Encounters with the Past through the Grid of God’s Grace

One thing you learn early on in marriage is how different men and women are and how different both individuals are. 
 
I rise early and shortly after getting up…I’m wide awake.  Chris on the other hand wakes up more slowly and isn’t ready to engage in a conversation early in the morning.  At the end of the day…unless it’s been an exhausting day…I’m still ready to engage in conversation with Chris or anyone else for that matter.  After all…we haven’t seen each other most of the day.  But when Chris comes home after a long day filled with pressing needs and demands, he is ready to decompress, rest and put the day behind him.  Top on his list usually isn’t having an involved conversation. 
 
I have the need and desire to talk…and Chris is okay with just being together without conversation.  Over the last 20 months…I’ve gotten more used to it.  But on occasion…I find myself hurt when Chris is overly quiet or find myself questioning, “is he mad at me?” .  Now instead of fretting or worrying…I just ask him if he’s okay?  Ninety-nine percent of the time the answer is he’s fine…just tired or that he had a long day. 
 
After one of those quiet spells, I told Chris that while I didn’t understand why…that when he is quiet sometimes I feel like he is rejecting me.  That somewhere there is an unspoken message that I’m not worthy to be spoken to.  It brings up feelings that I am a non-entity.  I didn’t know where those feelings originated…I presumed from the past, but didn’t know where.  But now it’s impacting my relationship with my husband. 
 
Of course Chris responded that not what he’s feeling at all.  He’s just tired and tends to be more on the quiet side.  I have no doubt what Chris says is true…but where in the world did those feelings come from?  Where indeed.
 
My God is so gracious in helping me to understand where those feelings originated from.  But He did it at a time when I can approach those feelings with the confidence and assurance of who I am in Christ.  He let me see it after I’ve matured and grown in the grace and knowledge of Him.
 
Recently I had an encounter with someone from the past.  Someone who I hadn’t seen in years.  I said “Hi” and introduced my husband Chris to him.  It was the first time he had met Chris.  After shaking hands and greeting us he didn’t say a word to us for the rest of the evening.  The encounter was kind of uncomfortable…yet insightful.
 
God brought to mind that 25 or 30 years earlier, this man had treated me that same way.  If I was in the same room…he treated me as if I didn’t exist.  He would seldom look at me or talk to me.  This wasn’t a one-time only experience, but repeated over and over again.
 
I came away from this encounter with knowledge about why today, when someone won’t talk to me, it brings back feelings that I am unworthy and a non-person.  While it was a painful reminder on something that I had tried to put behind me, it’s something that I can now bring before the Lord and receive the emotional healing that I need.
 
Praise God…I now see myself through the grid of God’s grace.  I am mindful that in Christ…I am blessed, chosen, adopted, accepted, redeemed and forgiven.  What does it matter if man rejects me…when I have been accepted in the Beloved?
 
During those late teens and early adulthood years…I was still trying to figure out who I was.  I didn’t know the Lord…so that rejection had a huge impact on me.
 
Today, I can also see that this person is troubled and in need of the Lord every bit as much as I was and continue to be.  So every time the enemy seeks to remind me of this rejection I can turn it around and be in prayer for him.  I don’t want to let the enemy win on this one.  He’s already taken enough ground in this battle…it’s time to take it back.    
 
God is able to redeem my hurts and bring healing.  He is even able to tender my heart so that I am sensitive to those who also deal with feelings of rejection.  Praise His Holy Name!
 

The Mother I Never Knew

My first nine months were spent in your womb,
But I never knew you.

The certificate says “Baby Girl Dawson”,
That’s all I know for sure.

All those years ago,
Abortion wasn’t even legal.

But I wonder did you love me,
Dare I even ask…why you didn’t want me?

What is the story,
On how I came to be?

Was I the product young love,
Or an illicit affair…or something more tragic?

Did you see me on that day,
Did you hold me in your arms?

Did you whisper sweet words of love,
And pray God’s blessing upon my life?

Or was I taken away,
Never to be seen again?

Was my birth a deep family secret,
Something not uttered in good company?

Do you ever shed a tear or feel guilty,
Or were you confident that you did the right thing?

Did you ever marry,
Have children that you called your own?

Do I have brothers and sisters,
Am I anyone’s spitting image?

During your day,
Do your thoughts every turn to me?

Do you ever wonder,
Who and what I came to be?

Do we share the same faith,
And one day I’ll meet you in heaven?

To the mother I never knew,
I do wonder about you.

It would be with fear and trembling,
That I would dare to try and find you.

For I fear,
Of the answers I might hear.

Susan Bunts
January 5, 2008

With a friend’s decision to adopt a child…my thoughts have turned to my own adoption…so many years ago. I was given up for adoption at birth…and adopted at the age of 3 months. The only thing I know about my birth mother is that her last name was Dawson.

It’s odd how a person who I never met…who I know nothing about can continue to be a part of my thoughts. Obviously I wonder what happened…why she gave me up for adoption. What her thoughts were over the years about her decision. Whatever happened with her life…did she go on to have a happy and successful life? Or was my birth…just another difficult circumstance in her life? Did she ever have children…do I have brothers and sisters? Do I look like anyone…is my personality or interests like anyone the family I never knew?

Abortion back then wasn’t an option…unless a woman chose to do a backstreet illegal abortion. I wonder…if it had been legal…would she still have made the same decision to give her baby up for adoption?

There are times I wonder…have I ever seen or met her? Would I like her…is she a good decent person? Or is she a wretch of a human being and the decision to have her baby adopted was one of the few good things she did? Is she still alive…how is her health? What diseases run in the family that I should know about? As much as ever contemplated the idea of trying to find her…I never followed through for fear of what I might find.

Many adoptions today are more open and children are able to know more about their birth parents. I think that’s a good thing…maybe?

The one scar that has remained in my life if the feeling of rejection. I knew that I was adopted for as long as I can remember…I don’t remember a time when I didn’t know that. It’s funny because even if a child is rejected by their birth mother…they are wanted by the family that adopts them. I wonder why the rejection is the dominate feeling?

The above picture is my first picture taken by a foster mother before I was adopted.

Gleanings

“We can never fully know God’s power in our lives until we are at our weakest.

“Rejection…doesn’t rejection hurt all the more when it comes from one who knows you well?

God is at work in me right now…not sure exactly to what end…and what will be the result…I feel as though I am under construction as I have embarked on listening to Beth Moore’s “A Woman’s Heart” Bible Study.

When listening to the CD’s I sometimes feel assailed by thoughts and ideas and memories from the past. Sometimes they come so fast I can’t even remember them so I can write them down. Other times…I can hardly wait to get to my computer or put pen to paper. I made a mad dash to the computer to jot down the above thoughts.

On Thursday morning…as the water flowed over me during my morning shower and I was waking up…I was surprised when I clearly recalled an episode of painful rejection from last year. Good gracious…where did that come from? The enemy? Yeah…I’ve been feeling some arrows coming my way lately. One of his most effective instruments is to make me feel alone, isolated and rejected…so that I will distrust God and His motives and work in my life.

Today as I continued to listen to the CD’s…memories from my teenage years and early adulthood came to mind. I found myself wishing that I could talk to my mother…just talk as an adult…and deal with left over issues. Things that were never discussed or dealt with during our life. Ask why or what were you thinking? Or what was going on in your life that caused this or that? Unfortunately…that’s a conversation that will have to take place the other side of heaven…since the woman I see each week bears little resemblance to my mother. At times she knows I’m her daughter…but more often…I’m her sister or an old schoolmate that comes to visit.

Our relationship was not a great one. Sometimes I use to think it was because we were not biologically related and she never really bonded with me or maybe didn’t like me. But in actuality…I think we were just very different. Just like I’m not perfect and a work in progress…she too was that when I was growing up. A mother…not bad…but surely not perfect. One who carried her own scars into motherhood and life.

I do find myself concerned for her salvation. One who didn’t have a close walk with God…nor did she talk much about God, nor know His word. We didn’t go to church, nor read the Bible until after my father died when I was 10. After that we started to attend church. It’s hard for the outside observer to know for sure…but from the evidence throughout her life…I’m left with the thought…I don’t really know if she has ever accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior. Thus you will find me quizzing her or preaching to her every now and again.

I wonder…does her repeating the sinner’s prayer when her mind and will is fading if not gone…does it count? Or is it just me…trying to lead or drag her into the kingdom?

On a recent preaching episode with Gayle…I was explaining the Gospel. When I asked her if she wanted to accept Jesus…she responded, “Well I’m not sure…that sounds too good to be true.” Indeed it is too good…but thankfully it is true. I got her to say the words. Only the Lord knows the results of those words. Did it take…is she saved? I don’t know. Thus…I will likely continue to press the point.

Even though I have a life time of rejection that is blinding at times…I remind myself that I have been accepted by God. That if all else forsake me…that I am accepted in the Beloved. Does that help…yes mostly…and no for pain still remains…and questions…and scars.

There are times when I want to say to God…I believe in You. I am grateful for the sacrifice of Jesus for my sins…and I’ve accepted Him as my Lord and Savior…but I can’t go on. I’ll live a decent life…and won’t get involved in that which is wrong…but I don’t want to do anything more than that. I want to just live my life. He of all people knows the hurt in my heart…and knows that which is deep and invisible to others…but it’s bright as the noon day sun to Him. He knows it…and He has the ability to help heal and end that pain. But for whatever reason…thus far He has chosen not to.

And that’s when I start to get a stinky attitude…and say I love you God…but I don’t want to do anything more than live my life. I can’t give that which I don’t have. For an outpouring of love and service…surely I need to have my tanks filled. But they remain dangerous close to empty. I’m tired of running on empty.

Does having lived this life with pain make me more compassionate and understanding towards those who are hurting? Yes…I know well what it’s like to have a hurting heart. But in some respects…it’s also dulled my feelings. The hurt has caused scars that are tough. Scars which help protect my heart from further injury. At times…I can be rather cold hearted and uncaring. I feel like I’m running on empty…and by my own power and can’t go much further.

I do believe that this will necessitate me trusting God…even when it doesn’t feel safe and when I don’t want to. So does that bring me back to my first point?

“We can never fully know God’s power in our lives until we are at our weakest.

Hum…well…I’m there. Today I feel as though I’m at my weakest…and need a miracle. I don’t only want to know rest, peace and the fullness of love when I get to heaven. I want to know it down here…this side of heaven. I want to give to people…out of the fullness and abundance of my heart…not only from a heart that is running on empty.