Do you remember back in the mid-1980s when the Cabbage Patch doll came out? They became a huge success and I remember people lining up at Christmas frantic to ‘adopt’ one for their child. It became madness with people fighting each other for the last one on the shelf, stealing them from other people’s carts and paying inflated prices just so they could have one. Frankly, I didn’t get it. I thought they were ugly, and when I had boys, later on, I was glad they never had any interest.
But maybe it wasn’t the look of the doll that was the lure for kids but the fact they could ‘adopt’ one and love and care for it.
According to my mother, when I was a very young girl, I often told people I was adopted, which embarrassed and infuriated her because it wasn’t true; she was my mother.
Deep down in my being, though, I sensed something was different regarding me, unlike my brothers and sisters. I was a listener, quiet, and shy and often went unnoticed. Because of this, I overheard conversations and quietly gleaned information beyond my ability to understand. However, what all got stored in the database of my heart, was the feelings behind those words, the intonation of voice, the body language.
You see, I was the daughter of my mother but not of her husband. I was born out of a momentary desire to be appreciated, wanted and touched. It was an evil, dark and complicated situation far beyond the comprehension of a small child. The air bristled with tension, conflict, stress, unspoken anger and frustration surrounding my presence, and I never knew why.
So, I would tell people I had been left on the doorstep, found under a cabbage leaf or some other tale of the times. Because like water on a sponge, it had all soaked into my heart and mind, and I somehow knew I did not belong, was different, unwanted. It was a shadow that lurked in the corners of my life and tainted every thought and action.
In a sense, all humanity is living with this same feeling of not belonging, being different, living under a shadow of disconnectedness.
Jesus also lived under this shadow because He was conceived under questionable circumstances. The people around Him all knew this. Some whispered about it, while others were not so quiet. In His humanity, Jesus grew up knowing He was different, with a sense of aloneness, not belonging. He understands how we feel.
Unlike Christ, we have become separated from the knowledge of our true Father, and we no longer have a relationship with Him because of sin. We are like the little child who packs their bag and runs away from home because their parent said they couldn’t have or do something. We don’t like the rules. We want to go our own way and reign on high. But after a time, we feel lost, afraid, lonely and desperately want to go home.
When I turned eighteen, my mother, under coercion, told me the truth and who my biological father was. My emotional response was mixed. Initially, fear and loneliness swept over me as tears slid down my face because my greatest fears of not belonging seemed to be true. I was a family of one, a mistake. How would my siblings feel about me now? Would they reject me?
At the same time, I felt a great weight lifted from my soul. I wasn’t crazy. There was a reason for how I had always felt. Relief also flooded through me that I was not related to the damaged man I had always thought was my father. My biological father turned out to be a man I had always loved and thought of as an uncle, a friend of the family. And he loved and wanted me in his life!
Our true heavenly Father also longs for us to come back to a deep personal relationship with Him, to hear His whispers of love and encouragement, to hold His hand until we get back home. He loves us so much He sent His Son to dwell in human flesh, just as we have, from a baby to adulthood. The Creator of all things humbled Himself to be totally dependant on human parents, to suffer all the indignity, pain, temptation, sorrow and trials of humanity. It makes me shake my head in amazement!
Sisters, the shadowy ruler of this world, the father of lies, wants us to stay lost and alone. He wants us to keep disconnected from our true heavenly Father. He tells us God is not real and that He does not really care about us or love us. He whispers we are cabbage patch kids, deserted and unwanted.
The truth is we are loved greater than we can imagine!
During this Christmas season, I pray you will remember how much your heavenly Father loves you. Take some time to be still and think back to that moment in history when the Creator God entered our world in poverty, danger and strife, with only animals and two humans as witnesses. Then be joyful with gratitude!
You are loved!