“…In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you.” 1 Peter 3b-4
“My parents have really screwed up my life.” Week after week Rachel complained about her parents’ hostile custody battle.
“At least your parents want you. My mom could care less if she ever sees me again.” Melissa, a first time visitor to my ninth grade Sunday School class, spoke softly. She looked hopeless. Defeated.
Rejection, especially from a parent, is hard to process at any age, but even more so as a teenager. The lesson I had prepared to teach on this particular Sunday, quickly changed. These girls needed to hear about hope. Hope that only Jesus can give us.
When we’re rejected by someone, we must hope in someone bigger than our parents, our boyfriends, our coaches, teachers, and girlfriends. The hope we have in Jesus assures us He will take care of us. He has our back. The future we have is not determined by people or circumstances. It’s determined by our Heavenly Father who will never disappoint.
Jesus adores you. He has a hope and a future with your name on it. Sure we question some of the things that happen in our lives. But know deep in your heart, Jesus will give you the power and strength you need for every situation. Ask Him for it every morning. He will not fail you.
Know I’m praying for you,
Music for your iPod: In Christ Alone by Natalie Grant
Last weekend, we celebrated the death and resurrection of our Savior King Jesus. It was the ultimate display of love. Christ, a sinless Savior, laid himself down on the cross to be crucified so that you and I could be washed clean from all the filth in our lives.
How could someone love me that much?? What does it look like to have a father that loves you so much He would give up His only son? I couldn’t grasp that concept of true love. I didn’t know what it looks like to have a father who looks at me with such affection. I kept letting myself think that my Heavenly Father resembled my earthly father.
How is that love? Why would I want another “dad” like that? “How precious is Your steadfast love, O God! The children of men take refuge and put their trust under the shadow of Your wings” (Psalm 37:6).
His love for us is so much greater than anything we’ve ever experienced! He adores me, He adores you! God’s loves you, no matter what you are going through. He wants to carry you through it.
Dozens of ten-year-old girls in western-looking clothes swung down the dance floor with their fathers. Their colorful skirts whirled in tandem with their full laughs as they enjoyed the annual Father/Daughter Square Dance hosted by our church’s girl’s ministry. To my delight, my dad had said yes when I had asked him to attend with me the week before. He stood beside me now.
I was proud to introduce him for the first time to many of my friends. This was my dad after all, and he didn’t know any of my friends except from what I had mentioned in conversation. We joined in the next dance and then headed towards the snacks table where I spotted my tall friend Bernadette. Her short black hair, flushed cheeks, and bright red finger nails made her look like Snow White.
“Hey, Bernadette!” I called. She walked over in a few long-legged strides. “This is my dad. Dad, this is my friend Bernadette from school.”
“Oh.” She said it with downward inflection and a wary look in her eye. This was obviously not going to be much of a conversation.
“Hi, Bernadette.” My dad tried to act friendly although the tension was tangible. After a couple of seconds of staring at probably the only divorced adult she had ever met, my friend turned and walked away. Well, that could have gone better, I thought.
This is was one of the times in my young life when I felt especially different from my church friends. Normally the subject of my divorced parents simply didn’t come up, but when it did, the contrast was evident.
It wasn’t until later that I gradually began to learn just how valuable my different-ness can be. I have had experiences that other kids around me never have. I have learned lessons that I can share with my friends when they are going through a hard time, because I have already had to deal with some of the same things. What an amazing opportunity!
Embrace your experience because of what God wants to teach you through it. He does not waste anything – not even something that might look terribly unfortunate. Through Jesus, our situations are redeemed.
Today is Good Friday. It is such a special day to reflect on how much our Heavenly Father loves us. He sent His one and only son to die on a cross so that we might be able to spend eternity with Him in Heaven. What an amazing Father we have. Does your earthly father resemble that of your Heavenly Father?
My biological father does not. The last time I saw my dad was at the age of 16. It didn’t make sense to me why one of my own parents didn’t want anything to do with me. I wasn’t a bad or mouthy teen, so why didn’t he care? Why didn’t he show interest in my life? Why did he not love me the way my girlfriends’ dads did? It was during this time that I really began praying for God to fill me up with the love that only comes from Him. I realized that trusting God was the only way I would be able to make it through.
Psalm 68:5 says he is ‘A father to the fatherless…’ 1st John 3:1 asks us to ‘see what kind of love the Father has given us.’ The scriptures reassure us that no matter what our father situation looks like here on earth, our Heavenly Father loves us without limits, comforting us through all the difficult and trying times. Rest in the fact this weekend, that despite however your earthly father might act, your Heavenly Father loves you and longs for you to accept the best gift that has ever been offered, eternal life.
Soon I can go home. I hugged my knees and looked around at the four walls of the tiny room I shared with my brother and sister at my dad’s house. Five more hours to go before my dad would come get us to bring us back to my house. I hated the fact that my dad could control my time just because of what was written in a court contract. It had been two days here at his house where all I owned was what I brought with me in my backpack. My dad and stepmom were away at a horse show as usual, and the only thing to do was to sit here in my room. Why do I have to come here at all? It’s not like we spend time with Dad anyway…
I longed for the day I would turn 18 and could choose my own schedule. I felt trapped here every weekend.
Mandisa recently came out with a new song called Free (click to listen). As I was listening to it, it reminded me of something that has helped me in these times: God has freed me! I am no longer in bondage to anything. When I feel trapped, the feeling is not true. Sin, the only thing that held me, is now broken. Think of the song Miriam sung when God delivered the Israelites from Egypt. They rejoiced in their deliverance! In the same way, I need to continually rejoice in the fact that every shackle has forever fallen from me.
Reminding myself of that in situations of bondage can make all the difference. Sometimes when I felt trapped by what other people’s choices have decided for me, I think about my true freedom. Allow the joy of the knowledge of what the Lord has done to fill your heart.