A few weeks ago I posted my admission of being a fraud. I outlined how I’ve been running from my story for a long time because, frankly, it’s uncomfortable to tell. I’ve blocked parts of my life because it doesn’t fit my sanitized ideal.
I used to stuff it down and would be quite content continuing to do so if it weren’t for the Lord making it abundantly clear that I need to start sharing it.
My biological mom, and co-founder of this ministry, Joni Stanchfield, is coming to my church to give her testimony in January (It’s FREE, but you need to secure your seat, so head here: www.newlifefellowship.eventbrite.com ). She’s traveling 800 miles to tell a bunch of strangers how God completely transformed her life as a part of Sanctity of Life Weekend.
Suggestion: to hear a compelling, faith boosting testimony gripped with absuse, scandal, abortion, redemption and God’s grace, come to my church January 20, 2018 from 4-6pm to hear Joni give her testimony. Grab your tickets here: www.newlifefellowship.eventbrite.com It’s free!
At my church.
Here’s the kicker: there are people at my church that didn’t know I was adopted. They knew nothing of my past prior to the planning of this event. Hmmm…so my biological mother is traveling 800 miles to share her testimony, but I haven’t shared anything about myself in my own hometown? Something doesn’t seem quite right about that. Besides the fact that God had pricked my heart to start to Release my story in January, over this summer and fall, God would reveal more and more pieces of this revelation to me through three different people so that I couldn’t ignore it anymore:
BOLD WEB DESIGNER:
When we were converting our website this summer, the AMAZING web designer made me realize that my ideal audience (who I write to) isn’t necessarily comprised of the people my bio mom and I could and perhaps should minister to. I gotta tell you, this hurt a little, but she was right.
She had me think about why we started the blog in the first place. We started it, in part, to reach people with our story. Have I been doing that? No. Has my bio mom? Yes. She’s traveled to different places giving her testimony. Has she wanted to? No. But God made it so clear that this is what He wanted her to do.
I’ve put myself on showcase instead of the Lord. I haven’t done it consciously. But I’ve been very “safe” in my posts. I’ve given tips and tricks to tame the crazy in life. I’ve written about what God is teaching me in the Word. All of those are fine. There’s nothing wrong with them, but I’ve not ripped off the band-aid to let the wound air.
It feels like if I let out all that God has accomplished, it will be a little like opening Pandora’s Box. In Greek mythology, Pandora (the first woman created) opened a box/jar out of curiosity. That seemingly small action unleashed all the evil into the world. When she realized, she tried to shut the jar quickly and when she did, she locked hope inside.
There’s a lot stuffed inside and by opening that up and letting that out, I’m not sure exactly what will escape and what will remain. But I know that in Christianity hope doesn’t disappoint. It doesn’t tease. It doesn’t leave us unfulfilled or alone. It is not contained because it is poured out in God’s glory and His love.
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. — Romans 5:1-5 (NIV)
That phrase “And hope does not put us to shame” can also be translated, “And hope does not disappoint.” I love that!
The web designer challenged me: You and your biological mother have a compelling story to tell. You should think about doing more with it.
A 3RD GRADE TEACHER
I was helping in the classroom before school began and got chatting with the teacher. She is an adoptive mother herself, so we were discussing our adopted children. We were giving our adoption stories (what ultimately brought us to adopt). In my adoption story, I referenced that because I was adopted, adoption had always been on my heart. However, I said what usually shocks people: because I was adopted and my adoption was open, my husband and I knew we did not want to adopt domestically. We did not want to pursue any type of open adoption and to adopt within the US, you sort of have to agree to some type of open adoption. Adopting internationally cut that part out of the equation. That sparked more discussion about my experience as a child and for whatever reason, I felt free to share. At the end of it, she was quiet so I looked up and she was staring at me. She said, “That was amazing! You should share that because God has done a miracle!”
Last month, my chiropractor, asked me how many siblings I had. He asked where I fell in line with my siblings, which is an interesting question. I have a brother and sister who are 20 years older than me. I was raised like the youngest (totally spoiled and loved it!) and an only child. When I was in my mid-twenties, my biological mother had four boys of her own, so now I’m the oldest. He asked how old my mom and dad are if they had biological children that were 20-ish years older than I. I said my mom is 91. He got the biggest grin on his face and said, “Give that woman a hug for me, will you? Wow! She’s amazing! How old was she when she adopted you?” I said, “Fifty-six!” He asked a few more questions and I answered them. By the end of our session, he said, without knowing what I’ve been wrestling with, “You’ve got to share that story. That is an amazing testament to the Lord. God is in the business of making all things new. He takes ashes and makes them into something beautiful all the time. You’ve got to share that!”
Ok, God. I get it.
The theme is seriously the theme we all have: For such a time as this. We are all here for a specific reason at this specific moment in history. Have you ever asked yourself why you’re here? I’m not saying we’ll get a concrete answer, but you’re not a mistake. I’m not a mistake.
Well, if we’re strictly speaking of the physical, human experience, I was a mistake. Oops! The result of poor planning and poorer choices. Our favorite phrase here at But.God.Period. is, “But God.” I was a mistake, BUT GOD’s will would prevail. Despite everyone else’s best efforts, I was born.
My biological mother could have aborted me. She had had one prior to my birth and a few after my birth.
My biological father could have caused a spontaneous abortion. He beat my biological mother severely.
When neither of those situations materialized, Satan had another trick up his sleeve. My biological mother could have caused major damage as she did every kind of drug except heroin while pregnant with me. Even if she only tried a few of the harder a few times, she was always a habitual smoker, drinker and did a little more than dabble in marijuana.
That’s as far as I’ll go in this post. Here’s what I’ve learned while analyzing those few sentences:
There is nothing any of us could do differently about our birth. While we were utterly out of control, God caused us to be born. He knew about us before we knew about ourselves.
Before we had a say
Before we had a choice
Before we had a voice
Before we had an opinion
Before anything was even up to us…
Before I formed you in the womb I knew[a] you,
before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. — Jeremiah 1:5 (NIV)
God breathed purpose into our lives. He protected all of us in our mother’s wombs. He caused safe deliveries. He opened our eyes. He breathed breath into our lungs. He caused our hearts to beat and our brains to form. None of us asked for any of this. He wanted you and he wanted me here at this exact moment to further His kingdom. It's not about us. It's about Him. It's always been about Him. We just have to remember that. Click To Tweet