Looking like Jesus

by Jenni Key

August 23, 2018


The Christmas before last, in what I thought would be a creative and fun gift, I bought DNA testing for both my husband Jim and myself through Ancestry.com. Right after Christmas our test kits came. Basically, the process is to spit into a small vial, seal it with a special chemical that stabilizes your DNA and holds it safe until it gets to the lab where they study it and report back to you the results.

Okay spit, twist, submit. About two months later we got Jim’s results: 67% Scandinavian, 8% Irish, some early U.S. settlers and a bunch of other threads of northern European heritage. This is no big surprise: Jim’s mom was pure Norwegian; Jim’s dad was related to Francis Scott Key (“Star Spangled Banner” anyone?) so that side’s been here awhile.

Well, we waited for my results. A week, two more, three. And then the notice: We were unable to extract DNA information and need you to submit another test, which we’ll send to you for free.

So test #2 came. Then test #3. Then test #4. Then test #5. And seriously, test #6. My husband Jim said, somewhere down around test #4, “the reason is you don’t have DNA—because you are an ANGEL.” Okay, points for Jim.

But here’s the thing. Long before we finally got results on vial #6, I knew who I was. I’m a first generation American. Half of me is German Jew—which my uncle traced back to the 1500s. I’ve got a family tree that opens out and out and out.

The other half of me is Canadian, but that’s half Scottish and half English; my great great grandfather is listed in Burke’s Peerage in England. I’ve held in my hands the estate records of my mother’s family from the late 1400s. The calves born, harvest records, the acreage. Crazy.

Many of you reading this are parents or grandparents and I wonder if you’ve experienced what I did when I had my first child. All four grandparents came in to see him and the grandfathers said things like “Well that’s just fine.” Or “We’re so happy for you.” But the grandmothers immediately started dissecting and claiming parts: “He looks like Bobby as a baby!” “He has Jim’s head shape!” “That’s the Key upper lip!”

Now that I’m a grandmother of four—I’m doing the same thing. “Those are Emily’s ears.” “Her curly hair came from Matt.” “He has my feet.” “She has my eyelashes.” As if we had concocted DNA soup with a bunch of ingredients and this is the result. Which is exactly as the Creator orchestrated it. He designed us to look like those to whom we belong.

Which brings me to this great verse in Acts (4:13): Now when they [the onlookers, the Jews, the Sadduces and Pharisees] saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.

Men, uneducated, without training . . . were recognized as “having been with Jesus.”

I’ve been praying that lately.

Lord, may I be recognized as “having been with Jesus.” As having spent time with You, trusting Your promises, memorizing Your Word, obeying Your commandments.

Are we reflecting Jesus in our very DNA and personalities and responses and the way we intersect with people? My deep desire—both for you and for me—is that others would see us and, in the observing, would be “astonished” that we look so much like our Father.

Jenni’s DNA testing reveals that she is 57% European Jew, 23% Scottish, 9% British and, she adds: 100% sure who her Creator is.

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