Respecting Our Kids (Part Four: Sensitive Kids and Lying)

I’m going to get personal with this one.

I am an introvert and I get tired easily if I’m around a lot of people. I also get freaked out when I’m in a situation where someone is cornering me, like asking me a direct question for which I do not have a well thought out answer. I need time. I’m not good on the spot. I have always had a hard time asking anyone for anything; I don’t want to be a bother. I do not want to be in the spotlight or be thrown into hectic situations where I have no control or escape. If someone feels something negative toward me, I can’t wait to get it sorted out…I just don’t have complete peace until I’ve done all I can. Certain places and things bother me that don’t bother other people.

Well, all of this was true of me as a little girl and teenager, too, of course.

My parents are very kind and reasonable people, and they did several things to take my personality into consideration! But nobody, not even I, knew the toll some circumstances were taking on me. Here’s one thing that my mom probably never knew about. When she asked me a leading question, I was afraid of disappointing her and my brain couldn’t react quickly enough to say what was true. As I said, I wasn’t good on the spot, and often feel intimidated. However, not connecting my personality with my experiences, I would live in guilt for “lying”.

This little tidbit of my life, both my innate characteristics and this detail about lying, is meant to kill two birds with one stone.

One, we need to get to know our kids and make room for their needs. We need to realize how they may be feeling about their lives, their schedules, and themselves because being ignored or unaccepted will either lead to difficulty on the outside or the inside, and I don’t know which is worse.

Two, we need to understand what may be going on behind the scenes when a kid is lying.

Here are a couple of thoughts that may be helpful for families with sensitive kids, or kids who have a tendency to lie.

We must understand that the need to be acceptable to parents is so incredibly strong that some kids will say anything to get that need met. Especially in kids from hard places, because they have built-in-doubt that they are truly wanted, but this could apply to kids (and adults!) in general.

We need to examine how volatile and hostile our reactions and questions are when our kids aren’t behaving in the way we expect. This is why we have to create an environment where we slow down and listen better, and build their belief that they are accepted no matter what.

There are consequences for lying and behaviors like it (deliberate choices to do something harmful), but if we only give consequences and not address the root behind the behavior, with many children we won’t get very far. Our goal is to train them to handle their feelings and fears in a respectful, healthy, authentic way, and that means we have to listen, get creative, see the need/desire underneath their choices, be compassionate, teach & train them with alternative behaviors, and practice, practice, practice!


Respecting Our Kids (Part Three: How)

As God’s Word says, out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. If our hearts are full of frustration, no matter what words we say, the emotion will seep out, too. Our respectful behavior will only come from a genuine heart change and daily renewal from the Lord. I just wanted to remind you of these truths before I jump into these examples of what I am learning respect looks like!

Here we go…

1. Listening well. If we don’t have time for this, what are we doing? And sometimes our listening isn’t even about hearing actual words…sometimes the listening is more like discerning what needs and feelings their behavior is communicating.

2. Getting to know them and not assuming we already do. Letting them have their own thoughts and opinions and realizing they’re equal to ours.  Make some room. It’s disrespectful to interrupt, interrogate, jump to conclusions, think we’re better, and give swift judgments.

3. Thinking before we talk. Thinking about where our words will take the conversation. Our words can give them hope that they can come to a workable solution in every single instance, whether they are 3 or 13 or 33. Our words can show we believe in them, that they have what it takes to do this hard thing! It is disrespectful to lecture thoughtlessly until we run out of words and it’ll only make us more aggravated as they lose attention anyway.

4. Staying calm and kind. Not making an enormous deal out of everything. It’s disrespectful not to mention frightening to have this big person (who is driven by the thoughts “It’s the principle of the matter” and “They should know better!) glaring at you, talking at you in an aggravated tone, and handing out punishments until their sense of justice is satisfied.

5. Having a plan for discipline that they understand and can expect is respectful. It’s disrespectful to surprise kids with a random disconnected punishment that doesn’t make sense and wasn’t ever mentioned before, like “You got a clip down at school again so you aren’t going to that sleepover tonight.” Punishments are necessary sometimes! But we can be a part of helping our children dig to the core of the problem and work it out instead of just punishing it. For example, what was the clip down for? It may be that we need to have a pretend class room at home and practice whatever the situation was that brought about the clip down. Now, it may happen that the only time to do that is during the family tv show time before bed, sadly, because school night evenings are pretty busy. That may seem like a punishment, to miss the show, and it is, technically, but it’s more of a natural consequence showing that fun is often squeezed out when we have to take the time to re-do something we did not handle well our first chance. Punishments that don’t fit the crime, that distance kids from parents, that are harsh and not well thought out, and that are surprising, are disrespectful.

6. There are so many more examples, but I’m over my 500 words big-time! Last but not least, we show respect by enjoying our kids and letting them know we enjoy them, by highlighting the good, and amplifying it like we hope others in our lives will do for us.


Respecting Your Kids (Part Two: Why)

So in the past two blogs, we have talked about how respect is one of the most important ways we can put action to the words “I love you”, what types of behaviors we see in our kids, how we tend to respond, and some of the ways our hearts need to change for better relationships.

It’s not easy and it may feel uncomfortable. It may feel like you’re focusing on the wrong thing and letting bad behavior slide. But here’s why parenting with respect is so vital:

1. They’re human beings. If you’re a boss of an office full of adults, there are certain ways you go about getting them to comply and certain ways you don’t, and those “ways” have everything to do with general courtesy and respect. If you’re the boss, you set the tone in the office for how people are going to interact. Same for a parent. If we want a house with no yelling, no muttering mean things under breath, no hurtful sarcasm, no interrupting and talking over each other, no harsh judgment or interrogation, and no heightened negative emotions brimming over in our speech, it’ll start with us. We live in a world right now where being a human being isn’t enough reason to show love and respect to one another. We have to change that! We will see respect if we set the tone for it with our own words and actions.

2. We need to learn to show respect to our kids because respect opens up their heart and mind. Lectures and punishments literally shut down parts of their brains, and we can see it in their eyes! They either lash out or retreat in, but either way, we see it, and we keep going because we don’t know what else to do to make a bad behavior stop. Respect, shown by listening, gentleness, affection, and other efforts to show unconditional positive regard, relax their mind and heart (literally!) and give us a way in. The heart is where the real change happens, and respect is an open door into their heart.

3. Respect raises a child’s self-image and what they think of themselves. When we show them and say out loud to them, “You’re worth my time and attention, you are not a problem”, that becomes a part of their identity. We want others in their lives to see their worth, right? When they are grown we will expect them to even demand that from their spouse or co-workers, right? We have to recognize their worth ourselves and teach it to them now.

4.  Respect builds trust. They begin to believe that whether they’ve messed up or not, whether they’ve done something acceptable or the opposite this time, they still belong. Instead of always feeling like they have to strain to achieve that secure spot, they begin to believe they are already living in it. Then their choices and actions will reflect that status.

Kids (and adults) hear a lot of lies in their heads about not being good enough, not being loved, not belonging. In so many people, that’s just there…a sense of it always there. It really breaks my heart. We have the chance and the power to speak against those lies with everyone we come in contact with, and especially our children, through showing them respect that is unrelated to what they do or don’t do.


Respecting Our Kids (Part One: The Struggle)

Okay, let me paint a picture for you and then you can see if you’re reading the right blog 🙂

One or more of your children seems to need more attention than you think they should require at their age. They have one or more of these characteristics: They tend to be destructive. They lose, break, cut, and color on things. They tend to whine or fall apart at instruction. They are opinionated and don’t go with the flow. They lie sometimes, and their response to being found out is one of confusion. They have a hard time looking you in the eye and staying focused on more than one sentence at a time. Certain things really bug them, like socks being too big or noise or even hugs.  They don’t remember something they seemed to have grasped last week. They get anxious about learning new things. They aren’t compliant sometimes with simple things like putting on shoes or finishing their drink. They seem to disregard instructions, either forgetting or not prioritizing them. They’re often in a bad mood even when their lives seem quite fun and easy.

Even if these aren’t characteristics of any of your children, do you recognize any of the following characteristics in yourself?

You don’t know how to respond when your child did something irresponsible or flat out disobedient or is throwing a loud fit. Your first move is to give a lecture and a punishment. Your main priority is that they simply never do that behavior again. You ask “What were you thinking?” a lot. You holler from across the house what they need to be doing. You threaten time-outs and spankings without actually getting up from your chair. You feel angry, aggravated, and powerless. You give mean looks. Your expectations are rarely met.

Well, I’ve been there, I admit it. In fact, in order to implement the changes I have been learning about, I needed to grow in humility and have a major heart change. Here are just a few pieces to the heart-change puzzle for me:

  1. I had to recognize I don’t show love and acceptance to my children just as they are, right smack in the middle of their problems, and that’s not okay. I had to realize I was holding back smiles and warm, kind eyes from them when they disappointed me, and that’s not okay.  I was saying, “We’re your forever family, you belong with us, we love you!” but acting like “You better shape up, kid, and I’ll be keeping you at arm’s length until you do.” I truly had to repent.
  2. I had to let go of my expectations of them based on their age or what “should be” their maturity level. So many of my angry moments were spurred by this thought: “You should know better. You should do better.” I had to let go of the “shoulds” and accept what is, choosing to rise to the challenge. (P.S. None of us like to be “shoulded”…either we achieve something or we don’t, “shoulding” just makes people feel less.)
  3. I had to realize children are unique little people with quirks, idiosyncrasies, struggles, habits, and opinions, just like me, and they deserve the same acceptance and unconditional kindness and respect that I expect from others. They’re complex! They aren’t my canvas to paint on, they are their own, and we don’t really even know them until we make the effort to stop changing them.
  4. I had to understand there are real biological or psychological reasons behind some of those behaviors and difficulties, and grow in knowledge and compassion.
  5. I had to accept that it was my responsibility to set a new tone, make a new plan, and bring healing through our interactions instead of hurt and distance.


Respecting Our Kids (Intro)

Wow, my thoughts about this topic are completely commandeering my morning. If I sound especially passionate in my writing today it’s because God is digging deep in the garden of my heart…and because of my spiritual gifts of teaching and encouraging, I feel like I have to share.

First of all, my ideas of parenting changed completely through attending an Empowered to Connect seminar in April 2015 and then continuing to study and practice their teaching all summer. This training is specifically for parents and caretakers of children from hard places, whether that’s a foster care situation, trauma at an early age, or adoption. It’s for families who are raising kids who have experienced loss at a time they needed attachment and someone they could trust the most. But as I listened and as I have learned this summer, I have grown to believe this way of relating is for EVERYONE! It has revolutionized my home and now is revolutionizing my heart, affecting every relationship, beyond my children…and the real key to it all is respect. Yes, love, of course. But one of the ways love is shown is through the multi-faceted concept of respect.

Every person wants to feel respected, like they matter, like they are an equal, and like their voice is worthy of being heard. Every person needs to be able to share how they are feeling without fear of punishment. Every person deserves this and innately desires this, because we’re made in the image of God and by the hands of God! Whether we struggle at times with this concept of self image or not, something inside of us is always pushing us to know we are special and precious.

Is it possible that we teach our kids they are fearfully and wonderfully made, as Psalm 139 tells us, and expect them to grow up to have a great self-esteem, but then talk to them on a daily basis like we would talk to no other human being on this planet? I say every child needs respect whether they come from hard places or not, whether they’re fragile in the area of feeling like they belong or not, because it doesn’t matter how steady and strong your foundation is, none of us appreciate a lack of respect being shown to us and when there is a lack of respect we struggle to respond correctly in that moment. When the cashier says in an exhausted, sarcastic tone, “Are you gonna swipe your card or what?” When your spouse says, “I know I told you I would do this, but I did this instead…I’ll do your thing later.” When the person you were in a fender bender with yells, “What is wrong with you?” The three attitudes behind these examples…I have had them all with my children at times and that makes me sad.

It is possible to raise children with respect without them thinking they are in control and equal in regard to running the household. Here’s the good news: They don’t want to be in control and they don’t want to run the household. They simply want their ideas and words to be listened to, their feelings and desires considered, and to be spoken to and treated with unconditional positive regard.

This week I’ll be sharing blogs about this topic and will give examples of how we can change disrespectful habits into life giving, connecting interactions with our kids. I hope I can relay to you how imperfect I am at this, yet how much reward I already am receiving — I can see it in their eyes.

Being respected is being loved.

Learning to Trust

As I have talked about to pretty much anyone who has spent more than five minutes with me this summer, God is doing a major work in my life and that work is all about learning to trust Him!


First, I had to find out that I didn’t really trust Him…

then I had to find out why not…

then I had to seek His Word to reconcile how I felt with what I say I believe…

and now I get up every morning to face the situations that will drive those truths deeper and deeper into my inner being.


This is what is on my mind as I think about a situation I am having to face right now! I want to share this because I think it’s a good example of how truth can meet us in the middle of suffering.

Last year around this time, I had to have a medical procedure. I am not a wimp at all when it comes to pain, but this was a bad situation, and it took me awhile to get over it emotionally and physically. Yesterday, I went back to the surgeon and I have to have another similar surgery. It isn’t going to be in an emergency setting like last time, so I am grateful for that, but still, I’m really having a hard time accepting that I have to “go there” again. All of a sudden, I physically feel tired and like I want to cry all the time. It’s really affecting me!


But part of what I’ve been learning in this “trust process” is that a large amount of the pain we feel in suffering is our fear of it. This is the part that gets me pretty fired up. See, the enemy wants us to get caught up in being angry at God when we suffer, but the truth is that fear comes from Satan and it does not have to be a part of our suffering experience.  The part of suffering we can have power over, the part of suffering God is cheering us on to take power over, is here in our inner man. A spirit of fear does not have to accompany us in the trials of life; we can resist against his lies, and walk in freedom in the middle of the circumstance.

So that’s the part of suffering we can do battle against…but I believe there’s also a part of suffering we are encouraged to accept.

A large part of the pain we feel in suffering is our rejection of it.

Think of Job. Think of Jesus. Think of John. Think of Paul. They all understood that their suffering was allowed very purposefully and strategically by God, and while they were real and honest about the pain, they accepted it. They took the cup and drank it. They weren’t shocked by it, and they didn’t act like they were somehow too good for it. They wanted their suffering to achieve every high purpose God had in mind for it.












A Little Look

I don’t really know where to begin. I am choosing to restrain myself from writing about everything all at once…in fact, I have a new goal in blogging that some of you will be really happy about! 500 word cut-off! Whoo!

That was 40 right there. Wow.

So, Jack and I went to Haiti this summer & spent two weeks getting to know the girls that will someday be our daughters. It was wonderful & weird, precious & difficult, all at the same time. Once that trip was completed, other pieces of the process could begin, so we were thrilled to finally be at that point.

We came home to a whirlwind of summer plans with our girls here (ages 7 & 10), and then they began school just a couple of weeks ago. I quickly dove into beginning and updating lifebooks for my girls, studying Haitian Creole, taking care of my inner life, and teaching music lessons while they are gone during the day.

One thing that has made all the difference in the world to me is my daily prayer time. I’ve been using the resources The Power of a Praying Parent and The Power of a Praying Wife to pray specifically for the people under my care. I genuinely feel like I am living out Philippians 4 that tells us the peace of Christ will guard our hearts and minds as we present our needs to Him, with thanksgiving. I’m thankful that every need I bring to the Lord He knew about, and my prayers are more about me reminding myself of His awareness, power, and love than anything else! It’s a truly remarkable difference. I am not afraid anymore. I’m not afraid of not praying enough or not remembering to say exactly the thing I’m asking for in exactly the right way. Oh, how small in my eyes that makes my God and how big in my eyes it makes me! The truth is my Father has got “my people” in the palm of His hand, and that absolutely includes my girls in Haiti and my girls in public school. He has so much restoration and solace for their souls, and my prayers are simply in agreement with & gratitude for His already-great plans for them.

We are currently waiting for our Authorization of Adoption, which usually takes 4-6 months, which means we should get ours between the end of October and the end of December. We’re praying that God will spur people in Haiti to make this process happen in a more reasonable time period. After that Authorization comes, there is another 6-8 months of the process.

Proverbs 21:30 tells us (and this is no isolated verse here!): “There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord.”

I don’t know what God wants to do in the seen realm about this adoption process, but I have no doubt in my mind (and am seeing with my own eyes) that He is the One in control & that He is providing for every need.

Take joy, little children, we have a good Father!!!!!


It Happened


So, we are terribly behind in sharing the news because once IT happened, our life flew into a whirlwind! On May 29th, 2015, we got the phone call we had been waiting 18 months for. Our adoption agency had our referral letter for two little girls in Haiti! They are 3 and almost 5 years old. We are so excited to finally have pictures and names. I’m sorry to not share that part yet with the world, but we are letting more steps of the process occur before we “go public” about our newest family members.

After getting the referral, we were on a plane to Haiti in less than 3 weeks. We stayed in a nice guest house associated with the creche the little girls live in. Almost every day of our 15 day “socialization trip” we visited our children at the creche. The creche is a big house with many levels for different ages of kids and nannies in each room.








Our girls quickly (like within minutes) wanted to be held and called us “Mama and Papa Blan”. They were told we would someday be their parents, and in case you don’t see the connection to the French word for “white” (blanc), the word “blan” is “white” in Haitian Creole. So basically we were White Mama and White Papa. (Yes, you can laugh, it’s pretty funny.)

The girls do not speak any English at all. This was certainly challenging, but we brought a lot of toys to play with together. We also sang and prayed a lot, especially when emotions were running high and deep. We got to meet many of the little girls’ friends, playmates, and nannies. It really struck me how unique the community in the creche was. Kids were happy for each other when their friend’s “Mama Blan and Papa Blan” came. They understood it would happen for them someday, too. There was a sense of hope and excitement, not despair. It was a really simple existence but not lonely and not miserable and certainly not fearful or unhealthy. The children also understood that when Mama and Papa Blan went away, they would be coming back, because they had seen other friends go through the same process. This comforts us greatly, because being with these precious girls for two weeks and then leaving was excruciating. I wanted to get back to my daughters in the U.S. very much, but it was very strange and sad to leave.

We are told we have 10-14 months before we get to bring them home. They are not yet “ours” and there are many legal steps to take, each taking weeks to months. We would love to have you praying with us to receive our IBESR Authorization and Adoption Decree swiftly. We are praying for miracles, but I want to say I have a joy and peace that honestly shocks me. Soon I will blog about the monumental way God has removed worry and fear from my heart and life! I can pray with thanksgiving and confidence that our Father has my family in His perfectly capable, loving hands.

I can’t wait to see what He does.

#HowToBuild: Why We Fast

A couple of months ago, I wrote a short blog series called #HowToBuild, about building ourselves up in our most holy faith. I wrote about being in the Word, prayer, worship, and about the enemy. I cannot even tell you how attacked I was after writing that blog about the enemy! The Lord really did allow Satan to sift me, like I wrote in the most recent blog, about Jesus and Peter. I felt dazed and confused for awhile, knocked down and not knowing what hit me. I came to the Lord and His Word but in every way I just felt unable to concentrate and get anywhere. And because I saw how valuable fasting can be in times like this, when things in the physical realm are unbearable and life in the spiritual realm doesn’t feel like it’s going to be enough, I want to tag on another blog to that series…

Why We Fast.

I went through a time where I didn’t fast often at all, because I couldn’t really remember why it mattered. Honestly! I had this idea in my head that fasting was pretty much like holding my breath until God gave me what I was asking for, like “I’m not going to eat until that person is healed!” Um…I didn’t think that was quite right.

But in the sifting, in the disappointment and fear, it began to be really clear to me by God’s grace that I had to find a way to get more of His truth and power in me. Not only could I not be the wife and mom and witness I wanted to be if I did not have more of His Word and truth and love in me, but I could not survive on the inside, in the place where joy and peace was so desperately needed.

It’s clear to me now that when I am inconsistent in patience and love with my family, really the problem behind this is my inconsistency of coming and being filled by the living Lord Jesus and all His goodness.

That requires time. That requires attention. That requires setting aside escapes. That requires setting aside distractions. So for me, that requires fasting, and personally I fast from things like social media and Netflix because I know that’s where I go when I can’t handle things going on in my life. But what do I really need when I can’t handle things going on in my life, when I’m really hurting? I need Jesus, the same Jesus Mary and Martha cried to when their brother died, the same Jesus who looked with compassion on the masses. I need fellowship with Him and understanding of His parables. I need to know what I can expect from God, what happens when I pray, how to pray! I need to know He loves me, that others have suffered and made it through, and what faith really is! Sure, I’ve heard a lot of it before, but yesterday’s manna is stale. I have to gather, today, my portion.

Fasting is not about getting what we want in our prayer life.

Fasting is not about holding our breath, thinking if we take this drastic measure, He will do what we ask. He’s going to do what we ask if He wants to, I don’t think we have to fast to make it happen. (Maybe I’m wrong?)

Fasting is about prioritizing our spiritual nourishment for the marathon we are in, with great expectation that our inner and outer man will reflect the strength, wisdom, and peace we gain from Him.

Fasting is about feeding the spirit, which sometimes requires starving the flesh. It’s about focusing on the invisible, when we would normally choose the easier route: focusing on what we can see and touch and be quickly comforted by.

I’m at a place in my walk with God where I don’t have exact time frames of fasting, exact goals or beginning or ends, because then it becomes about the outer man, and my own self control. I want fasting to be about gaining a heart of wisdom, a life that chooses Him because I see the bounty there as opposed to what I would end up with if I spent that free time in another way. He wants to set our feet on higher ground, to look at our problems from a platform set up outside of the situation, rather than drowning in waves we can’t get our heads above.

Whatever it takes to get to that place, and stay at that place, oh, Jesus, give us grace to do it!

That Our Faith Would Not Fail

Jesus told Peter that Satan had asked permission to sift him like wheat but that He was going to be praying for him, that his faith would not fail. (Luke 22:31-32) Then Jesus gave Peter a picture of what it would look like to follow Him. He said: You’ll be taken places you do not want to go. You’ll have zero control. When Peter asked if the others would have it that bad, Jesus answered: None of your business and not your problem! You must follow Me. (John 21:18-22) Whew. Those must have been some life altering moments for Peter. And like a few other life altering moments for Peter that I can call to mind from Scripture, I fit in his shoes quite well. Stepping out, sinking. Demanding, head lowering. Zealous, unfaithful.

What can we take from these encounters of Jesus with Peter when we ourselves have a crisis of faith, a mountain ahead we just don’t want to have to climb?

1) We can take from these conversations a realization that we ourselves may be in the process of being “sifted”, meaning when it’s over (this particular circumstance and this earthly life), some of who we are will be left and some of who we are will be gone, thrown out, dead. Satan intends the sifting for our pain, in hopes our faith will fail, but Jesus intends the sifting for our benefit, so that we are refined like gold. It hurts. There are cancers being cut out of us. He sees what we cannot, and if we are to be His vessels here to show His Kingdom to the world, there are things in us that simply cannot remain.

2) We can see this unbelievable truth right along with the first: Jesus Himself is interceding for us. And He is interceding to the Father on our behalf, praying that our faith would not fail. He is the leader of that great cloud of witnesses cheering us on! Is He praying we will get everything we’re wanting? Is He praying our answers would come quickly and easily? I don’t see that here. I see His concern is our perseverance and character. I see His concern is our encouragement and an ability to keep going even when our plans fail and our hearts break.

3) We can see while our relationship with the Lord is incredibly enriched by community, there is an element of this relationship that is naked, alone, face to face, “just you and me here now”. We can’t worry about the size of other people’s mountains, callings, or pain. We can’t worry about the magnitude of other people’s success, riches, or ease. If we have given our lives to the Lord, they are just that: His.

It’s a death, a real death, to realize these things. We’re dying to self, to immaturity, to trying to make things true just because we want them to be true, not because they’re scripturally sound. It’s not taking on bitterness or apathy, it’s taking on the yoke that we chose in accepting Christ, the yoke that is only easy and light once we lose our strong opinions and absolute need to be in charge.

By His Spirit, we have joy in the journey, yes, even this leg of the journey. By His Blood, we have peace and friendship with God. By His dwelling in us, we have resurrection life that is the very breath in our lungs. Friends, in whatever mountain you’re climbing, whether you chose that mountain and now see how impossible it is to climb, or whether you are going through a trial you did not choose at all, I want to tell you this:

Whatever you have lost and whatever you feel you lack, you do have what you need to make it through.

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: ‘For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, angels nor demons, present nor the future, any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in ALL creation, will be able to separate us from the LOVE OF GOD THAT IS IN CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD.” (Romans 8:35-39)