep.
2. Hear our own voice in the context of His love.
We have to give to children out of our healing not our pain. The child will not heal us. We need to ask God, “What healing do I need?” We need to make sure that it is God’s timing and His calling. We may not be called to adopt, but we can still be called to orphan ministry.
3. Hear the child’s voice.
We need to help our children and not harm them. We can give them:
a. undivided attention (eye contact)
b. the ability to ask for their needs to be met
c. power by giving them choices, “Tell me what you need.”
This is a very stripped down taste of what Dr. Purvis taught, but it gave me lots to think about.
Just this morning Honeybee claimed that I “never listen” to her. I was sleep-deprived, caffeine-deprived, and exercise-deprived (did I mention that Russ is out of town?) and was not pleased to hear these words come out of her mouth. Many retorts came to mind…fortunately I managed not to say them, but I was irritated.
As I was reading through these notes, the morning came to mind. Obviously “never” is a harsh word, and I do listen to Honeybee, but this morning she was not feeling “heard”. I was rushed, I was grumpy, and I wasn’t hearing her voice; I heard the words, but not her heart. How long would it have taken for me to stop, look in her eyes, listen to her, hug her, and be fully present to her? Honestly, three minutes of my attention would have filled her heart and I didn’t give them.
Now you know why I write this blog; it is profoundly convicting to write about therapeutically parenting kids when I regularly fail myself. Wasn’t it just yesterday that I wrote about God’s mercies being new every morning? I guess I’m going to have to avail myself of His mercy once again.
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