How Does God Heal The Orphan? By Repairing The Breach of Trust

No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.   Romans 4:20

Every single person who lives like an orphan does so from breach of trust.  Their willingness to place their lives in God’s care and provision has been suspended.  Pain facilitated that by unearthing their bad theology.   Somewhere along the line, Satan introduced thoughts about God’s character, like ~ He’s not loving.  He can’t be trusted.  He doesn’t treat His children well.  You’re better off taking care of yourself.

What is the posture of someone who distrusts another?  They back up. They reserve warmth. They keep thoughts private. They make a decision to need nothing from others.  And this is where so many are with God.  I lived there for a long, long time.  God’s character needed defending and God used a few people in my life to do just that.  They didn’t scold and confront my unbelief. In truth, they didn’t know what was going on in my heart.  They just shared their own stories about God’s tenderness. 

They revealed portions of scripture that were not familiar to me about the heart of God and the heart of the scriptures.  Slowly, my skepticism cracked and childlike trust emerged.  I dared believe in the goodness of God toward me.  I personalized the good news of the Gospel.  As trust in God grew, I was willing to step away from the safety of orphan thinking and risk trusting Him enough to live as His daughter.

I’ve been asked repeatedly about this ministry.  I answer that Daughters of Promise teaches women how to live as God’s child.  This is really a quick over-simplification.  Really, this ministry reaches out to orphans, helps them identify the cracks in their faith and the places where they distrust God.  Then, I have the privilege of telling stories and teaching the Word to highlight the beautiful character of God.  I get to defend His heart and start the rewarding work of reconciliation.  Women move from distrust to trust.  This series is the perfect example of that mission at work.  

If your eyes have been opened to your orphan ways, mission accomplished.  If hope for change and a different way of life has been stirred in your heart, mission accomplished.  If you’re daring to believe that God really has been at work in your painful story, mission accomplished.  And if you find yourself anxious to read about the characteristics of a spiritual daughter in the coming days, mission accomplished.  And how I love what God has called me to do.  How I love seeing you come alive.

You know that I am never preaching at you.  I’m sharing my own story and I pray that by doing that, you will have the courage to trust God for your own metamorphosis.  

How Does God Heal The Orphan? #3. Through The Word And The Spirit

So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army. Ezekiel 37:10

Orphans aren’t changed through a new belief system. It’s a start but by itself, it only yields changed behavior. If you tell a child, “Don’t need me so much,” they will feel rejected. Behavior will improve as they are then afraid to show their need. This is what it is to study the Word of God without the breath of the Spirit.  Good behavior vs. real heart change.  Consider this story and picture it as you read it.

Ezekiel (in a vision) is brought to the precipice of a valley. As he looks down, he sees carnage. Something horrific has happened and the valley floor is full of skeletons. He is distraught and asks God, “How can these bones live?” God doesn’t tell him it’s impossible. He tells him to do something and prophesy to the bones. That means, speak the Word of God over them. Ezekiel obeys and it takes effect. He sees the bones begin to move and show signs of life. Skin forms on the skeletons and flesh becomes visible. But they still lie there half dead, half alive. Something additional needed to happen.

The breath of the Spirit. The wind came and God breathed over that valley – over the Word that Ezekiel had spoken. The Word, plus the Spirit’s breath, brought completion to the resurrection below. Breath entered them and they all stood on their feet.

This is Old Testament. Is there a New Testament correlation? Yes, when Jesus talks to Nicodemus and tells him that to be born again, he must come by way of the Word and the Spirit. The Spirit (wind) blows over the darkened mind of an unbeliever. Eyes are open and their heart is ready for the 2nd part of the miracle. The Gospel is proclaimed and there is spiritual understanding. The Spirit, plus the Word, bring new life to the one who is spiritually dead.

So, how does God heal the heart of an orphan? Through His Word and through the breath of His Spirit. As you review the ten orphan characteristics, which ones describe your way of life? Did you own them? You are on the precipice of change. Knowing exactly what is wrong and acknowledging it is the beginning of a new life. The next step is to live in the scriptures that address your orphan ways. Ask the Spirit of God to breathe over your heart, over the lies, over what has been dead-end behavior. As you make those scriptures yours and meditate on them, be aware and continue to ask the Holy Spirit to write them on your heart. Close your eyes as you recite them. Jesus is there with you, and if you ask, He will breathe over you just as powerfully as when He stood in the upper room and breathed over a group of disciples that were depressed and feeling hopeless. What happened? Timidity was replaced by boldness. Unbelief melted away and passion took them from hiding in fear to public ministry. They gave up their lives joyfully.

Your Word is in me. Your Spirit is in me. I have both and I want to be changed. Amen

How Does God Heal The Heart Of An Orphan? 1. He Takes His Time.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.  Ecclesiastes 3:1

I’m not usually willing to make changes in my life until I’m thoroughly convinced that what I’m doing isn’t working. After hitting one brick wall after another, I’m finally open to allowing God to teach me a different way to live ~ the way of God’s daughter.  

These changes, while they can start today, don’t conclude overnight.  It took a lifetime to learn the wrong ways to live and it will take time to biblically challenge each one of them.  They are my defaults, after all. The heart of the orphan is healed in the safe hands of a Father who is not in a hurry.  The best things, eternal things, take time and effort.  Aren’t you a bit suspicious of anyone who claims to have kicked a life-long addiction in just a few days?  You know better, right?  So it is with human hearts.  

Truth is not truth to me  until I’ve applied it.  Only experience brings the truth I’ve studied to become a part of my heart.  Until there’s application, it’s only theory.  

Years back, we had a pastor whose wife suffered from the effects of a very traumatic childhood.  She was haunted by the memories of it and they robbed her of life.  He claimed that one day, at an altar, God would miraculously remove all her memories and give her a clean start.  It never happened.  Today, she is far happier and enjoys a freedom she only dreamed of.  How did God heal her?  Over time, one memory at a time. Solomon talks about the times and seasons in today’s scripture in Ecclesiastes.  While time can refer to a minute or an hour, a season is lengthier.  It could mean months, as in the four seasons, but it could also signify years.  

God is kind to help me re-trace my steps.  He encourages me to look again at the events and the people of my past, but this time through the lens of the Word.  I’m able to see with a clarity not afforded to a child.  I have greater understanding of broken adults and how children are shaped by them.  I take responsibility for the lies and distortions I internalized that formed my mindset.  As I come to God in humility, God graciously reveals one piece of life at a time – then shows me wisdom. Scripture comes alive as my foundation is re-shaped by what is unshakeable.  

It can be upsetting to think that this metamorphosis from orphan to daughter spans years but I can tell you that while I was learning this new way to live, the changes were so spectacular that my life continually felt new.  It’s a mystery, I tell you.  God takes His time but also redeems the time the locusts consumed.  Amazing.  And after a while, I can’t remember being the ‘old me.’  

I will never get over the wonder at how You make things new. Why did I wait?  Amen

I Fit Almost All The Profiles. Is It Hopeless?

You’ve now become acquainted with all ten characteristics of the spiritual orphan.  Maybe you only related to one or two but I will tell you that this would be unusual.  Many check off more than a few and some even admit to having all ten.  With that realization usually comes panic.  “Is this hopeless?  Am I too messed up?”  I say emphatically no.  I speak from experience because I struggled with all ten.  That’s where this teaching comes from and I have seen God make changes in me in all areas. 

Remember that God knows we all come as orphans and he knows what might be our initial posture where He is concerned; a bit withdrawn and suspicious.  Those with a difficult life story feel secure only if they stay a safe distance away. They are tucked away behind a wall of mis-trust, even with someone trustworthy.  

No matter the level of healing that is needed, our Heavenly Father has a plan to win our trust. He slows the pace and calls each of us by name.  He knows it takes time to fully trust the love He offers without the slightest reservations. Orphan-ness won’t leave overnight but the healing can begin immediately.  He whispers to our spirit within the love language of the scriptures. His Word heals. We begin to understand that God is not like anyone else we’ve ever known, loved, and trusted.  Holiness means perfection so God cannot be unfaithful.  It’s against His very nature. 

Not only does He heal with words but He binds up our wounds with non-verbals.  “I’ll pour robust well-being into her like a river.  You’ll nurse at her breasts, nestle in her bosom, and be bounced on her knees.  As a mother comforts her child, so I’ll comfort you.”  Isaiah 66:12-13   These are all gestures that don’t require talking.  Nestling, bouncing, nursing, comforting.  There are times when words aren’t enough but God is not limited in love language.  

God’s way of reaching you and me will not resemble the way He reaches out to anyone else.  We are each unique and so is His plan to scale the mountains to our hearts.  No one knows our story better than God and He is the only One who knows how to build a bridge. He is omniscient and can read the mental and emotional pathways of our heart.  That would be frightening if it weren’t for everlasting love and kindness.  

What might I expect as I go on this journey with God?  That’s the topic of the next few days.  Next week, the real excitement begins as we look at the ten profile characteristics of God’s daughter.  We’ve heard the bad news ~ now comes the good.  

Lord, some of your most powerful miracles with people didn’t involve words.  Jesus breathed on His disciples.  I see that You are unconventional for the sake of reaching orphans like me.  You spared no expense as You offered up Your only Son.  Amen

Orphan Profile #10: I Can’t Find Enough Comfort In This World To Feel Better

Comfort. An embrace when I’m crying. A listening ear when I have to talk something out. A soothing gentle ballad when my anxious heart needs to calm. A soft blanket and a cup of tea when I’ve had a hard day. All of these do something wonderful for my heart but each one is earthbound. Though they are tangible, they are limited. They do not offer anything eternal.
God is Intangible. I am spirit and I must relate to Him in spirit and in truth. This takes more effort, discipline, and practice. Is it any surprise that I am prone to replace the “Comforter” with substitutes?  The latter only satisfy for a brief period before I need more from them. The ‘more’ is Abba Father. Friends return to their lives. Hugs last but for a moment.  Tea cups empty. Blankets are not people. Songs end and the noise of life returns. Only the Word of God abides forever in my heart. The Word is power, grace, strength, and comfort.
I must make hearing God’s voice my number one passion. I must make meditation a daily priority. If I neglect both, I will have no reservoir upon which to draw when the storms come.. That’s when I will run to whatever, and whomever, promises a dose of temporary relief.
The world is a brutal place to live. Comfort can be challenging to find. A child of God who knows how to bring God’s peace into a room will have a line out the door for those who wish to sit in their company. I must remember this ~ the best of God’s comforters only give what is temporary. It pales in comparison to what God does to put iron in my spirit.
Jesus knew our problem of reaching out for help but coming up empty. That’s why He said, “I’m sending you a Comforter.” The Holy Spirit brings what everything earthbound can not; permanent companionship, words of hope that are strategically spoken over my deepest pain, and a tangible infusion of enduring grace.
I count on You to do what You have promised. “Draw near to You and You will draw near to me.” James 4:8 You are the Eternal listener, companion, and speaker of the promises. Who is there but You? Amen

Orphan Profile #9: I Have High Expectations Of Others And People Rarely Come Through For Me

Mollie, our golden retriever, came to us at 4 years old with a rough story.  Put out in a woman’s backyard, rarely brought in and poorly fed, she was a victim of the heat, cold, and severe weather.  Though we have certainly spoiled her in every possible way, she is a bottomless pit of need.  She’s always begging for food and paws someone for attention relentlessly.  Though she came to us a bit withdrawn, once she got a taste of love, she couldn’t get enough.   She watches us eat our meal as she sits eye level with the table, her ears perked up, waiting for a morsel of something.  She’s hard to resist and finally we fall for it.  I’ll say to Ron, “Just give her one piece so she’s satisfied.”  I should know better.  Once she’s had a bite, the pestering gets worse.

People are a lot like that.  All of us grow up with imperfect relationships.  Those with happier childhoods don’t seem to live with that gaping hole in their heart but if you come from profound deprivation, you are aware of a bottomless pit no one can fill.  The more you’ve been hurt, the higher the expectations you have of the people in your life.  Why?  Probably because the stakes are high.  You don’t want to be hurt again so you feel the need to make the test for love and sincerity steep! If you have not found your home in Jesus, you experience needs that feel monumental.   You might think that one gesture of love, one compliment, one affirmation will make a dent in making your heart feeling fuller.  But nothing satisfies because the void is God-shaped.  Other’s compassion can easily morph into an unhealthy attachment.

Are you in a relationship that is unsatisfying?  Perhaps you’d admit that the other person has often come through for you but they just don’t do it often enough or well enough.   What has been meaningful in the past is blurred by your ongoing need for more.  You want more proof, deeper proof, that you are important and that their love is true.  The unfortunate thing is that the more you need, the more the other person backs up.  Anger and distrust are soon to follow.

High expectations are met in the love of Christ but let me qualify.   He has already proven His love.  He came to me when I was His enemy.  He died for my crimes as if He committed them Himself.  He’s given me His heart, His nature, and shares His eternal inheritance.  This love exceeds all expectations.  So, I have to be careful that, in my immaturity, I don’t come to God with a list of demands.  “If you love me, then You’ll do ‘this’.”  His love is already perfect.  Picking up my cross is not the same as God withholding.  He is not a Father of deprivation but of extravagance.

Oh LORD, You are my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my future. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.  Psalm 16:5-6. Amen

Orphan Profile #8: I Don’t Know Who I Am Or Where I’m Going

If I don’t know Jesus well and if I don’t see myself through the mirror of His Word, I won’t know my purpose.  I won’t know  my gifts.   I won’t discern my role in the kingdom.   The greatest tragedy is to miss knowing God, the whole purpose for which I was born.  The second is to miss knowing myself as God knows me.  To never be known is to never be loved.

The saddest thing is to meet someone in their fifties and to hear them say they have no idea what they are supposed to be doing with their lives.  They think they have no valuable contribution to God, to others, and to the kingdom of God.  They are marking time ~ filling their days with the details of perpetuating life.  This is not how it is supposed to be.  In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,  Eph 1:11

But for this purpose I have raised you up, to show you my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth. Exodus 9:16  Nothing speaks like the Word of God.  God created my life to show me, and to do in me  something personal that would show me His power; the same power that created the world, the same power the made waters come out of the deep and cover the earth, and the same power that caused Jesus to sit up and walk out of a crypt. Have I experienced it firsthand? Once that Powerful One comes for me, takes hold of me, draws me to Himself and begins to speak into my heart with word after word, how can I not be changed?  It  is God that talks to me about Himself.  It is God that speaks to me about MYself.  These events are lifechanging, in and of themselves, even if they only happened once!

I learned that to spend anytime with God means being shaken to the core by love.  Living near Him means communication and disclosure.  

Purpose and definition happened organically in Your presence, Lord.   I know that You love me. I know how You made me.  I know how I fit into the plan of Your redemption of earth in my generation.  You’ve given me a joy no one can take away.  Amen