Friday, March 4, 2011
In my office, my favorite room in our home, where I spend precious moments each day writing and studying God's word, I have a plaque on the wall which reads..."Home is where your story begins..."
It's a saying which I connect to personally as a writer. For I believe we all have a story. Today I am pondering my own story. Specifically, I am giving special thought to my beginning. I was challenged on another blog to write about the importance of family. Not just the beautiful nuclear family with whom I share my days as a wife and mother. But my family of origin. And as I reflect on the past 41 years of being me, I understand that I wouldn't be who I am today if it wasn't for who my family was yesterday.
I am not one of those people blessed with a long spiritual legacy. Instead, God has used difficult challenges in my family history as His way of shaping and molding my heart for Him.
My parents married young and started their family immediately. In fact, at the age of 17, my mom and dad learned they were expecting their first born child...ME. As a result, the adults in their life insisted, because of cultural norms at the time, that marriage was the next logical step. So, dutifully, my parents walked down the aisle. I have a picture of them on that day which I often study with a heart of wondering. They look scared stiff and young standing in front of the chapel where they had just uttered "I Do". And when I gaze at the expressions looking back at me I wonder...
"Is this what they really wanted?"
"Did they understand the road ahead?"
"Was it a day of joy or was it a day of dread?"
I have no idea how my parents really felt about the beginning of their new life together. But, I know how the story unfolds, for as a child I was a spectator to their struggles. An observer of their pain. And a product of a failed marriage that brought both of my parents heartache.
In the beginning, they tried to make things work. But somewhere in all the pressure and responsibility of being grown-ups before their time, things started to unravel. Seven years into their marriage, my parents ended their relationship and our family dissolved like sugar heating on a hot stove.
After the divorce, my biological father was emotionally absent and physically intimidating. Meanwhile, my mother worked hard to put food on the table and recover from the emotional scars of enduring an abusive marriage. And all the while, I watched and learned from them both.
Eventually, my mother remarried and my dad disappeared. And for a time, I struggled with my own identity as I felt abandoned and fatherless. In time, I was able to form a relationship with my stepfather and move on with my life. But the trauma of being "unwanted" by my dad stayed with me for many years. I never felt like I was enough. And while my mother poured all of her love and determination into me, her young daughter, I couldn't help shake the feeling that I was my father's mistake. The reason his life had turned out so poorly. The unwanted consequence of his sin.
After all, he was gone. I was unlovable. Fatherless.
Years have passed since those days of insecurity and longing. I no longer feel fatherless for I know the love of my Heavenly Father. And after many wrestling matches and countless tears with the LORD, I now understand that what my father meant for harm, my Heavenly Father meant for my good. Today, my husband and I are happily married and have three amazing children, whom I cherish everyday. I marvel at their uniqueness and thank God for their presence in my life. And now, at the age of 41, I am embarking on a journey that began at my birth. For we are in the process of working with an agency that assists pregnant women in crisis and have hopes of adopting a new baby.
I feel like I know our child's birth mother, though I have never met her. I picture her looking a bit like those kids staring back at me in my parent's wedding photo. And I can honestly say, that I am grateful for the road behind me. For it was that path that led me to this place and gave me a heart for the woman,facing an unplanned pregnancy, who shall birth my child. The road behind me gave me a heart for the fatherless. And it has bound me to a child I have yet to hold, but already love.
My story began at home, years ago, and continues to amaze me today. My mother's love for me and her strength in the impossible task ahead of her, fills me with courage as we set our feet on the long road ahead. The mistakes of my father prompt me to cherish those through whom God has richly blessed me in this life. My stepfather's acceptance demonstrates to me that adoption is selfless and sacrificial and beautiful. And my Heavenly Father reminds me, daily, that I am an adopted daughter of the King, and He "defends the cause of the fatherless". (Deuteronomy 10:18).
God saw me in the beginning, and He used the struggles of yesterday to bring me into His plans for me today. For that, in the good and the bad, I am filled with praise. Truly, home is where your story begins...and I cannot wait to bring our child home.