I am estranged from my parents.
This fact has defined so much about how I see myself and interact with the world in the ten years since our relationship was disrupted.
Ten years ago I found myself holding my ten-day-old baby while I watched my parents make dumbfounding choices that would destroy our relationship just a few months later. When you're a brand new mama, you want a mama. You want someone there walking you through the sleepless nights and first colds. You want someone to come hold your babies and play with your toddlers while you nap or fold laundry. You want someplace to land when it's 103 and your AC is out. You want someone who looks at your kids and adores their quirks and curls and spontaneous happy dances just as much as you do.
For the longest time, I thought, "If I could just say the right things, just do the right things, I could fix our relationship. I could fix them." But it wasn't fixable, despite all my efforts. All my carefully chosen words. All my prayers and gracious assumptions and best intentions. I couldn't fix it.
God has been good to me. I have a seriously special group of Mama friends. They have my back and they love on my babies and they can relate when I drink my coffee in the baby's room to hide from my crazy children. But some days it's hard to not feel alone. Orphaned.
I don't like using the word orphan because I grew up with parents. I was profoundly blessed to experience love and safety in my home as a child. I'm learning to be so grateful for that gift. But in becoming a student of my heart in the last year, I'm also recognizing the ways that my heart has taken on the posture of an orphan.
This January we reflected on a word for 2019 in our Wholehearted and Courageous group. The Lord gave me the word "Daughter". I didn't want it. I don't relate to it. I don't play a daughter role with anyone. I don't celebrate Mother's Day or Father's Day. I have daughters, but I am not one.
But the Lord gave the word, "Daughter". And this year I've been allowing Him to teach me what that means for my heart.
Ten years is a long time. A long time to talk through, pray through, heal from and get over a wound. It's amazing to me how, even though a lot of time has gone by, there can still now be sore spots from that wound. In seeking the Lord this year about how He sees me as His Daughter, He showed me my Father wound. I wanted to believe that that part of my heart had been healed. But until I was ready to allow my Heavenly Father to occupy that place in my heart, that place wasn't actually healed. It was merely boarded up.
As I've meditated on what it means to have a Father, to be a Daughter, this is what I've learned:
Daughters are loved unconditionally. Orphans will go to great lengths to hide, to cover over their faults and mistakes, to avoid rejection. But daughters know they completely seen, both their virtues and their flaws, and completely loved.
Daughters aren't alone. Orphans have to be self-sufficient, and figure out how to do all the things without help or guidance or support. Daughters know they can approach their Father with confidence for anything they need, that they can ask for help without fear of judgment, that they don't struggle with anything in isolation.
Daughters have all resources of the Kingdom at their disposal. Orphans cling tightly to their scarcity because they don't know whether tomorrow holds provision or starvation. Daughters don't have to fear for their future, even when it looks uncertain, because their Father has everything and provides generously.
Daughters are given a safe place to learn and grow. Orphans take a defensive stance in response to correction because they know that it often comes from a place of contempt. Daughters know that correction from their Father comes from a place of love, that they are encouraged to keep learning, and that their Father has confidence that their practice will pay off as growth.
Daughters are proud of their heritage. Orphans don't know where they came from - or they do know and that knowledge is accompanied by shame. Daughters can take pride in who their Father is, and by extension, who they are as one of His children.
Daughters are attended to. Orphans know that no one cares about the concerns and details of their lives. Daughters know that their Father wants to hear their heart, their thoughts, their fears, their joys; that He cares about the the things they care about.
Daughters are eternally cherished. Orphans fear abandonment because they've learned that people can't be trusted, that at some point all relationships will end. Daughters know that their Father will never leave, that their position is unshakable, unwavering, secure.
This is what He's showed me, and the posture I am growing into as I abide in Him as my Father. How has He shown Himself as a Father to you?