This month, I’ve been thinking about the difference between living as a child of God and living with more of what I think of as an “orphan spirit.”
I know I’m a child of God. I know what John 1 talks about – I understand that means I’ve been forgiven, redeemed, reconciled, called, and loved. But my questions aren’t really what comes with being a child of God, really my question for myself lately has been, “Why don’t I always live that way? Why do I sometimes, knowing I have all of God to access, make choices to live more with an orphan spirit?
We brought our most recent adoption, Tyler, into our family when he was 12 years old. I remember just a few months after we adopted him, he was a seventh-grader over at our local junior high, and he was playing on the soccer team. It was a game day and the way that they operated is they’d have school, and then they’d have a mandatory study hour. After that they would get dressed in their soccer clothes and go out to warm up and play a game. It was during that study hour, one of Tyler’s new friends sent me a message. “Tyler forgot his soccer shoes at home this morning, and he said he can’t play in the game. But I was wondering if you could bring them to school.”
I went and looked where Tyler drops his stuff when he comes home from practice and I saw the soccer shoes sitting there. So I grabbed them, jumped in the car, and took them up to school. When I handed them to him, he says, “It’s the craziest thing! I didn’t know moms did that! I told them I couldn’t play in the game because I didn’t have my shoes, and they said, ‘No worries. Your mom will bring them!’”
But he hadn’t had that experience before, so he had no idea that’s what moms could do.
I think sometimes I forget God does that. When I get to be a child of God, that He does things for me that I don’t even ask him to do! I forget that’s what I get as a child of God.
We get questions in our mind like:
“I know He does that, but does He do it for me?”
“Would He want to do it for me?”
“Does He see who I am?”
“Does He know where I’ve been?”
“Does He know what I’ve been thinking?”
We have a young woman that we gathered into our family more than 5 years ago, and she had been with us many, many years. It was her 21st birthday, and I was having a conversation with her about her actual birth day that I was not there for. I was asking her what details she had ever heard about that day, and she was kind of uncomfortable with my questions. Todd was in the room with us, but he wasn’t really in the conversation. He was listening to me kind of prod a little bit into her history. He’s salt of the earth, really, and he just interrupted me and says, “Hey listen,” and he looked right at her, “people make a big deal about where you’re from. I don’t really think it’s a big deal where you’re from. I actually think the bigger question is where you belong, and I want you to know you belong right here.” There was something really special about him and his position of authority, stating with such certainty that she had a place in our family. Lots of things changed in her on that day, and have continued to since.
When John writes that we get to be called “children of God,” I think God was trying to settle those questions in our mind, just make sure we know from the very beginning,
“Listen, this is what this means to be a child of God: you have access. This is what I do. I’m going to do all kinds of things like save you, redeem you, call you, equip you, give to you, love you, forgive you. This is what I do.”
Now here’s what you get to do: You get to live like a child of God. When I decide that I want to live outside of that reality, I do things like get insecure, or get jealous, or compete, or think I have to earn God’s favor, or I get driven for the wrong kinds of things.
Inside of God’s family, I’m loved, and I’m not expected to earn anything. When He looks at me, He sees His righteousness. He delights in me. What kind of family is that? That’s what God’s family is.
Because that’s the reality I get as a child of God, that’s the kind of environment I want to create in my home and in the spaces around me, so that people will interact with any of us and know the kind of love and acceptance, that kind of belonging that we get first from God.