The following is a transcript of a voice memo I recorded on one of the darkest nights of my life. Leonard Ravenhill once said “you can’t say Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you’ve got.” I lived this statement that night. Never did I feel more illegitimate than that night when all that God had promised me seemed to pass right over me without even noticing me. There was no one there for me that night except for the quiet presence of a Father longing to be noticed by His daughter as she fought the distraction of an open heart searing with pain, struggling to not regret having opened it in the first place. Little did I know that in facing that trial I would be able to bear a greater one to come.
Family is a subject that I cannot say that I am an expert in.
I haven’t been a member of a family, a real family – ever.
Saying that is very validating.
What does it mean to be part of a family?
What is the definition of family?
What makes one a family member?
I can look up the definition in the dictionary but what if I were to look in the word of God? You see the straight forward family:
you see that.
That is one description of family.
Some of us have never really experienced family in that sense.
True, we are all biologically related to someone but we don’t know them or we haven’t had fellowship with them or maybe they died, whatever it is we haven’t enjoyed family.
Then there’s others of us that have had family but the family was incredibly dysfunctional, and so we haven’t had a good sense of family. We learned that family means pain that family means selfishness. We learned that you better get what you can get because if you don’t somebody else is going to take it.
In this case Family means:
Family doesn’t have a good definition.
But family, as described in the word of God talks of love and how loving another meant to view that person as a gift. If you loved somebody you didn’t look at them and think, well I really like the way they look or I really like what they do or how good they are, how they make me feel or something like that.
You just simply
look at them and
raise your hands in praise and
caught your breath at the wonder of what God had just given you.
…..then you have a whole lot of examples in the Bible of people doing it wrong.
Esau the prodigal son
the elder brother the 12 sons of Jacob
cain & abel
In the Word you see a lot of sibling rivalry… and in the New Testament we can read about family. We read about rules about how to treat our family. We learn that we must honor our father and mother (Eph 6:1) and not exasperate our children (Eph 6:4.) I don’t suppose there is a lot of instruction as far on being a good sibling. I think being a good sibling as read in the New Testament simply has to do with being a good child. The Lord said that we are to love one another, that if we love one another then everyone will know we belong to the Lord (John 13:34-35.) If we love one another. I think about pure brotherly love that is selfless and compassionate, kind and generous and patient and honestly, I don’t really know what that is. It’s usually riddled with insecurities. I mean have you ever noticed families and noticed how there is always a child who is insecure in his position and how the other children seem to pick up on it and reinforce it in them and then there is just all this rivalry. I suppose there are some families where there is no rivalry. It’s a rarity of course but I imagine there are a few families with no rivalry. I like to believe it’s true. I digress.
I think about John the apostle and the book of John and how he always referred to himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved.
And I don’t know what that’s all about. I really don’t think he was trying to say “Jesus loves you but He likes me better” I mean, I really don’t. I don’t think that was the end of his gospel. I think his gospel was “Jesus loves you, I know He really loves me, and upon this knowledge I can assure you that I know He loves you and I know that you too can know that He really loves you.” I think that was his gospel. And he was convincing. Why? Because he was convinced himself.
The best example of brotherly love is Jesus.
He left the splendor of heaven. He left the halls of glory, the heavenly host, and He took on Him the form of man. And He did it for a lot of reasons. There are so many aspects to why He did it. He did it because He was obedient to His father. We talk about how God loved us so much that He sent His only Son. that we would be saved. And that’s true, I mean it’s in the Bible and stuff so it’s really true. But Jesus came, He willingly came. He knew what He was doing. Not just the suffering, He knew that in His suffering and in His victory we would have full access to His full inheritance. He knew that. I mean can you see another sibling anywhere… do you know another sibling anywhere that would sacrifice…. not just sacrifice for your life, that’s one thing– but to sacrifice themselves in order to give you everything they have? Everything they prize? Even the fulness of their parent’s love?
Would you choose to do that?
Everything. It’s a very interesting thought and I cannot even full grasp it.
Where am I going with this? Well what I’m thinking of is, I’ve thought a lot about family because I haven’t had one. What is family? It’s something I’ve always longed for. Family. A Father, a mother, and siblings. I have longed for that nucleus family. And in my longings and yearnings in my pilgrimage upon this earth I have experienced more than once dedications of adoption and people just see you and feel that you have no family and they think they can pick you up like a stray cat. I have experienced this time and again. I have experienced friends who take me in, call me sister, and profess to share their parent with me. I have experienced this and well, what I have learnt is it’s not the fulness, not like Jesus. He came that I could fully know sonship with His father in the same way He knows it. No, it was never like that. And then I have been adopted by other people, usually some sweet woman that sees me and usually they’ve lost a child in infancy or something like that, and they take me in. I have been a willing participant in these things and it was never that full inheritance. They didn’t give that full inheritance and their children certainly didn’t want to share it. Then I’ve been in situations where I have been taken in and the children didn’t want me to be part of the family. And so it would never work. These situations only ever brought me pain. So why the platform. What is this about? I think that there are more orphans in this world than we realize. I think that an orphan has little to do with having physical parents or not. An orphan is a condition of the heart. One where you are riddled with insecurity and you need a parent to ground you, to tell you that you’re worthy, that you’re good. And I think that as parents, sometimes we don’t know that. We don’t understand the fulness of it and we don’t give it to our children like we ought to and we end up raising orphans. You can spot an orphan because there’s sibling rivalry within. I was an orphan. And I’m not now. I have found myself in situations where physicallly legitimate children behave like orphans fighting for their position, marking their territory and it breeds this orphan climate. As an orphan I used to take what I could get, everything I could get, anything I could get. Being in this climate provokes me, it reminds me that I have been an orphan. But I am an orphan no longer and I must, I must behave legitimately. I must not behave like the bastard child even though I feel it when put in these situations, and boy do I feel it. I must behave legitimate, I must behave as one who belongs to a family. Because Jesus did everything there was to be done so that I could have a Father and that means I am part of a family because my Father has many many many children and whether they recognize me or not as their sister I am their sister and I must behave legitimate. Legitimate means to behave like Jesus, who did, He gave up everything and He couldn’t do it without knowing that He was loved by His Father, He couldn’t do it. And that’s why this season is so important in my life. I must know, so that I don’t fight anymore for place or position. I must know. I begged God to never put me in a situation ever again to be taken in by anyone unless it would be really real. And He has given me the opportunity to choose His will over mine and I am blessed with the best flesh could give me in a situation where I was not born of flesh. But it does not make me part of a family in that the children receive me as their own. So either I am not part of a family or I must behave as though I am and prefer them over myself because I know something they don’t.
End of Transcript
When The Lord led me to listen to this voice memo I was desperately disappointed that I didn’t say what it was that I knew. I felt like it was the worlds worst cliff hanger ever. He is a good Father. I know the answer now. Knowing my Father loves me is what empowers me to behave legitimate. I am new to this. Trying to walk it out. Baby steps.