Wow! God is so great! As I have walked through this weekend of emotions, God has shown up in so many ways. He has healed hurts that I have stuffed down for years (like 15 of them) and he is doing a mighty work. My life looked so different back then. I was such a broken person living such a broken life. I have not thought about those days in years and after walking back through it mentally over the last couple of days I know why.
December 7, 1998 my life was forever changed. I did not know at the time just how much it had changed, but I did know that night was going to forever be etched in my head. It was a defining moment and the beginning of a new journey, one that I did not know would lead me to today. December 23rd, I found out that I was pregnant. I was in shock. How in the world could God let this happen to me? I was in no place to be able to be a mom to this child and I did not know what I was going to do. Christmas was in two days and somehow I needed to get through that without my family knowing the truth. This was the beginning of the lies. Abortion was never an option. I knew that if God had allowed a child to be made out of a night to be forgotten, then there was a purpose for this life and He intended it for good. I knew that I did not have the authority to question Gods ultimate plan. What I didn’t know was how in the world I was going to get through the next nine months of my life. What was I going to do? How was I going to save face? What would my friends, family and co-workers think of me? I don’t think I was in church then, but I honestly don’t remember. I knew that I would never be able to hide that night from people now and there was no ignoring what had happened and pretending like it was someone else because there was about to be evidence. So I had to come up with a plan. Damage control was necessary.
Well, anyone who knows me knows that I am good and dismissing emotion and focusing my attention elsewhere so that I do not have to feel (I call this the ostrich syndrome). I made a conscious decision at some point over the next couple of months that I was going to tell people that I was a surrogate mother and that I was growing a baby for another person, and that is exactly what I did. I almost began to believe that myself and I let people believe that I was just that awesome of a person allowing my body to grow another persons baby. I lied. I lied to save face because I could not face the reality of my situation. I lied because I didn’t want to talk about it or tell people how I felt. I lied because I did not trust God and I did not trust other people. The truth was that I was giving this perfect life up for adoption and blessing another family with an amazing child. That is what I know now. At the time I thought I was a coward running from life.
I went through months of emotions. I mulled over family profiles wondering how I could make a right decision. Just like a resume anybody can say wonderful things about themselves, but how would I know it was true. This decision may have been a bigger and more critical decision than any other decision I have ever made in my life and I did not want to get it wrong. I would stay up late at night reading, praying, mulling and getting frustrated with all of the profiles. I knew that this child was meant for another family and I knew that God had a plan, but what was it and why was the decision of a family so hard? Eventually, I did make a decision. I had a peace about the family and I went forward. I had the opportunity to fly out to where they lived, see their home, and get to know them and their family. This was the one.
Well fast forward to this weekend. Almost 15 years later, this child that I gave up for adoption decided that it was time to meet the person who she spent the first 9 months of her life growing inside of. She and her parents came out to meet me. I was not nervous. It wasn’t a big deal at all actually. I knew this day would come. What I was not prepared for was the emotions and the memories from 15 years ago that I had not dealt with, thought about or acknowledged ever. As the time got closer, the enemy creeped into my head and started feeding me lies. He started telling me who I was and what I was. He tried to convince me that I wasn’t any different now than I was 15 years ago. He tried to convince me that I was a fraud (that almost worked). He tried to tell me that I was worthless, a fake, and no good. He tried to tell me that if my friends or if my pastor or if any of the people at church knew the truth about me and my past they would look at me negatively. They would not want to be friends with me and they would not want me to be a part of the church. He tried to convince me to run. He encouraged me to seek the comfort of men from the past. The enemy was not gentle, kind or quiet. My head was full of noise. The taunting and teasing was loud. My head went to dark places. My thoughts challenged the very person that I am. I began to feel like I did all those years ago and began to believe the lie that I was an embarrassment to my family. I began to remember how worthless I felt and started to allow myself to feel a little bit of that. This is the one area of my life that I keep a secret and have always feared that someone would rat me out someday. Not the adoption, but the life I lived at that time. Lies were being exposed and I didn’t know what to do with them. I chose to battle the lies that were in my head. I chose to fight back and tell the enemy exactly who I am and where I came from. I chose to open up to my pastors wife. I chose to bring the darkness to light before the light shone in on the darkness. I confronted each lie head on with a truth. My past does not define me. I am not labeled with the actions of the past. I am forgiven. I am loved. I am cherished and adored.
It was in this that the process of freedom has begun. I was afraid that people would think that I was a fraud, but the truth is that I would be a fraud if I did not let the beauty of the moment shine through. My past is a part of my testimony. My past coming to light and choosing to allow healing to come is exactly what God can use to work for His glory. This process is uncomfortable and I don’t like it. Nothing about it is something that I want to go through. I want to stick my head in the sand and ignore it. I want to run from the healing process because it is not comfortable, but at the same time that I want to run, I am choosing to embrace it. I am embracing this moment not because I like this, but because it is the path to freedom. I no longer need to live in fear that people will find out what I am hiding because I no longer have to hide. I am child of the one true king. I am loved. I am covered by his blood. He is working this out for good. Romans 8:28 says that in all things God works for the good of those who love him. Not some things or the things that make us look pretty and unflawed, but ALL THINGS!!!
I have a messy and ugly past and it is exactly that past that has made me beautiful today. I am refined by His glory. His grace is sufficient. Jesus died on the cross for my sins. I am covered by his blood. Jesus paid a hefty price for me and holding onto the things that I feared would make me less than desirable, makes the gift of forgiveness a gift that I am not accepting. I have not enjoyed working this out in my room alone, but God is so gracious and poured out His love. He embraced me and used people and situations to remind me that he is walking this out with me. I am so not alone even though sometimes I feel like I am. The enemy tried to make this a shameful moment, but Jesus swept in and made it a beautiful moment. I am forgiven and I receive that forgiveness fully.
If you are reading this and you have not experienced freedom from past hurts, fears, transgressions, choices or anything else that holds you back, I encourage you to work it out with God. Maybe it is finding someone to talk it out with you or pray with you, but freely let it go. My refining is not done yet, but I shed quite a bit of weight over the last 48 hours and I will tell you that it is uncomfortable to go through, but far more comfortable than holding onto the secret. Our stories are not meant to be shared with everyone, but they are meant to be shared with someone. Ask God to reveal to you when that time is and be prepared for a mighty work to be done. Jesus is a gentleman and He loves you. He is not going to bring you through the fire if you are not ready to handle it, but if he takes you to the fire trust that he will bring you through it.