A huge part of my testimony is one that I’ve been afraid to speak about. Not because of myself, but because I don’t want to hurt the ones I love. However… If we know that we overcome the devil by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony (Revelation 12:10-11), how will people overcome similar struggles if I don’t share mine? So I pray my story is received with the open heart that I am writing it with. If these words don’t bear fruit for you then let them fall to the ground.
I was raised by two incredible, patient, unconditionally loving people who are not my biological parents. My mom and dad. They loved me so intensely (still do) and provided an amazing childhood for me that I will cherish forever. Mom and Dad, you both are pillars in my life and always will be. You are my children’s grandparents and one day will be great grandparents and so on. You both are forever in my life, and were placed in my life by God for a purpose-a good purpose. I know this because that’s what the Bible tells me.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)
They say there’s two sides to every story. For mine, there’s a hundred. There have always been different reasons why I wasn’t raised by my birth parents. And there was so much damage done on both sides, that at this point, to re-tell the story only brings up pain for those who would share their perspective. I always searched for the truth. But I was searching for the wrong kind of truth.
I don’t know 100% why I wasn’t raised by my birth parents like the perfect image of what we say family is supposed to be.
And I’ve finally realized that I don’t have to know the nitty-gritty of my past, because God knows every single detail of my future. My future is consisted of God’s promises. I am His child. He loves me. He has good plans for me. I am a High Priest. My family will be blessed. I am the head and not the tail. No weapon formed against me will prosper. God is for me, so who can be against me? I might not know how or why all the junk in my life happened but I do know that Jesus tells me that He is the way, the truth and the life. So anytime I find myself trying to figure out the confusion, I focus on the absolute truth- Jesus. Regardless of what Satan may have intended for bad, God has used for good-my good and my entire family’s. Our God doesn’t pick favorites!
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those He predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified, He also glorified.” (Romans 8:28-30 NIV)
You see, God’s plan is big. The bad moments we encounter seem huge, but God’s good plan for all of us who follow Him is much larger than the mere speck of a bad situation. God predestined me to be made in the image of His Son, Jesus! Everything that I have experienced and am currently experiencing is contributing to that process of becoming more and more like Jesus.
I’m currently reading through Genesis and finishing up the story of Joseph. Joseph had a calling long before he was ever born. His entire family did. Seemingly bad choices were made and people were hurt by sin-clouded hearts. This family and the things they did to each other were broken and dysfunctional from day one. Jacob picked favorites between his wives which resulted into two sisters hating each other. The curse of brokenness was then passed down to their children.
When Joseph was born, he was favored over his brothers simply because his mother was Rachel, the favorite wife. It was complete dysfunction and God still used it for His glory. Joseph was anointed by God and eventually the brothers became tired of feeling compared to Joseph.
Anyone else ever witness someone being blessed and feel like God forgot about you or favor’s them more? Maybe that person is just better than you so God likes them more? Yeah, see…jealousy and selfish-ambition is nothing new.
So they sold their own flesh and blood in to slavery. Jacob’s favorite son was taken from him (but maybe he needed that to appreciate and love on his other sons)-again, I don’t know why, just bantering with you here. Joseph was a slave but God provided the ladder for Joseph to step his way up through that hardship. For lack of better words, Joseph ended up becoming Pharoah’s bestie. Then he was thrown into prison. But once again God’s good purpose triumphed satan’s attempts for destruction. Joseph rose in power. He ended up becoming the head dude over the land with all the food and money during a multi-nationwide famine. Here comes the appointed time for reconciliation in the midst of what appears to be a struggle! Joseph’s brothers went to get some food from the Egyptians because they were starving in the famine. Jospeh recognized them and immediately made choices based off of his past pain. He basically tried to get a little revenge here because of all that they did to him. But that revenge did nothing for him except make him feel pain for his brothers and make his brothers feel more condemnation for what they did to him.
Reliving the past and making decisions based off our past pain, bears no fruit in our lives.
Move on. Forgive. I’d even so bluntly say:
get. over. it.
Today is the day of salvation.
After a time, Joseph did move on. That God-sent, reconciliation moment with his brothers was so sweet and perfect. God’s timing for restoration and reconciliation is perfect. Because of those bad decisions made by his family and himself, Joseph became the M.V.P. of Egypt. This allowed him to move his family from poverty and famine and into a land full of prosperity and resources. God took the ashes and created beauty. Now read what Jacob tells Joseph when he finally meets his long lost son and grandchildren:
“Then Jacob said to Joseph, “I never thought I would see your face again, but now God has let me see your children, too!””(Genesis 48:11 NLT)
The things we never in a million years thought were possible, can happen with God. I never thought I’d have a relationship with my birth mom. Never. Over years of only seeing what was in front of me, I even grew to hate her. Just typing those words out fills my eyes with tears because that is so far from the truth now.
What I saw as impossible, God made possible.
Not only did God restore my relationship with my birth mom, but He moved her from being self-identified as my ‘birth mom, Stacy’, to becoming and feeling like my mom. If that makes sense? I have two moms!! And an amazing dad and incredible stepdad! In the matter of a few years, God took my broken and scattered family, rooted it in His love and multiplied it. It literally doesn’t makes sense to the world, but it’s real, it’s true, and it’s a blessing. At the right time in my downward spiral (after 18 years of little communication), my mom, Stacy, showed up. She showed me what it looked like to walk with Jesus and to let Him change you. I knew who she once was and I couldn’t recognize the woman of God she had become. Her testimony of salvation was proof for me to see that God is real and I knew I wanted whatever she had. At my mom and stepdad’s wedding, I gave a speech that went something like this:
“If I blamed you for everything my entire life, then maybe I can blame you for my relationship with Christ in a year.”
I was far from following Jesus in that moment. It took some time. But God restored our relationship. And that relationship brought me back to Christ. Not just me though. Our restored relationship brought my husband to Christ too. And now, we have children who will follow Jesus as well; then their children will follow. It’s a real, everlasting promise. Today, I live across the street from her. She’s one of my best friends and counsels me on the way I should go in Christ. She imperfectly walks out her faith with fear and trembling. She’s progressing into a Proverbs 31 woman and her dependence on God throughout her weaknesses shows me how I can too.
God uses the foolish things to confound the wise (1 Corinthians 1:27). He uses the broken things to bring structure to the world. He uses the ugliest of situations to bring beauty to life. He uses death to bring life to all (John 3:16). Thank you, Jesus! Some of the promises we can stand on once Jesus becomes our absolute truth can be found in Isaiah 61 (go read it).
“They will rebuild the ancient ruins, repairing cities destroyed long ago. They will revive them, though they have been deserted for many generations.” (Isaiah 61:4 NLT)
For me, Jesus is talking about restoration here. Even the most damaged relationships, the most broken situations, the feuds that began long before you ever entered this earth, they all can be revived and rebuilt through Jesus Christ! Have hope. Pray for opportunities of restoration. Ask God to show you the areas in your heart that might need work in order for the restoration to take place! God can rebuild the most ancient of ruins, He can restore your most damaged and dysfunctional situations and relationships. Let Him do it!
–I don’t mention the restoration of my relationship with my birth dad, because he passed away before we had much of chance for that. That restoration is promised and it will come one day when I go to my heavenly home! I look forward to it.