For the last several years, I have been so intrigued with the concept of the Orphan Spirit and how so many struggle to be free from its grip.
The Orphan Spirit whispers you're not enough…
You don't belong…
You're not loved…
It causes division and pain… and leaves millions feeling hurt, empty and alone.
Earlier this year, I sat down and started writing. At first I wasn't sure what the end result would be, but it grew into this and I am so excited to announce the launch of my new book "All the King's Orphans"!
Because I want to celebrate reaching this point in the process (and because I love you), I am posting two sample chapters below! Enjoy and please share this with others!
(If you have connections to any stores that carry books, please suggest this to them! I would be FOREVER grateful!)
All the King's Orphans
I was born with red hair. This, accompanied by my abundance of freckles, set me apart from my brown haired, spot-free siblings… and, it gave my brother all the material he needed to convince me that I didn’t belong.
“You’re adopted. That’s why you have red hair. Mom and Dad found you on the doorstep.”
He was teasing, of course. Just fulfilling his brotherly role of messing with his little sister. But what he told me made sense.
I was different! The more I thought about it, the more his words solidified in my mind pointing out all the differences between myself and the rest of my family – even conjuring up some differences he had not yet identified.
I was the only red head.
I didn’t look anything like my parents.
Besides that – he and I are less than a year apart in age. No humans with any kind of common sense would willingly choose to have two children so close in age.
The doorstep story seemed like a stretch, but it did leave lingering question in my mind. Did I belong?
I wasn’t very old before I learned that my situation was not that unique. There are many siblings who have parents as crazy as mine – parents who ended up with two babies in less than a year.
And yes, I was the lone redhead in the family, but that fact alone didn’t determine my bloodline. Not knowing my thought process, my grandma once pointed out that my nose was just like hers – “flat and pudgy”. Um… thanks. Ok… I guess I fit in after all.
My questions as a child are a reflection of the thoughts of many people in the world today.
Why am I different?
Where do I belong?
How did I get here?
Who am I?
I have many friends who are adopted and their stories inspire me. Though some struggle with those questions of identity, they have a distinction that I, and the rest of us living with our biological families do not possess – they were chosen.
That is the beauty of adoption. When a man and a woman, of their own free will, make the life-changing decision to give a child a family.
Recently, some friends of ours went halfway around the world. They had a mission. They planned, saved, prayed, cried and rejoiced when they got the news. Far away, in another country, in a city most knew nothing about, was a tiny orphanage with one special little girl.
Out of all the children there, they chose her.
This child was abandoned and had been living in an orphanage since she was a baby. Her birth family was unknown and even her age was debatable.
In spite of the fact that she carried a disease, didn’t speak a word of English and had nothing to offer them, Jon and Carissa still wanted her. They claimed her as their own, gave her a name and a place to call home.
That day, a little girl we’d never met became co-heirs with a houseful of siblings and she now enjoys equal rights to all her parents have to offer.
Now consider this - I’ve known Jon and Carissa far longer than this sweet child from Uganda has. I knew them before they were married. I knew them before they had kids. I listened to them speak of their hopes and dreams to one day adopt… I have been to their house – even watched as they built it. In spite of how much I know about my friends, it doesn’t make me their daughter, therefore, I do not have the same rights this one little girl from the other side of the world now enjoys.
In their home, Eva’s rights exceed mine.
She can wander freely throughout their home, dig in the pantry, open the refrigerator, and help herself to the good things her mommy and daddy have for her… something you and I would not have the right to do in their home.
Eva’s adoption is an illustration of what we as God’s children experience when He takes us into His kingdom. Millions of people claim to know God… and many know a lot about Him – but just knowing about Him doesn’t make you His child. To become His own, we must go through the process of being adopted into His family.
Adoption is mentioned numerous times throughout the Bible. Let’s take a look at several of those stories.
The first adoption we read about is seen in the life of Moses. (If you aren’t familiar with is story, you can find it in Exodus 2.)
Moses was born to parents who loved and cared for him, yet through a series of events, he ends up being adopted by the princess of Egypt. As we know, Moses went on to lead the Israelites out of slavery and is remembered as a great hero of the Bible.
But have you ever wondered what God was thinking when He allowed Moses to be taken from his parents and moved to the home of the enemy? I know I have!
From our place in history, we have the privilege of looking back at Moses’ story and seeing how beautifully God orchestrated his life, yet you can’t help but wonder how Moses felt about being adopted. Did he see his family from time to time? Was he jealous of Aaron and Miriam - wishing he could have been raised in their family home? Why couldn’t Moses have stayed in the home of his biological family and still become the man God needed him to be?
We can look at the terrible atrocities brought on when Pharaoh killed the Israelites babies – because it was terrible…but God was able to use that horrible experience to move Moses to a strategic position in order to gain something he wouldn’t have been able to attain had he been raised in the home of slaves. God longed to set His people free from the bondage of slavery and to do that He needed to prepare someone for a specific position of leadership. It couldn’t be someone from among them - the Israelites had been slaves so long, they no longer knew how to think and act like free men.
They had a slave mentality.
They were so accustomed to their bondage, they didn’t know how to live without it. For so many years they didn’t have to think for themselves. They ate what they were told to eat, did the work they were told to do, lived where they were told to live, slept when they were allowed to sleep…the list goes on and on.
Leaving Egypt meant leaving all they knew. Suddenly the world lay before them with an overwhelming amount of options… and it was scary! So at the first sign of discomfort or distress in the free world, we see the Israelites begin complaining… wanting to go back to Egypt…willing to go back to their bondage.
God couldn’t have a leader with that mindset. He couldn’t have Moses grow up with a slave mentality. He needed someone who was free. Someone who knew how to walk with confidence. A person who knew who he was and that his name held authority.
It needed to be someone who had been taught in the ways of royalty.
Another Bible story about adoption is about a boy named Mephibosheth.
Mephibosheth was actually born into royalty. He was the son of Jonathan, King Saul’s son. Mephibosheth’s early life was one of prestige, wealth and ease, but his grandpa, King Saul, was a wicked man. One day, God had enough.
When Mephibosheth was only five years old, King Saul was killed on the battlefield and the kingdom was overthrown. In the chaos of trying to escape, Mephibosheth was hurt and crippled for life.
Not much else is told about him other than that he is taken to a place called Lo Debar where he lives for many years. What’s interesting is that Lo Debar means a place of ‘no pasture’.
It was a place of desolation. Not only that, Mephibosheth’s name means Son of Shame. Talk about a depressing life!
In the meantime, back at the palace, King David had taken over the throne and began his reign. Years went by and David started wondering about his old friend, Jonathan. He and Jonathan had been exceptionally close friends and the king asked if any of Jonathan’s family was still alive.
This led to Mephibosheth being found in Lo Debar and whisked off to the palace. Imagine the fear that must have been coursing through his veins! What did the king want with him? He arrived before King David, well aware of his position. He was a cripple - in that culture, this alone made him an outcast. Worse yet, he was the grandson of the king’s greatest enemy – this was certain to be the last day of Mephibosheth’s life!
Imagine his surprise when King David began telling of all that he was giving to Mephibosheth! He returned all of Saul’s land to the young man! Mephibosheth would no longer have to live in Lo Debar – he would no longer have to live in desolation.
But the king wasn’t done. King David chose that day to take Mephibosheth in as one of his own. He wanted to give him a home and a place at his table!
As Believers, we, too, have been adopted. God, the Father, has chosen us, though outcast, broken and living in desolation. It matters not to God what our social status is, how great our belongings, how pristine our family history - nor what we have to offer Him. He simply desires to have us with Him – to call us His child.
Just as David gave Mephibosheth a place at his table, we too have been offered a place at the King’s table. God longs to give us a name. He desires to give us security and love and the ability to walk through life knowing who we are and Whose we are.
He did this through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ.
Galatians 4:3-7 (NLT) says,
“…Before Christ came. We were like children; we were slaves to the basic spiritual principles of this world.
But when the right time came, God sent His Son, born of a woman, subject to the law.
God sent Him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that He could adopt us as His very own children.
And because we are His children, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.”
Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are His child, God has made you His heir.
An heir to the Kingdom of God?
Have you ever stopped to consider, really consider what that means? If this is true, the Kingdom should be filled to the brim with royal offspring having the time of their lives!
Romans 8 tells how the children of God get to fearlessly enjoy adventure after adventure as we live within the security of His Kingdom. With child-like expectancy, we can call out, “What’s next, Papa?” knowing He brings all things together for our good.
Somehow this doesn’t sound like the Christianity we see in the current western church though. Am I right?
Why is this?
What’s the problem?
I believe the issue is that though adopted; too many are living within the walls of the Palace still clinging to their former identity.
An identity that refuses to allow them the freedom of a peace-filled, fearless Kingdom experience. An identity that tells them they don’t belong, they don’t fit in, they’re not good enough, they’re all alone and that God the Father cannot be trusted.
It’s an identity known as the Orphan Spirit.
This spirit is plaguing the churches of North America. It’s stealing our joy, promoting fear, and is a catalyst for division.
To understand the Orphan Spirit, we must also understand the orphan and his mindset.
The orphan is lonely, unable to trust, desperate and afraid. His life experiences tell him he can only afford to watch out for himself. He preys on the weak, is uncomfortable -unless he’s in control, he manipulates situations to fit his agenda and loathes seeing another get something he wanted. His existence is self-focused, independent and self-entitled – but it’s the only life he knows.
Consider this – what might it look like to live, really live, as sons and daughters of the King? Is it possible to move beyond the orphan mentality?
The following chapters are fictional characters experiencing real life struggles. You may be able to relate to them in various ways. The purpose of each story is to hopefully open our eyes to what we’ve been missing as Christians and to help identify various manifestations of the Orphan Spirit within the walls of the Kingdom.
Do we have to continue living a powerless, defeated, self-centered Christianity? No!
Let’s learn together how we can shed our Orphan Spirit and, instead, discover the ways of royalty.
The Spirit of Jealousy
Dana Reese checked her hair one last time in the mirror. Nice. She liked this cut.
“Good call on the curls, Reese.”
Ella’s voice from the car seat reminded Dana that she was not alone.
“Nothing, sweetie. Mommy was just talking to herself.” Another glance in the mirror, and Dana was ready to roll. She wrinkled her nose at her reflection, grabbed the door handle and got out.
Dana heard her best friend, Becca, pull up beside her just as she released Emma from her car seat.
“Hey girl!” Becca’s voice was filled with joy and a warmth spread over Dana’s soul. She always enjoyed spending time with her tall, annoyingly slender friend. Well, almost always.
Becca was sweet to a fault. Oh sure, she had her flaws, but sometimes they seemed much too few and far between.
“Hi Becca! How’s it going?”
“Hi Dana,” Becca’s smile looked tired. “It’s, well, it’s been a morning, but…hey, you know, it’s all good.” Becca reached up and pressed a button on the ceiling and Dana watched as both doors on Becca’s mini-van glided open without effort.
“Hi Aunt Dana! Hi Emma!” The voices of Becca’s three and five-year-old daughters called out from inside the van.
“Hey Taylor! Hi Jessie! Are you excited to come play with Emma?” The girls nodded excitedly and Becca couldn’t help but admire their matching sundresses and sandals. She let her eyes sweep over Emma’s outfit and was relieved to see she was equally adorable, although she wished now she had chosen the new outfit she’d found at Target instead of the lady bug shirt and shorts her daughter now wore.
Oh well. It couldn’t be helped. They were here now. She made a mental note to learn the new braid technique she’d seen on Pinterest last night. Emma would look adorable with that hairstyle.
Dana stroked Emma’s long strands of caramel curls, inwardly thankful that her daughter didn’t have the misfortune of short, thin hair like Becca’s did.
Becca pressed yet another button and the back door of the van lifted. Taylor and Jessie grabbed Emma’s hand and began walking towards the church. Dana tugged at her blouse, readjusted her purse and turned to follow the girls. Becca followed behind, holding a crate filled with who knows what.
“Did you need me to carry anything?” Dana asked.
“No, it’s fine. If I need my purse, I’ll come back for it.”
Dana reached out to open the door of the church for Becca.
“Thank you!” Becca smiled again as she sailed by.
Dana saw what looked like a pile of boards sticking out of the crate. “Whatcha got there, Bec? Another one of your crazy projects?”
“Yeah,” There was a lilt in Becca’s voice as she spoke with excitement. “Jeff had a bunch of pallet wood laying around the shop and I thought, ‘wouldn’t it be fun to make little signs for the women coming to mom’s group?’” Becca set the crate on the nearest table inside their small fellowship hall and continued, “It was super simple. I just sanded them down a little and,” Becca stopped and began rummaging through the crate, “ta-da!” Dana pulled out a beautiful, hand painted sign – ‘Precious In His Sight’. The décor was shabby chic and Dana knew the women would love it.
Dana didn’t know what else to say, so she went the safe route, “Aww..”
“Here’s another,” Becca beamed as she spread the signs across the table, “I think it’s my favorite, ‘beautifully & wonderfully made’. Isn’t that a great reminder for mom’s dealing with post baby bodies and all?”
“Oh yes.” Dana knew her voice didn’t match the excitement in Becca’s. “I’m sure they’ll like them.”
“Which one do you want?” Becca’s question took Dana by surprise.
“Oh, umm...” Dana looked over the collection of signs, and her eye immediately fell on one. The words curved delicately across the rough wood, ‘WELCOME FRIENDS’. Dana could imagine it resting on the table near the front door. It would be perfect there.
She hoped her smile reached her eyes as she reached out and picked the sign up from the table. “I’ll take this one. So pretty. Thanks Becca.”
If Becca had noticed Dana’s lack of enthusiasm, she didn’t let on. “Wanna get these tablecloths on? Was thinking maybe we could use the signs to decorate the tables.”
Dana turned away, “Sure. Let me first go check on the girls.”
Dana didn’t hurry and by the time she returned, Becca had put tablecloths on the table, added some flowers and placed a sign at each chair. Already women had started arriving and the gasps of delight and flood of compliments gushing from their mouths made Dana want to puke.
“Dana! Did you see these?” Erika came rushing towards her, her hands clutching an adorable sign with the words ‘WAKE UP, GET DRESSED, BE AWESOME’ scrawled across the front. Why hadn’t she seen that one earlier? That one was so much more fun than the one she had chosen.
Dana plastered a smile across her face, “Yeah, aren’t they so sweet? I saw some like that on Pinterest.” She raised her voice, and called across the crowd to Becca, “Did you find those on my Pinterest page, Becca? Love how super cheap and easy it is to make something like that.” Without waiting for an answer from Becca, Dana tipped her head towards Erika and lowered her voice, “I’m planning to make some too… but I prefer a square sign over these rectangles. I mean, these are nice, but as soon as life slows down a little, I’d love to make a few of my own. Except… like I said… I’ll make mine square.”
Erika stared at Dana for a second as though unsure what to say, then looking back at the sign in her hand, she smiled and returned to her seat. Becca wove her way through the group of women, smiling and nodding along as they chatted happily about preschools, recipes, married life and, of course, the signs. Those dumb signs.
“What’s wrong with you,” she asked herself. “It’s just some stupid little signs. Who cares if she thought of it before you did.” Dana watched a group of women crowd in around Becca listening intently as she told some apparently hilarious story about spilling paint while making the signs.
“Give me a break.” Dana inwardly rolled her eyes, yet couldn’t help wondering why she even cared.
But Dana did care.
She cared that Becca always seemed to be a step ahead of her.
Every. Single. Time!
Becca was the one who had thought of bringing gifts today.
She was the one with the long, slender legs.
The one with the fancy-schmancy mini-van.
The one with a husband who offered to help paint those silly signs for these silly women!
She was also the one with adorably dressed children. Children who looked like they’d just been yanked out from a Pottery Barn catalog!
She was now the one with the crowd of adoring friends hanging on her every word!
She was so… so…so annoying!
Dana glanced at her watch. It was a little early, but she didn’t care. Clapping her hands, she called the room to order. It was time to get started.
But deep inside she knew.
She knew that more than getting the meeting started on time, she just wanted everyone to stop going gaa gaa over those….those…those stupid signs!
Have you ever been there?
Living in the shadow of that one friend who seems to strike gold no matter what they do?
The fact of the matter is that it’s not so much about the good fortune the Beccas in our lives seem to have – it’s more about the attitude we have towards them.
You see, Dana has an Orphan Spirit. Her spirit manifests itself predominantly through jealousy. Dana is a child of God, living in the Kingdom, yet she has not yet taken on His name. She doesn’t see herself as one who fully belongs and her thought process tells her she has never been good enough.
The Jealous Orphan Spirit struggles to celebrate the good fortunes of another. They are much like the one child at every birthday party who complains that they didn’t get a present. Dana could have chosen to celebrate her friend – after all, she called Becca her best friend, yet even in that, she was unable to bring herself to point out Becca’s good qualities.
When Becca arrived at the church that morning, Dana had overlooked the fact that Becca sounded discouraged. All she could think about was everything that Becca had in comparison to herself. She compared children, vehicles, outfits, and more. In her mind, Dana was keeping score. She valued their friendship… but only so long as she was in the lead.
The further ahead Becca became (in Dana’s mind), the more distance Dana put between them until she actually found herself belittling her best friend to other women in the church.
The Jealous Orphan Spirit hates when another is given special treatment or attention. She operates out of insecurity and struggles to promote others. She finds joy in minimizing another’s talents while searching for ways to maximize her own.
Her struggles are born out of a need for identity in the family of God. As children, we grow up knowing who we are and where we belong in our family – whether good or bad. The Orphan Spirit is unsettled – never truly knowing who they are in Christ, if they are accepted and if they really belong.
They want to belong. Want it desperately, but life on the streets has robbed her of the gift of security. She will struggle to see others as brothers and sisters instead of rivals. And in that struggle, she will fail to understand that the promotion of another or the blessings in another’s life are not a sign of God loving that person more and loving her less. On the contrary! Our Papa God delights in giving good gifts and His gifts in your life should stand as a reminder to me that He is a good and gracious Giver.
Imagine the difference in Dana’s morning had she chosen to meet women at the door, signs in hand and praising her friend’s generous heart and amazing talent. “Look what Becca did!” She could have said. “Isn’t she awesome?!” “I think she did a wonderful job!”
Had Dana done that, her sisters in the church would have been drawn to her, Dana. Her love, acceptance and promotion of another would have communicated that Dana was a safe place to fall and she would likely have found her relationship tank overflowing. Instead, her jealous nature brings her to a place where she ends up criticizing Becca’s gift, which in turn, isolates Dana from the others.
Does God promote people from time to time? Absolutely! He does grant special blessings in individual’s lives during various seasons – and that’s a good thing. Dana needs to realize that just because Becca has some of what she wants today, she, Dana, isn’t less valuable in the Kingdom. God doesn’t love her any less!
And maybe, just maybe, when she stops worrying about the blessings Becca has in her corner, Dana will be able to go see the ones her Abba Father has placed in hers.
Because you are precious in My eyes,
and honored, and I love you,
I give men in return for you,
peoples in exchange for your life.
Everyone who is called by My name,
whom I created for My glory,
whom I formed and made.
Isaiah 43:4,7 ESV
Below is a list of other chapters you'll find within the covers of "All the King's Orphans".
Chapter 2...…………..………………….Spirit of Jealousy
Chapter 3…...…………………………….Spirit of Poverty
Chapter 4…….....……………………………Spirit of Fear
Chapter 5……………………..………Spirit of Narcissism
Chapter 6…………………………………Spirit of Control
Chapter 7………………………….Spirit of Fatherlessness
Chapter 8………………………………Spirit of Insecurity
Chapter 9……………….…..…….Spirit of False Humility
Chapter 10……………………………..Spirit of Deception
Chapter 11………………………….Spirit of Hopelessness
Chapter 12…………………………………..Spirit of Pride
Chapter 13………………………………...Spirit of Shame
Chapter 14…………………..………….The Orphan Spirit
Chapter 15…………….…….........Jonah and Esther Spirits
Chapter 16…………...……..Spiritual Fathers and Mothers
Chapter 17……………………Absalom and Esther Spirits
Chapter 18……………………………Our Ultimate Father
Chapter 19…………………………..The Ways of Royalty