Alton Webteam: July 2016
"Even if my father and mother abandon me, the LORD will hold me close". Ps.27:4
For the last few weeks, eighty parents in Kibera have been attending sessions run by Turning Point, helping them engage with children and teens growing up in a hugely different society than the one they grew up in. Mothers and fathers have had access to child development experts, as well as the opportunity to realise that the challenges they face, they face together. This type of community-based engagement is core to what Turning Point seeks to do — to see the lives of children and families transformed in every sphere. It's Kingdom work! There is however one truth that must underpin it all: God is our best parent, and His word contains His best plan for the well-being and prospering of all His children.
You might think that those of us who believe and move within church communities accept this as a given; after all, we state it in our liturgies and sing it in our worship, but it's often not the case. It's well documented that we often view God as parent through the lens of the parenting we received, albeit subconsciously. So those who had an absent parent, a dictatorial parent or a critical parent; those who were made to feel second best or unlovable by their parent — and worse — the reality is that they are the people who sit next to you each week in your church family. And they are our TP parents, too.
There is a current worship song by Chris Tomlin, and the lyrics include: "You're a good, good Father — that's who You are / and I'm loved by You — that's who I am. Even if it's not your preferred style, I recommend you google it. If those words jar as you listen — or they sit in your head but have never truly resonated in your heart — then there is freedom and healing on offer for you. It's never too late. Just as the Turning Point children and parents in Kibera are only truly transformed by His accepting, embracing love — they who face conditions and situations every day that might cause them to doubt God's goodness — so that is also true for you, and for me. We all need a parenting course. And our best parent, full of immense love and compassion, is waiting and watching, ready to run and embrace us.
"While he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him." Luke 15:20
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