Relationships : Adopted by a King
I don’t know about you, but I’m fascinated by neurology. Recent research suggests that our brain continues to be changeable into adulthood, meaning experiences we have as adults have the power to change us as much as when we were children.
What does this mean for us? For one thing, we don’t have to blame our parents for our bad habits. Instead we can choose to cultivate a range of new experiences, memories and behaviours; we can accept the good and reject the bad that people might have said about us. This is particularly interesting and potentially encouraging when thinking about adoption and fostering.
The bible is filled with stories of adoption. The most unlikely of people are plucked out of obscurity and end up doing amazing things. Perhaps you’ve heard of Joseph, who was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers, only to be later promoted to prime minister of Egypt, second only to the Pharaoh?
Or maybe you’ve heard of Moses, son of a Hebrew couple in Egypt who was born at a time of male infanticide. Adopted by Pharoh’s daughter, Moses grew up to lead the Israelites out of Egypt even though he suffered from a debilitating stammer.
And then of course there was another baby boy, born to a carpenter and teenage girl, who managed to escape the murder of Hebrew children – Jesus. The bible is filled with stories of people who came from unimpressive backgrounds and yet were used in amazing ways.
What did these people have in common? They knew their identity as a child of God. Being confident in your identity results in three things: significance, self-worth and security.
Significance. The people I mentioned earlier were called out of obscurity into significance. They were significant in changing circumstances, significant in relationships and, amongst other things, became significant in their communities. Knowing who we are in God fills us with the confidence to make a difference in the places we find ourselves. When Jesus chose His disciples, He didn’t choose the best students of the synagogue, He chose the guys who perhaps thought their chance had passed them by. Take Simon Peter. A mere fisherman, today he is viewed as one of the founding fathers of the Christian church – he even has a building in Rome named after him to prove it! Jesus affirmed his identity, his significance, by saying: ‘Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of men,’ then showed him love and brought him into community. Jesus continued to love him even after he messed up. God isn’t interested in superheroes, but real human beings, who He can adopt into His family.
Self-worth. Everyone has something to offer. None of us live in isolation. We are important because we are part of a community. You are an important part of your community because of who you are so don’t feel bad about what you are or what you’re not! When we know that we are loved and created intentionally, we can know that we have something unique to offer, without having to compare ourselves to someone else.
Security. When you are surrounded by a family, supported, trusted and encouraged by people that love you, you naturally feel secure. Earthly family, good friends and supportive communities can help us in that, but there is a deeper level of peace and comfort in knowing that we are loved by God. You can ask God to help you know this more just by talking to Him and praying.
Be who you were made to be. For some of us that might be the future prime minister, for others the next Stella McCartney – but let’s enjoy the unique role we have to play, and do it well.
Words by Madeleine Miller
Photography by Johanna Lees