Sarah Stanley is the Cross Regional Youth Pastor at The Meeting House. She is married to Andrew, friend to many, and follower of Jesus.
This past week we launched our newest series, “Kenya Family” in kidmax and theUNDERGROUND. I got to sit at a table in Jr High this past Sunday with a group of Grade 6 girls and talk about our families – who was in them, what they’re like, (how our siblings drive us crazy!), and what it means for us to be adopted by God and to be part of His family.
Part of my earthly ‘family story’ is that I am adopted.
In a difficult and loving decision by my birth mother, I was surrendered to adoption and came home with my Mom and Dad when I was six weeks old. I grew up always knowing this and apparently asked lots of inquisitive questions as a curious child!
As a teen and young adult, however, I struggled more to wrap my head around my story:
Why was I given up?
What did that mean for how I understood who I am, and who I know God to be?
I would read verses like that one we’re teaching our kids and youth these days and would find it hit home in a very real way in my life:
“God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” Ephesians 1:5-8
We all have a deep need to know that we are loved, and that we belong. We live in a broken world and we’ve all experienced that brokenness in some way or another in our earthly family – in big or small ways.
As a teenager, struggling with why I wasn’t ‘good enough’ or ‘wanted’ – I wrestled with and came to understand these beautiful truths found in Scripture, and lived out in my Mom and Dad’s love and care for me.
God created you.
He loves you infinitely.
He rescued you, and chose to adopt you.
And it gave Him great pleasure.
God loves us and wants us to be His kids!! How amazing is that!? In Christ, we are loved and we belong - to Him and as part of an eternal family that makes us brothers and sisters. We can rest in that, while we also learn to live it out in our day to day, and as we help our kids understand that too.
Our kids and youth are learning about a huge family on the other side of the world who live this truth out in their earthly day-to-day: the Mully Children’s Family. I am so grateful for the earthly family I was adopted into – for parents who have loved me unconditionally and been incredible examples of what it means to follow Jesus.
I’m also thankful to be part of spiritual family. There is hope in Christ’s promise and in where we find our place in the greater narrative: that God wants us to be His kids and part of His spiritual family forever!