Responding to life as an orphan is normal. It is what we were born into. But once we become a believer, we are instantly adopted into a new Kingdom. While the adoption papers are complete, some of us need the REVELATION of what that really means so that we can forgo our previous operating system. We will spend the rest of your lives learning what our adoption really means.
A child grows up with parents who do not know who they are, so they aren’t able to teach the child who they are. There are heart splinters left to be resolved, and the child grows up bitter, judgemental, and blaming their parents for their failures and mistakes. Obviously, this is not a path we want to choose. But another group of people with the same experiences have concluded, “Well, they did the best they could.” It sounds mature and full of grace to say that, but the adult child is still struggling profoundly. Our minds need to have answers, and we begin to draw conclusions to help us feel empowered, even in hurt and pain. To say, “Well, they did the best they could,” is a coping mechanism to make us feel better about the hurt and lack we have endured. God says the truth sets us free, and I believe He wants us to walk in the middle of both of these responses. You can’t heal what you can’t acknowledge. Honor covers the offender, knowing that they are on their journey, but it doesn’t look like silence. You can’t change what you don’t want to see. Freedom doesn’t come from blaming your parents. Freedom comes from acknowledging that something was out of alignment and partnering with God to restore it.
My daughter woke up early with me, so we went on a date to grab drive-thru coffee and ended up at the bookstore. I noticed a book about the lies young girls believe and handed it to her. She spent a great deal of time browsing the contents and finally put the book down. I asked her why, and she said, “Because I don’t believe lies.” There was such an anointing on what she said. She was not saying she has never believed a lie, nor was she saying she is 100% lie-free, but she was right to say she doesn’t believe lies. I have taught my kids what lies feel like, and they have begun to self-govern when lies are being entertained in their minds. Lies always remove your peace, make your mind spin like crazy, and create feelings of anxiety, worry, and stress in your heart. When my children are feeling this, they know how to ask, “Jesus, what lies am I believing?” and they know how to ask Him for His truth. Can you imagine what this generation would look like if they knew how to stomp on the lies that come to steal, kill and destroy?
Years ago, we were in a store shopping when Hudson asked for a Lego set. Before I could reply, he began to beg me with intense emotion. Watching him plead and beg like a fish flopping around out of water was repulsive to my ears. I stopped him, put my hand on his shoulder, and asked, “Who am I?” He was reminded that he was talking to his mother, who fearlessly loves, provides, and protects him. The one who carried him for nine months and knows him better than anyone else on earth. The one with a track record of being kind, loving, and attentive to his wants and needs. Having his full attention, I said, “Ask me like my son, not a begging orphan,” and he quickly changed the way he approached me. He wanted the Lego set so badly but failed to see that he could trust me with his heart. I wanted him to see that he could trust me, even with the thing that mattered most to his heart at that moment, even if I said not now because I was for him and loved him. It was a trust issue, not a Lego issue.
Anger, even rage, is a common ‘dirty little secret’ of many parents. Anger is actually an appropriate response for an orphan who has the weight of the world on their shoulders, has to protect themselves, and strive to meet their needs. The answer isn’t anger management; it is experiencing the Father’s love at that moment. He isn’t mad at your anger and wants you to know His love even in those messy places.
At church, Hudson asked if I would buy him a muffin and began to tell me how he didn’t have any time to eat. It rubbed me the wrong way, so I stopped and asked if that was true. He had 45 minutes, and ‘all’ he did was get dressed, which provided enough time to eat. I needed him to see something. He was coming at me as a victim, trying to motivate me to meet his need. I want him to approach me as a son. I want him to see me as a mother who cares. Yes, I want him to take responsibility for managing his responsibilities and time, but this isn’t his norm or weakness. I helped him to see that he wasn’t a victim but instead chose not to eat and was now paying the price for it. I asked him to approach me like a son and humble himself with his need. It is risky asking someone for help when you have messed up, but I don’t want my children to partner with being a victim to motivate me (or others) to help them. If I had bought him a muffin without helping him to own his choice, I would have indirectly taught him that there is power in being a victim. He enjoyed his muffin and grew in learning how his Father deals with His children.
We are in an incredible season of increasing our capacity – not to DO more but BECOME more.
Video – Increasing Capacity – YouTube
God created us to be fully alive, deeply accepted, and truly belong. The aftermath of the fall is that man became a spiritual orphan separated from God and wandered around life, feeling profound feelings of abandonment, loneliness, and isolation. The Good News is that Jesus came to restore us to that place of deep security with the Father. We can accept Christ yet still wander like an orphan, striving, begging, and doing life on our own. Imagine a child digging through the dump, fending for themselves, and meeting their needs for food and clothing all on their own. Now picture a palace where the table is always set and a room with your name on it. When we become Christians, we get the honor of living in the palace, yet some enjoy the view and go back to the dump laboring daily to meet their needs. It is impossible to raise a child as a Son/Daughter in the palace when you occupy the dump yourself. Orphan parenting is when we parent our children from a place of isolation, abandonment, self-protection, striving, loneliness, self-sufficiency, and lack. We are teaching them orphan living, not Kingdom reality.
My friend says it best… “I love being a mom, and I LOVE that I get to speak life and destiny over my sweet ones every day.”
Children absorb every word spoken over them like a sponge, and it takes hold in their beautiful little hearts! Asking the Father what He sees over them and then getting that opportunity to call out what God is already calling them to be is such a blessing. Children are so precious and whether you have children or not, take time to encourage and speak life over them at every chance you get. Encourage them in boldness, love, and joy to run after Him and His beautiful plan for their lives.
I love how God sets us up for success as parents. My daughter was really hurt by someone and needed some room to work through the messy emotions. After we were done processing, the verse of the day popped up on my phone and read, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21). Instantly, I heard in my spirit that I was to apply that in this situation and said, “Do not be overcome by an orphan but overcome the orphan by being a Daughter.” Spiritual orphans operate differently than Sons and Daughters, even in pain. There was a profound shift in her when she realized the other person’s choices were not a reflection of who she was. Teaching our children WHO they are is critical to helping them navigate life.
Children who grow up with the wrong voices inside their mental bubble carry them around for years, shaping who they become. We can empower our children to reject lies and protect who God designed them to be. Proverbs 4:23.