Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Breaking the orphan spirit
"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you."  Jesus, in John 14:18

That might sound cruel at first but what I'm  referring to here is the breaking of a "spirit", or mindset, that puts precious people in the painful position of being unable to receive the love, comfort, and affirmation that people in their lives, and God, are attempting to give them. 

We are all created to give and receive love, but past experiences sometimes lead to emotional walls that hinder a person from receiving the love they so need and desire.  When that occurs, the affected person will usually attempt to fulfill those unmet needs in ways that are ineffective and frustrating and sometimes even harmful.  The following is a definition of an orphan spirit or "orphan heart" :

An orphan heart is a mental attitude developed from external
stimuli (experiences) during child development and influenced by
parental nurturing and emotional presence in the child’s life. An
orphan heart feels that it does not have a safe and secure place in a
father’s heart, where it is loved, valued, and affirmed.  Bruce Brodowski, Shiloh Place Ministries

In the course of my missionary work in Africa I adopted (unofficially by law, yet written on my heart) my beloved son there.  He was orphaned around the age of 7 after his mom died of AIDS.  We've been together for several years now and I can say it's been a blessing to watch his heart transform from being like an that of an orphan's to much more like a son's, as he comes to know and believe that he has a life-long family who loves him unconditionally.

Once, when I was upset with him for something, I made a comment, in my frustration, that sounded to him like I was maybe thinking to leave him.  I somewhat foolishly said, "I'm finished," meaning dealing with that particular issue, but certainly not with him.  That night he wrote me a letter addressed "Dear You", no longer "Mum", and proceeded to write in a way that demonstrated he was preparing himself for the worst.  He thanked me for my years of helping him and would always pray for me. He then asked if I would kindly give him 2 weeks notice if I was leaving him, so that he had time to find a place to stay.  Poor boy.  I, in turn, wrote him a letter letting him know that, no matter what, I will never leave him.

Some of the greatest things I've ever seen have been the moments where he was touched in some way that brought about a spirit of being adopted, accepted, loved, & not abandoned.  Such as when he said, seemingly of nowhere, "I can't believe you chose me" (out of all the children at the orphanage where I volunteered).  Or when I asked him how he felt after a long day of looking at potential universities to attend and he unexpectedly said "I feel loved."  I thought he was going to say something like "a little tired" or "excited about going to university."  It's a beautiful thing to see that spirit chipped away at and a feeling of belonging and being loved replace it.

I witness the same thing in many of our street boys.  It is a process for them to gain trust in us, open up with their feelings and receive the safety and love being given.  It takes sticking with them through problems, bad attitudes & bad behavior.  Disciplining correctly, in love, taking the time to listen, & affirming them.  Most importantly not giving up on them.  And most importantly, teaching them what God has to say about them in the Bible and praying they get a revelation of the Father's unconditional love for them.  Carrying out these things can bring about remarkable changes in them.  Their hearts open up and they begin to grow and mature through the love and acceptance they're receiving.  I've seen it happen and it's one of my favorite things to witness.  We see in the following scriptures that it is from the heart of Father God that adoption stems:

For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”  Romans 8:15
"He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will."  Ephesians 1:5

One of my favorite scriptures is, "God sets the lonely in families."  Psalm 68:6  So we see that Father God loves family.  He sent His only Son, Jesus, to die and redeem people to Himself, so that He could have the big, huge family He always wanted.  I hope you are a part of that family.  It takes simply trusting in what His son did for you and me, believing it and receiving all of the blessings that come through it.  We then can look forward to enjoy being with our awesome, kind & loving Father - and big family for eternity.  It will be and is glorious.

Please pray for the abandoned kids who come to our mission in Kenya to receive the a spirit of adoption instead and enjoy all of the love that the Father has for them.  And for our workers that they daily have encounters with Papa God too so that they can resemble His heart to the hungry and hurting who come to us.  I pray that you too experience and enjoy knowing that you belong to Him and how deeply and dearly loved you are...and will always be.