Acting like an Orphan

11:15 AMHeather

Yesterday morning as I sat in worship, I had a profound moment.  Oh, the worship was amazing, and YES, I felt that I met God there.  But, the impact came when I glanced in front of me and saw the youth worshipping.  One of the college girls was standing there, singing her heart out, hands raised in praise, and I was overwhelmed.

You see, I have known this amazing young lady since she first came to join her family through adoption at age two.  She was this chubby faced DARLING toddler, and her family was the first to go through the Russian program at The Gladney Center where I worked.  Because I worked in domestic adoption, I only knew her family through our monthly orientations for potential adoptive parents.  This little girl and her family would come in and share their story.  I was moved by their story, these four little children--two biological, two adopted.  The little girls wore matching bows and wide smiles.  The boys were quiet and well behaved, and the parents were repeatedly asked to share in their eloquent way the hope of adoption.

Years later, we would come to join the church where this family worships, and I now count them among our closest friends.  The kind of friends you can call in the middle of the night--which, as a matter of fact, we have.  And, I have come to know the heart of this young lady--passionate for serving the Lord, eager to work with and for orphans.  She is simply incredible.

And, yesterday, as I glanced at her, I was overcome with the thought of where her life would be if she had not been adopted.  The truth is that she may not even be alive.  If not adopted, orphans are generally emancipated and left to care for themselves while in their late teens.  Life on the streets is hard--so hard that the life expectancy is short and prospects are grim.  By the grace of God, her adoption first into her forever family--and then into an eternal family--have dramatically changed her future.

Her dad happened to be leading our lesson last night during Life Group.  The lesson  was about passive righteousness--which was a new term to me, coined by Martin Luther.  The lesson wrapped up with a self-inventory about whether we live as orphans or as children and heirs of our Loving Father.  And like a ton of bricks, I realized something.  I HAVE been adopted--given a bright future and a hope.  I have been made a child of the King.  Like this amazing girl--my path has been altered completely.  

So, why do I continue to live like an orphan?  Why do I go through each day, all Eeyore with the slightest hard circumstance instead of the HOPE I have in my Jesus who made me more than a conqueror because He loved me to death?  Why do I struggle to feel loved and accepted--as though I am a street child--when a place will be set for me at the banquet table of my Groom?   Why can't I throw my arms up in praise and with full abandon embrace the life I've been given--like our dear friend?

INTENTIONAL challenge:  Where do you see yourself in this scenario?  Do you embrace your adoption and shake off the doom and gloom that could have been yours--had it not been for Christ?  Or do you get bogged down like me--living like an orphan, feeling rejected, anxious about circumstances, beaten down by life, trying to fix things on your own?  Oh--that we would throw off our rags, abandon our street life, embrace our identity as children and heirs, and throw our arms up in praise, singing with full abandon to our Heavenly Father who made us His own!

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