Stories: What Do We Do With Them?

It’s dark outside.

I’m sitting on our front porch, lights pouring out from the inside, sounds of nature and night surrounding from the outside. It’s not an unusual spot for me to find myself. In fact, it’s alone time I crave and take advantage of most evenings. But, tonight there’s more on my mind than normal.

This week, my birth mom, sister, grandmother, and two nephews traveled in from Indiana. Tonight was our last evening together. The trip was my first time meeting my grandmother – who was the only one to hold me and pray over me at my birth – but, I’ve met the others before during previous visits. If you’ve been reading along for a bit, you know they’ve been a part of our lives since about 2007.

And yet, each visit is different.

We’re all at different points in our lives, with different experiences all around. But, we’re connected in an intrinsically beautifully weaving of stories that only God himself could orchestrate. We learn new things each visit. There’s new wounds we touch on, new healing, and new adventures.

It’s something hard for those not touched by adoption to understand… sometimes I’m not even sure we fully grasp it most times.

Yet… I think it’s important for us to try.

See… God has given us a story, just like he’s given you and each person on our planet one. But – on a personal level – ours is so relevant to everything happening in the world that surrounds us.

It doesn’t make it more important. It doesn’t make ours special or significant. It doesn’t change a thing. Except, it changes the way each of us interacts with the rhetoric surrounding us. In fact, as I sit here on the porch, it’s what I’m reckoning with most right now.

The Idea of Life. And Birth. And All of It.

Nothing about my birth mom’s situation screamed “now is a great time to bring life into this world!”

There was no easy.

There was no perfect planning or even the slightest hint of support from the other side ***at the time. My family members I’m now connected with on that side of my family are so dear to me now.***

In fact, while abortion would have been hard – I don’t think that choice is ever easy – I think sometimes it would have been easier than the choice to carry me, birth me, and hand me to another family to carry the torch, with no way to influence what life would bring my way.

This is a scale I balance in my head every day while I walk with friends in tough spots and listen to politically fueled arguments on all sides, and think about bodily autonomy and what it really means.

My birth mom didn’t have to chose life. End of story. Full stop. This means I don’t even have to exist. Another full stop.

But. She chose life. And that’s what I keep coming back to. She carried me for 9 months knowing she’d never hold me in her arms, and never meeting the people who’d be my parents.

She walked with unknowns from 1986 until we connected in 2007.

She dealt with emotions.

She dealt with those close to her who would never understand, all without the payout of raising the child she chose and loving on her (me).

A Different Path

I walked my own path, full of gratitude without knowing any of the story.

Full of the questions natural to adoptees that somehow become things we don’t talk about frequently.

Full of unbounded, relentless love from parents and family who made it clear that while we weren’t connected by blood, that I belonged fully to them… with the opportunity to learn about and know Jesus as both my Savior and the author of this story that I – like nights like tonight – cannot wrap my head around.

Tonight is one of those nights.

My heart is full.

My emotions are complex.

The love I feel from all sides only grows each visit.

Which leaves me now only with “now what’s?”.

What Do I Do With It?

How do I dip my toes into conversations that surround me while staying true to the biggest truth I know: that this choice is often the hardest one… but without it, I wouldn’t be here.

I have everything I have today – my family, my very life – because of the combination of the hardest series of choices a person (my birth mom) could make… and the willingness of my forever mom and dad – after heartbreak and years of longing – to open their hearts to me, adding a child to their family in a way that neither of them imagined or sought at the start. That combination of love, grief, and sacrifice on all sides, is never – not even for a single minute – lost on me.

How do I use what God has written into my life to better serve those around me?

I don’t have an answer to that.

But, I know the question doesn’t apply to just me.

God has given us all stories. Some are big. Some are tiny. Some are full of obedience. Some are full of us running away and him pursuing. Some full of mercies we will never understand. Some full of pain. Some a mix of all of them.

But, no story is an accident. They aren’t meant to weigh us down or weigh on our hearts.

If we believe that God is the ultimate story writer, and that we’re meant to live lives that reflect his light… then we’ve got to share them in whatever manner he would have us share.

Are We Willing?

Are we willing to run through painful walls and barriers that slow us down? Are we willing to share the gritty details with transparency?

What’s your story?

I’m still figuring mine out, and I’ll probably always be doing that. but, I know it’s not just mine, even if most others never truly understand it. And, that is okay – it must be.

Tonight, though?

Tonight I’ll sit here with it and ask God to help me use this story for his glory, whatever that might mean.

Can you do the same?

Can you love others by getting real and sharing? Imagine what it could look like if we all did it.

It gives me chills.

Let’s get real, friends. Let’s be bold. Let’s share what we all have – our stories and our lives – with those who need connection in a world that becomes more polarized each day. Let’s do this.

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