I grew up with my mom, stepdad, and one of my two half-brothers. On occasion I saw my biological father. On my biological father’s side I have another half-brother. I also grew up with three last names. Within elementary school I had my mom’s last name, during middle school I had my biological dad’s last name, then in high school I took on my stepdad’s last name which I’ve kept since. Although I didn’t grow up in a traditional family there are a lot of positive things within my upbringing that I’m very thankful for.
When I was a child growing up in a non-traditional family was less common and less diverse than it is today. Within 2020 more are likely growing up with biological parents that aren’t together, dad’s who’ve abandoned their responsibility by being absent, parents who call themselves a different gender than God’s design, half-siblings from previous marriages or co-habitations, and the list can go on. This creates a diversity of challenges and obstacles, especially for Christians who are seeking to love and serve each other with understanding.
Maybe you’re a mom who’s divorced and struggling to raise children, or you’re a couple who’s remarried and you have kids from a previous marriage, or you’re a youth who feels torn between the loyalty of your mom and dad, or maybe you know someone within a non-traditional family who’s seeking to serve Christ, whatever your situation, I hope to encourage you through the truth of Scripture and some personal experience. Through the Scriptures we learn that through faith in Jesus Christ we are sinners in need of a saviour, adopted over abandoned, and redeemed to reach out.
If you’re in or come from a non-traditional family, there may be extra struggles that you’re facing. Maybe you’re a victim of someone’s evil sin, maybe you’re struggling with depression, maybe life feels like it’s a thousand times harder for you than everyone else and no one seems to understand. It’s important to grieve, weep, and mourn as you need to. God hears you. God will comfort you. God cares for you. Through such pain it can be difficult not to find your entire identity through how you’ve been made a victim. As hard as this may be to hear, you must not see your identity through how you’ve been made a victim. It will only lead you down a rabbit hole of despair, pain, and isolation from God and people. Instead, you must see yourself as a sinner in need of a saviour. This may sting because you’ve been really hurt. Yet, this is the path to true healing. As you see yourself as a sinner who needs a saviour, you will find Jesus Christ to be a sufficient saviour. It is through faith in Jesus Christ that you’re not led down a rabbit hole of despair, pain, and isolation. Instead, you’re led to joy in the midst of trial, hope in the midst of pain, and fellowship with God within a community of believers. Finding your identity in Jesus changes everything. Jesus understands your pain. The Scriptures tell us that we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. With all of your pain and hurt come to Jesus as a sinner in need of a saviour!
The God of the entire cosmos is willing to adopt YOU into the family of God through faith in Jesus Christ! How amazing is that? No matter what earthly family you come from or are in, the God of the world desires to adopt you as one of His children through faith in Jesus Christ! Maybe you’ve been abandoned by a family member and you live in daily pain, or maybe you never had a father present, whatever your situation, you must see that the God of the universe will adopt you as a child of His own! God will always be faithful to you. God will always be near to you. God will always hear you. God will always care for you. You’re not abandoned, but through faith in Jesus Christ you’re adopted!
I remember getting saved at 17 years old. Shortly after getting saved I sensed an internal conviction toward vocational ministry. However, I had a lot of doubts. I thought that such a vocational path was for those who got saved as a young child, knew the Bible inside and out, and grew up going to church all the time. I had already passed the point of no return. However, I’ve since learned that I was dead wrong! God redeems and uses all kinds of people. God saved a murderer of Christians in the book of Acts. God used this murderer under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to write much of the New Testament. Surely if God can save and use a murderer, then God can use a bloke like me to do something small in His kingdom in whatever He calls me to. God takes people of every kind of background and turns them into trophies of His grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Such diversity of testimonies gives unique opportunities for each person who professes Jesus as Lord to reach out to others. This means your circumstances aren’t an accident. The family you were born into isn’t an accident. The family you’re currently in isn’t an accident. God has redeemed you where you are to reach out to those around you. So, be encouraged toward Jesus! Through your faith in Jesus you’re redeemed and able to reach out to others whether you come from or are in a traditional or non-traditional family!
Whatever kind of family you come from or are currently in, you need to see yourself through faith in Jesus Christ as a sinner in need of a saviour, adopted and not abandoned, and redeemed to reach out. Be encouraged Christian! God wants to use you!
Soli Deo Gloria!