Daddy's Little Girl

Oct. 10, 2014 Blair Linne

Session Transcript

Woman: Hey, Father, thank You so much. Thank You for this time that we can come apart. Lord, I pray that You would quiet our hearts. I pray that we would hear that which Your Holy Spirit desires for us to hear today. Thank You for Blair. Thank You for the ways that You have worked in her life. Thank You for the story of redemption that You have woven through every detail of her life.

Father, I pray that Your Holy Spirit would guide and direct in a very clear and tangible way this afternoon. That she would hear Your voice and that You would give her the freedom to share that which You have laid upon her heart. We pray it in the name of Jesus and for His glory alone, amen.

Blair Linne: Amen. Thank you. Praise God. Well, hello, ladies. Thank you so much for coming. I'm looking forward to what the Lord will do in this session, "Daddy's Little Girl: Clinging to your heavenly Father when your biological father is spiritually, emotionally, or physically absent."

Why don't I just pray again?

Our gracious Father, we come before You right now in the name of Your Son, Jesus. We thank You so much, God, for Your Word. God, Your Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. You know every woman who's in this room, each circumstance. You know their need. I pray that You would please minister to their specific need. Help them to see that You are their Father, that they would rest in this truth of adoption, and it would encourage them, change them, and we pray this in Jesus' name, amen. Amen.

Well, I don't know your specific situation, but speaking on this title of fatherlessness, how fatherlessness affects daughters, whether that's a physical absence, a spiritual absence, or an emotional absence. I rarely have heard it spoken from a Christian perspective. I don't know about you, but twenty-four million children live in a home absent from their father. That's one out of three.

And then there are those who, maybe your father was in the home, a lot of the times a father may not be present. So even though he lives there, there may a disconnect, emotionally or even spiritually.

I want to look at this quote from Piper. He says, "Children ought to see in their human father a reflection, albeit imperfect, of the heavenly Father, in His strength and tenderness, in His wrath and mercy, in His exaltation and condescension, in His surpassing wisdom and patient guidance. The task of every human father is to be for his children an image of the Father in heaven."

Now most of us, we cannot look on our father as even an imperfect image or picture of our heavenly Father. Either it was because, like I said, because he wasn't present or because we couldn't connect with him emotionally or spiritually.

I have four main points that I want to focus in on during this breakout. It's going to be:

Point one: A Father Lost, and we're going to talk about the problem.

Point two: A Daughter Broken and the effects of that problem.

Point three will be A Father Loves. We're going to spend really the majority of our time focusing in on our adoption.

And then point four will be A Daughter Restored. So now that we've been adopted, how do we live this new life? How do we work out our salvation?

So let's look at A Father Lost.

So what happened with our fathers? Well, sin happened. That's very clear. Adam, we know in the Garden he listened to his wife. He ate of the tree, ultimately listening to Satan and his temptations and giving in. And as a result, many of our fathers do not model what the Bible says a father should be.

We have fathers who, unlike what the Bible says, they may not provide for us. Some of you have had fathers who did not care well for you, did not provide for you, did not love you properly as a father should. Even some fathers who have died sooner than expected. It was out of their control. Fathers suffering with mental illness.

I have a friend who just recently had a father who's a believer and just in the past few years he's been struggling with mental illness, and she's wrestling with how to love and honor her father.

Fathers who profess to be a believer even sometimes may use Scripture to abuse or misuse their authority.

Some have seen their fathers cheat on, beat on, or disrespect your mother.

Some here have silently suffered with the great sin of a father who was verbally or physically or even sexually abusive.

So we have dads who have gone through so many different things as a result of sin, as a result of Adam and his sin in the Garden.

We have dads who face social ills, systemic injustices, which have left them discouraged in their manhood and defeated in their parenting.

And many of our fathers, they've never had a father themselves. And I'll tell you a little bit about my story a little later. But really, I could go on and on. But ultimately, when we ask, "What happened?," it was sin that happened.

So ever since the fall of Adam, our first father, men have been under a curse. Adam giving in to Satan's schemes. Before he was even a father, he found himself submitting to the father of lies. And so this curse is a result. So fathers are tempted to not walk in this God-given role that they've received.

And Satan, he doesn't want image bearers to be displayed on earth, those created in the image of God to reflect His glory. Satan wants to shut that down. And he knows if he can keep our fathers bound in sin, then he can capture the whole family. If he can grab the man, and he's not walking in his role, then the whole family kind of shifts out of place.

So I just want to share a little bit about my own story. I was raised by a single mom. I'm from Michigan, and my dad lives in Chicago. When I was three years old, my mom moved from Chicago to Los Angeles. And so I'm 3,000 miles away from my dad, and our relationship was over the phone. Every few months we would have these conversations.

And I remember maybe from about the age of eight or so, after having these conversations on the phone, I wanted to share with him, because they were just so superficial, honestly. It was like, "Oh, who loves you?" And, "Oh, you shine like a star."

And my dad, he has a wonderful heart, he's such a kind man. But I felt like, I want to really get to know you. I want you to really know me and know what's going on. And so it was really hard for me.

It was hard for me to understand my identity, who I was. And so I wanted to talk to him and say, "This is really hard." But I was too scared. I felt that if I opened up to my dad and shared with him how I felt, that maybe I wouldn't have these conversations every few months. Maybe that would be taken away, too. So fear kept me quiet.

And it wasn't until I was around eighteen when I started being approached by guys and thinking, I have no idea what to even look for in a spouse, in a guy. My idea of manhood was something I got from television. It was kind of a mix of Bill Huxtable, Phillip Banks, Mike Brady, Ward Cleaver, if you guys even know. You guys don't remember these people? These dads on TV? So I had no model to go by. And as a result, I didn't have my dad's protection. So I found myself making compromises with men in hopes that I would find out who I was.

So I was eighteen years old, and I remember talking with my dad, and we were having another conversation. It was just so superficial, and we were about to hang up, and I said, "Dad!" Like, "I need to talk to you. Here's how I'm struggling with my identity. Here's how I'm struggling with you being so far away." My dad had never come to visit. He wasn't supportive financially because he had things going on in his life where he wasn't able to do that.

So I just shared with him. I said, "I've been afraid this whole time to communicate this with you."

Well, he told me, "I've been scared, too." He said, "I've wanted to talk to you about this, but I've been so afraid."

It was the type of thing . . . my dad is not a believer, but I have seen him really put in a lot of effort after that conversation. And him just opening up and sharing with me that he didn't have his father in his life either, so he's been broken as well.

And so, since that time, my dad has made an effort to be a part of my life, but there's still a part he doesn't understand because we don't share the same faith. He doesn't understand fully who I am, and so I've had to ultimately trust in my identity in Christ. I've had to cling to God and cling to His truth even when I didn't have my dad, when I didn't have the things that I needed.

So being a believer, and my husband who approached me, he was interested in me, I didn't have a dad who could say, "Well, let me . . ." not dust off my gun collection, but, like, "Let me ask questions. Do you love the Lord? How are you going to lead the family? Have you thought through a biblical definition of headship and leadership?" That wasn't there. So I actually had to go to my pastor. My pastor, in a sense, was the one who was able to walk me through some of these things.

You know, we're not responsible for what happens to us as children, but we are responsible for what we do with our pain as adults. And if all we do in this workshop is talk about the things that went wrong with our dads, we're not going to go forward. We can think about the issue, we can think about sin, and the truth is, in your specific situation, you may not get to the heart of all of the reasons why your father wasn't there. But what you can know is it was because of sin. It was because of sin. So if you don't get the answer, you know it was because of sin, and you're able to go forward from there.

So as we go further in, by looking at A Daughter Broken, which is our second point, I want to keep I mind that we're both victims and rebels. We all have been victimized by other people's sin, and we have all rebelled against God with our own sin. So victimization is never an excuse for rebellion, and rebellion does not take away the real victimization that may have been experienced. We don't have to downplay how we've been sinned against, but we do have to take responsibility with how we have chosen to sin as a result of that.

I remember, I don't know if you're familiar with Amy Carmichael. She was a missionary. She has this book If that I've read. And there's this one page where she gives this visual like a pot that's filled with water. And she says, "If a pot is filled with sweet water, and you knock that pot over, sweet water's going to pour out. But if you knock a pot and bitter water comes out, it was because it was in."

So you can't make the excuse, "Well, you hit me, so that's why the bitter's coming out. Or you stepped on my foot, so that's why I lashed out at you in anger." In those circumstances, when we're pressed, even like we heard Joni mention the lemon being squeezed, it shows us what's in our heart. And then we can go to God with what's in our heart.

So let's look at A Daughter Broken.

When we miss out on having a healthy relationship with our dad, we find ourselves being opened up to specific ways that we might be tempted with lies. So we're going to look at some of these specific ways. For the sake of time, I had to cut a lot of my material short, but we'll just look at a few things.

One way that we can be tempted when we're broken is to be this perfect people pleaser. This is the woman who tries to be perfect in order to compensate for the hurt that she feels. So in order to try to compensate for Dad's absence, we can preach to ourselves the lie, which says, "I just need to be the perfect daughter, the perfect friend, the perfect student, the perfect wife, and then no one will leave me, or then I will feel complete."

But the woman who grew up with her father, one thing you need to know: It's not that she's better than you. It's not that she was without flaws or perfect. It's not the result of some sin that we committed at birth the reason why our father maybe wasn't around or able to connect with us.

So we can't look at it as though it's our fault, and we have to try and do something for that to make up for that.

And this idea of attempting to have it all together or feel this sense of control over our life is really not the answer. The truth is we're not in control of our circumstances. The truth is this is an impossible standard.

And Jesus, He's not looking for the perfect woman or the perfect daughter. He's saying, "Come as you are. Come broken. Come needy. Come weak. Come." And He calls women His daughters, who are sinners. And that's the beauty of the gospel. That it's not, "Well, let me clean myself, and then I can come to Jesus." He says, "No, just the way you are, you can come. And I'm going to transform you so that you will look like Me."

Another thing that fatherless daughters can become is a slave to promiscuity. So you may have heard the phrase that men give love to get sex; women give sex to get love. I don't know if you've ever heard that, but we can be so desperate to receive love from a man that we will dishonor God's Word. We will throw out our convictions. And the thought is, If I give him what he wants, then he will stay.

Honestly, this may not be sexual intercourse. It can be things leading up to that. I remember coming up, I was, like, "Oh, sexual intercourse. That is wrong. But these things leading up to it, oh, I'm not quite sure." But God is seeing our hearts. He's seeing the motives of our hearts.

I just want you to think about this question personally: Have you ever mistook sex for love or lust for love? The truth is, if a man is asking you to compromise your walk with the Lord, he is not showing love for God or for you. You can think, Well, he loves me, and I trust him. So I'm going to give him my body to prove that. But after you've given your body, you find yourself longing for the covenant, the security that comes with that commitment that comes in marriage, and you spend the rest of your time trying to convince this man that you're worth pursuing, you're worth committing to.

So God is wise. We have to remind ourselves God is wise. He knows what's good for us. He says that sex and the things even leading up to sex are reserved for marriage. It's reserved in that beautiful covenant, that intimacy.

So I just want to encourage you, even in the faith that Jesus doesn't say, "Give Me something so that you can receive My love in return." He loved us first. And that's the way that we're able to love Him, and I praise God for that.

And another thing is, sometimes fatherless daughters are afraid to trust. I think this is the flip side of that kind of coin. It's disconnecting from men. You build up walls to close everyone up from getting to your heart. So that Scripture, "Guard your heart," you take that and say, "Okay, bars and chains and locks, barbed wire, whatever I can find . . . I'm going to just protect myself from the men around me."

So a Christian man approaches you and is interested, and you quickly push them away. You become the militant single woman, like my husband said I was when he first met me. Like, you love Jesus, but you don't love men. You don't love anyone else.

And so to be able to love is to be vulnerable, and that moment you open up to someone, sometimes the fear is that you're going to be rejected, that, "If I give myself, my heart, in a sense, to this man, then he's going to reject me like my dad did. So I'm not going to do that."

Scripture says, "If anyone says, 'I love God,' yet hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God who he has not seen" (1 John 4:20).

The Lord can certainly call us to singleness. That doesn't mean we have to get married. But it does mean that we should have a high view of marriage, whether we're married or single. The Scripture says marriage should be honored by all. So even in your singleness, as you're serving God with an undivided heart, you should still have a high view of marriage, and you shouldn't be cutting yourself off from relationships and intimacy with others.

Another thing is, she could be a slave to excuses. So she hides behind these excuses, the if onlys or the what ifs. The if onlys are, for example: "If only my father was there, then I would have a fulfilled life. If only he paid more attention to me, then I wouldn't feel the need to try to find love in the arms of a man."

Or some examples of some what ifs: "What if I never get married because of my issues or my past? What if my husband leaves me like my dad left my mom?"

So these fears that we have, even some of the blame shifting that we have, I think it could be helpful to deal with these fears, but not to live here. We don't want to live here, because it can be paralyzing. So though these are real-life frustrations, we want to be careful not to continue to blame shift or to say, "If only . . . you're the problem." Because now we actually have a solution, which is the beauty of being women of God.

So one thing we need to consider is that Christ died so we don't have to live in the if onlys or the what ifs. Christ died to set us free from excuses. So we're free from fear. We're free from anxiety because Christ died. We're free from our past no matter how dark because Christ died.

And what this means practically is we can replace the lie with the truth. So the lie is, "If only my father were here, then I would have a fulfilled life." But the truth is, "Only through Christ can I have a fulfilled life."

So the fear is, "What if I never get married because of my issues or my past?" But the truth is, "I can surrender myself to God in trust, and I can trust His will for my life whether that means singleness or marriage, and God may use my situation to bring glory to His name and even break some generational curses or strongholds in the family. And maybe someone else can benefit from hearing my story and hearing how God has changed me and transformed me, maybe the unlikely of women into a woman of God."

So why don't we focus on that as we look at A Father Loves. I want to spend our time just digging into our adoption in Christ. There's a wonderful book called Father, Son and Holy Spirit by Bruce Ware. He has a very long quote, but I think it's so good. He says:

Some who have been affected by abuse can learn afresh from our heavenly Father just what true fatherhood is. I have sometimes heard that those who grow up with abusive fathers simply need to remove from their minds the notion of God as father. This name for God is a barrier to their relationship with Him, some have said, but truly this is the wrong solution for a very real problem.

Rather than removing father from our Christian vocabulary, and in particular from our naming God, should we not work at having our minds and hearts refashioned so that our very conception of father is remade by knowing the true Father over all?

That is, instead of encouraging a distancing from God as father, with love and sensitivity, we should say to those who cringe at memories of their fathers, "I've got wonderful news for you. There is a true Father who is drastically different in so many, many ways from the father you had. Meet, will you, the true God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Learn from Him just what father really means and enter into the fullness of His fatherly love, care, wisdom, provision, protection, and security."

Praise God! Praise God that we do not have to overlook this attribute of God as Father. We do not have to say, "Oh, no. I can't deal with that because of my circumstances." We can learn, like he said, afresh of who our Father is.

Now in the Scripture, God has primarily chosen to identify Himself as Father. There are a few times where He compares Himself to a mother, but over all, it is father, fatherhood that we see, the fatherhood of God. And we cannot let the culture try to tell us that that is because somehow God is a misogynist or Christianity is demeaning to women. It is not that.

I believe, actually, as we understand God as Father it actually will help us understand who we are as women. So God does not downplay us. This is just the way God has chosen to reveal Himself, and so we can praise God for this. This does not take away from our womanhood at all. It adds to it as we understand who we are in Christ.

So in Christianity, we have this unique relationship with God, and it is because actually Jesus is willing to call us His brother that we are able to have God as our Father. So we want to look at who Jesus is. We kind of want to go from the beginning, walk through how our adoption actually plays out.

So Jesus is our brother. Like I said, before we can call God our Father, we have to see Jesus as our brother. So in Bruce Ware's book on the Trinity, he describes Jesus, and what he says is, "Jesus is not one-third God. He is fully God. And He eternally exists with the Father and the Spirit, and each of them possess the full identical same nature."

So Father, Son, and Holy Spirit-God. And therefore, what distinguishes the Son is His particular role as Son in relation to the Father and Spirit, and the relationships He has with each one of them. So Jesus has always been God the Son. He has always submitted to the Father. So authority and submission are eternal realities, which is wonderfully beautiful when we understand that. Jesus submitted to His Father in eternity past and in the incarnation as well. So what we see, then, He's always submitting and loving the Father.

And the next one is that Jesus is God in the flesh-Immanuel-God with us. And the beauty of that condescension, Jesus coming down from heaven to earth, is that He is not ashamed of us. I mean, Jesus, the holy God-holy, holy, holy-yet willing to come down to this earth and become our Brother, which is amazing because we are sinners.

So the beauty of the incarnation, God becoming flesh, is that if Jesus was God only-as we think through the incarnation-if He was God only, He would not truly be able to sympathize with our weakness. If He didn't come in the flesh, He would not be able to bear with us in sympathy. And that's a wonderful part of the atonement as well. Because Adam was the one who sinned, the atonement had to come through man, in a sense. But a human being could not bear the full cup of the Father's wrath and rise from the grave because He was perfect.

So it had to be a God-man. It had to be Jesus. He was the only one who could actually fulfill the requirements for the atonement. And I praise the Lord that He has done that!

So while on the cross, the Father and Son relationship was marred. And Jesus was willing to be separate from His Father. We see in 2 Corinthians 5:21, it says, "For He made Him [who was Jesus] who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." So we see, while Jesus was on the cross, He eternally existed with the Father. There was never any disunity, never a problem piece of their relationship. They were always in one accord.

And yet we see on the cross, what does He cry out? He says, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" Jesus' relationship with the Father was broken because He took on sin. Not His own sin, but our sin. We deserved to be on that cross. But Jesus says, "Out of love, I am going to do this. I am going to bear the penalty, the wages of sin, which is death." And I praise God.

There's that old song, "Were you there when they crucified my Lord?" I was there! I was there! Meaning, I put Him on the cross. My sin put Him on the cross. And He bore that for me, for you.

And adoption through our new birth-adoption comes through our new birth. So for those who have repented of their sin and have placed their trust in Jesus Christ as Savior, they actually can call God their Father, which is amazing. And that's the result of this new birth. We see that in John 3, with Nicodemus coming at night and Jesus speaking about the new birth.

But also in John 1:12-13, it says, "But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God."

So the beauty of that, in our adoption, it's not just, "Well, my mom was a Christian. My dad was a Christian. So I'm a Christian, too. My mom was adopted. My grandmother was adopted by God through Jesus. So I'm adopted, too."

No, this is we are born of God. Personally making a decision to say, "Jesus, yes, I will serve You. I believe You are the Son of God. I believe that You died for my sins. And I'm willing to forsake my sin and follow You." So it's a specific, personal confession that we all must make.

And the beauty of that is Jesus is the giver of grace. Ephesians 2 says," For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God" (v. 8). What a wonderful gift that we are able to receive by God-freely by God. Because we are all sinners, there's nothing that we can do to earn God's salvation. So God has chosen to stay and to love us even when we were unlovable. The Bible says, "While we were yet sinners"-in our sin, Christ died for the ungodly while in our sin.

And this is the beauty of adoption. The adopted child does not bring anything to the situation but their need. And the same way the hymn writer says, "Nothing in my hands do I bring, but simply to thy cross I cling." And that is all who are trusting in Jesus. We say, "God, my good works are as filthy rags, so I'm just going to sit and receive Your abundant grace. I'm going to receive Your mercy."

I thank the Lord we are broken individuals, but yet God says, "I want to have a relationship with you, in your brokenness, in your weakness. I want to love you." And I think that is a wonderful truth also to meditate on. God doesn't save us so that He would just tolerate us. "Okay, I saved them. Okay, that's it." No. He says, "I want to fellowship with you. I love you. I delight in you."

Do you believe that God delights in you? Do you believe that God delights in you-just you, who you are as a daughter of God?

There's a Scripture that Jesus says, it's in John 15:9. He says, "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love." I think if we meditate on that, just meditating upon that truth . . . He says, "As the Father has loved me"-this eternal love-He says, "So have I loved you." And then He says, "Abide in my love."

I feel like, in my life, I have had to fight to hold fast to the fact that the Lord loves me despite me. The way the Father looks at me, He sees Jesus. He sees Christ. Not that I am Christ, but He lives in me. And as a result, He loves me with an everlasting love.

And we clearly see this love at the cross. We know the Scripture, we may be familiar, John 3:16, maybe a little familiar. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."

And Scripture also says this is how we know what love is, Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And that's 1 John 3:16. So the very act of laying His life down in our place shows how great His love is for us. And as a daughter of God, we must know that Jesus loves us.

Ephesians 1 says He chose to save you, even as "he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons [or daughters] through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite in him all things, things in heaven and things on earth" (vv. 4-10).

So the beauty of God's love is that He sent His Son to taste death for believers so that we do not have to. And we know that this is the guarantee because Jesus resurrected from the grave. So it is finished. He rose with all power. He defeated sin and death and the grave, and we do not have to face that death. We don't have to be bound by our sin. And it's because of Christ.

So Jesus now is interceding for us as His children. And the resurrection gives us hope. Because Jesus has risen from the dead, we are now able to live in newness of life, the Scripture says.

Romans 4 says, "Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them" (vv. 7-8).

So the beauty is, as we're born again, we're justified. We're declared righteous by God. We're sanctified, and we're Spirit filled. We're new. So once we're truly born again, we receive this new nature as God fills us with His Holy Spirit. And then also we're kept by God. God is faithful to keep His children and care for His children. He will not lose one, the Scripture says.

Revelation 3:5 says, "He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels."

So the bottom line is, God is not like man. The Bible says, "A faithful man, who can find?" The Scripture says, "God, He is faithful." Even when we're faithless, He will never deny Himself. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

So adoption means we have God as our Father. We have God as our Father. Just think about that! God is our Father. He's promised to care for us, to protect us, to provide for us. He will even discipline us in love, the Scripture says in Hebrews 12. And He does this to show that we belong to Him.

Now we have a new head of the house, a new role in the family, a new identity and purpose. Adoption means that we are loved and we are cared for. God saw fit to save us, not because we deserve it, but because of His mercy.

So yes, we have God as our Abba Father, and so now we're A Daughter Restored. So we're adopted, but now what? How does this work itself out into our life? I think, as believers, it's easy to fill our minds with a lot of information about God, but practically, how do we apply these truths?

Well, just like the adopted family who enters a new family, I don't know if you've ever known anyone adopted, or if you yourself were adopted, but I've heard certain stories. For example, a child who was adopted into a family, and they would do things, like hide food, because while they were with their biological family, they really struggled or they were not able to have their needs met.

Some children would keep their bags packed because they were just waiting. They know that, "I'm going to be rejected, or I'm going to be put out of the house," and they're just waiting to leave, waiting to be cast out.

These stories, sometimes it actually can relate to us as believers. The reason they're doing that is because they've been damaged by their previous experience. And the truth is, we have been damaged by our previous experience. We have been damaged by sin. We've been damaged by our physical circumstances. So now the fight is to keep our eyes fixed upward. How do we look to God? How do we get to know Him and allow Him to redefine who we are and how we live?

Well, I want to point out this Scripture that is so encouraging to me. It's Romans 5:17. It says, "For if, by the trespass of one man, death reigned through that one man, [and this is the part I love] how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!"

And the reason I love that Scripture so much is because it speaks about Adam and the destruction that came from the sin that he committed, and we clearly see the sin and the result of that sin today. We live in a broken world. We have broken familiar experiences. But how much more than the result that we see of the sin around us did Christ accomplish. It's so much greater than what Adam did when he sinned.

I think if we can grab a hold of that truth, it will transform us. It will give us hope that we don't have to be stuck in our circumstances. We can trust God. We can trust Him.

So we're going to look at a restored daughter. And a few things to note is that a restored daughter is forever secure in her Father's arms.

Do you have your spiritual bags packed? Are you like that adopted child? Are you waiting for the day when God's going to reject you, turn His back on you? Or do you freely settle down deep in the presence of God, being still and knowing that He is your Master; He's your Strong Tower; He is your Shield, your Protector? Is your relationship with God intimate? Do you realize you never did anything worthy for God to call you His daughter, so, therefore, when we feel like we're not earning or keeping up with God's grace . . . we never earned it to begin with! We were never good enough. We will never be good enough.

The Bible says your earthly father may have rejected you. Scripture says, "I will never leave you or forsake you."

Psalm 27:10 says, "For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me in."

She's also able to cling to God in, I believe, a unique way. So I want to speak to the women who have had your father. You may be in this room, and you had a wonderful father who was a believer, who was a model of our Father God. Even you, you have to trust God. We have to love God more than our parents.

And the love that you have for God, the Scripture says, it should look as though you hate your parents in the sense that you have such a passion and a desire to honor the Lord and to put Him first. There are going to be times that it may be hard, as far as your parents and how they're processing you putting God first. So if your father was there, you still have to love God more.

But I believe those who do not have their father or did not relate to their father, I believe they can connect to God in a very unique way. It's similar to . . . if anyone in this room has ever had a specific need. I've been encouraged by Joni Eareckson Tada who has great physical suffering. And even as we were praying on the prayer call before the conference, she asked God, she said, "Lord, just give me breath."

And because of her suffering, she's able to cling to God in a unique way. How many of us ask God for breath? "Help me to breathe. Help me to speak clearly without coughing." Her suffering allows her to depend upon God uniquely.

If you've ever gone through a financial trial, or, for example, you don't know where you're going to get your next meal. How are you going to feed your family? You're clinging to God in a unique way, and you're able to understand God as Provider in a way that someone who has always had a meal, has an abundance of food, they may not understand.

So here is a unique opportunity to meet with God in a way that never would have existed if everything had gone perfectly according to our plan. Although none of us would have ever requested to grow up either without a father or not being able to connect with our father, we can look at this as an opportunity to draw nearer and nearer to God.

So you could go through a trial, and honestly, you may not be able to get your biological father on the phone. But you can pray; you can get your heavenly Father. He hears your prayers. God is good, and He gives these good gifts. Even suffering, even these difficulties are ultimately for His glory.

Suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character, character hope, the Bible says. Ultimately our suffering is what solidifies our hope. And that's why we're able to say, "Thank You. Thank You, God, for these difficulties. Thank You for these trials, because You're working in a hope in me that I may not have had otherwise." God believes . . . this woman believes God is able to restore.

I just want to share a personal story from a friend of mine. This friend shared with me years ago that she had been molested by her father for several years from about the age of nine to thirteen. And when she was thirteen, she got pregnant by her father. He forced her to have an abortion, and her family pretended as though it didn't happen.

I can only imagine what that might be like, to feel alone and to try to bring up the circumstances, and people shut you out as though you're the problem, something's wrong with you.

If anyone here has gone through that, I just want to say that is a great evil, and God is not happy with what your father has done, or any man has done, if he has taken advantage of you. And I'm just so sorry if anyone in this room has gone through that. I'll be willing to pray with you, or if there's anything I can do to encourage you, I offer myself after this breakout session or the rest of this conference. Yes, there is great evil that so many women have experienced.

But it's interesting, as my friend, she began to . . . I met her actually when I was in Los Angeles. She's from New York. We would fellowship together. We went to church together. And she just grew in the Lord-grew in her adoption and understanding her identity in Christ.

We were going to this church, and this guy was interested in pursuing her, and she just kept turning him down. "Nope, nope, no." I mean, literally, he asked her, "Will you marry me?" three times before she said, "Yes." He was very, very persistent, but she finally said, "Yes." She faced a lot of fears. She'd had a lot of broken relationships before becoming a believer.

When her fiancé visited with her and went to go see the family, one of the people that they met was her dad. So they went to New York and sat down with the dad, and the fiancé was able to minister Christ to her father. It was amazing, because my friend had forgiveness in her heart. Now this whole time, her dad had not acknowledged his sin at all. He refused to acknowledge it, even when she went there with her fiancé.

Did you know that she asked him to give her away on her wedding day? I just thought, What an example of honoring your father even when it doesn't seem like he deserves that honor, but to still say, "I'm going to honor you." And the truth is, she'd already forgiven him in her heart regardless of whether he would acknowledge his sin or not.

And it was some years into her marriage, literally a couple years ago, she took another trip to New York to visit her family, visit her dad, and he finally apologized to her. But the thing is, like I said, she had forgiven him a long time ago-a long time ago-and she was free. She was a free woman because of this change that had happened through her and because she understood who she was in Christ. She was not going to be held bound by the sin of her father even.

God must give us His perspective. We can only bear this type of fruit by walking in His Spirit. And I don't know, again, your specific situation, but I do want to think through, how can we start this healing process?

As we kind of close, we're going to walk through this fairly quickly. So as we meditate on this reality, of our new birth and our adoption in God, we can pray honestly about our hurts, first off. So you can take your fears, you can take your specific circumstances before God. You don't have to hide, you don't to pretend that the sin didn't happen. You can take it before God. Honestly, you can tell Him how it made you feel. Tell Him what's been going on in your heart and in your life. You can get honest with God, because He knows anyway.

A Scripture is in Matthew 5. It says, "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven" (v. 44). So even begin to pray for your father, pray for your dad.

And the second thing here is to forgive. Because we have been forgiven, we can choose to forgive others. A good Scripture to meditate on is the parable of the unmerciful servant in Matthew 18. So those who are forgiven much, love much.

And again, your father may never ask for forgiveness, or he may never have an opportunity to ask for your forgiveness. But you can still forgive him, because you've been forgiven through Christ.

And so the third thing is we can honor our father. This does not mean that you put yourself in a position to be in harm's way, because I don't know the specific circumstances. But if there is no danger, pray about how you might be able to encourage your dad. Think about ways.

Even with my father, like I said, my father wasn't there. He wasn't able to provide. But I have a kind father. He's a sweet man. And even in the times when I would come to visit him in Chicago, he would give me a little bag of candy.

Is there anything that your father has done? Did he take you to church? Did he provide for you? Did he give you a kiss on the cheek? Did he show love toward you? Think about those things, and maybe you can encourage your dad by sharing those things with him.

And also, be a member of a local church. The reason I put this here is I think this connects so much to our adoption, because when we come to Christ, not only do we receive God as our Father, but we receive brothers and sisters, spiritual mothers, spiritual fathers. We receive a family. We are the Body of Christ.

And it's beautiful how in James, even the call to the true religion, part of that is taking care of orphans. Our call is to care for one another.

So you can have an opportunity, even if you didn't see it modeled in your father, you can look at your pastor maybe or the godly men in your church, the godly women in your church to see how they relate to each other, the godly single women in your church, how do you submit to God? How do you submit to authority?

Talk to the children. What is your dad like? How does he train you up in the fear and the admonition of the Lord? You can ask these questions. Not to idolize, but to learn and to grow, to be blessed by the church.

And now know that you are no longer fatherless. Whatever lie that you attempted to believe because your biological father is not there, you have a father, a heavenly Father who will never leave us and never forsake us. We are never alone. God is always with His children.

Isaiah 41:10 says, "Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; [personally] I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

That is all the time I have, so I am going to just close us in prayer. If you have any questions, I'm going to be here. I have thirty minutes before the next workshop. I would love to talk with you or pray with you. If you have any questions even about the resources that I mentioned, I can certainly give that to you as well.

Why don't we pray?

Our gracious Father, our heavenly Father, we just come before You right now as Your daughters. Your Word says that unless we turn from our sins and become like little children, we will never get into the kingdom of heaven.

I pray, Lord, that You would give us hearts to be Your child, like these little children, Lord, with humble hearts, dependent hearts. I know with having two little children, just the needs that they have, how they cling to me, how they need me for everything. I pray, Lord, that the women in this room would cling to You for everything.

And I pray for the specific women, Lord, their specific circumstances. God, would You heal each hurt, the pain, the fear? God, would You set them free? Help them to meditate upon this glorious truth of the gospel, the good news, that through Christ we have a Father who's faithful, who's loving and kind, filled with mercy and compassion. God, may we trust Your good hand.

And I pray that You would bless us as we continue to hear Your Word the rest of this conference. We pray in Jesus' name, amen. Amen.

Thank you, ladies.