Sunday, October 21, 2018

We are His Plan

I can't remember a time that I wasn't curious about people and the stories they've lived. Because of this, I've had heard many stories, some exciting and fun, some painful and hard to hear. Because I love to listen, I have had the privilege of knowing women who moved past extremely painful things to become loving, kind, and compassionate. It is a sacred privilege to hear these stories and to see the impact painful things have had and watch as people choose to forgive things that most would deem unforgiveable. It is also exciting when survivors take responsibility to change maladaptive ways of dealing with pain, life, and relationships so they can become the women God designed them to be.

One surprising thing I've discovered over the years, is that the circumstances surrounding one's conception can have a huge impact on how a person sees themselves. Some knew without a doubt that they had been planned, wanted, and celebrated. Knowing that helped them navigate the hard things that came against them. On the other hand, some were told or discovered on their own that they were accidently conceived. Those whose parents embraced the pregnancy and celebrated them believed they were wanted even though an accident. They, too, drew on their parent's love and acceptance to get through the hard.

Those who weren't celebrated have believed they were simply tolerated or that they were unwanted and they have carried shame. Some knew their conceptions was the reason their parents got married. Those who handled that news well were those who had healthy families who openly discussed their questions and who were reassured they were wanted, loved, and a source of joy. But, those who found out on they were unplanned and lived in families that refused to talk about these things struggled and took on the shame of their parents.

Some have said they knew through either their parents actions or words that they were neither planned or wanted. These often struggled with the belief that something was innately wrong with them to cause their parents to reject them physically and/or emotionally. They couldn't identify what it was in them that caused rejection, but they were sure it was their fault. I have even known a few that found out they were the product of one night stands or rapes. They struggled because they weren't the product of a relationship, just sin or violence. Some had been told that their dads wanted their moms to abort them and some were survivors of attempted abortions. Most felt grateful to be alive, but grieve daily at how easy it is for some to end a life.

There are ladies who were the product of rape. They knew they were treated with less warmth than their siblings and some suffered physical abuse at the hands of mothers and believed it was because they served as a reminder of  the perpetrator who harmed them. These often bear great shame, wondering if the evil of a rapist father could be residing in them or passed down to their children.

Some shared that they believed their moms got pregnant to hold on to a boyfriend or a husband who wanted to leave. Some felt loved because the parents worked hard at making the marriage work and in the process of that they became good parents. Others ached because theirs dads acted as if they felt trapped or their moms projected frustration on them as they were a reminder of the failures in the marriage and their manipulating ways.

We can't change the facts surrounding our conception or our birth. But, the Word of God can change how we view these events. Psalm 139 tells us that in God's eyes we are not mistakes, accidents, interruptions to plans made, or manipulative actions to be reckoned with for a life time. "For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them." Our God was there in the womb with us, lovingly forming us according to His will and His plans.

Our God is a creative God! He designs and created us with intentionality and with purpose and values us enough to send a Savior to redeem us. He is loving and kind and never ever avoids us. He never abuses us and never treats us with disdain because we interrupted His plans. We are His plan--beautiful and unique, fearfully and wonderfully knitted in the womb. We are not an embarrassment that He would rather not acknowledge, He called us from the womb by name. We are not a source of shame or a reminder of a careless, shameful mistake once made. He delights in us and has purposed every single one of our days before they came to be.

In addition, the Bible tells believers that we are born again by His will. John 1:12-13 says, "But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God." Not only was it God's design for us to be born physically, it was also His will that we be born again spiritually and with that spiritual birth we are also adopted as His sons (Ephesians 1:5). We are no longer outsiders wishing we could feel at home in a family. By faith, we have received a new heritage with the saints of old and we are treasured members of His family. No one can ever take that away from us. The Lord--He is faithful and He will never abandon us.

When Satan reminds us of our fleshly roots, we want to remind him that in God's eyes, there was never a time we weren't loved, never a time we weren't wanted, and never a time we weren't a central part of His plan. When this truth takes a hold of our hearts, the lies that the Enemy whispers to try to shame us into despair lose their power over us. We are His plan and His plan is always perfect.

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Several years ago I realized that I often sped through my Scripture reading and gave it little thought. Yet, when I had meaningful conversations with friends or family members I replayed them over and over in my head. One day it occurred to me, that if I thought more about what God says in his word that I would not only know more about Him, but I would come to know Him in a personal way. I would know more about His thoughts, His character, His intentions, His passions, and His actions. So, I began to take one verse at a time and think on it and then journal about it. At the time I was served as a volunteer in youth ministry and shared my “Thoughts on God” with those girls. For a while I have been rewriting and posting them on this blog. I have realized when I am in the Word or move through my day focusing on God's presence that I have wonderful opportunities to Meet God in the Everyday. The Everyday can include storms, blessings, hard things, scary things, exciting things...just any where, anyplace, any time. I hope that you will be able to engage with what I write with both your head and your heart. I also hope you will be challenged to love, trust, and know the God of the Scriptures. It is my prayer that as you read you will experience Him at a deeper level and share pieces of your journey in the comments. It is my desire that we form a safe community of believers who pursue the God who loves us radically, eternally, and without reserve. As a precious pastor once told me, "Don't forget, Wendy, God is Good!" I find myself compelled by His Goodness and His Love to share so others can know Him through all the ups and downs of life. Please feel free to dialogue back and to share how each passage impacts you. If if there is a passage you would like me to write on or if you would like to be a guest blogger, please let me know. I am just learning to navigate this blog and appreciate the kind comments you have made in the past...I promise I will even try to respond if you leave a note. If you are blessed please share the blog with friends!