We love kids, and enjoy working with kids, but Dan and I have been learning that it is the family that we are passionate about. I love the design of the family, and how in its ideal form, it mirrors the relationship that God wants with us. The family is foundational in who we become; how we are shaped. In family we belong; we have an identity and a home.
As humans we need relationships-secure, safe relationships where you know the other person is FOR you, no matter what. God's most basic and natural design to provide this type of relationship is the family! Husband and wife, parent and child, and hopefully, sibling and sibling.
Who else in life is more for a child than his mom and dad? It is the earthly relationship that most closely mirrors the way God our Father feels towards us.(Before our earthly relationships are marred by sin, that is.) It is also within this relationship that we first learn how to relate to God, and how to relate to others.
As parents, we give our kids a concept of reality that supports, or does not support, who God is. God desires for us to relate to him as our Father, our parent, and this is shaped by the way we relate with our earthly parents.
We show our kids who God is, and how he sees them. Through us, our kids experience God's love, his acceptance, his forgiveness, his instruction, and his provision, and his mercy. (Or they don't.)
God has been teaching us a lot about this the past couple of years. When I stopped to think about how the way I treated my kids was shaping their concept of who God is and how God feels about them--it was hugely convicting.
I started to notice all the ways that I related with my kids and what it told them about who God is.
Do I get impatient and yell at my kids when for the billionth time they forget to put their shoes away? God's not like that. He is patient with us.
Do I motivate my kids to obey me through anger, shaming and disapproval? God's not like that. Its His kindness that leads us to repentance.
Do I sometimes turn a blind eye to my child's bad behavior because I'm tired and it takes too much effort to teach them differently? God's not like that. He takes our hand and leads us out of sin.
Do I only show my kids my love and affection when they are being good and pleasing me? God's not like that. He loves us even while we are sinners.
When we begin to compare our relating with our kids with how God relates to us, we can easily see just how short we fall and how desperately we need Jesus' help! It should motivate us to get serious about the way we relate with our children.
So what does this have to do with our ministry here???
It clarifies our goal. We know that these children come to us from a place of woundedness. In many ways, their concept of who God is and who they are to God has been broken and distorted. They may feel unloveable. Unaccepted. Rejected. They were not "the beloved" of the very people who should have loved them the most. What would make them think they were loved and accepted, "the beloved" of the creator of the universe?
That is what we want to change.
The way God loves us.
Psalm 68:5-6 A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families...
God sets the lonely in families. A place to belong, a place to learn, mature, heal and experience the love of God. A place to begin the process of becoming rooted in their relationship with their real father, the One who is father to the fatherless.
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