It was a warm summer night so my bedroom window was open and I was suddenly awoken by my parents arguing outside. My dad was crying – which I had never heard before – and with deep emotional anguish through his tears he was letting my mom have it. When I woke to hearing my parents in such turmoil at the innocent age of ten, I was instantly gripped with fear and the security of my heart was lost. That night I decided I would not speak of it to anyone and I would try to make life as easy as I could for my parents and I would take care of everyone for them. Slowly but surely this began the process of me emotionally divorcing my parents in my heart and taking on a spirit of independence. But this independence only grew more and more insecurity in my heart until I eventually came to a crossroads of either crumbling under the pressure of the insecurity or buckle down and use it to fuel myself for taking on the world. I was always ready for a good fight growing up. I did not like being pushed around so I allowed it to fuel me in many unhealthy ways. It was at this point in my innocent childhood that I had officially embraced the process of the oppression of the orphan heart and the mindset that no one was going to make life happen for you, if you wanted it, you would have to do it for yourself (a huge lie that would wreck me for many years to come).
A life of oppression spawned by an orphan heart is the common experience of almost every person. Even among Christians, who know the truth of forgiveness of sins and eternal life through faith in Christ, only a small percentage have truly experienced the full embrace of the Father’s love. Their troubled marriages, families, and relationships are evidence of this fact. Too many Christians are still caught up in the entanglements of the orphan heart.
Do you struggle with the oppression of the orphan heart? These are some, not all, of the symptoms of an orphan heart according to Jack Frost in his book From Spiritual Slavery to Spiritual Sonship:
- Do you struggle in feeling like you have to fight and scramble for every advantage and desire? And when others receive advancement or success before you, do you find it hard to rejoice?
- Do you battle the thoughts that if I am not on top I will not be valued or respected?
- How are you in handling others faults? Do you find that you are prone to building yourself up while tearing someone else down? Or do you always put everyone else first and never taking care of you?
- Have you experienced a loss of relationships because of your control issues, criticalness, possessiveness, or a lack of respect and honor?
- Do you have a hard time admitting your wrong without blame shifting?
- How are you at handling someone bringing you a warning or guidance, advise, counsel, or “I’ve noticed this about you”? Is it a personal offense or rejection to you?
- How are you at expressing unconditional love? Do you love easier when all are performing the way you want them to? What happens when they don’t?
- Do you feel lonely even in the midst of many?
- Does jealousy come knocking at your door often?
- Do you get your minutes of bible study and prayer in but lack the ability to truly experience the presence of the Father’s embrace?
- Do you suffer with independence and self-reliance?
- Are you convinced that if you want anything you must do it yourself and no one can do it better than you?
In actuality we all struggle with the orphan heart to some degree in our life. You can thank Adam and Eve for that. They were walking in the glorious light of sonship with the Father and walked away from it. Eve was deceived by the serpent and Adam willingly chose it. If you don’t know the story you can read it in Ge. 3. I have struggled with just about every one of these at some point in my life. Some have been more prevalent than others but they have all reared their ugly head in my life.
Despite being saved, and operating in my giftings and anointings, I still couldn’t fully trust God with the deep depths of my heart where I felt so naked and exposed to the vulnerabilities of life nor could I trust anyone else with it. I had my own fortress built to handle it all on my own which ultimately kept me from entering into true sonship with the Father. Romans 8:15 says “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received a spirit of sonship. And by him we cry “Abba Father!” Abba Father is a deep term of endearment. How deep can you go with it, or does it just feel awkward and have no meaning to you?
It was about three years ago when the Father led me to learning about how to displace my orphan heart with a heart of sonship – being a beloved son or daughter of God who has found their home in the everlasting moments of the Father’s embrace. It is believing at the depths of the core of your heart Jeremiah 31:3b “I have loved you with an EVERLASTING love; I have drawn you with loving kindness.” It is that kind of unconditional love that displaces all the orphan heart has to offer. This is not something you can try to regain but it is something you must enter into. You can’t regain something you never had. This is a revelation of your heart and not your head.
Gaining this revelation in my heart three years ago put me on a path of experiencing the transforming, trustworthy love of the Father. Not only have I found my home in His embrace but I have also found the joy in having deep, trusting relationships here on earth. There are no words to describe mustering up the strength to have a heart to heart moment with the Lord that leads you home to His embrace.
NCWC Transformation Center Director