Now that we have been matched with Li Zhong, we have to let our adoption agency know — officially — what our daughter’s “English” name will be once the adoption has been finalized. This is something Deb and I have talked about since we started this process. I don’t remember where within these past three years we reached this decision, but early on we settled on “Grace” for her first name.

Her name will be Grace Li Zhong…

“Grace” as in God’s grace, as in a gift, something precious given solely out of love without expectation and unearned. We will keep her given Chinese name because it’s beautiful (literally) and because from the minute we saw our first small photograph of her, we knew it fit. “Li” means beautiful and “Zhong” means China or middle of China. We will probably call her Li (or something based on that) when we welcome her to our family.

Grace Li Zhong: a beautiful gift of God, given from the heart of China.

In His Image

I came across something this past week in preparing to lead our Bible study at church. We are studying James and are moving from the end of chapter 1 into chapter 2. We’ve talked a bit the past couple weeks about how James’ writing is discussing how the way we live our lives, the way we treat people, the things we say all are a reflection of what we believe — and how there can be such a big difference between our actions and what we say we believe. One of the resources I am using to help be ready to lead this study touched on something that got me thinking. That resource mentions that, while Paul’s writings emphasized the purpose of faith (salvation), James emphasizes the results of faith: a changed life.

That led me to one of my favorite books: “God’s Blogs” by Lanny Donaho, and this is where my “Aha!” moment came from. Chapter 16 is titled “In His Image” and provides an explanation of what exactly it means that we are created “… in His image.” Donaho takes the perspective that this is not focused as much on how, but more on why. We are created to reflect Him, what He’s done for us, what He means to us into the world around us. We do that by how we live our lives, how we treat people, the decisions we make, the things we say — those are the things that show what we really believe and hold dear. Which is precisely what James is writing about…

I particularly liked the conclusion of that chapter:

BTW… reflections happen best when you are standing near to that which you want to reflect. (That which you were made to reflect.)