Lately, I have been writing a lot about orphans and working with them. As you have seen, my heart is captivated by orphaned children and those that feel that way. Seeing them fall into the traps of the devil with gangs, drugs, illicit sex and violence tears at my heart. As I have watched kids grow up and become distant, for many abandon the Church and their families, I asked why. Why would they leave all of the things that they grow up with? Why would they abandon everything and everyone that ever loved them? I have come to a conclusion that startled me a little and wanted to share it with you.
People that grow up confident in the knowledge that they are loved rarely walk away from families, Church or any other place that they experienced that love. Often times, the message was repeated over and over but the person did not receive it. It is possible to grow up in a loving home with two caring parents, go to a living, dynamic Church, receive a good education and be surrounded with all of the trappings of success and still not feel loved. Because our responses to love do not start with reason but emotions, they can believe very easily deceived. It only takes a few events for children to get the message that they are not loved and that they are not important.
There are a few family dynamics that can give that message in the home. Naturally if two parents are not present it is easy for them to get they idea that they do not matter to at least one of their parents. This will often set up a situation where the other parent has to work many hours to provide and meet basic life needs. Now the child feels abandon by two parents. These days, even when two parents are in the home, they often work many hours and leave the kids in daycare, with sitters or in programs so they can work, run errands or get a little alone time. Though parents man have great intentions when they do all of these things, kids can easily get the idea that they are a secondary consideration and feel left out or unloved. Our absence speaks volumes to a child.
In this day and age, most people live regimented lives. They have work, meetings, kid's sports, their own leisure activities, Church and Church activities. It gets easy to crowd out the people we love and children are especially vulnerable as they are developing. It is important to spend time with them and talk to them. They need to be heard and feel that they matter to the family. They need older family members to spend time with them, play games and teach them to play sports. Children need to be pulled into our work, especially around the house when they are old enough to help, even if they hinder the work more than help at times. Most of all, they need to know that they are loved and that the adults in their family are not just looking to farm them out to others all of the time. They are a valuable part of the family and having them around is our privilege, not an inconvenience.
It is often said that it is important to give quality time and that is true. Unfortunately that is often said because a parent is trying to justify maintaining such a busy schedule that their children do not get much quantity. Kids will remember the things that you did with them in quality time but it will be filtered through the lens of the attitude that you showed them during the majority of your time with them. We need to show our children that they are worth our time and attention. We need to get them away from their computers, telephones and TVs. We need to put ours away and focus on the little person present with us.
The Church often has issues with Children also. They get the message that the best thing they can do is sit quietly and not disrupt the service. They do not get the message that Jesus gave. Bring them to me. Do not hinder them. The kingdom of God belongs to them. In the Church, we tend to treat them like an inconvenience. Why would they stay round once they are old enough to make their own choice? If they are an inconvenience when they are little, they will get the idea that we only want them for their work or money when they get older. They will not feel a connection to the Body of Christ because we did not respect the high place that Jesus placed them in. Attitudes and emotions that are formed early in life will carry forward for many years. We need to be careful of the message we send to children.
I wonder why we find it so easy to minimize the importance of children and why they feel it so deeply. I believe it is because the lie of worthlessness is one that almost everyone, even seasoned believers fall for themselves. It seems that there are few that really believe there is a place carved out for them in Father's heart. Like the child that grows up and leaves the Church, we have gotten the idea that the only value we have is in the work we do or the money we give. It only takes one slip up, sin, to completely undo all the equity we have built through our efforts. It is only in really understanding the place we occupy in Father's heart that we will overcome these feelings. Only when we walk in consciousness of our place in Father's love will we be able to help others find that place of belonging.
I was reading in Lk 3 and 4 this week and realized some things. Before Jesus ever started His ministry, He was affirmed by the Father. His identity was spoken over Him in front of others. His authority was authenticated by Holy Spirit in front of witnesses. After this, He was full of the Holy Spirit and was led into the wilderness to be tempted. Every temptation struck at His identity and the goodness of the Father. He withstood every one by proclaiming truth and standing in His identity as a Son of the Father. It concludes by saying that He came out of the wilderness full of the power of the Spirit. Knowledge of our identity, tested and tried, will lead us into strength and courage. We need these so we can pass them on. Our worth is eternally determined by the cross but our understanding of it will be determined by how we walk out the trials we encounter. Our power to live in the goodness and authority of Father comes by letting our identity be tested and not backing down or running away.
Have you had your identity revealed to you? Are you searching it out in Scripture? Do you have people in your life that can identify the truths of God's word as pertains to you and speaking these truths your your life? Do you have Godly leaders that are nurturing the things of God in you? Have you allowed your identity to be tested and tried so you can have confidence in it? I hope the answers to these questions are yes and they are leading you to stand confidently before Father. Secondly, I pray that as you and I know our identity, we become confident to aggressively proclaim these truths to the next generation. I pray that we can walk in a manner that allows them to feel confident in approaching their Heavenly Father because of the door that Jesus opened for them. My prayer is that each of us becomes overwhelmed by the new identity that Jesus has purchased for us at the cross. Lastly I pray that the world begins to get a fresh glimpse of the Jesus of the Gospel because they see us living it out daily and consistently.
As I prepare for what is next for me, I am praying about a couple of options. I am asking God to lead me to the people and connections I am supposed to make for the next phase of life and ministry. I am asking Him about further education and networking. I am praying for an increase of finances because I will not have the resources of the teams and the Church that have provided so much of my support in the past. I am praying for people to join in with work, prayer, support and forming teams. Please pray about joining in. If you would like to contact me, my U.S. number is 779-227-3812. My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org
As I do need to increase my financial support to go forward, I ask that you would pray about being involved in this way. My financial goal for the remainder of the year is $6,000. I am not quite half way there. For next year, I am praying and setting a goal of $18,000. This will allow me to begin working towards ministry to and for the orphans and street children as well as some of the schooling I am praying about. You can mail checks to:
Life Church Morris
P.O. Box 679
Morris, IL 60450
In Memo line: Mission San Lucas
You can also donate by following the link on this blog page.
Thank you all for the love and support. Without your joining the effort, nothing happens.