I heard an amazing sermon message at Saturday night service this week and I just HAD to write about it. The idea of what I am going to share with you is not my own, but these are my experiences and my interpretation of what the pastor shared with the congregation. I have to say a light bulb went off for me… and I am so very grateful.
I had a loving family growing up, but I have stilled lived the majority of my life as though I were an orphan. In many ways I orphaned myself; it was not necessarily done for me. No matter what I did or where I went, I simply didn’t feel like I fit in. I jumped from school to school, friend to friend, job to job, relationship to relationship, place to place trying to find the place I truly belonged. I made a willful decision to leave college and my family in the United States to follow a boy to another country. I was never more orphaned than at that point in my life… I had no one. The boy I left it all for turned out to be… just a human being, flawed and orphaned himself. I expected a lot more and ended up extremely hurt. Years later, my self-imposed orphan status led me to alcoholism. I had been silently crying out to the world, “Someone… please… adopt me… I need to be loved… I want to belong… I want a daddy who accepts me just the way I am.” McGlynn’s Pub became my “daddy” for a few years. I went there every night drinking with strangers who soon became my family. No matter what I did, I was accepted. They knew my name, they knew my drink and they saved my bar stool for me. I felt loved. Getting sober made my “family” and acceptance disappear. I found a new family at AA. That worked for awhile but soon I had to face reality… I was still an orphan in my mind. Last night as I listened to the message I realized a part of that orphan still lives inside of me… I am unable to commit to a church family. I’ve told myself that it’s because I want to have the freedom to go where I wish, that I can’t choose between the two worship styles my husband and I disagree on, that churches are too eager to have you join and it is a turn off but I think the truth of the matter is… I still see myself as an orphan and I am afraid. Admitting this makes me tear up.
I’m a mother. It’s a job I take very seriously. I attend a Christian parenting class once a week in an effort to do it right. One of the things I have learned in class is the importance of letting my son know that no matter what happens, no matter what he does, even when I’m angry or disappointed with him that I still love him. He must know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I love him unconditionally. Now this doesn’t mean he can walk all over me, it just means that hopefully he will sleep soundly at night with the knowledge that he is truly loved by his mother. Perhaps it is a generational thing, but this concept seems to be quite different from the way a lot of people my age were raised. Now, let me say this clearly… I am not blaming my parents or saying they did anything wrong in what I am about to say. I grew up thinking that love hinged on my good deeds. Somehow I ended up with this perception that the only time I was loved was when I had done something to make me worthy of love. On the flip side, when people were upset with me, I truly believed I was hated… yes, hated. I have many friends that grew up feeling the same way so, like I said, perhaps it was a generational thing… and as a result of these perceptions, I essentially became a slave for love. I have spent my life working diligently at earning the love of others. To this very day, I do not handle conflict very well. While my head now understands that real love doesn’t work that way, my habits and heart are easily led astray. I find myself working for love in almost every aspect of my life. The biggest aspect this affects is my relationship with God. I realized last night that I am continuing to diligently attempt to earn the love of my Father with everything I do. Yes, when I become still or even step backwards slightly my flesh begins to panic, afraid that the favor that God has rested on me will be ripped away and given to someone else who is more deserving. The devil is readily waiting at my ear, whispering confirmations of this incorrect belief. I have believed satan for far too long. It’s time to change. It’s time to step into God’s grace and believe with all I have, with total faith that I am truly loved regardless! I must accept that I am spoken for because I believe… that I am truly His daughter. Typing this makes me tear up for a different reason.
A daughter of the King was created to enjoy all the kingdom has to offer. She was not created to be alone or to be enslaved. She is lovingly disciplined when she screws up, but never punished. She is fully aware of the responsibilities she has to be the best daughter she can be but she also knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that her Father’s love is not dependant on her performance. She is fully and awesomely aware of His grace. She is conscious of His presence and knows she is never alone. She is not an orphan, nor is she a slave… she is a rightful heir. She is confident… she accepts her family responsibility proudly and wears her families crest with honor never doubting where she belongs. How does she do this? She answers two questions honestly. I have asked them of myself: What do I know to be true about God? He loves me. What do I know to be true about me? I believe He sent His son Jesus to die for me. Today I start a new life. It isn’t the life of a lonely, confused and frightened orphan and it’s not the life of a workaholic, worried slave… but it is the life of a confident, responsible and humble daughter. An heir to the eternal kingdom of heaven! It’s only by grace that I understand this… and I am in fact… overwhelmed by grace. This changes everything.