When I say something stupid - which I do from time to time - does that mean I'm stupid?
When my father's last words to me were, "You are nothing but a d___ fool woman like your mother!" - was that true?
When my friend was reminded frequently that she was just an "accident"... was she?
By the same token, I had an acquaintance who was repeatedly told growing up that he was brilliant. He wasn't. He was probably above average but not brilliant. But did that matter?
What I mean is: do you have to be brilliant, beautiful, wanted, or even acceptable, shall we say, in a parent's eyes?
I don't know about being beautiful, brilliant, or wanted as being necessary for life. But I do think that everyone needs to be accepted by someone, preferably a parent.
Christine Caine, in her book, Undaunted, talks about how she had everything stacked against her. She came from a poor housing development in the poorest part of her province. Her family were immigrants and therefore despised by the locals. She was a girl in an ethnic culture that devalued women in general. And she was repeatedly abused by several men from the time she was 3 years old until she turned 15. And then, when she was almost 33, she learned to her total shock that she had been adopted at birth.
And if that weren't enough, when she finally saw her adoption papers, she learned that her biological father was unknown and that she herself had been unnamed by her birth mom. Shaken to her foundation, she grappled with the fact that at birth she had been nothing more than just a number to her birth mom.
Finally, she took her adoption file in one hand and her Bible in the other, held them up, and asked herself which one she would accept as "truth". Her choice to stand on Scripture has made all the difference in her life.
Sometimes my husband and I help out at a local food bank. I see all kinds of people walking through those doors on Sunday afternoon. Some look healthy and fit. Others limp into the building. Some enunciate simple ideas with great deliberation and effort. A few have been ravaged by old age. At the opposite end of the spectrum, there are young adults who bring their children into the building and - probability being what it is - I would guess that some of those kids were not exactly wanted at one time. But you can't tell it by looking at them or their parents - at least I can't. The kids all laugh and play, fuss and whine like kids the world over.
Actually, I think I can look at the adults and probably predict with greater accuracy which of those are currently unwanted and unloved as they limp through life, emotionally and/or physically.
And as I look at the ones who are maybe not easy to love, I have to remind myself that there is Someone who loves them. A Father who knew them before they were born and who cherishes them regardless of where they've been, what they've done, what life has done to them, or what "label" others have stamped on them.
And that's why we volunteer at this food bank.
Because they can not only get a hot meal and a box of food on Sunday afternoons, they can also, if they choose, hear the truth: that they have a Father who loves them just as they are...
without one plea...
but that His blood was shed for them...
In a society that prides itself on its intellectual achievements, may we learn this simple truth:
Every child is loved...
And we are not defined by what we do or how others see us...
We are defined by our Father's love.