Each fall, my wife’s non-profit organization hosts the Replanted Conference, which is an event designed to support adoptive and foster families. (It is awesome–if you are interested in going, click here for more information. It’s not very expensive, and they have both in-person and simulcast options.) We have a lot of great speakers, and it always seems like the parents who attend have a meaningful experience.
I always go and volunteer, helping to set up, direct traffic, etc. However, I don’t always anticipate how powerful the conference can be for me personally.
You Are Loved
A few years ago, the theme of the conference was “You Are Loved.” If nothing else happened, we wanted parents to know, deep down, that God loved them no matter what. God’s love wasn’t conditional. It didn’t change based on how they felt they were doing as a parent, or the behavior of their kids. They were loved no matter what.
You Are A Coward
Following our main session on Friday night, we had a time where everyone took a piece of canvas, and wrote down some of the lies they were telling themselves about themselves. What came up for me was the phrase, “You are a coward.”
Anxiety and Guilt
Throughout my life, I have struggled with anxiety and guilt. I have a tough time when the future is uncertain. I beat myself up when I’m not perfect. And, I tend to hold back, not letting others see my true self, because I worry about what they will think of me. I felt as if God was meeting me right there in the midst of my cowardliness, telling me that I am loved.
U R ♥️
There was a large canvas up on stage with lies written down from some of the parents in our community (e.g., inadequate, failure, etc.). As we reflected on our canvas, Jenn took a can of red spray paint and painted the following words over all the lies:
U R ♥️
What a powerful message. No matter what you have done, no matter what your past looks like, no matter how much you feel like you are failing right now, you are fully and completely loved. If I had one message to say to myself and others over and over again, I think that would be it.
What holds you back from feeling like you are fully loved? If you knew, deep in your bones, that you were fully loved, how would your life be different?