“Can I call you Mom?” I never experienced the joy of having my own children. But one Christmas, I stared deep into the eyes of a young teenager I met at an orphanage in Russia as she asked this question. Her eyes pleaded with me to say, “Yes.” I had spent much of my adult life single with no children.
I devoted my time to working in ministry and traveling overseas on mission trips, believing that motherhood would be something I would never experience. But God had other plans. The girl’s question weighed heavily on my heart. An orphan, she had no family—at least, no family who still claimed her.
She could have clung to the hope that they would one day change their minds, but she eagerly reached out for something more, something better. I paused. I, too, was imperfect. I wasn’t able to officially adopt her, but could I love her the way she needed to be loved? Or would I fail her like everyone else? I wasn’t sure I was up to the task, but I knew the One who was. We are all born into a world that is broken.
We yearn for something more, something better. But when we approach God, He does not hesitate. He is ready to adopt us and become our Father, a perfect Father. First John 3 reminds us that we now belong a new family—God’s family. See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! (1 John 3:1, NLT, italics added) We did not begin as God’s children, but when we accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we were not just forgiven.
We joined His family! As His children, God desires that we draw close to Him. You have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” (Romans 8:15 NLT) We don’t have to be afraid of Him.
We can call Him our “Daddy!” Because we are part of God’s family, we have the opportunity to start over again. As 2 Corinthians 5:17 reminds us, anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! God invites us to become more like Him. Throughout the remainder of 1 John 3, we read what that means: leaving the world of sin behind and doing what is right.
But over and over again, He gently reminds us that we are His “children.” That day in Russia, I said “Yes” to that young orphan girl. She jumped into my arms and said, “I love you, Mom.” I would only be at that orphanage for a few more days and had no idea what would come next. But that Christmas, we started a relationship.
Today, we are still in touch, even across the globe. I am thankful that we serve a God who says, “Yes” to us! May we leap into His arms with the same joy and excitement when He invites us to join His family as His children. ~ Scripture is quoted from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation.
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