Monday, July 13, 2015

Before the Throne

Tonight I fixed dinner for my stepson and I while my Bri-Bri was in class. This wasn't my first time getting a meal together for Daniel and I because I have spent the day or evening with him while Bri-Bri did his internship last fall.

Anyway, as I sat down with my dinner, Daniel held out his hands for us to pray. I prayed for our dinner and thanked God for the day and added a little prayer request for my mom since she was recovering from a minor illnesss.

As we ate, we talked about random things. Afer Daniel ate, he played on his Wii.  I watched him while doing dishes and I thought more about his gesture for us to pray together. Being the observant 10 year old  he is, he probably notices that I like it when my Bri-Bri prays for us and we hold hands.

Maybe Daniel wanted us to pray because that was the normal thing we all did before dinner.

Maybe he wanted to because he knew that I enjoyed praying and holding his and Bri-Bri's hand.

Maybe he wanted to connect with God.

Of course, his reasons could be a mix of all three.  Even if he sees prayer as routine or as something that makes his stepmom smile, he still willingly joins Bri-Bri and/or I as we approach God in prayer.

The song "Before the Throne of God Above" came to my head, specifically the version from Shane and Shanes "Pages".  As I thought about it, I smiled. Daniel, like his namesake, comes before the throne room of God. Even though he tells us that sometimes he doesn't think God is real and that is why he finds church a bit boring, he sees that we value praying. And I believe that God is tugging on his soul even if he is unaware of it. As one doesn't simply walk into Mordor, one cannot simply walk into the throne room of God and not be afffected.

Daniel's gesture tonight of wanting me to pray for our meal encouraged me to continue praying that God would reveal Himself more and more to Daniel. I pray that each time Daniel approaches God in prayer - from simple mealtimme prayers to prayers about his family to his own wondering about God - that God becoomes more real. I pray that Daniel sees God as the Magnificent Savior and Creator on His Throne, and that he knows he can approach that throne with grace and mercy because that King sympathizes with us and gives us grace in our weaknesses.

I pray that Daniel will one day approach the throne of God and declare that Christ is his Savior.

Before the throne of God above
I hae a strong and perfect plea
A great high priest who's name is love
Who ever lives and pleads for me

My name is graven on his hands
My name is written on his heart
I know that while in heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart

Hallelujah Halleujah
Praise the One
Risen Son of God

Saturday, July 11, 2015

A different version of the trust fall

Daniel looks up to his dad and loves being with him. Watching their interactions, I can definitely tell that he has a secure attachment relationship with his dad. 

Today we went swimming in the apartment complex pool. Daniel and Dad swam around in the deep end and one of them had the idea that they should touch the bottom. 

At first Daniel was hesitant, but Bri-Bri promised that he would keep hold of Daniel and he was confident Daniel could touch his feet to the bottom of the pool in 5'6" of water. My Bri-Bri and Daniel tested how long they could hold their breaths and Daniel went under in spurts - his feet almost touching, his feet getting closer, one foot on the floor, and then finally, both feet touching the bottom of the pool. 

Every time Daniel surfaced, my Bri-Bri was right there, and for the first few times, Bri-Bri had his arms around him. He only let go when he heard, "Um, Dad, I think I want to try it by myself." 

As I watched them, I realized they were doing a variation of a trust fall. Daniel took the risk of touching the bottom of the deep end and achieved it with his dad's support. During this, I'm sure his trust in his dad grew stronger even if he doesn't know it yet. This exercise was physical proof that his dad is there for him. 

As I watched them and cheered Daniel on for his accomplishment, I prayed that he would always be able to turn to his dad for his trusted support and advice. If something in his life makes him doubt that steadfast support, we can point to this example of Dad being his anchor and guide in the deep end of the pool to remind him that Dad will always be there. 

Sunday, July 05, 2015

American Identity

Previous 4th of July posts have focused on why I am grateful I live in the United States. This one is a bit more introspective exploring my identity as an American, or more specifically, an American who was adopted from the Philippines. 

My mom made my dress I wore to my citizenship ceremony at the Federal courthouse in Denver. The citizenship certificate has my picture on it with me holding an American flag. 

My grandpa, or "Pa", instilled love of country in me at a very early age. I remember watching him hang the flag by the door of his and Grandma's house every 4th of July, Memorial Day, or Labor Day that I was with my grandparents. We went to the Memorial Day Parade in downtown Denver where we watched Grandma march with the W.A.C. or Women's Army Corps. In elementary school, I thought I had the coolest grandma because, "She was old, but she could march all the way through the Memorial Day parade!" Pa also reminded me to stand and clap for the veterans who were disabled when their unit marched by. He reminded me that my freedom was not free. 

As I grew older and began to watch the news with my mom, I would ask her questions about world events and we would discuss them at dinner. When I discussed the news with Pa, he would remind me not to take our democracy for granted as many citizens of other countries didn't have the basic rights given to us through the Bill of Rights. He and my mom also encouraged me to understand the structure of government so I was able to make informed decisions when I became of voting age. 

Mom was the one who got me hooked on football, America's pastime. Well, she and Flora turned me into a die-hard Denver Broncos fan, and my mom was so happy when we could discuss Elway's brilliance and fumbles. 

My mom also taught me how to like American pie. Especially when it's served a la mode with the vanilla ice-cream melting on top of the hot apples - mmmm.... 

Considering all these things, I was an all-American girl. As I became a teen, I realized I was an all-American girl in completely Asian skin. Did that bother me? Sometimes. I would tell my mom that I didn't feel as American as my friends because I wasn't born here and I wasn't Caucasian. I was Asian-American, and therefore, not completely American. She told me that I shouldn't tell myself that because I was an American citizen. If I wanted proof, she would show my my citizenship documents. 

As I learned more about history, I embraced the idea that America was a land of immigrants. I could relate to the story of coming here to find a better life. Maybe I wasn't American in a sense that I was born on U.S. soil to parents who lived here for generations, but I was American in that I came here for a better life. Like many immigrants, I respect and appreciate the culture from my home country, but I also embrace this culture and this country. I don't feel a pull between the two because they are both a part of me. I'm an American from the Philippines who is grateful for her new life. 

And I'm proud to be an American
For at least I know I'm free

And I won't forget the men who died
Who gave that right to me

And I'll gladly stand up next to you
And defend her still today

'Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land
God Bless the U.S.A.