by Blair Linne
Sophia is the Greek word for Wisdom, and Propel Sophia seeks out the voices of truly wise women and asks them to share worked examples of how they express faith in daily life. Pull up a chair at Sophia’s table, won’t you? There’s plenty of space.
Growing up in South Central Los Angeles, my dad’s home was a three day train ride away. Because of my own broken relationship with my dad, I mistakenly believed that my relationship with God was bound to be just as broken, and just as distant. So when I approached God I did so through the lens of my dad's crumbled promises, absence at family gatherings, lack of provision, and emotional distance. With my earthly father, I believed if I said or did the wrong thing then maybe he would vanish into the place dads go who want nothing to do with their imperfect children. Similarly, with my heavenly Father I thought when I missed the mark, He would be there with his corrective red pen. I thought that this red mark was not the kind placed over the doorpost to remind me that I have been circled by Christ’s blood, but used as a sign to remind me of the color of my condemnation.
Of course I knew I was saved and could quote Romans 8:1 with its promise of no condemnation. However, it didn’t change what I felt inside and the baggage I held on to. I knew that because of my Savior's death and resurrection, a merciful Judge pardoned me from the wages of my sin. What I had yet to comprehend was that once He did that, He became more than a Judge. He became my own personal heavenly Father. He was not like the earthly father I had known. He was a covenant keeping Father which was something else altogether...
I realized how important it was for me to go to Him and allow Him to define fatherhood for me since the earthly man who was supposed to point me to Him hadn’t accepted the responsibility. As I sought to understand more about the Fatherhood of God, one scripture was life changing for me. Ephesians 1:4b-5 says: “In love He predestined us for adoption to Himself…” Here it is clear that God’s motive is love. God didn’t adopt us in order to simply tolerate us. God adopted us in and through His love. God adopts us knowing us through and through and says “I choose to love her”.
“I chose to love her despite her imperfections and her fears and her wounds. I want to lavish her with my grace and love no matter what she has done or where she has been- she is mine. I have predestined her to be my daughter. I will give her a new identity and security. I will show her what true covenantal love looks like. I will be the Father who never leaves because my covenant is bond and my adoption is permanent.”
And all of this is so that we would not just exist but have a place to dwell. Where is that place? The verse says, it is “to himself.” He longs to be with us and He has adopted us so that we can know His tender love.
I know this seems pretty basic but it certainly took me time to believe this truth. For so long I believed that God was merely tolerating me (similar to what I felt from my earthly father ), but the truth was that He was ready to lavish me with His everlasting love. He had made a way of planning out my spiritual adoption in eternity past in order to convince me of His love for me now. I just needed to open my heart up to receive it.
It is through His love, which He extended first that I am able to love him in return. His love causes me to well up in gratitude and surrender in obedient service. It is His grace that motivates me to work out my salvation (Philippians 2:12). When I fall, He is there to pick me up and remind me that I can’t stay down too long. He lifts me and encourages me to repent and draw near to Him. He chooses to extend grace and it is the reason I am able to thrive in my relationship with Him. A relationship not based upon my perfection but His perfect Fatherly love.
And through His love, He points me to scriptures like this one, which shows me true Fatherhood, helping me shed my father-wounds so that I am convinced His disposition towards me is always love. His love is the foundation of our blessed adoption which draws us to Him. May we never forget the truth that we are beloved, despite the lack we have experienced from our earthly fathers for we are God’s children now! (1 John 3:2)
Blair Linne is a spoken word artist, actress, Bible teacher and author. Blair lives in Philadelphia with her husband Shai and their three children Sage, Maya, and Ezra. She serves as the director of Women at Risen Christ Fellowship. Her new book Finding my Father is available wherever books are sold. To find out more go to blairlinnepoetry.com