The Faithfulness of God
As a testimony of God’s great grace, mercy and His faithfulness.
My upbringing was hard. I won’t sugar coat it or try to make excuses. My father was a very abusive alcoholic and my mother was typically the target of his rage and outbursts. Too often my sister and I witnessed those outbursts and beatings Momma took. After Daddy moved away, Momma worked a minimum of two jobs at a time and struggled financially, physically and emotionally. Before I was 7 years old, I witnessed my Momma try to kill herself on two separate occasions. I’m fairly certain there were other attempts, but those two I actually witnessed.
My mother remarried when I was almost 12, to a good man. But as a teenager, I struggled to understand all that had happened with my father. What I didn’t understand was that I had a very poor idea of what I thought men- fathers, were like. By the age of 15, wrong crowds and bad choices for myself pulled me away from my family and left me wanting more than ever to be loved. I married at 18, against my mother’s wishes, to a man 10 years my senior. Then at the age of 19, I became a mother myself to my daughter Samantha.
Shortly after she was born, my marriage took a sharp turn south. As it turned out, my mother had been right in her “bad feeling” about my husband. The truth was, he was a lot like my Daddy had been. The physical abuse was bad but not as bad as what Momma had from Daddy, which at the time, convinced me that it was okay. It was really the emotional-mental abuse that I struggled with most. My husband repeatedly told me I was unfit to be a mother, that I needed to be grateful that he would come home to me because I wasn’t loveable and no one else would ever care about me. More than once, he told me to fall at his feet and thank God that he was willing to put up with me when no one else would. He played games with my mind, and would do things like move furniture, throw away food, and actually sold our car; he would tell me that I was mistaken, crazy even, and that these things were proof that I was not fit to be a mother. All the while, we were attending church, and he had even gone back to school in hopes of becoming a minister himself. He eventually dropped out. All of it added to my distorted view of who God is, who a Father should be, or what unconditional love is.
Over the next three and a half years I had two more children. When we found out I was pregnant, my husband told me that I could not keep them and I should abort these children, but I just couldn’t. Ironically, it was his advice that I should also consider giving up our daughter Samantha to foster care that planted the seed of adoption in my heart. I gave those two children, my second child and a year later, my third child, to closed adoptions. I told no one and avoided my family so that there was no suspicion. The only request I made of the adoption agency was that my child be placed in a Christian home with a mother and father. When my first was born, the nurse made a mistake and asked me about his circumcision, so I knew I had a son. I went home in a depression, and after about a week my husband led me to believe that the baby, my son, had died from complications. Then, finding myself pregnant just weeks later, we decided to give this child to adoption as well, and I had hoped it would make amends for the child I thought I had essentially killed after promising him to a family. About eight months in, we went back to the same adoption agency; where I learned he was alive and well. The family who adopted him was hoping for another adoption, and they were selected for this adoption so that these two children would be true siblings.
That was God. God stepped in and did for me what I could not do for myself. My children were both adopted by the same family as the siblings they were. I took great comfort in that, and I knew it was God watching over them for me. I did not see them or hold them and did not know if the third was boy or girl, but I had new hope knowing that God had put them together. God was faithful to provide what I was not able to.
Several months after my third child was born and given to adoption, I left my then husband, and my daughter Samantha and I moved to a small town in North Carolina and began a new life together. That was 1996.
Many, many times over the years, I thought of the children I gave up. I prayed for them often. Yet, there was so much shame, the world had become a place where it was more ‘acceptable’ to have aborted than it was to ‘give up’ a child. With years of prayer and seeking Jesus, eventually, I learned to surrender those thoughts to Christ. It was in surrendering my decisions and my children over to God, that I found peace with my decisions. I know that I had prayerfully made the best decision for them that I could, out of love for all my children. Even still, I had a warped picture of who God is, of how He could possibly love me. He made right what I messed up, and as grateful as I was for it, I still couldn’t see past my sin and shame to accept His love for me on a personal level.
In 2002, I met my husband today, and we were married in 2003. John’s first marriage had produced two children, and I believe it was a special blessing to me to become a mom of three in those years. Before we were married, I shared the truth of my children with John, and he has always been very accepting and supportive. When my daughter Samantha learned of her siblings as a young adult, we had some conversations about them. But I had given them to God and had to believe that I did what was best for them. Seeking them out was not an option; I was willing to be there if they ever came looking for me, but I wasn’t willing to potentially do any harm if they were not seeking me.
I’ve been a part of Women’s Encounter for several years. In that time, I’ve never wanted to share (or reveal) this part of my story; until Feb 2017. I was listening to a friend give a teaching on Mothers and Children, and I was literally brought to conviction on my knees that I need to tell my story. For fear of not following through, I immediately went and shared all this with the friend that had just given her teaching. I told her that I would need to tell others my story. Then I told a trusted friend and asked her to hold me accountable. In the months following, I prayed and talked to God about it all; letting go of more and more hurt and shame, and accepting more and more grace. In February of 2018, I told my story to a group of ladies, a few that I knew and many that I did not. God was faithful and rewarded me for the obedience to the conviction He laid on my heart a year earlier. For all the weight lifted from me that weekend, I still had an image of God that He was far off, loving me only by righting my wrongs, which was more than enough. Grateful is not a big enough word, yet it was all I could offer Him. Praise and gratefulness.
In June of 2018, I came home to my husband who was acting very strange. I questioned him- “What did you buy?; Did you do something wrong?; Did something happen?” To the last question, he replied, “sort of”. He sat me down to tell me that in a very strange series of events, my cousin had come across a close relative match to a young woman. My 3rd born child, Kayla, had started looking for me. Within a week, we had our first phone conversation. We both cried, and laughed. She told me about her older brother, Justin, and how blessed they both were to have had each other growing up, so close in age. She expressed to me that they are both healthy and happy, and had had a really good life so far. She was not angry or disappointed but had always felt a desire to connect with me. As we talked, she shared she was moving in just a few days to a town in NC, the very same city that Samantha and I had moved to as a refuge from their father back in 1996, just months after Kayla was born. Again, God was showing me His faithfulness, that He was there with me then, just as He is with me and Kayla now. In July of 2018, I drove out to North Carolina to meet her for the first time. I hugged her tight and held my daughter in my arms for the very first time. We spent several days getting to know each other. Shortly after that meeting, I spoke with my son Justin for the first time, and in October of 2018, I went back out east and met him as well. The three of us spent a few days together. It has all been so much more than I deserve, but then, isn’t it all?
Our God is faithful. All those years ago, God heard all my prayers. He not only heard them, He answered and honored every one of them. Those spoken, and those I only silently, wishfully prayed.
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of Him.
1 John 5:14-15
For 23 years, I held it all as shame. But our God is so much bigger and better than that. He brought me the gospel, hand-delivered just for me. On the drive out to NC to meet Kayla, that truth flooded over me. My God loves me personally. He certainly did not have to do anything more than He already had. He had already made right my wrongs. Yet He wanted even more for me, He wanted to correct my lens of who He is. All those years ago, when I hurt so deeply, I believe He felt it too and started a series of events for reconciliation. My children, Kayla and Justin were adopted by two wonderful parents. Raised together as the brother and sister they are, and they always knew they were adopted. They were loved well and are both happy and healthy. Kayla’s moving two states away to live in the same city where I sought refuge. That they would want to know me now, I know these are all God’s blessings, specifically for me.
When Kayla and I said our goodbyes in July, she said to me, “there is no hurry, we have forever now”; and when I hugged Justin goodbye in Oct, he said to me “we will see each other again- I can just feel it.” We all talk on the phone and text weekly at least, and they both talk with Samantha and my parents as well.
I may not have taught all of my children to say Momma, how to tie their shoes, brush their teeth, or to write their name. I did not teach Kayla and Justin to look both ways before crossing the street, to wear a coat when it was cold outside, or to kneel beside their bed at night to say prayers as I did for Samantha.
But, because of God’s great compassion, love and faithfulness, I still get to tell share the gospel with them. I can tell all three of my children about my Jesus. I can show them how to walk in His light. I will love all of them as Christ has loved me. I will teach them His commands, and I will do my very best to model godly living for all three of them. By prayer and petition, I will seek His will and present my heart’s desires to Him. I know that God is not done writing my story yet. Today, He is leading me into becoming who I can be in Him. I am in awe of His faithfulness and His great love for me. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 ~ pray continually, Philippians 4:6 ~ Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. H e is faithful to listen, hear and respond.