We have stigmas, marks of disgrace that are associated with particular circumstances. One such circumstance is birth order. If you are the oldest, the stigma is you are bossy. If you are in between, the stigma is you are overlooked. However, if you are the youngest the stigma is you are the baby and always will be.

Jesus came to free the captives from all stigmas that serve to disgrace, degrade and make us feel captive to circumstances. The circumstances of birth order may make us feel we can’t do anything about it.

If we are the oldest we are destined to be bossy and have to overachieve because we are who we are. If we are the in between then no one notices us so we feel like we are not worth anything. If we are the youngest, though, it makes it a whole lot more difficult to grow up. After all, who doesn’t like being the baby that everyone loves.

The youngest has a lot to overcome. He or she may have to live in the shadows of an older brother or sister who excelled. Or they may feel like they have to over achieve just to get noticed. At the same time that youngest position makes them the darling of the family, a place they feel they never want to leave.

For youngest children feeling that disgrace of being the baby and always being viewed in that way, God has one word that He invented just for you. It’s called grace.

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His grace is designed to remove the stigmas that we place on ourselves and that others have unknowingly placed on us. It removes expectations that we have to rise above the place of dishonor as being the baby to the place of honor of being taken seriously as an adult. It removes that expectation because God does not see us that way.

God sees us not as the youngest child, but as His child perfectly designed and beautifully appointed to fulfill a uniquely designed destiny.

He saw you before you were born. Every single day of your life has already been recording in His book, every moment laid out before a single day had even passed, (Psalm 139:16 NLT).

He and He alone knows the paths our feet will take. But every step He will use in our journeys. He is the Master Storyteller. He can take even decisions we’ve made that we may think are mistakes and use them to fill in the gaps in our story and direct our feet to learn more about what it’s really like to walk with Him every single day.

He takes every detail of our lives and continually weaves them together to fit into His perfect plan of bringing good into our lives. He does this because we are His lovers who have been called to fulfill His designed purpose, (Romans 8:28 TPT).

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He doesn’t care about our birth order. He cares that we have been born again, washed, renewed, revived and stand clean in the presence of His Son. He can lead such an individual. He can guide and direct such an individual. He can weave His purposes into our lives no matter what our choices.

Let’s backtrack just a moment. The youngest has does have a disadvantage many times because he or she has a multitude of counselors surrounding them. If it’s not mother and father, it’s brother, sister, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends and others.

Although there is wisdom in a multitude of counselors (Proverbs 11:14, 15:22, 24:6) there can also be confusion. We must listen and weigh all the advise, but in the end we have to trust in the Lord with all our hearts.

We can’t trust just what we understand or what others understand about us. We have to trust that God knows us and sees our hearts. He knows that above all we only want to do what He wants for our lives, (Proverbs 3:5-6). He will give us peace about our decisions and that’s all we ned to go forward.

As I look back on my life, I see every place I messed up and went totally against what I knew in my heart God desired for me. I also see how He has used every single mistake to teach me lessons I couldn’t have learned any other way.

These are lessons that are cemented into my heart and soul in such a way that they are not just truth to me, they are truth experienced. It’s what Jesus was talking about when He said, “You will experience for yourselves the truth, and the truth will free you,” (John 8:32 MSG).

Sometimes the truth we learn the best is what we experience in the so-called mistakes or wrong turns we have taken in this life.

I was born the oldest in my family. With it seemed to come a burden of expectations that quickly became stigmas as I got older. Being expected to always have the answers is not an easy way to live life.

What I realized was if I just expect that God has the answers and speak only when He is telling me to speak, then I’m living in His power and not my own. It makes life so much easier when I just relax into Him.

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Today, I’m celebrating our youngest, a beautiful young lady navigating the world during this unique and sometimes scary and challenging time. She’s doing a great job, though sometimes I fear she thinks she doesn’t meet her own expectations.

I just want her to know that she meets all of my expectations, all of her father’s expectations and all of God’s deepest desires just by being the amazing woman God created her to be.

Happy Birthday, Jenny Maydene Church. We love you to the moon and back again.

Teresa Shields Parker
Teresa Shields Parker is a Christian weight loss author, coach, podcaster and speaker, who has lost more than 250 pounds and kept it off since 2013.

Her books include: "Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God's Favor"; "Sweet Surrender: Breaking Strongholds"; "Sweet Journey to Transformation: Practical Steps to Lose Weight and Live Healthy"; "Sweet Freedom: Losing Weight and Keeping It Off With God's Help": "Sweet Change: True Stories of Transformation"; and "Sweet Hunger: Developing an Appetite for God".

She also offers Overcomers Christian Weight Loss Academy and VIP one-on-one coaching program, more information on both is available under the weight loss tab. Don't miss her weekly podcast, Sweet Grace for Your Journey, where she shares tips from her personal journey of losing weight and discovering healthy living. Find that under the podcast tab and anywhere you find podcasts.