Wrestling With Hearing My Biological Mother’s Back Story

How do you feel about all this?

What were you feeling?

How are you doing?

Co-founder of this ministry and my biological mother, Joni, gave her heart-wrenching testimony this last week.  You can see it HERE.  I’ve had a lot of people ask me how I was doing with all of it, so I figured I would tell you the perspective of an adopted daughter, listening to her biological mother’s story.

While I’m still processing much of it, I have a few initial feelings and the thoughts that accompany them.

Feeling #1: Apathy

Feelings are tricky.  A lot of what goes on inside my heart is a lack of feeling.  I wouldn’t classify it as 100% apathetic.  I care.  But I don’t want to care.  I don’t want to feel anything that I haven’t given myself permission to feel.  I don’t want to feel anything that could make me vulnerable.  Therefore, I construct walls and seal cracks to make sure nothing gets through.

My Thoughts on That Feeling:

It is easier for me to discuss my past and my thoughts about my past with strangers and friends than it is for me to discuss any of them with my family members.  In fact, I am sure a few will ask me about this post and ask if I am ok to which I will reply, “Yes,” and leave it at that with minimal discussion.  I am very uncomfortable talking about this with my family, however, I am more than comfortable discussing it with you because it may help you. I guess the walls I’ve constructed are more like gates.  Some get in, some don’t.

These walls are a direct result of the hurt I felt as a child and the pressure I felt as a young adult.  They are caused by the actions of my biological mother.  We both have to acknowledge that reality.


Feeling #2: Annoyance

I actually get annoyed at my younger self and think, “Why did you let her see your excitement to see her?  Why did you allow her to have a piece of your heart?  You foolish child!”  I don’t do that anymore.  I’m hardened and not as free with my emotion as I was as a child.

My Thoughts on That Feeling:

I have to be able to acknowledge that I was excited to see Joni when I was little.  That was an ok feeling.  I had fun with her.  I loved her.  I can’t discount what I felt because I’m ashamed now.

I need to be more open in general and that comes from being present.  I need to stop analyzing and criticising and just be.  I need to enjoy the moment I’m in and be brave enough to experience the full range of emotions.  I should stop trying to keep things steady.  Truth be told, I’m not an even-keeled, steady person anyway, so I should stop fighting it.


Feeling #3: Pride

I am so proud of my biological mother for giving her testimony.  It was absolutely amazing.  If you haven’t seen the live stream, check it out HERE.  It truly is an awesome picture of how God redeems and restores and most of all forgives His beloved.  He had His thumb on her and would not let her go despite multiple attempts on her life.  God knew the day would come when she could stand before a group of people and deliver His message of hope and healing.  He ordained that day and changed her for His glory.  I’m proud of her courage.  She gave voice to the sin and shame and by doing that, Satan loses his grip a little more every single time.

My Thoughts on That Feeling:

I’m so grateful I get a front row seat to how trustworthy and sovereign our God is!  I wonder how solid my faith would be without walking through this?  Would I grasp that God is loving and in control over every little detail of my life?  I’m not sure.  God’s thumbprint is all over her story.


Feeling #4: Pity

I feel sorry for Joni.  I feel sorry that her mother was cold and distant toward her.  I feel sorry that she sought love because she didn’t feel the love as a child.  That breaks my heart.  What a horrible way to treat a little kid who didn’t ask to be born.

My Thoughts on That Feeling:

My biological mother has had a hard life.  Nothing has been easy.  Nothing has been handed to her.  When she talks about not being praised as a child, I can’t even imagine the pain of that.  Well, I can a little, I was still exposed to my grandmother.  She was very loving toward me, and I knew she loved me, but I also knew there was the push to be perfect so no one at her church could “tisk” at her.  It is a miracle Joni has stuck with life as long as she has.  She referenced attempting suicide in her testimony.  After hearing of the hardships I am in awe that she didn’t make good on that attempt.  She was lonely, scared, depressed, feeling like a complete failure, heartbroken, and ostracized from her family.  I am grateful to God that He delivered her from that pit and gave her something to live for.  He reached down and showed her true love in Himself.


Feeling #5: Anger

I am mad that anyone would allow a little baby to get within ten feet of the trainwreck that categorized my early years.  Who allows an abusive drug addict access to their daughter…repeatedly?  My sister-in-love said, “I just keep picturing you as a little baby in these stories and it makes me cry.”  I said, “Me too.”  I keep picturing a helpless little girl caught in the middle of a whirlpool after someone pushed her into the sea without a lifeline.

My Thoughts on that Feeling:

This is probably something I need to work through a little more.  I’ve not fully embraced me as the little girl or the baby.  My heart breaks for that child, but there’s a disconnect between that child and me.  My heart hasn’t allowed itself to put myself back there.  I can look on from the outside but I can’t be an actual part of it.


Feeling #6: Embarrassment

I was asked if I was resentful toward Joni.  I am not.  I do not feel resentment toward her.  I do, however, feel resentment for the situation.  I have said something like this before, but I am angry that my life has been affected by this.  It messes with my sanitized Christianity.  It’s ugly and gross and I hate it.  I like pretty things.  I like easy things.  This anger is rooted in being embarrassed that I can’t just have a “normal” life.  I can’t be like “normal” people who just live their lives.

My Thoughts on that Feeling:

Deep down I don’t really want a normal life.  I want it to be extraordinary.  I want to do great things for God’s kingdom.  If I lived in the Normal, I would be lazy.  I wouldn’t see the miracles in every day life or the excitement behind God’s Word.  I know myself.  I’d be content to coast through life if mine were “normal.”


The bottom line is there is a whole lot of feeling soup swirling inside my head.  But here’s where God brought me in His Word this week:

Deuteronomy 26:1-11

“When you have entered the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance and have taken possession of it and settled in it, take some of the firstfruits of all that you produce from the soil of the land the Lord your God is giving you and put them in a basket. Then go to the place the Lord your God will choose as a dwelling for his Name and say to the priest in office at the time, ‘I declare today to the Lord your God that I have come to the land the Lord swore to our ancestors to give us.’  The priest shall take the basket from your hands and set it down in front of the altar of the Lord your God.  Then you shall declare before the Lord your God: ‘My father was a wandering Aramean, and he went down into Egypt with a few people and lived there and became a great nation, powerful and numerous.  But the Egyptians mistreated us and made us suffer, subjecting us to harsh labor.  Then we cried out to the Lord, the God of our ancestors, and the Lord heard our voice and saw our misery, toil and oppression.  So the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great terror and with signs and wonders.  He brought us to this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey; and now I bring the firstfruits of the soil that you, Lord, have given me.’ Place the basket before the Lord your God and bow down before him.  Then you and the Levites and the foreigners residing among you shall rejoice in all the good things the Lord your God has given to you and your household (NIV).”

My inheritance is my children.  Psalm 127:3 says “Children are an inheritance from the LORD.  They are a reward from Him (GW).”

I have the responsibility to invest and grow with my little family of Todd, Audrey, Lewis and Raleigh.  Part of that is recounting the pain of my past and the miracle God performed.  I can take my family now and place it before the Lord in worship.  All of that will lead to worship and rejoicing.

I rewrote the verses in Deuteronomy as a statement of faith in the Lord:

God has given me an inheritance – a heritage, a legacy.  He has provided it.  God’s Holy Spirit resides and dwells within me.  I declare before the Lord my God that my biological parents mistreated me.  By a miracle, the Lord brought me up out of suffering, misery, and oppression with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm.  He brought me to the safety of my parents when I needed it most and to where I am today by His continual guidance.  He is strong, able, and trustworthy.  Now I offer my children – the firstfruits of a generation – consecrated to God.  I will rejoice in all the good things the Lord my God has given to me and my household.  That includes my past, present, and future.  It is all His.  It’s always been His.

Feelings can be misleading.  We need to take every thought captive and rest on the rality and truth of God’s Word.

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