My 2 year old goddaughter (with the help of her father) drew this picture for me. When I look at it, it makes me think of family. I spent the first 8 years of my career teaching children with emotional and behavioural difficulties. I saw firsthand that if a child hadn’t developed secure attachment with their parents in the early years, it had a massive impact. They came into the classroom either numb of emotions or aggressive and disruptive. The impact of the trauma on their brain was seen in their daily interactions with me and their peers.

As we are all aware, the families we are born into have the ability to affect us deeply, even now as adults. Our brains have the capacity to store past memories. They can allow us to experience levels of joy and pain as we subconsciously recall them from time to time. When God invites us into his family, something beautiful occurs. Instead of performing a quick fix on our families, he comes alongside us and sits with us in the memories. He’s the perfect Father who is not limited in his ability to handle our fears, doubts and tears.

Father God says to me and all his children…

  1. When the sun is out, smile and truly breathe its beauty. Let it be a reminder that because of Jesus, you are truly free.”

  2. The family of God is not defined by human blood, but by the blood of Jesus who invites us to welcome those who are unlike us to be part of our family.

  3. “Jesus loves me lots, not a little.” A recent conversation between my goddaughter and her mum. A good daily reminder.

  4. When past memories are overwhelming, take a walk with a sister or brother in the church family. When it’s hard to see the goodness of God, we need the faith and light of others.

  5. “Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders.”(Deuteronomy 33:12)

This is what my goddaughter and her sister have taught me. This is what little children can teach you if you learn to train your ears to listen. I’m continuing to learn and it is so good. - Eileen

During a difficult time for so many, when people are asking “where is God in this?”, I have been holding to the simple yet solid biblical truth at the heart of this uplifting song - God is in control. “Even in our suffering, even when it can’t be seen”. And the song reminds me to lift my eyes to Him, not ignoring the suffering and uncertainty, but trusting that through it all God remains my loving Father, my rock and my salvation - Gemma Simpson 

When I listen to this song, I see Jesus’ parable of the Prodigal or Lost Son (Luke 15: 11-32) in my mind. The parable of a son who was deeply loved from his beginning and yet he wanted to make it on his own. And so leaves home and his father’s presence and invests his time and money in the distractions of our world. Our distractions might be different but we have all most likely sought distraction at some point(s) and tried to go it on our own. While we may or may not have experienced this for such a defined period as the son but we will most likely experience these distractions for minutes, hours or weeks in our lives. When the son comes to see that the world is fickle and that his pursuit of pleasure could not provide lasting joy, he decides to return home and ask forgiveness from his father. He will ask to return not as a son but as a servant. He was humbled and overwhelmed by his sin and bad decisions. From a human perspective, that would seem like a sensible and deserved solution. And yet, the story doesn’t end there! When the son is in sight of home he sees his father running to meet him. Does he deserve it? No but that’s the gospel. The older son points out that hisfaithfulness is much more deserving of celebration. This response might seem logical from the world’s perspective yet God’s love doesn’t have to fit the world’s logic. God is big enough to be able to love each of us equally, as individuals on our own journeys. So let us cling to this truth as written in the Bible, for we were loved when we were still sinners. And so, if we know and trust in this truth, we can sing ‘Boldly I approach your throne, Blameless now I’m running home’. We can sing this for the blood of Jesus, his sacrifice on the cross. That he would die the loneliest death in creation to bring us home is love unlike anything else this world can offer. And the thing is that even when we are saved we will still mess up and look for comfort in other places but let’s remember that our God ‘fights for me, And shields my soul eternally’. We may repeat the pattern of the prodigal son many times in our lives but we should know that we can return each time to ask forgiveness and be ‘welcomed as His own, into the arms of majesty’ - Siobhan de Jonge