When I told a friend of mine that I want to write a book about my life one day, he said: „Who do you think wants to read your book? You are not famous. You are not successful. You have not changed the world yet.“ It is great to have such a friend, isn’t it? Who needs enemies when you have such friends (parents, teachers, neighbours,...).
I do understand his heart behind his words though. I was a young woman bubbling over with ideas and full of dreams, not being sure how to start or how to put my dreams into action. But I was ready to change my status of a nobody into the status of a somebody. He simply wanted to protect my heart from more disappointment and rejection. He knew my story. He loved me. He was a brother in Christ. He was a spiritual father to me.
But his words had a negative connotation. They left a taste of failure and a touch of „your life will never change“. Born in anonymity, perish in anonymity. His words hit me so hard because I still felt homeless and restless.
I am sure all of us have had such encounters in our lives. Encounters with people that look at us seeing the reality of our past, the condition of this world, the statistics of the professionals.
At home but yet homeless
I was brought up in a very small town in Germany. My grandparents had experienced the cruelty of World War II. As many of their generation they were the ones rebuilding the ruins of a nation in ashes. They worked hard as industrial workers for a very small salary. My mom and my dad both grew up in child-rich families with four and seven siblings. The family members shared a small home and a bath once a week.
In my home I experienced a famine of emotions. My parents did not know how to show their love and appreciation. How can I blame them, if they had not experienced love either? I barely received a warm touch or an encouraging word. As an only child I grew up alone and mostly isolated from other children because my parents felt ashamed of our economic status and they experienced recurring unemployment. I wasn’t allowed to invite class mates over and I hardly ever visited other children's homes. Just when I was about to make some friends, we moved into another town or into another part of town for various reasons.
My father was a choleric man (I hope he would agree with me today), he did not know how to control his emotions. His mother had died at cancer of young age. My grandfather had been a violent man and my father grew up under strokes and alcoholism. My dad was not able to forgive his father. He decided to break up every contact with him.
My mother was a very sweet person, but my dad’s controlling spirit made it difficult for my mother and me to be. The tension at home and my pent-up emotions led to constant headaches and the reception order into a psychiatric clinic. The doctors never detected the reason for my ongoing disease. In fact the headaches left when I was in the clinic and returned when I went back home.
With a look at history and our biblical ancestors I realise: Times have never been easy. As long as humanity exists there were wars and famines all over the earth. Famines in families and famines in nations. Wars in families and wars in nations.
I could go on and tell you more about my childhood and my teenage years, but I want to make a point. With a look at history and our biblical ancestors I realise: Times have never been easy. As long as humanity exists there were wars and famines all over the earth. Famines in families and famines in nations. Wars in families and wars in nations. Children throughout history turned away from their fathers. In Genesis 3 we read, that Adam decided to mistrust his father, the Father of all fathers (God Himself). He decided to go after his own will and refuse to take his Father’s advise. And we know what happened: He wasn't there for his wife when she was tempted by the snake, and in the blink of an eye the fruit was eaten and humanity had to learn to live under the rule of a fallen spirit. But who was to blame: The man, the woman, the snake,...? I would like to suggest that Adam blamed himself, because he decided to hide from his father.
Cain and Abel, born into a fallen creation, didn't know any better (read Genesis 4). When Abel decided to honor God he found favor in the sight of the Lord. But Cain came after Adam and again a son decided to go after his own will, sin against the Father and to hide from his earthly father’s presence. Children became parents and with every generation the rejection of the fathers and the Father grew. Fathers bequeathed the pain of the fatherless. The deep longing of humanity to know their fathers grew, but we forgot what we were longing for: To know our true Father. To return home.
It took God many years to get through to my broken heart until I understood his love, his advice and his plans for me.
One fatherless generation was born out of another. The pain of the children was passed on until today and it has become a hurtful reality with many faces: Emotional orphans, domestic violence, psychological illnesses, abuse, adultery, divorce, murder and many more.
What then can we do to stop the train that carries the bones of the fatherless generations gone before us?
For a long time I was hoping to find out where my home is. A home where I would feel safe and at peace. A home with a father and mother who know me and encourage me. For years I'd been searching for a family in the wrong places, leaving devastation after devastation.
After giving my heart to Christ in 2004 I found many homes. Brothers and sisters opened their houses and showed me true hospitality. I learned about the Father's heart: His heart is one, that opens the door of the house to brothers and sisters all over the world. In these homes I found an open ear, people to cry and to laugh with. Family to share a meal with.
The encouragement that I needed was found in these houses. But more than that, it was found in my Father himself. It took God many years to get through to my broken heart until I understood his love, his advice and his plans for me. His plan for us is not to die in anonymity but to be known by Him.
Your story is precious. You are precious! I don’t know your background. But I know a lot about your future. Your father had a father. And at one point in history all of our fathers went astray. They decided to follow their own will and not to take the advice of their father. More and more our fathers lost their sense of what is right and what is wrong. But it is time for us to rise up. Let us return home. God’s dream has always been to restore families, to restore his own family:
"He will return the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents." (Malachi 4:6)
The day of the Lord had come when he sent his son Jesus Christ to earth to reunite the children to their parents. He tore the veil that covered our hardened hearts and wouldn’t give us access to the holiest of holies: God’s very heart, the presence of our Father.
His plan for us is not to die in anonymity but to be know by Him.
Today, many years later, I have a close relationship with my dad. He is still not perfect and he is not saved yet, but I know that he loves me. My relationship to Christ has changed him. Because Christ has changed my heart towards my dad. Because I have decided to return to my father’s house. I have decided to get to know him.
Some things take time. And all of us carry scars.
But let us decide to build families that give honor to the father: First our Lord and God, the Father of all fathers. But not only that, Girls. Let us build homes where our children won’t run away from their father’s advise. Homes, in which our children see that we honour their fathers. Let us make the decision to remind our husbands and future husbands to return to their own fathers.
What a beautiful journey we all embark on, when we meet our Father face to face. A journey that leads Home. And through the ups and downs of life we walk courageously. With high expectations we lope into our future. Walking from anonymity into a life of prominence: You are prominent because your Father knows your name. You are a daughter of the Most High. You walked away from the years of orphanhood. You've entered the king’s house.
You are royal.
Let’s build royal homes!