<dedicated to my 3 brothers & 6 sisters who’ve been on this journey with me>
Although I spent years knowing about God,
it wasn’t for some time that I began finding Him for myself….
I first found Him as my
Spiritual Leader at 16 when I decided to serve Him in the Inner City of Philadelphia…
then I found Him as my Provider when I was 20 as He so graciously gave me a Christian husband who I had prayed for when I was only 12…
I found Him as my Lord and Savior at 21 when my husband baptized me…I found Him as my Healer at 21 when He began healing me from an eating disorder that I had suffered with for years…
I found Him as my Sustainer when I was 23 and had our first son and then had 4 miscarriages that He brought me through and then to later have 3 more sons whom He’s given me the strength to raise up in the Lord…
I found Him as my Restorer throughout the years but even greater at 44 as He is restoring me from years of sexual abuse…
I found that He alone is my Peace at 46 when my Mom’s aorta was torn from top to bottom and she died and now at 49 I am currently discovering yet another significant attribute of our Great I am….
Have you ever wondered who you are?
I think at one time or another we all wrestle with this…
what defines us,
what fills us and gives us purpose.
I remember being 16 and reading philosophy books.
What kind of teenager finds pleasure in reading that stuff?
I think the only reason I did read them was to somehow ‘find myself ‘…it was a desperate reach to discover who I was.
At that time, Psychology was just beginning to find its place in our society and seeping into our homes.
People were discovering a safe place to talk about their feelings and their pain.
I found relief in this. I’ve always been a verbal processor and this gave me a place to process the inner spaces of my heart.
It wasn’t until years later that I would discover who I was in Christ though.
Not who He says I am if I walk a rigid road of perfection, but who I am when I fall short or even when I am a complete mess.
You see, God loves us even when we are broken and limping along.
when our hearts are split wide open we find ourselves in some of the most holy & beautiful moments with God; where we are wide open enough for HIm to come in…it’s inside these broken & holy places we find that
is right beside us.
A year after my Mom died, my Dad got diagnosed with a type of Bone Cancer. We all were just learning to live without Mom and now Dad’s life was shortening too.
During his recent time in Dallas with me, I witnessed Dad leaning into God deeper than ever and as I cared for him I grew closer to God as well. I’ve always heard as a Christian draws nearer to their death they draw nearer to God.
I saw this with my Dad.
The shorter his time with us was, the more intimate He was becoming with God.
And yet the week my Dad was dying, I kept feeling an odd sense of being orphaned…this was a new and strange feeling for me.
I am the ninth out of ten children and I’d never experienced this before.
My mind began wondering….
If my life suddenly falls apart who was going to come and put it back together?
If I get lost who was going to send a search team out until I was found?
If I lose everything I have who would come to my rescue and restore me back to life?
This kind of stuff happens, everyday it does and somewhere in the midst of losing my Dad these questions were haunting my thoughts…
Then just a week ago Sunday as I was standing in worship,
I found myself singing the words
‘For I am a Child of God…’
and they struck up that feeling again, of being an orphan.
As I struggled to mouth the words, tears began rolling down my cheek.
Not because I was sad but because for the first time ever I realized that’s…..who I am!
These familar words took on greater meaning.
Yes, I am still a daughter of my Parents, Phil and Barbara Julian, but even more I understand how I am a Child of God too.
As I’ve recently felt God’s presence walking me intimately through this hard but beautiful time this new realization gave me a fresh understanding of who I am.
This detail especially hit close to my heart as my Dad became a Christian at 39 when some of his close friends who were visiting him daily in the hospital, told him how they were praying for him to know God as his Heavenly Father.
This idea intrigued my Dad, because he had lost his Father at 13…he was a teenage boy right in the middle of trying to figure out who he was.
And yet here he was at 39, floundering through life, laying there with a physically broken heart and God brought someone into his hospital room to tell him, he was a Child of God.
What a God we have….who meets us in our tender and broken moments to remind us who we are and whose we are!
The Great I am took time away from ruling the Universe to tell my Dad he had a Father in Heaven who loved him. And this same I am has reminded me again and again who He is throughout my life.
Knowing that I am a visual learner God has illustrated who He is to me through pivotal moments in my life. Realizing I am a Child of God has replaced the orphaned feelings with a sense of belonging, it has reassured me that I am His and it reminded me of the Inheritance and future I have in Christ.….An inheritance that we all share in as His family.
He who defines us also describes us as His own…He takes our brokenness and makes it better!
If this is striking a chord within the secret places within….
Know that you’re not alone and know that God is right beside you in your hurt and in your brokenness. And…. He wants you to know –you are a Child of God too!
We’re never truly orphaned,
never, ever abandoned
-for Our Heavenly Father is with us forever.
Just as He was recently beside me through my Father’s death, He is with me in my Father’s life in Heaven too.
And when we’ve forgotten who we really are, He enters into our lives and reminds us that our real identity exists in Him.
Our heart’s are restless until they’re able to rest fully in Him.
For, I am a Child of God!