Adopted by God
Even though I was far from being an orphan as a child, I understood loneliness at times. I was an only child…for real. I was abused by my step father. I alienated myself from others.
As an adult, I have experienced loneliness. I have alienated myself in a very different way. I imagined I was what my pastor describes as being “spiritually orphaned“. But something has changed over the last couple of years. I’ve been adopted…adopted by God.
There was a time that the only father I knew about was one I was trying to forget about. With the help of a few spiritual leaders at my church and counseling, I began to learn otherwise. I learned that God is my true Father. I understand that He is my Father. He chose me. He had plans for me, even before I was born. God adopted me to be a part of His family.
Because of my past, even my present, I have carried a lot of shame and guilt. It has laid heavy in my heart. I tried to keep it suppressed; but, thankfully things are different now.
There is a song called, “You Love Me Anyway” by Sidewalk Prophets. It reminds me of how I feel I acted toward Jesus for all of my life. Part of the song is as follows:
“I am the thorn in your crown; but, You love me anyway.
I am the sweat from Your brow; but, You love me anyway.
I am the nail in Your wrist; but, You love me anyway.
I am Judas’ kiss; but, You love me anyway.
See now I am the [wo] man who yelled out from the crowd
For Your blood to be spilled on this earth shaking ground
Yes then I turned away with a smile on my face
With this sin in my heart, tried to bury Your grace
And then alone in the night I still call out for You
So ashamed of my life, my life, my life!
It’s like nothing in life
That I’ve ever known
Yes You love me anyway
Oh Lord, how You love me.”
You see, my sins pinned His exposed and naked body on the cross. Despite what I did to Him, He sought me out in the crowd and said, “I love you anyway. I delight in you. I have adopted you for my own. You are mine.”
I’m so glad to know that I am loved. I’m not afraid to follow Jesus, or be with Him. In fact, I look forward to the day I will spend eternity with Him. I’m secure in knowing that Jesus loves me. He has adopted me for His very own. He understands my fears. He forgives me of my sins. He gives me strength.
It’s people who don’t understand. It goes back to the disconnectedness I have mentioned before. It’s people who choose to disconnect. Yes, there are some other circumstances; but, people make time for what they want to do. I know, because I’m a human being who does that very thing…chooses to do what I want to do.
I think that God would like for us to slow down and be a community…to try and reconnect with one another. Last fall I had a friend from middle school who reconnected with me, and it was great seeing her. To share our different journeys with each other. We shared so much, and it meant so much to me to be able to catch up with her. I have to admit that I have also connected with several through Facebook as well. It’s been great reconnecting with so many.
It seems so many have trouble reconnecting. Maybe something happened within the relationship. Sometimes things may have happened intentional, maybe on accident without knowing, or maybe time just slipped away. It’s not easy to reconnect. It takes time and energy. There are some who encourage you to do one thing, and then same people hold it against you for doing the very thing they encouraged you to do. It’s so frustrating, and talk about disconnecting.
There is another type of reconnecting…a reconnecting with God. God desires us to connect with Him. If God had not given me the strength and courage to depend on Him, then I think I would have ceased to exist. It’s because of Him that I’m capable of so much more. I’ve been made new.
God chose me to be a part of His family. God adopted me. I don’t mind being in a single family relationship with God. A community would be nice; but if some can’t accept me for me then there is no reason to be a part of community. Jesus loves me anyway…no matter what secrets I may have from my past, or the person I am now. He chose me. I’m adopted by God. He is the best head of family anyone could ever want. Praise His glorious name!
“…remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from…strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He himself is our peace,…For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,…” ~ Ephesians 2:12-14, 18-19
Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
I have often wondered, at various times in my life, if I was made for more than the ways of this world. As a child I had been sexually abused. I’ve lived through things that I never would thought I was capable of, and I’m much less afraid than I used to be. I’ve realized there is a strength within, a reason worth fighting for. I realized I am fearfully and wonderfully made, by Him, for so much more.
The word ‘fearfully’ means heart-felt interest and respect. The word ‘wonderfully’ means to be unique, and set apart. There is a great love and concern that goes into our uniqueness and being individually created in His image. According to Scripture, we are of great importance! We all have a purpose.
I’m just an ordinary person with wanting a heart to try and focus on God. The last couple of years I’ve been desiring to seek His purpose for me so that I may be used for Him. I feel God wants me to grasp the wonder of His love and grace. To know how real His involvement in my life is, even when I think He is not near, so that I may do this task that is set before me.
It clearly states in Philippians that God works in us for His pleasure. The Word of God tells us that we have been given favor from the Lord, it’s our inheritance as a child of God (Psalm 5:12).
I know that I’ve been guilty of not always putting Him first…even before my own family. At one time, I placed many on a pedestal above Him; but, no longer. I now know that I’m indebted to Him, that He has forgiven my debts, and that He has brought me into a new life with Him. I have become part of His family…the family of God.
My church had a conference this past fall about the family. Skip Ryan was the speaker. He said that the family becomes a place where we learn the purpose of our lives. It becomes the first place where we learn of who we are. He was referring of being a part of God’s family. The key to all we are and to be understood is within the family.
Of course, we learn a lot from our biological families as well. I’m thankful to have met a man that I married and began a family with. I have been blessed in many ways; but, especially with my three children. They are all three very unique with many God-given qualities and talents. They have taught me so much about life, and how very thankful I am for the opportunity to be called, “Mom”.
I’m thankful that I’m a part of the family of God, as well as my own family. We are joint heirs with Jesus. Admittedly, I’m not always close to either families; but, I’m thankful to be a part of both.
Within our families each of us has been given a unique and individual purpose that cannot fail if we will cast off fear and stop listening to the lies of failure, doom and gloom and all the negativity that the devil has been beating us up with. Regardless of our past and our shortcomings! Why? Because it is God ordained – that’s why. And besides that, Romans 11:29 tells us: “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” He’s given this to us and He will never take it back.
There is no difference who you are. Grace is for everyone in the family.
One thing that I’ve learned is that within our families, there is hope! Jesus is our hope! Jesus is God’s gift to sinners! The plans and purposes of God are set in motion for a reason…to give us a future and a hope, so that we can be a blessing to our families, or others.
Despite the complexity of families, we should invest time in her members…not taking for granted how much time God has fashioned us to be individuals that have been created for His purpose. We are all unique and bring a different gift to the family. God would not go to the trouble of creating us, if He did not have a purpose for the family. We have been fearfully and wonderfully made to be individuals within the family of God to do His purpose. Praise His wonderful name!
“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!” ~ Psalm 139: 13-17
Why Take the Time to Answer the Child’s “Why”?
Oh to be young again and to have the kind faith that only a child can have when they look up to their family. In the early years the child really depends on their family a lot. While growing up the child can be quite dependent on certain members of the family, asking lots of questions. Usually a child seems to know what family member can be trusted, and is willing to listen to their many questions. The other family members should not be offended. The child will grow up and become more dependent learning to love all of the members of the family.
Having the privilege of being a parent and a teacher, I have witnessed children asking many questions of “Why?” or “How come?” There are days I love those little inquisitive minds, and other days I just don’t have the patience. I try to answer their questions with a smile, and take their questions seriously; but, I have been known to give sarcastic answers on occasion. No one can be perfectly happy answering all questions asked, nor is it expected.
When it comes to the Bible, I often ask questions of clarification…because frankly, I don’t understand a lot of what I am reading, hearing, or maybe I am interpreting it wrong. If I am unsure of what His word is trying to reveal to me, I think–go ahead and ask questions. Didn’t Jesus say, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these…”?
Dare I say that Jesus was calling us not to only rely on “blind” faith, but to ask questions, seek answers, and find evidence of His truth within His word?
Lately, I have wondered that if I did not ask questions and get clarification, what kind of case for Christ would I be able to make to others. Could possibly the same questions I had–be one day asked, from those of this world, to me? Would I be well equipped to answer such questions?
It seems to me that there may not be enough encouragement for this question-asking and answer-seeking process within the family of the church. I am not knocking the church at all. Most of the time, she does the best she can with those “little rascals” (like me) who tend to get off task. But, could the family possibly lack the understanding as to why the child may want an answer to their particular question asked? Could it be the family is only confident answering the child’s obvious questions, and not their “super inquisitive” questions? I fear some family members may think them not appropriate to the learning process.
The problem with choosing which questions to answer, and not answer, is that the child will leave their family and go out into the world. If the child’s family has not prepared them with a solid biblical foundation, they might encounter others that could quickly convince them that His truth does not set anyone free at all. The world may also say there is no grace or mercy in forgiveness of shame and guilt the child might have in their heart…for whatever reason they carry this burden.
Satan is always putting obstacles in the way of the child so that they will fall down. Without the proper nurturing of their spiritual growth, the family may see another soul fall away. I would hope that the family would feel great sorrow for the loss of their child, if this were to happen.
At the same time the child should take some responsibility on their own; listening to their family, heeding what they say, and becoming passionate about learning His truth and grace. Along with the growing passion of the child–the family may also grow to be confident in answering the child’s many questions, and not just the obvious questions. By not ignoring the child’s questions—the child will become better equipped for the challenges of this world, rather than having the world challenge them.
Pardon the cliche’… but it definitely takes a whole family to raise a child. Why take the time to answer the child’s “Why”? Because if the child can learn the Truth of God’s Word early on and put on the full armor of God, then they will be better equipped to make a case for Christ when they enter the world. Having that prior knowledge from having caring family could make the whole difference for survival in the world. They will be confident knowing that their faith and hope is found in Christ. All it might take on the family’s part is a little childlike faith. His Kingdom could be furthered by taking into account the innocence of the child’s questions, and taking the time to answer them.
“…sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you…” ~ 1 Peter 3:15