When I call you a “child of God”, I tell you the truth: He is your Holy Father and He created you on purpose. You are here for a reason. Your life has a purpose and meaning. You matter more than you know.
We need you. The world would not be the same without you. Your words, decisions, actions and thoughts have the power to build up or tear down, encourage or destroy. Jesus gave His life so you could be free (yay!), and the Holy Spirit is leading you forward.
Forward we go!
I’m super excited about Echoing Jesus because the focus is on Jesus. I started blogging over 10 years ago, with The Adventurous Writer. I grew into She Blossoms and wrote the book Growing Forward When You Can’t Go Back. Good stuff, but faith wasn’t first in my writing.
I enjoyed writing to help women blossom into who God created them to be, but I wanted to go deeper. I became uncomfortable with the “She” part of She Blossoms. After starting my Master of Theology at Regent College I realized I’d rather be pointing to Jesus Christ, not us.
The idea for Echoing Jesus was planted in a theology course a couple weeks ago. At first I thought I’d leave She Blossoms and write primarily for Christian missionaries, teachers and preachers. When I shared this with my She Blossoms readers, the response blew me away! I didn’t realize how helpful my emails were. I honestly didn’t think I mattered that much. Now I know I am a child of God writing to my brothers and sisters in Christ — fellow children of God! I can’t just walk away from She Blossoms.
Forward we go.
Your Purpose as a Child of God – Echoes of Dawn
Here’s my plan: my weekly Echoes newsletter will follow the gospels, beginning with the book of Matthew. A chapter a week, a different version of “Echoes” each time. Today is Echoes of Dawn – Matthew 1. Next week will be Matthew 2, perhaps called Echoes of Angels, Echoes of Wisdom, or Echoes of Worship…depending on how the Holy Spirit leads.
We’re focusing on Jesus Christ, but we’re also learning how He affects our lives today. He matters. And as children of God, we matter too.
Your past is important – but it doesn’t define who you are
Matthew begins his account of Jesus’ life with “the book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham.” His overview of Jesus’ lineage clearly and solidly connects Him to some of the greatest men and women in the history of the Old Testament. According to Matthew, Jesus’ family history starts Abraham, includes people such as Amminadab, Tamar, Ruth, King David, Azor and Zadok, and ends with Joseph the husband of Mary. Mattthew mentions over 50 men and women in Jesus’ lineage…and how many do we know? Ten, maybe. They matter even though we don’t know or remember them. Even more important: how did their words and actions affect Jesus Christ’s life as a child of God? His family lineage mattered, but it didn’t define who Jesus Christ was, and is, and is to come.
How is your childhood, family history, and past affecting who you are today? Your past is important, but it doesn’t have to define who you are. Other people’s choices — whether your husband divorced you, your mother abused you, your father shamed you, your children abandoned you, your boss fired you, your body betrayed you, your pastor disappointed you — have an effect on you. But other people’s choices don’t have to define who you are or where you’re going. As a child of God, you are an echo. You can choose to echo power, love, hope, joy, faith and light. Or you can choose to become what the world wants you to be.
Problems descend on everybody – even Jesus, Mary and Joseph
Matthew tells us that the birth of Jesus Christ came about this way: “After his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, it was discovered before they came together that she was pregnant from the Holy Spirit. So her husband Joseph, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her publicly, decided to divorce her secretly.” – Matthew 1:18-19 (CSB). Mary and Joseph — Jesus’s earthly parents — dealt with rumors, secrets, scandal, bizarre problems, ostracism, gossip, broken engagements, and divorce. These were huge problems! Talk about having a difficult “relationship talk” and breaking up with someone you love…Mary and Joseph faced relationship and pregnancy problems nobody else ever had to deal with, or ever will deal with. And yet they persevered.
Grieve your problems and pain…and gain strength from your identity as a child of God. Maybe your pain is deeper and worse than most people have experienced. Maybe you made mistakes few others have, and you can’t forgive yourself. Maybe you hurt or killed someone or something you love. Maybe you caused pain to family members, stole money from friends, cheated on your husband or abandoned your wife and kids. It hurts to work through your guilt and shame, to forgive yourself for the choices you made. But if you allow yourself to stay stuck in the pit of despair — if you keep struggling with the same old problems and pain — then you’re allowing the darkness to win. You aren’t digging into your identity as a child of God, and you aren’t echoing the hope, forgiveness, faith and love of Jesus.
God speaks in your night and day dreams
“But after he [Joseph] had considered these things, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” – Matthew 1:20-21 (CSB). While they were facing difficult problems both of Jesus’ earthly parents — Mary and Joseph — saw angels of the Lord. Neither Mary nor Joseph dismissed their dreams as meaningless. Matthew tells us that Joseph actually acted on his dreams. One step at a time, Joseph was faithful to God. And Joseph helped raise not just a child of God, but God’s own Son.
What do you dream about becoming, doing, resting in, seeing, learning? God spoke to His children in dreams and visions throughout the Bible — and He still speaks to people all over the world in dreams and visions today! As children of God, we matter to Him. He communicates with many of us through dreams and visions. In How I Wasted a Day With the Devil I share the most memorable dream I’ve ever had; in it, I met both the devil and an angel of God. God may not communicate with you through dreams or visions, but He always speaks through the Bible. That may be His most reliable, important form of communication. God also speaks through the Holy Spirit’s nudges, whispers and promptings.
I hear those three “echoes of Jesus” in Matthew 1, and see them applying to our lives today. As children of God, our lives matter — and so do our experiences and history! We’ve faced toils and troubles, problems and pain. Sometimes our problems strengthened our relationship with God, sometimes our pain drew us away from Him. But what happened to us isn’t our identity. We don’t have to live the way we’ve always lived, or do what we’ve always done. Jesus has set us free to take risks, explore the world, and follow the Holy Spirit forward in faith, hope, joy and peace!
How do you feel about being called a child of God? If you were to be an “echo of Jesus”, what would you do with your day? Your relationships? Your life?
With His love,
P.S. If you’re struggling with past loss or grief, read How Do You Grieve Loss With Hope and Faith?