We don't have an influence on who were our ancestors or even our parents. However, we can chose to honour them, extract whatever positive we might find, and then form our identity through Christ Jesus uniquely to us, our purpose and assignment.... sometimes our ancesters leave clues, unfinished business or 'mantels' (they carried, or should have carried) that we may need to pick up and carry to completion to the Glory of God.
Did I mention that I am German?
….. Anyway, it was last Easter when I was on the phone with my cousin, Agathe, in Germany. For some reason during our conversation our mutual late grandmother popped up in our margarethe-baroness-von-luck-und-wittenconversation (the pic on here is our late grandmother, at the time of the picture - 1917, Margarethe Baroness von Luck und Witten).
Agathe mentioned, almost as a throw away remark, that our late grandma was the illegitimate child of an Earl (or Count both words translate the same into German: Graf).
Grandma's mother, our great-grandmother, who apparently died during child birth, was an opera singer. Agathe had been left with a whole bundle of old documents when one of our aunts died, and also heard this from an elderly lady who knows the family background well. “I know about the Graf,” I said to Agathe, “my mother told me.” She was shocked that I knew when her mother had never told her. We knew that our Grandmother’s first husband was a Baron, after all, the material evidence relating to this aristocratic heritage was all around us when we grew up as kids, and of course our spinster aunts carried that name.
Somehow I had pushed all this knowledge aside as it is not relevant to my life now. But for some reason, when Agathe mentioned that, my curiosity was teased out of its hiding …. and, actually, I did not know that our great-grandma was an opera singer. (Did she sing Wagner operas? I wonder .... afterall Richard Wagner lived around that time and was a major hit in high society ....)
Now we started to dig, who exactly was this Graf? …when might it had been that grandma was born … somewhere in the mid 1880’s? “Yes, and he was the Bavarian ambassador at St. Petersburg,” Agathe added.
I know absolutely nothing about my own country’s history, I have to admit, so I found myself digging through the German Google, came across King Ludwig II of Bavaria (never heard of that guy before … now I read that he was the one who had all these fantasy castles built such as ‘Neu Schwanstein’ which inspired Walt Disney, and for a long while the King was Wagner's patron) ….
I found myself digging on the Internet till 4am in the morning that day. Why? I was fascinated, I wanted to find out who on earth exactly was this great grandfather? I wanted to find out who my blood lineage was. I could not care less that my dear great-grandmother had an affair and wound up giving birth to my grandmother out of wedlock. It was part of my quest, ‘who am I?’
I know who I am spiritually, I am the child of the Most High God, the daughter of the King of Kings, so, why bother about some Graf who gallivanted about in different countries, and probably fathered a good many more children he neither knew nor cared about. But then, it is fascinating when people and relatives tell me, “you’re just like your grandmother, you even look like her”.
We have been woven into a rich tapestry of life which moulds so much of how we live our lives, our personality and our character.
Some time ago I read about this account of two brothers who grew up in the worst part of the Bronx in New York. Their mother was a prostitute; domestic violence was the norm in that family. Their father was either full of drugs or alcohol, in and out of jail, and finally stayed there for murder. One of the two brothers followed his father’s footsteps and also wound up in jail. His brother, however, went to school, won scholarships, became a successful lawyer, and happily married with three children. When they were interviewed and asked what caused them to become who they are, both of them gave the same reply, “Because of our father”.
It rather goes to show that it is not the circumstances that cause us to become who we are, but rather how we interpret the circumstances and live accordingly. In other words we can allow circumstances to use us, or we use circumstances. The choice is ours.
When we were born-again we received at that moment a new spirit and the force of eternal life. I am referring to eternal life not as duration of endless existence, not a time period; but life as a substance, an altered condition of our spirit.
Jesus said, “I come that they might have life.” The moment you get born-again the zoe-life, the spirit life, what is called in Hebrew the Ruach HaKodesh , His Holy Spirit, comes into you. At that moment your spirit is changed. Who you are in your recreated spirit-being is not the one you are right now as you experience yourself. Who you are, the spirit-being, is the one clothed with the resurrection body, that does not look a thing like you look now. Who you are as a spirit-being, has a new identity.
The Bible says that we have a new name. The new nature has a whole new capacity that might take ‘millions of years’, to discover and unfold to understand that aspect of you which is His image that your Father has put in you, uniquely as a that son or daughter of God. You don’t even know who you are yet, but you’re a whole lot more than you think right now.
Thus, from the spiritual aspect we need to come to know who we are by renewing our minds. From the natural perspective, we need to know who we are to make sure we are we are running our life rather than life running us.
Many of you have suffered because somebody did not see and celebrate the uniqueness in the way you were made, and wanted you to be the way they wanted you to be, and never affirmed who you actually are. You wound up with many negative reference experiences. Many of those have stuck to you like plaster.
This reminds of a rather interesting story I read many times from different sources.
In Bangkok, Thailand, is a famous golden Buddha statue that is about 900 years old.
The 3 meter tall Buddha is made up of 5.5 tons of solid gold. The statue was covered in plaster, disguised as a stone Buddha in order to save it from the Burmese who ransacked temples and plundered the gold during various wars.
Obviously, the camouflage job turned out to be too good because when those responsible for covering it with plaster died, so did the true nature of the Buddha image inside.
Two centuries after it had been first covered in plaster, it was thought to be worth very little.
But in 1957, when the statue was being moved to a new temple building in Bangkok, it slipped from a crane and was left in the mud by workmen. The covering plaster was partly broken. Only then did the people realize that it was made of pure solid gold.
I believe this is a good analogy as to who we really are; we are made of the pure solid gold of God’s design and purpose for us.
Life and living has covered many of us, disguised by pain, disappointments, failure, lost hope, that we do not even resemble who we really are.
Who is going to crack off the misleading plaster? Who’s going to have to change the program?
We are - with the help of the Spirit of God working in us and through us!
This is your life, your own – not your mother’s, not your sister’s, not your spouse’s, nor your best friend’s.
When you discover the person inside, the one you have always been, foreknown and fore-loved by our Heavenly Father before the foundations of the world, you will be surprised by joy and astonished by awe.