Updated: Dec 23, 2020
The two younger children jumped out of the newly purchased mini-van, their eyes sparkling with excitement. When they see their new home, their joy bubbles over with laughter and shouts. They have finally been chosen by foster parents. For the first time ever, they will get to experience family. The fear and anxiety of belonging nowhere, of being unwanted, temporarily dissipates.
The third child, older and more seasoned, steps out of the minivan quite differently. Her whole focus is on her younger siblings, encouraging them and reminding them to be on their best behavior. She is subtly wary, her eyes cautiously surveying the scene before her, taking in potential escape routes. Always, always in the back of her mind, she is aware of her new foster parent’s actions, of every emotion that flits across their kind faces. She wants the little ones to be taken care of, but she doesn’t believe she needs to be. After all, if she needed, she could be disappointed and wounded even more than she already was.
The younger children burst through the front door and move easily through the house, excited to explore each new room, overwhelmed by the bounty of new gifts in their bedrooms (they each get their own room!) with a joy that can only be compared to Christmas morning excitement. The older girl, while grateful, worked hard to not get too excited, too attached. After all, everything could be taken from her. One wrong move and it could all evaporate like the smoke curling out of a chimney. Her fears and bad experiences tainted her joy like poison taints a dish, no matter how tasty.
This scene from the movie “Instant Family” grabs at my heart because I can relate to that older child sometimes. I want to believe that God has whole-heartedly adopted me, that He is 100% for me, never against me. But much like the older, wounded child, I find myself acting like I am still unwanted. I make pleas instead of confident petitions to the Creator. Nagging doubts that I can never measure up or be all my Father has called me to be play in the shadows of my mind. I brace for the losses, anticipating outcomes that will likely never appear. There can be a wariness that comes from too much hurt that I’ve left unsurrendered or have resurrected when it is best left buried beneath the cross.
Social isolation has made it harder. I know my Father is the answer, but I wonder what He could possibly do that’s different from the day before. How is anything in my situation going to change? My thoughts wage war against me by parading my fear and failures, threatening to overwhelm me with a tunnel that has no end.
In those moments, it is crucial that I choose to define myself as a true daughter of the King. See, I am not orphaned. Neither are you. Instead, you and I are “God’s ‘chosen generation’, his ‘royal priesthood’, his ‘holy nation’, his ‘peculiar people’—all the old titles of God’s people now belong to you. It is for you now to demonstrate the goodness of him who has called you out of darkness into his amazing light. In the past you were not ‘a people’ at all: now you are the people of God. In the past you had no experience of his mercy, but now it is intimately yours” (1 Peter 2:8-10, Phillips).
We are intimately His! There is no greater love, no greater sacrifice, no greater kindness that the Creator can show us than the death, burial and resurrection of our Christ. No cost God spared in rescuing us. He alone can take those long, dark tunnels of pain and sorrow I go through and, “keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light” (Psalm 18:28). He lends dignity to my struggles, sits beside me in my heartache and pain, patiently waits until my ranting and wailing pass, and chooses to constantly wrap me up in His love. He is faithful to me even when I am faithless (2 Timothy 2:13). And now more than ever, I need reminding of that.
So, I am wrestling. I am fighting to remember God’s words to me in Hebrews 3:6: “But Christ, God’s faithful Son, is in complete charge of God’s house. And we Christians are God’s house—he lives in us!—if we keep up our courage firm to the end, and our joy and our trust in the Lord.” I am a cherished daughter, just as you are a cherished son or daughter. Fighting for the courage to embrace joy and trust in the midst of chaos is worth the effort, my friends. And there will come a day when the Lord Himself will welcome each of us to the overwhelming beauty of our new home—heaven.
FOR FURTHER THOUGHT During difficult times, it is so crucial to fight to see what is good and to really embrace and celebrate it. I have found it so helpful to pull out all of the many times God has been faithful and kind to me, to remind myself that His grace for me is, “A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over,” poured into my lap with blessing as I remember to forgive myself and others, to walk in grace and have a giving heart. I have started giving to random strangers, to encourage anyone I can anywhere I am, knowing God will bless those efforts.
This week, consider your own blessings. Remember how God has been faithful to you in your previous experiences, even if you didn’t realize at the time it was God, and thank Him for it. Strive to give to others in small ways; become the blessing you want to receive. I’d love to hear how it goes so please post the outcome!
PRAYER Lord, I can struggle so. I can fix my eyes so firmly on my circumstances I forget to look up to You with eyes of faith. Would you help me lift my head up, Papa. Would you remind me of Your faithful ways, of the incredible joy and peace You alone can give. Even when I don’t feel it, help me to remember it’s still right there, and that You are patient in helping me have the courage to reach for it. Strengthen me today, Papa, that I may declare the praises of Your wonderful light. Amen.
To learn more about author & motivational speaker Barb Lownsbury or to have her speak at your next event, CLICK HERE.
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