The Daughter’s Profile. #9. I Have Brothers and Sisters To Grow Up With

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. Ephesians. 2:19

I hear this all the time ~ ‘My spiritual sisters (or brothers) are more my family than my real family.’ How many have found a home within their small group, or with a spiritual prayer partner! That is not surprising as it was God who told us in scripture that we, as His children, are a family of sons and daughters and He is our Father. This news is more precious and more life-saving if our family of origin left us without a sense of connectedness.

On a certain day, Jesus faced twelve of his disciples and prepared to send them out with a lengthy word of preparation. He said, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” Matthew 10:34  He went on to describe how family members will strain against each other because of one person’s loyalty to Jesus and another’s enmity to Christ. Maybe you know this firsthand. After believing in Jesus and making Him Lord of your life, spiritual sparks quickly manifested within your family. The news of your conversion wasn’t welcome. Where you once fit in, everything was different as you understood that you answered to God first. The sword of Truth divided you among your own people.

Even in Christians homes, there can be fractures. Many grew up without a father, or mother, or siblings. Others were in destructive relationships. If you’re like me, the generation who raised us were not good at communicating their feelings. They grew up in the depression and didn’t have the luxury of stopping to process how difficult life was. They dug deeply, bore the burden of providing for their loved ones, and through that provision, assumed that their kids (and spouses) knew they were loved. Knowing it and experiencing it are two different things however. Even with hardworking responsible parents, the emotional deprivation hangs like a shadow over your soul.

However deep the longing for family, and whatever the reason, it can be satisfied within God’s family. What draws us together is the shared experience of the Gospel. What binds us together is the Spirit of God who lives inside each of us. Worship and prayer, experienced corporately, offer poignant fellowship. The stronger a child of God is filled with the Spirit, the stronger the bond with another child of God who is also filled with the Spirit. The world calls it ‘chemistry’ but God calls it a Holy Spirit tie that is not easily broken.

Help me connect to more of Your children whose passion runs deep. Amen

The Daughter’s Profile. #8 I Have A Soft Place To Fall

The name of the LORD is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. Prov. 18:10

When a child is scared at night, she runs to her parent’s room. When she is angry, she looks for someone to hear what has upset her. But when she has no one to turn to, a spiritual orphan is formed. She learns that no one is going to be there for her. If she is going to be safe, she’ll need to take care of herself. Self-protecting becomes her way of life and it’s terrifying for her to think of taking down the walls for anyone, even God. Coming to grips with the fact that He could have prevented everyone from hurting her nails distrust in place.

Faith must begin to chip away at her fearful heart. Understanding why God watched His Son suffer without rescuing Him ushers in the beginning of a new understanding about God’s love and sovereignty. No one would doubt that He loved His Son. If Jesus had a path of redemption to walk, then so must I. Eventually, armed with scriptures, faith is built and becomes more instinctive. The distrustful, small person inside can finally entertain that God’s arms are a soft place to fall. We can, and should, run there for so many reasons.

Let me personalize.

  • When life is chaotic and there is tension beyond the likes of which I can cope, I run home to Jehovah Shalom ~ the Father of Peace. His promises calm the beating of my heart until I can breathe normally again.
  • When my heart has been broken again by unloving people, I run home to Jehovah Rapha, the Father who heals. He soothes my heart and smooths the ragged edges of my agitation. Once composed, He speaks words of healing from His own Word that bring promise and perspective to all that I have suffered.
  • When the enemy presses in on all sides and defeat seems inevitable, I run home to Jehovah Nissi, the Father who waves His banner of victory over my life. Only He holds my future in His hands and He surrounds me with protection and destines me for glory.
  • When my life is void of comforters and agents of mercy and it feels like I am absolutely alone, I will refuse to believe it and run straight home to El Roi, my Father who sees. Not one injustice has gone unnoticed. Not one insult has slipped by Him. He heard it all and saw it all and His plan for my life is not thwarted in the least by those who wished to harm me. Like Hagar in the wilderness, God was with her when she reached a point of despair and revealed His love with His presence and His provision.

In certain situations, there are usually only a few people I can turn to. But with God, there is absolutely nothing that would keep me from His invitation to run home. Always, in every situation imaginable, I have a soft place to fall.

When I fall, You will catch me. Amen

A Daughter’s Profile #7. I Have A Future And An Inheritance

He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me. Lord, what are human beings that you care for them, mere mortals that you think of them? Psalm 144:2-3

What do a future and an inheritance have in common? They are both things out of my control. I can’t write my future and I can’t put myself in someone’s will. Good news, though. God is all powerful and He controls both. There’s nothing worse than being under the thumb of someone who has this kind of power but is not trustworthy. It’s makes all the difference that God is holy. He writes my glorious future and fashions an inheritance beyond my wildest imagination. This makes me fall on my face in worship.

Worshiping and standing in awe of God are the purposes of my life. Until the experience of being awestruck takes over my heart, I’m not yet living. I’m really the walking dead.

Only mankind can experience awe. The animal kingdom is not awe-driven. They might quiver over the size of a predator staring them in the face but they do not have the capability of standing on the rim of the Grand Canyon and of marveling who made it all. It is only man who is to center his life around the One who is glorious. I am to stand in awe of the future and feel a sense of wonderment regarding the inheritance waiting for me.

The tragedy is that I can be in awe of my present challenges instead of in awe of my future. Side by side, are they even comparable? I can be in awe of my pain level instead of in awe of the joys that await me in glory. Side by side are they even comparable?

I can be in awe of the my economic difficulties instead of in awe of my spiritual inheritance. Are they even comparable? I can be in awe that I didn’t get what I deserved in a family settlement instead of in awe that I will get what I don’t deserve in heaven. Construct your own personal comparisons today and see if your hope rises!

Oh, the pain of those who have been surprised at the reading of a will. Those who thought they would be remembered generously after the death of a loved one find out that they were not remembered at all. What do they do with the pain of that?

To live in awe of my future and my inheritance is to live in deferred hope. Nothing here can make me sour if I keep my eyes on Jesus. His love defies superlative language descriptors. I’m wealthy and so are you if God is your Father. Others might not be able to tell by looking at us with the exception of our lifestyle of gratitude. We who are visiting the valley of suffering, with the joy of deferred hope in tact, will astound others. We are homesick children of God; persecuted but not destitute, pressed down, but ever awe-struck.

Nothing deserves my awe but You because You are Lord over everything. Amen

The Daughter’s Profile. #6 I Have a Heritage Built On Family Stories

For through Him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. Therefore you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens of the saints and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone. Ephesians 2:18-20

Picture a group of believers having dinner together and you are among them. You are strangers to each other and so each of you begins to tell a little about yourself; where you grew up, your early life, current family status, etc. If you’re reading this and thinking, “That sounds like fun. . .” then you probably have a past without much shame. You are eager for it to be your turn but if your story was significantly challenging, you probably dread the time all eyes will be on you. Feelings of shame will rise up in your throat.

For each story where the Gospel has shaped families, I praise God. For each story where the Gospel has saved families, I praise God. I want to remind every woman who is reading this and feeling shame over her past that, as God’s child, she has a 2nd family. Each of us have two births, a physical and spiritual, and each has two families, a physical and a spiritual. Regardless of how unrighteous our family of origin was, our spiritual family makes up for it.

Consider this quote from Methodist Theologian, Christopher Hall. For the church fathers, the Scripture was to be studied, pondered, and exegeted within the context of worship, reverence, and holiness. Now, they are connected to you and you can tell their story as your own.

Each of us has giants of faith in our spiritual lineage. Imagine if we could begin our testimony this way ~“My story is full of darkness and light. My earthly father left when I was four years old. I never knew him. But in God’s providence, I became His child and He is my Father. I know Him well and can tell you countless stories of how He is graciously fathering me.” Now that’s a testimony that can, and should, be common among all of us. The thread of God’s fatherhood binds us together and we share the common experience of finding God to be glorious and personal. Who is in my spiritual family?

  • My sister, Hannah. Besieged by hard times. Driven to the temple by grief. The object of longterm ridicule and the scourge of barrenness, which was understood in her culture as God’s curse. The recipient of a miracle in the conception of Samuel. The author of one of the greatest songs of faith and praise in all of scripture. I Samuel 1My brother, David. Th
  • My brother, David.  The least of his brothers. Raised under God’s watchful care in far off fields as a shepherd. Achieved prominence as a musician who could sing away demonic. Suffered as a result of sinning boldly. Known for worshipping just as boldly. Characterized as someone who felt quick remorse over his own sin. Remembered as a man after God’s heart.

Remind me that I have a rich spiritual heritage and waiting inheritance. Amen

The Daughter’s Profile #5. I Have Gifts That Are Well Defined

God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.  I Peter 4:10-11

Every child of God has a spiritual gift. Most have several. There are a defined number available to us and they are easily discerned by taking a spiritual gifts test. I hope you’ve done that. Each of us needs to know. God gave spiritual gifts to us to give us the privilege of working with Him. Building the kingdom within the area of our spiritual gifts gives us joy and a great sense of purpose.

But there are also gifts that reside within our personalities. Because there are so many, these are harder to discern. It takes being in relationship with others to discover them. It requires feedback to help us see where our strengths lie because everyone is unique. Some have a way of telling a story. Someone like my friend, Phyllis, can take a clipping from most any shrub, stick it in the ground, and see it flourish. My sister in law paints what she calls a ‘doodle’ every day. She takes a 4 x 6 piece of parchment and with a few water color paints, draws something stunning in less then an hour. Other gifts would include the ability to simplify what is complicated. The ability to turn a phrase and make people laugh. The ability to think critically, like my sister, in order to speak on behalf of others. (She’s a lawyer.) The ability to compose music in your head without an instrument in sight. The ability to calm animals. The ability to to see a lamp, picture, and an antique chair and create a room around them.

Gifts are from God. We all have them. Some of us found them later in life. We grew up in a relational vacuum with little feedback from adults. We never heard parents and family members describe the unique ways we were created. As adults however, we are not powerless to know ourselves. God is our Father now and will show us what we lack. We must do two things.

  • Ask our Creator to help us discover our uniqueness. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, You know it all. Psalm 139:2-3
  • Ask a few intuitive friends who knows us well. If they walk with Jesus, they have an even greater edge of answering with wisdom.

It pains me to hear a woman say that she doesn’t believe she has any gifts. It’s not only NOT true but she is living a life without purpose. I encourage you to ask your Father today, “Tell me three things you love about me; three things you wired into me when You created me.” I did that recently and got an answer immediately. His answer made me sit up and take notice of whether I was investing my time to use those three qualities. His answer also prompted me to tweak my priorities. May God surprise you with His answer.

Reveal us to ourselves ~ through Your eyes ~ for Your glory. Amen

The Daughter’s Profile. #4. I Have Light In My Eyes Because I Know I’m Loved

“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. Matthew 6:22

Have you experienced a Spirit-bond? I’m talking about what happens when you meet someone and the Holy Spirit in you recognizes the Holy Spirit in them. The two of you want to reach out immediately to fellowship. It’s a moment like Mary and Elizabeth shared when their two unborn babies discerned the identity of the other.

Each child of God has a part of the Trinity living inside. The Spirit of the Light of the World came to dwell inside a human spirit. Wow! Shouldn’t His Light in their eyes be the natural outcome?

Oh, that I would love God so much that I can’t speak His name without my face changing! My eyes should get soft and somewhat transparent. His name should bring a change to my countenance. “He means everything to me,” should be my answer when I’m asked by strangers if I’m a religious person. They expect to hear about religious performance but what if they heard about a love relationship?

Few authors wrote more about the love of God than Brennan Manning. “Do you believe that the God of Jesus loves you beyond worthiness and unworthiness, beyond fidelity and infidelity—that he loves you in the morning sun and in the evening rain—that he loves you when your intellect denies it, your emotions refuse it, your whole being rejects it. Do you believe that God loves without condition or reservation and loves you this moment as you are and not as you should be.”

If I could stand a foot away from the face of God and dare to look into His face, I would be overcome by the love that I saw there. It would be so overwhelming that I would crumble under the realization that such affection existed for me. After the encounter, never would I say God’s name without that specific memory washing over me again. I would fully believe to the depths of me that He has redeemed me and made me His. I would be utterly convinced that He’s for me, not against me. He blesses me, not condemns me. I would never be afraid to run home again. I would never be shy about asking the Holy Spirit to fill me when the people of earth leave me unsatisfied. I would forgive easily ~ knowing that whatever wrong has been done against me will be made right by a Father who rules His kingdom of children with perfect justice.

The glory of the Lord rests upon us. Glory is brilliant and begs to shine.

Pools of Light, Lord. Let your radiance be seen in my eyes. Amen