Overcoming an Orphan Spirit

Alumni Connect with Jack Taylor

https://d1sem3izril8l.cloudfront.net/2024/01/17/04/52/24/a88ae802-133e-4979-9c14-e39a8903f720/Jack%20and%20Gayle%20home.jpgDr. Jack Taylor received the Bachelor of Theology in 1975, and the Master of Theology in 1982 from Northwest. He also has a master's degree and PhD in Counseling. Jack  is the founder and coach at 1HeartCoaching.com. He is the former senior pastor at Faith Baptist in Vancouver (23 years) and a former missionary in Kenya (18 years).


Personal website: www.jackataylor.com



When my mother passed away a short time ago, I realized that I was now an orphan. My father had passed in the week before Covid shut everything down and at that time there were 62 of us in the clan who gathered for a celebration. It would have been easy to be numb.


Much in our day has been made of an orphan spirit where individuals feel a sense of abandonment, loneliness, alienation and isolation. Some felt this during Covid as they dropped out of their faith community and faced forcible confinement away from family and friends. By God’s grace, I haven’t felt this. Yet.


With both parents gone, I am now the oldest of five siblings with the benefit of four children and eleven grandchildren of my own. The latest grandchild being heart-chosen from Rwanda by my son and his wife. With this deliberate choice, where my granddaughter was embraced as a precious dream come true, I realize that, like her, I have been chosen into a family where I won’t ever be abandoned or left alone.


Adoption has become a process where the label gets lost. We absorb our new member into the family and we open doors and hearts and resources without second thoughts. She is us. She carries our name, our dreams, our joys. She has access to our hearts, our arms and our laps without restraint. When she wants to talk, we listen and when she presses against the boundaries, she understands how we act to keep her safe and secure.


While my son and his wife have taken on the primary care of education, clothing, medical care, nutrition and faith training, we grandparents are invited into the joy of watching her grow in each area of her life. We commit ourselves to her well-being as long as we live. We enter full-heartedly into her celebrations and accomplishments.


One of my joys as a grandparent, much to the chagrin of my kids, is to pull caramel apple suckers from the ears of my grandchildren. Even the sixteen-year-olds bend to allow the magic to happen. It didn’t take a moment for our new family member to catch on. She knew that she belonged and that if everyone else got a sucker then so did she. She continues to be my most persistent admirer in this regard, eyes lighting up, and head tilting to the side as she awaits her sweet.


Gaining an identity from a family or community where esteemed figures display faithfulness, security, love, acceptance, provision, discipline, faith, generosity and hope lays a great foundation for a clear perspective on who our Father in Heaven is. Secure attachments can be established that will affect generations to come.


In my work as a counselor and coach I see that much is made of our attachment style. The idea is that how we connect with our parents impacts how we later connect with our friends, spouses or other significant relationships. The ideal is that we were raised with parents who are engaging, validating, warm and compassionate as they created a home with emotional security for us.


If we were raised by family members who believed that coddling created clingy and over-dependent youngers who then became incompetent adults and if our parents thought that keeping an authoritarian and rational distance was the appropriate way to treat children it may have felt like we were orphaned. If parents were dismissive, cold, uninvolved, strictly punitive and distancing it isn’t surprising that some of these traits might show up in our own relationships.


All of us have a wide diversity of human need calling for attention. When these needs are consistently unmet as we mature they form raw spots which may show up in reactions which are disproportionate to what has just happened to us. We get thrown off balance as even small things threaten our sense of safety and well-being.


Seasoned leaders can find themselves in predictable patterns and communication habits which leave them feeling less connected, less understood and less hopeful. They may be caught in familiar cycles which seem to have no exit. Underlying poisons may surface as old stories are resurrected.


One way to resolve things is to sign up for a coach. Even though I’ve now retired from pastoring, I’ve repositioned as a marriage coach for seasoned leaders and I have signed up to be coached by Steve Sundby. Taking advantage of the resources within the body of Christ is one great way to defeat the sense of an orphaned spirit.

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