On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.
My friend was bubbling with excitement over her AncestryDNA results. As she shared her findings, I couldn’t help wonder what my results would show. Would they confirm what I thought? With a surname like St. Clair, I had to have some French in my blood.
When Ancestry advertised its sale price on the DNA Kit, I couldn’t resist and quickly placed my order. Just as quickly, I returned my saliva sample and waited.
Finally, it was my turn to bubble with excitement. I immediately opened the email and scanned the results—98% European with a breakdown as follows:
40% - Great Britain
25% - Europe West (Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands,
Switzerland, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein)
Switzerland, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein)
20% - Ireland
5% - Scandinavia
4% - Italy/Greece
4% - Finland/Northwest Russia
1% - Native America (low confidence)
1% - West Asia (low confidence)
I was surprised at such a large percentage attributed to Great Britain and a lower percentage for France. Could this be accurate?
I continued to read, then I laughed out loud at Ancestry’s prediction of my genetic community, giving a “very likely” connection to the Settlers of the Potomac River Valley. I can almost see the Potomac River from my yard! Considering the fact that my saliva sample was only identified by a code number, not my name and address, I was impressed.
Still I wondered, could I prove these results and trace my ancestry all the way back to England?
I had seen several episodes of the genealogy documentary series Who Do You Think You Are? in which celebrities go on a journey to trace parts of their family tree, many to Europe. Part of me wished I could do the same. Would I be as emotionally affected as some of the celebrities had been?
So I began my research on Ancestry.com to piece together the branches of my own tree. You may have seen Ancestry’s commercials—those that highlight the little green leaves that appear on your family tree to indicate a hint, a possible connection, or source. I was skeptical, but decided to give it a try.
Before I knew it, I was hooked. Green leaves popped up everywhere! I couldn’t stop clicking. Hours passed without me even realizing it. And then I saw it...an ancestor’s birthplace: Yorkshire, England.
My eyes filled with tears. I did it. They did it. They took a chance, risked their lives, and crossed the Atlantic in search of religious tolerance, economic opportunity, and political freedom.
Something welled up within me. That’s who I am.
I continued my research on another branch, which led me to Ireland, and a couple more back to England.
Then I uncovered something I wished I hadn’t. A murderer turned prison escapee in my family tree!
No, that can’t be! But there it was in black and white with legal documentation to back it up.
And that wasn’t all. Slave owners!
But that’s NOT who I am.
Then I was reminded of the words of my pastor, Tom Cogle, in his recent sermon series entitled Divine Direction, “It’s not where you come from—it’s who God wants you to become.”
It’s not my genetic makeup that counts, but my spiritual makeup.
Because my siblings and I are all children of the same father and mother, we share the same DNA. But God’s desire is that we all become His children and share the same Spirit.
Jesus said, “I am in the Father and the Father is in me” (John 14:11).
God wants us to become one with Him, too.
In various ways, He draws us unto Him. He sends hints and wants us to make that connection so that our spirit becomes alive in Him.
“On that day (Jesus says) you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you” (John 14:20).
God’s will is for us to be holy (1 Thessalonians 4:3).
If we seek to become “who” He wants us to be and His will for our lives, He will lead us in His divine direction.
“If you’re becoming the right who, God will help you choose the right do” (Cogle).
My ancestors planned their course to America, but God established their steps (Proverbs 16:9). He guided their decision to settle in the Potomac River Valley. Their decision influenced where I live today. But who I am and where I will live forever are my decisions.
“Holy determines your legacy. It determines where you live for eternity and perhaps, because of your influence, where your descendants will live for eternity” (Cogle).
I don’t know if my grandparents were aware of those “skeletons in our closet,” but I do know—and am thankful for—their decision to live a holy life and how it influenced me. May I live such a life that affects my descendants, as well.
Who are you? How are you impacting generations to come?
Dear Father, thank You for who You created me to be. Guide my decisions to align with Your will and help me to live a holy life so I may draw others unto You. Amen.