Romans 8:16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God
When I became a Christian in my teens, I had no idea what God being a Heavenly Father meant. My father walked out on my mother when I was one. I didn’t meet him again until I was thirteen. And it was because I called him.
I still wonder what gave me the courage to do that. Perhaps it was a God thing. Maybe it was intense curiosity. Or just a kid trying to understand life and fill a void.
The God shaped hole.
My mother ended up resenting me, quite intensely in fact, for bringing a man she couldn’t stand back in her life. I wish her love for me was greater than her hate of him. But I’m not sure it was.
Neither parent knew how to love.
My mom was from abuse. My dad to a lesser degree was too. So they couldn’t model healthy, loving behavior. When my faith was first ignited (I say ignited because a fire from the Spirit burned within me) I began on my journey of healing, growing, and discovering.
How did you heal? How did you finally learn about God’s love?
I received these two questions in separate messages recently. First, it’s difficult to fully articulate. Everyone is different and a person’s healing journey is very personal. Second, I am by no means fully arrived. I suppose none of us are. But I’ll tell you this.
One verse has healed me more than any other.
1 John 4:19 We love Him, because He first loved us.
He first loved us.
This verse comes in a close second…
1 John 4:8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
God is love.
God is love and He loves me. Me.
This is such a simple statement. Oh, but it has deep implications. When I was a teenager, I was puzzled at how to see myself as a child of God. After all, I felt so “grown up.” I had zero desire to be a kid again, nor to see myself in that way.
But as I’ve aged I realized the deeply wounded inner child I had. I never learned to be a healthy one. Now I’m a mother to three boys. I had to figure it out. I had to heal.
So, well into my thirties I started really studying. Seeking. What is love? In a culture where everyone “loves” everything, what is actual, true, biblical love? What does it mean to be Christ-like?
I’m learning, but I believe it’s walking in the fruits of the Holy Spirit. I personally did a study on each of the fruits of the Spirit. And what the opposite, the fruits of the flesh, look like in my life. Something stood out to me.
The fruits of the Spirit are focused on others and God. The fruits of the flesh are purely self focused.
Children can be rather selfish. But they possess some of the purest love and trust in this world. Children are forgiving. Trusting. Simple.
Children aren’t meant to carry heavy burdens.
Many children in this world are hungry and in deep need. They carry the weight of caretaking that they shouldn’t have to bear. The suffering of children is absolutely heartbreaking. But that’s not God’s original intent for children.
God desires our total dependence to be ultimately on Him.
One of the things an abused child learns is to be self reliant. I was very independent as a kid. I’ve been slowly but surely grasping what it means to rest in my Heavenly Father’s care. But it has involved a lot of baby steps, especially in the beginning. Now I take more leaps.
I’ve started a habit of reading Psalm 23 and saying the Lord’s Prayer each day. It is a reminder to trust and rely on my Good Shepherd.
I wish I had a super eloquent explanation of how I’m learning to be a child. I don’t. But I can tell you that knowing God is love (and therefore He loves and gives as love gives) is life changing and freeing.
Sometimes maturing and healing is learning to be a child. Not childish but child-like. It may not make sense to some, but it has been the most beautiful season in my faith walk. Learning what I’m not and who I am in Him teaches me how to be a child and cry, “Abba Father.”
It’s really OK to ask God for help, not understand something, be imperfect, and make mistakes. As long as we get back up when we fall and we’re growing.
I pray my children know how loved they are and that their love never grows cold. The world desperately needs love. May we all be faithful laborers. Others need to know they can cry, “Abba Father” too.
Whether you’re 1 or 100, becoming a child of God is the best thing anyone can experience.
Romans 8:15-18 ESV For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.