No parents are perfect, but sometimes parents are painfully imperfect. Sometimes parents directly instill fear, neglect, lovelessness, worthlessness, rejection, self-hate, abandonment, and anger that children live with. When these hurting children grow up to be adults they struggle. The challenges we face in childhood become the struggles of our adulthood. Scripture tells parents to train their children up in the way they should go and they shall not part from it (Proverbs 22:6). The reality of this scripture is that the direction parents raise their child, regardless if it is in a healthy direction or not, sets the child on a path that becomes incredibly difficult for the child to part. When neglect, abuse, lack of love or emotional safety are on the path the child is raised, they will grow to struggle with these same issues throughout their life. These hurting children carry deep scars that impact their ability to love themselves, to love others, to trust others, to live healthy functioning adult lives. Training children to go down a broken path is an eternal offense. Children do not choose the path they are sent down, they are merely drug along whether it be good or bad.
When these hurting children learn that God is their father they will project these same fears and anger and resentment they harbor from childhood onto God that they experienced toward their own earthly parents. These unpleasant consequences of their broken path generates a gap or a distance between them, the world, and God. These hurting children grow up to feel different, broken, ashamed and alone. This is not the child’s fault, it is all this innocent child knows: they were trained along the broken path to believe this as truth because children learn through observation and experience. What these hurting children grow up to know is that they are not worthy of love, they are unimportant, and that authority or parental figures are not to be trusted. These experiences are also projected to God: “I don’t know where God was in my struggle.” Or, “I don’t believe God cares how I am really feeling.” Or, “I do not believe God loves me because of my life living on the wrong path all these years.” These statements are deeply rooted in fear, unworthiness, shame, guilt, and mistrust. Who can blame any person for feeling so strongly against God, after all, it is how this person was trained. Who can blame this person for continuing further down the broken path; it’s all they’ve ever known. In some unsettling way, for these grown children, the broken path is abnormally normal. When fear is driving the person at the core, fear of changing paths is a dominant inner struggle. This person walked this path during the critical years of their life and thus developed accordingly.
God wants you to know that He understands your anger, your fear, your mistrust.
God loves you anyway.
God wants you to know that He sees your life story and knows why you are where you are right now in this very moment.
God loves you anyway.
God wants you to know that there is no distance you can travel down your trained path that will make God flee from you.
God loves you anyway.
God wants you to know that He is not like your parents: He is perfect, His love is unconditional, He adores you, He can never get enough of you, He knows you intimately, He has plans for prosperity for you, He is taken aback by your beauty, He brings you freedom, He is patient in your mistrust and anger, He sees your sin and died for you, He is everything that earthly parents should be and never will be all at the same time for all eternity. He knows you do not understand Him in this way, yet, and that you distance yourself because you were trained to fear and be angry…
God loves you anyway.
1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
Fear is the broken path you were trained on.
Love is the narrow path God created you for.
God is truly a Good Good Father, more than you can fathom. Maybe you need to allow God to reveal to you that He does love you. Maybe you need to give God a chance to build trust again in those small, seemingly fleeting moments throughout the day and week. How can you keep track of what God does to reveal Himself to you? Is it putting a marble in a jar? Is it a tally mark system? Try it. I believe you will see God in the moment; God in action; God loving you in the storm; God desiring intimacy with you. In the same breath, how can you reciprocate and give God a small token of connection? Is it reading one bible verse each day? Or talking to God about your anger, fear, resentment, and mistrust of Him? Remember, God knows where you’re at and why you’re where you are. God is not one to invalidate and ignore your deep hurt and pain by calling you to read the entire Bible in a day or to be a missionary next week… God wants to meet you where you are, today in this moment. If it is simple acts of connection and trust-seeking, God loves you anyway.
The struggles in your adulthood that were created in your childhood become your enemy and bondage. Satan is the great deceiver and comes to steal, kill, and destroy (your life). So the question begs to be asked: If God is not like my parents, then who is God?
1 John 4:8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
(GOD IS LOVE)
Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
(GOD IS UNCHANGING. NOTHING YOU DO CHANGES GOD’S LOVE FOR YOU.)
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
(GOD IS PATIENT TOWARD YOU AND FORGIVING OF YOU)
1 John 1:5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
(GOD PROVIDES YOU LIGHT ON THE DARK BROKEN PATH)
Isaiah 40:28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.
(GOD IS NOT TIRED OF YOU BECAUSE HE DOES NOT GROW WEARY AND HE UNDERSTANDS YOU MORE THAN YOU UNDERSTAND YOU.)
Psalm 18:30 This God—his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.
(GOD IS PERFECT AND A SHIELD. A SHIELD REQUIRES HUMAN ACTION TO USE THE SHIELD FOR PROTECTION. CALL ON HIM NOW, AS A HURTING CHILD OF GOD.)
Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
(GOD IS NOT FEAR, HE IS ENCOURAGING, HE SHARES HIS STRENGTH WITH YOU, HE CARRIES YOU WHEN YOU STRUGGLE)
Philippian 4:7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(GOD IS PEACE. GOD PROTECTS YOUR HEART AND MIND. HE DOES NOT TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOUR VULNERABILITY BUT BRINGS YOU PEACE AND PROTECTION)
Over this next week, I challenge you to begin small steps of trust-seeking and connection with God and reciprocate His effort. The depth of healing that comes from allowing God to enter into the broken path is imeasurable. The songs below were placed on my heart for this blog. I hope you are able to sit in the moment and allow the words to penetrate beyond your guarded heart.
“NO LONGER SLAVES” – Bethel Music featuring Jonathan David & Melissa Helser
“REDEEMED” – Big Daddy Weave