Jamie Rohrbaugh

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One of the biggest sources of discouragement that plagues Christians today is that so many of us feel like orphans.

It doesn’t seem to matter whether you have actual parents or not. Orphanhood is a state of the heart; a feeling… and it’s not something you can talk yourself out of if you’re already in that state.

But an orphan heart is something for which we can receive healing.

I know. I spent many years feeling unloved; feeling that I didn’t belong anywhere or to anybody. I felt like I had no home. I was an orphan.

It wasn’t my parents’ fault; they loved me. Orphanhood was simply the state of my heart, because I had not received God’s love deep down in my innermost heart yet.

So I felt like an orphan.

And because I felt like an orphan–belonging nowhere and to no one–I was hounded by fear. I would have frequent panic attacks when there was nothing going on outwardly of which to be afraid. I could feel something constricting my chest. I would desperately gasp for breath.

I didn’t know what was causing these panic attacks at first, but I finally recognized them for what they were–fear. (Read more of that story about how God set me free from fear here and part 2, here.)

Out of His mercy, one day as I was struggling with this, Papa God led me to read First John 4:18:

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.”

He showed me then that love is the antidote to fear.

He is the only One who loves perfectly, so it is specifically His love that casts out fear. I began to meditate on God’s love (see the story in the link above) and, over time, God set me free from fear. He filled me with His perfect love and healed me completely.

As I have continued to meditate on God’s love, He brought me into not only freedom from fear, but also into an understanding of how wildly He loves me. He has healed the orphan’s heart I carried, and has given me the secure heart of a beloved daughter.

Maybe you suffer from an orphan heart too. Maybe your heart longs to be healed.

  • Maybe you long for a place to belong.
  • Maybe you’ve been hounded by fear also.
  • Maybe you feel empty and lonely, even when there are plenty of people around.
  • Maybe you long to know and be known, to love and be loved.

Maybe your heart’s desire is to have a Father and a home.

If that’s you, my heart goes out to you. I know how you feel.

But there is hope, and there is healing. Your healing will begin when you begin to meditate on this:

God LOVES you. He’s a big Papa with a big heart, and that heart beats for you.

I know it can be hard to start to feel like God loves you. But He does. Leif Hetland says:

“If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it. If God had a tree, He’d carve your name on it. You are His happy thought!”

And it’s true. Think of His love as stretching even farther than that. Papa God loves you so much that…

  • If God had a nightstand, your photo would be on it.
  • If God had some spray paint, He’d go to a wall and draw hearts all over it with “PAPA + YOUR NAME” written inside.
  • If God had a wallet, your picture would be in it.
  • If God had a mantel, your baby shoes would be bronzed and displayed on it.
  • If God had a Christmas tree, He’d make an ornament with your picture and the year of your birth: “Baby’s first Christmas!”
  • He keeps your love letters (your prayers) with Him in Heaven all the time.
  • He’s spent so much time ruffling through your hair that He has counted every hair on your head.

Your Papa loves you.

His heart is full of you. He is thinking of you always. Everytime He thinks of you–which is constantly–He’s overjoyed at your existence. You are His dream. You are His pride and joy.

Your Papa God loves you.

  • He knew you in Heaven before you were conceived on earth.
  • At just the right time, He threw you on the womb of your mother.
  • He knit you together in your mother’s womb and planned the exact moment of your birth.
  • He has been loving you and watching over you all your life.
  • He has never looked away, not even once.

God’s heart beats for you.

I realize it may seem foreign and strange to think of yourself this way: as the apple of God’s eye. Nevertheless, that is what you are. Precious friend who feels like an orphan, you are not alone. I’ve been there. But I am not there anymore. And having come through that valley of the shadow of death, I can tell you this:

You don’t always have to have an orphan heart. You can feel like the beloved son or daughter you are. Your heart can be healed.

Pray this with me:

“Papa God, I love You. I know You love me too, but I need Your help to feel like it. I need to “get it” down deep in my heart, deeper than I can go or reach. 

Papa, would You help me? Holy Spirit, please help me to receive Your love. Reveal Your love to me in ways I don’t even know how to ask for.”

Then begin daily to meditate on God’s love. Use the list of examples I provided above to invoke your holy imagination:

  • Imagine your Papa carving your name on His tree in Heaven.
  • Imagine Him taking His wallet out and showing off your photo to Jesus in Heaven.
  • Imagine Him longing for you as He draws a big heart on a wall of holy graffiti in Heaven, writing “Papa + YOU!”

Meditate on God’s love. See it in your mind’s eye. Ponder on it.

And God will begin to heal your heart.

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