Monday, May 10, 2010
Romans 8:15-18--"For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, 'Abba, Father.' The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory."
I just watched Oprah on TiVo...don't shudder. I like some of the things she features on her show. So there.
In this case, it was a follow-up on the story of the four New Jersey boys who were adopted into a family through the foster care system, but then their adoptive parents starved and abused them. The photo of them during this time in their lives is heartbreaking. They were incredibly emaciated, they were tiny because of the malnutrition and their eyes were sad...how parents could do that to kids is something I will never understand. However, since they were found in that home 4 years ago, their lives have changed completely. They have been placed with adoptive parents who not only feed and clothe them, but they love the boys as their own. The mother said that she doesn't think of them as kids that she picked up from the courthouse because she feels as though she birthed them and that they're HER babies.
To me their new parents represent God's heart. No matter where we come from, once we're in his family we are HIS kids and he treats us as such. The world can abuse us and we can abuse ourselves, but as soon as we accept his invitation to join his family, we have a home. We have a place to call our own. Adopted children have the same legal rights as natural children. We have the same right to an inheritance. Romans 8:15-18 says we have the "spirit of adoption". I think that's pretty amazing. We have no reason to be slaves to fear because we are his children.
I know a lot of people KNOW this, but they know it in an abstract, far-off way. They don't really consider God to be their father. Maybe some have had bad relationships with their fathers, so they've put that onto God. They don't think of him as anything other than the "big guy upstairs" who's waiting to go at us with a big stick if we mess up. I've never thought of God that way. I'm fortunate enough to have had a strong connection to God my whole life, even as a child. I never worried that he didn't love me. I never felt like he wouldn't provide for me or my family. I never thought that he may be out to get me...I just always assumed that the way God presented himself was exactly who he was/is. Knowing that not everyone has had that same experience makes me feel privileged, on one hand, but it also gives me the desire to help other people realize that they can know him this way, too.
I know that God is who he says he is. For a long time, I went by what my parents said and the example they gave. Yes, when I was a child, my parents made it a point to make sure that I knew as much as I could about God. However, I'm a firm believer in the fact that you're not born into having a relationship with him...no matter what your parents do or how you're raised, you have to know God for yourself. I began carving out my own relationship with him when I was a little girl and I've never looked back. I've never been perfect. I've made huge mistakes. I've made bad choices and I've seen the darkness in my own heart more times that I'd like to recall...but God has never rejected me. I've never felt unloved or misunderstood. He has always known me.
He's teaching me that being his child has its privileges. I will never be abandoned or neglected or lacking in anything. I know that I'm blessed to know him. I know that really, truly knowing his heart for me is helping me to learn humility and contentment. If God is for me, who can be against me?
I hope you remember that you have nothing to fear. Fear is just as much a choice as any other emotion, so don't let it enslave you. You are adopted by the heart of the true Father and nothing will separate you from his love. No matter what your parents were like, God has the ability to cut through the crap and show you who he really is. Ask him to do it. He's been misrepresented by those who don't truly know him, so that's why it's important to carve out your own relationship with him. Only you can truly know who he is to you, so take the time to get to know him more...or start over from the beginning. A strong foundation is the most important part of any relationship.
I'm grateful for...
Making new friends out of old family. While we were in VA this past weekend, we got to spend time with my long, lost cousin and his family. I don't think I've seen him since I was around 12 or 13, so being able to see his family, his wife and kids, was a real treat.
Flexibility. I'm learning to be more flexible in my life and I'm thankful that my lifestyle allows me to do that. I hope I continue to learn that being flexible keeps me from breaking.
Chocolate. Shallow, yes, but I don't care.
Things could be worse. You know, no matter how bad you have it, someone always has it worse. While sympathizing with the person who has it worse is a good thing, realizing how blessed you are is a great thing.
Kids with personalities. My kids make me laugh. Sometimes people don't let their kids talk to other adults for fear that they'll say something inappropriate or they'll talk endlessly about nothing. I think, though, that watching the way my kids interact with other people is just another way for me to get to know them. Sometimes I see sides of them that I don't normally see and I appreciate new things about them. So I'm enjoying the opportunities I have to let them loose on the world.
Sean's layoff. He's laid off starting today and that means that he's around more. He is choosing to consider it a paid vacation...while he's not getting paid as much as he normally does, he's off work for a little while. He'll probably have a new job soon, so we're enjoying this time while we have it.
Gratitude. I've learned a lot about myself and my life by choosing to be grateful. It's literally changed my life. I hope you can try it, too.