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 NLT
I’m walking through the book of Ephesians in a Bible study with some friends, and I came across this passage a few days ago. Paul’s sweet words washed over me like a waterfall.
What a life-altering thought. My God chose me, decided in advance. And He adopted me, brought me fully into his family. Incredible.
I was not just invited in as a dinner guest, not just an acquaintance to say hi to, not even just a good friend to have coffee with, but enfolded as his daughter. Closely and authentically connected to a generous and ready-to-help Father, who wants nothing but love for me, wants only the best for me. In accordance with His pleasure. What a beautiful picture.
As one who was adopted into my earthly family, this resonates to my core. Maybe my story will shed some new light on this topic.
I am the youngest of four in my family: the only daughter, the only one adopted. The judge had some wise words for my family at the final hearing for my adoption: “She’s all yours and you’re all hers. Now and when she’s about 13.” Gazing hopefully into my 7-month-old face, these optimistic people had no way of knowing what lay ahead for them (both good and bad), but they knew they wanted me enough to give me their family name.
When I was a toddler, launching into truly monumental tantrums, my parents didn’t revoke my name. They lovingly disciplined me, taught me, let me know I wasn’t the center of the universe, and helped me grow.
When I was an all-out rebellious teenager, my folks didn’t take my name and tell me I was no longer theirs. They loved me, prayed for me, didn’t freak out when I shaved half my head, reminded me again that I wasn’t the center of the universe, and trusted I would come out the other side as they had, a bit older and wiser and (slightly) more fit to live with.
When I was in my early 20’s, struggling to figure out my path, making choices mom and dad might not have made for me, they didn’t disinherit me, cut me off, and decide they didn’t love me anymore. I was still their girl, still carrying the name they had given me. And they loved me through it.
Never once, no matter how hard things were or how rebellious I was, did my parents un-adopt me. Let that sink in for a minute.
I have now walked the path of the parent, loving my own two incredible and very normal kids through their challenging times. Even in the times that crushed my heart and wrung tears from my eyes, I never imagined, not for a second, that I would walk away and love them no more. It’s not in a parent’s heart.
And if we- imperfect parent that I am, that you are, that my imperfect-but-wonderful parents who adopted me into their family are- could still love, still hope for our children, and still call our kids by the names we have given them, how is it possible that a perfect and perfectly-loving father would turn away from his wayward child? Simple answer. It’s not. He doesn’t un-adopt us.
He still calls me by the name He gave me, calls me His daughter, even when I mess up. Because I am His. Not because I’m doing everything right, not because I have it all together (because I SO don’t), but I’m His child. What amazing love.
Hold fast to this today, my friends. We will stumble, but He is there to love us through it. We will choose rebellion, but He will choose grace. He will not un-adopt us. We carry His name.
Next week I want to unpack another related passage in Ephesians, so please check out next week’s post! \
Please comment below; I do read them and respond as soon as I can. How does this resonate with you? Do you ever feel insecure in your adoption into God’s family?