So, some of you may remember last year when I found out, after 30 years of family secrets, about my birth father and then I discovered I had 5 sisters by my birth father as well.
After a year I finally feel ready to share a bit of this story.
I grew up as the middle sister between two brothers. I longed for sisters. I never really fit in the girl groups (although I forced myself in by trying to take on their identities so I would fit – but I still felt like an outsider) and I always felt that if I had sisters I wouldn’t strive so hard to be liked by other girls.
When I was a child my grandmother told me my dad (the man my mother was married to) was not my real father. What does a 5 year old girl do with that?! I’ll tell you what she does with it:
She gets confused.
She wonders where he is.
She gets excited because she may have sisters out in the world somewhere.
Then she stuffs any emotions or thoughts in regards to this big family secret way down deep.
She moves on.
I grew up with an incredible dad. My mom got pregnant as a young teen with my older brother and the guy left the state as soon as he found out she was pregnant. My mom dropped out of high school and took care of her responsibilities – I mean, she had to. Her mother was an alcoholic who chose men over her.
My mom was the youngest of 6 siblings. Her father died when she was 4 years old. She saw her mother work multiple jobs, drink and get physically abused by men. To this day my mom still doesn’t talk about fun, happy childhood memories. I don’t think she has many.
My mom was pregnant with me and had a toddler when she met my dad (he IS my dad. Other dude is ‘birth father’). 18 years old and this man takes on a woman who has a small child and is pregnant with another. He was at the hospital when I was born. He wanted me.
Because of my dad, William, I have never felt abandoned by men. I have never had ‘men issues’. It was not hard for me to accept my Heavenly Father’s love for me – because my earthly father wanted me from the beginning – even if I was not his blood child.
Now- don’t get me wrong… go back to when I was 11 – 20 and I would write this a lot different. My dad was not and is not a man of many words. He never told me I was beautiful or amazing or funny or smart. He maybe said ‘I love you’ a handful of times in my younger years. He really never said much of anything. But I knew he thought those things about me. He didn’t have to tell me. I just knew for some reason. He was consistent and he was there.
My parents moved us from Oklahoma to Tennessee when I was a baby. All I know is Tennessee. They moved us away for ‘better opportunity’. Which I never understood as a kid who lived in Williamson County and lived in a trailer out in the country part of town.
I didn’t see “opportunity”. I saw us as poor little critters smack dab in the middle of a community we didn’t belong in. My mom was a high school drop out who worked CRAZY hours in a warehouse and my dad worked on cars.
I wanted different parents. A big, nice, brick home. I wanted to be cool and fit in. I wanted a different life.
I didn’t have a clue.
You see, when you encounter the love of Jesus, He starts working on your heart and mind right away. I can sit here now and tell you I love my parents more than I ever thought I could love them.
I honor my mother for not aborting me after my birth father left her (shortly after he found out she was pregnant). Two for two, mom. That takes strength to keep pressing on.
Some of you mamas know what that feels like! To have a man walk out on you and leave you with the responsibility that he clearly contributed life to. I can only try to imagine and it hurts my heart deeply. You are so honorable, ladies.
I honor my dad for taking on a woman with a child and another on the way at 18 years old – with his whole life ahead of him. Who does that?!? I know some of you dads do – and you are honorable.
See- God makes beauty from ashes. He’s a creative God and all things are possible through Him. He can restore and reconcile even the worst relationships. That’s one of His specialities.
At 30 years old, late at night on a call with my mom just chatting about life – The Holy Spirit pressed on my heart to ask my mom about my birth father. I was terrified to ask her.
Rumors had flowed into my ears just a few times in my life about my birth father but I never paid any attention because I had a dad and didn’t need another one. One day my older brother told me that my mom knew that I knew about my birth father but she was too afraid to have that conversation with me and wasn’t going to tell me unless I asked.
So I stuffed it again.
Until last August. I just came right out and told her that I knew and I wasn’t mad at her.
She shared stories with me about my birth father that left me in tears. Awful, awful person. But she also shared that she was certain I had a sister ‘somewhere out there’.
That’s all I need to hear! SISTER!!
Within 72 hours I had not only found a sister but 5 sisters. I later found out there is actually one more who is a lot younger than the rest of us and she was given up for adoption – no one has any details about her. So, yeah. 6 sisters.
You can imagine my excitement and joy as I had FINALLY found what I had always longed for – until I actually talked to them and my expectations and excitement crumbled quickly.
I wasn’t really received with open arms except by one. I can’t say I blame them either. This was not a fairy tale ending. We are all living our lives. Some of these girls had experienced severe trauma because of this ‘birth father’. One of the sisters would not have anything to do with me. It wasn’t personal – she had just moved on in her life and how can you receive a ‘sister’ who the only thing you really have in common is a birth father that you’re trying to forget?
I grieved for days. I grieved on behalf of them. The stories that were shared with me will have you bend over in agony. I grieved the sisterhood we never got to have together – that deep bond that is rooted when you’re kids.
In selfishness, I questioned my identity. I felt rejected. I finally found the place I was supposed to fit and I still didn’t fit! How could they not receive and love me!?! I had longed for them my whole life. And here they were – finally. I knew their names, I saw their faces via social media. I got to talk with them and see my nieces, nephews, brother-in-laws via social media.
The family I had always longed for was right there. Literally all 6 of these girls at one point were right here in Tennessee with me and I never knew – but there was a huge wall between us.
And then God asked me to surrender them. I love these girls so much and maybe one day I will meet them face to face – but I want God to navigate that journey and not me. He hasn’t opened that door – and not because I can’t go or they can’t come … but sometimes things are best left where they are. You know?
I don’t say that to sound hateful and girls – if you’re reading this – I pray I’m not offending you. It’s just the truth.
I remember crying in my car in a parking lot one day after finding these girls and The Holy Spirit gently saying to me, “This doesn’t change who you are and it doesn’t change Who I Am.”
I had a choice to make. I could receive them as the blessing they were – right where they were. Or I could play victim and drag this drama out for years and years.
I went with a grateful heart instead. The mystery is no more. I can see each of their faces (out of the 5) as I type this and it makes me smile. I love who they are, right where they are.
Shortly after the family secret came out I went to my parent’s house while my mom was not home and looked at my dad in the face and said “I want you to know that I know about my birth father.”
He was completely caught off guard and in a defensive tone snapped back with, “AND??!”
I sobbed. I fell into his arms and held him close and said, “AND … it only makes me love you so much more than ever. Thank you dad for being my father. For loving me and giving me boundaries. Thank you for protecting me. I always thought you were being hard on me but you gave me structure. You were always consistent and even if you didn’t tell me how amazing I was all the time – you never called me anything negative. You never spoke death over me. I married such an amazing man because of your example! I can see love through action and not through empty, fluffy words. You never caused me confusion. I love you so much.”
Then my dad, with a soft heart, started sharing things from his own childhood (neither of my parents ever talk about their childhood), how he found his own father dead when he was about 16 years old. How his father drank and was abusive. He showed me a scar on his face from where his dad slapped him across the face with a kitchen plate when he was a small boy. How he had to grow up fast.
My love for my parents grew so deep that day.
How often I wanted a different life. How often I didn’t see the whole picture. When all along my parents were doing the best they could with what they had.
Hurt moms usually create hurt daughters – even when they don’t want to. Years of emotional abuse and codependency was healed YEARS ago when I forgave my mother… when I stopped holding things over her head and being a victim from my childhood. When I traded hate for love. When I stopped expecting apologies and just laid the pain down over and over and over again until God took it away! When I realized that my mom didn’t get to hinder my purpose or predict my destiny – ONLY Father God could do that!
Then I saw her through the eyes of love and my heart broke and I couldn’t help but just lavish love on her. Writing this tonight my heart is spewing with love as tears stream down my face. I’m crying because I know God performed a miracle between me and my mom. He is still the God of miracles. He is not out of them. He didn’t run out when the scriptures were completed.
No. He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever and he’s loaded with miracles – if only we would be willing to lay down our own pride, our victim mentality, and seek God for those miracles, I believe we would see them all over – unexplainable and giving God all the glory. I believe many would come to Christ because they would see this change in our hearts and in our words and actions and know that the Spirit of God came and released a miracle.
There would be no other explanation.
I don’t have any other explanation.
Don’t you see He is using our stories? Our battered stories don’t get to define us. They don’t get that power in our lives.
We take those broken stories. We lay them down in surrender to Jesus. We trade our lives for His. We stand on those broken pieces and say – “HEY! Look over here! Look at this mess that was made. This broken hot mess was my story BUT GOD showed up and redeemed me from the pit REGARDLESS of how broken my story may be. AND guess what??!!? My story is not over. The best is yet to come because I allowed Jesus to come in and restore my broken heart. He shines through this jar of clay so that you can see Him and not me!
Conceived out of wedlock from a drunken ‘fun time’, while in the womb my birth father left me. No ‘father’s’ name on my birth certificate. Codependent. Sexually abused. No identity. A gossiper. A slanderer. A girl who would make really close friends and then break their hearts so that I could hurt them before they could hurt me AND it felt good to see them cry over me. My goal was to crush them so I could feel loved by women – the love I longed for from my mother. It made me feel validated!
A girl who would physically fight others because if people feared me – they liked me. A girl who went on a sexual sin rampage for 4 months of my life as a young adult because I was finally free to live my life the way I wanted and hey – the show Sex In The City made it look so fun! A girl who cried out to God to not let her be pregnant and it seemed as though the only time she actually turned to Jesus. A girl who stole, who lied, who pretended for the majority of her life -full of shame and guilt and anguish and so much more.”
THAT WAS ME!
I’m standing on all those pieces saying- LOOK! Hot mess express on a chef salad!
Look at it! It’s filthy! Disgusting! Gross!
I’m not that mess though. I am a child of God. Look at how He’s pulled me away from all that mess. Look what He did in my life and He’ll do it in yours too!!!!!
He came to give you abundant life – right here, right now. Not just in eternity. Abundant life is NOW through Christ Jesus. Right now, today.
Too messy? Good! I see you standing on a pile of rubble. It’s your mess – it’s not you. You are standing on it and you are taking back your freedom. You are stepping into the life you were created to live – for God’s glory.
He’s going to receive the glory that comes from your testimony.
Who do you need to forgive?
Who do you need to release?
What is it in your heart that God has been tugging at recently – even today – and you keep resisting?
He’s calling you sister. He wants to take that burden – right now. Stop holding on to it.
You’re grieving in the inside because you were made for more and you know it.
You’ve got one foot in seeking Christ and the other in the pain of your past. You can’t serve two masters. One will win. God is a jealous God. He wants your whole heart.
The mess is not in you anymore – it’s under your feet. Today you walk away in freedom. You don’t have to know how … you just need to know Who … and His name is Jesus.
In the name of Jesus, I pray for whoever is reading this right now. You know their inner being. You see all of their days from start to finish. It’s not too late for them. That lie in their mind that ‘it’s too late’, ‘you’re too old’, ‘you’ve done too much’ – In the name of Jesus, I bind that lie and silence the enemy. That lie will no longer have ahold of your daughter.
God, I thank you that you’re going to use her for your glory even though she doesn’t see it or feel it right now. That’s what makes this journey with you so awesome! We don’t get to predict it or map it out – but even in the unknown it’s always a plan of good – even when it doesn’t feel good.
Father, may your daughter go in peace. Right now would peace from Heaven rain down on her. Freak her out with your peace ;o). I pray she would physically feel something from you.
I see her holding your hand. She doesn’t really know you or know if she trusts you – but in faith, she’s reaching out to hold your hand even if it looks crazy.
Guide her and direct her. Stir up a hunger for your Word in her heart. Make it very clear when lies are coming at her thoughts. Thank you God for restoring your daughter’s heart right now as she seeks you and surrenders to you. I pray she would begin to see Your love for her like she’s never seen or understood it before.
Thank you, God.
In Jesus’ healing name –
Sister – you are loved dearly. God sees you. He loves you so much. Go in peace.