the past is part of our story

This truck has a past. It has a story. There’s a certain charm that attracts us. We can see how trials and circumstances in this world have made it what it is today. Someone decided not to discard it, but appreciated it and displays it proudly. Our story would be incomplete without our past, even our failures, wounds, disappointments and losses. Sometimes we may not like something in our past, but if we want freedom from it we need to realize God can use all of it for His glory. We need to accept it as part of our story, so that we can move forward. Satan wants to keep us going backward, but Jesus wants to lead us forward. Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well to go get her husband. He needed her to bring her past to Him, so she could move to the future in freedom. God is about moving us forward, but He wants to show us what was. We need to see what Christ did on the cross for us. “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”

2 Corinthians 5:17 NASB

We need to place our pasts at the cross. Everything I have done is on the cross. Jesus has done a finished work for those He loves and now sits on His throne and wants to give us a glorious future. Jesus is our Redeemer. He is working through every circumstance for our good-for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 We have an opportunity to move forward, to live by faith and to bring Him glory. All of our scars, all of our wrinkles, all of our trials and blessings make us beautiful because of what Jesus has done and is still doing. Because of what He has done, because of His grace in our lives, He can use us to share His love to the world around us, when we trust and follow Him.

“for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”

Philippians 2:13

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

Romans 8:28

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 1:6

“Now to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”

Philippians 4:20

KP October 2018

the race, part 1

While doing my three miles today, I couldn’t help but think of all the parallels this physical “race” has to the Christian life. As I am “running”(jogging/walking) through the mountains and valleys (inclines, gravel driveway, old body) I see and feel the obstacles in my path (loose rocks, Elsa-my way too active Labrador retriever, asthma, out of shape muscles, extra pounds). Just as I want to improve my mile and ultimately my physical health, I want to grow in my Christian walk. I want to grow more spiritually healthy, showing not only endurance and perseverance, but also love, patience, forgiveness, faithfulness and thankfulness even in the tough seasons. Even as I push myself to reach my goals of a certain mile time, a certain healthy weight and diet, I know I have tools that help me in this healthy lifestyle journey: tennis shoes, cute leggings (Don’t worry, I never leave the driveway while wearing them 😱), the Fitbit app, my new Aftershocks to listen to my favorite playlists and last but not least my inhaler-because I need to breath! #truestory In the same way, I have help in this Christian life: my Bible, my husband and family, my church family, Bible studies, Podcasts and the Holy Spirit daily breathing life in me.

I’m so thankful for the people God has placed along the way to help me run this healthy race well…those people who run no matter what, kids, especially the girls-who share tips, recipes, apps and lots of encouragement and my husband-who encourages and supports me no matter what I decide we will eat.

And in the same way, in this Christian life there have been and are teachers and pastors-who have taught the truth, parents-who have prayed, siblings-who have shown love and support, friends-who have walked along side and sweet mentors-who have encouraged by word and example how to live life well during the good times and during the hard times. I am thankful for my children who are always my biggest cheerleaders and share wisdom even though they are younger. And again, I’m so blessed to have a husband who loves me, spoils me, prays for me and leads me, but most of all loves the Lord more than he loves me. If I remember all these things and use the tools God has given me, I can run this race well.

There will be days that I do not want to exercise and days I give in to temptations to eat what I know will cause consequences (like bloating or rashes on my legs and of course the dreaded weight gain). And it’s probably not a coincidence that many times these temptations come when my focus is not where it should be, just like most temptations to rebel against God’s best for our lives. Satan is the master of lies, whether he’s whispering how I deserve to eat whatever I want, or that I shouldn’t work so hard (physically, emotionally and spiritually) because I will not succeed. There are times when I get hurt and I have a setback. Sometimes the healing takes a long time and I can get discouraged. There are days I will remind myself of all my failures and I tell myself I am incapable; I am not enough. Then Jesus lovingly reminds me He is sufficient. I have a choice of what voice I will listen to today. Because I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, I do not have to depend on my own “self will”. And I can remember that His promises are true and His plans are good and perfect-not necessarily easy. Above all, I want to run well and finish well-“…to the praise of glory of His grace…” (Ephesians 6:1)

I hope as you are living this life that you know the Giver of life, the Alpha and Omega, the One who goes before you. What challenges are you facing today? I challenge you to read the verses below and spend some time in God’s word today.

“The LORD, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you or forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.”

DEUTERONOMY 31:8

“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.”

1 CORINTHIANS 9:24-27

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

HEBREWS 12:1-3

“You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion did not come from Him who calls you.

GALATIANS 5:7-8

For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”

GALATIANS 5:13

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.”

GALATIANS 5:22-25

“Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.”

PHILIPPIANS 2:14-16

KP Oct 2018

the race, part 2

As I do my walk/occasional run this morning, God is showing me that in this race I need to remember how much I need Him. Even as we strive for excellence in our walk with Christ, sometimes we need to just lean into Him and enjoy His sweet fellowship. Sometimes it’s not how fast and strong we run but about resting in Him.

As I continued my goal of 3 miles, I thought of how good God is as I listened to praise music and I sang even out loud, “Holy, Holy, Holy.” Then as I thought of His grace, I remembered how I have failed so many times in this race. And I thanked Him for His Son’s sacrifice on the cross on my behalf. He has covered my sin with His blood and has made me white as snow.

And as I prayed and I listened to another song, I hear the words of how a mother rises early and prays for her loved ones before the day begins. How we are leaning into something lasting. He reminded me that my purpose as a mother will never be done. And I prayed for each child, each child-in-law and each grandchild, that He would do a work in their lives. Even though I only recently knew my first born’s name, I knew my purpose in her early life was to pray for God’s work in her heart. I prayed for her and each one that followed that He would make Himself known and that they would follow His calling. In my failures as a parent His plans are not thwarted. I have never thought anything more important than praying for my children. That has been my primary purpose and I continue as God blesses me with more to pray for and to love.

And then I pray His kingdom come, His will be done. And I praise Him with tears mingling with the sweat on my face. And I lift my head towards heaven and feel His Spirit as clearly as I feel the breeze cooling my face. His fellowship is so sweet.

This race we run with a goal in mind. We pour into it the things that help us to run well. I can see that sometimes we are tempted in pride to call ourselves or allow the world to call us brave, victorious, accomplished, and even enough, because of our own “good” choices, our integrity, our work ethic, our service and sacrifice to those “less fortunate”. I think sometimes we can even be prideful in our humbleness! These goals we set before us will quickly disappear if we turn our gaze from Jesus. We want our lives to glorify His name so that we can share the gospel and make Him known. When the race becomes difficult or when we see someone else struggling in their race, we sometimes quickly conclude it’s because of failures-and certainly failures come. But through the struggles our faith grows. In all things we need to live by faith. And as we run this race set before us, let us not forget the sweet fellowship of our Lord. Oh Praise Him for He is worthy of our praise.

KP July 2019

how to be a birth mother

-there should be a manual-

(from the perspective of a mother reunited with her grown up baby girl.)

I never had a clue what it was actually like to be a birth mother. The fact that I was one for 40 years was mostly a secret, rarely spoken of and held so close to my heart. I felt like I might not ever get to meet my baby girl again this side of heaven, but also felt like I did not deserve to miss her. I thought it was not my place to contact her. At 40 years old she bravely looked for me, carefully and so thoughtful, but with no expectations.

More than half my life I have been Mom. It has brought purpose and maturity to my life. Being a mother has brought me so much joy. It is who I am. All of a sudden I became faced with the fact that yes, I am also a birth mother! There were many things I had no idea I would feel. There were so many expectations and opinions from others on how I should handle this new relationship and how I should have handled the past. I do not personally know any other mothers who relinquished their child at birth for adoption. I am trying my best to maneuver through this unknown territory with feelings of shame, guilt, resentment, doubt and fear and a tremendous weight of grief-feelings I thought I had dealt with or at least buried for good. All the while I also have these feelings of great joy, of healing, of thankfulness, hope and so much love. I recognize the miracle God is doing in my life.

I initially faced some struggles. I did not know what my boundaries were. I was afraid of loving too much, of crossing a line, stepping on toes, of being possessive and I had fear of losing her again. I felt myself wanting to prove I was a good mother, a good person, because of fear of judgement for not just getting pregnant as a teen but that she was placed for adoption. Even as I read blogs on adoption, birth mothers, adoption “triad”, and adoptees, I became more aware of what struggles adoptees have to overcome. My mom guilt was at an all time high. I soon realized God was teaching me again, my guilt was at the cross.

I had difficulty at first with the title “birth mom”. In my mind it meant “not good enough to be a mom”. It meant failure, it meant sin, it meant shame. Maybe because it was in the 70’s, maybe because of how the adoption agency treated the situation of teen pregnancy, I always thought I would be an embarrassment to the precious baby I gave birth to. But I was so wrong. God reminded me of Psalm 127:3-4, a passage I know by heart because God truly blessed me with every baby. This verse became our family verse in the days of babies and toddlers. I thought in the case of my first baby girl that she was a blessing for someone else-and she certainly was. And I even realized all along that she was blessing me, even at the young age of 16. I was falling in love like I had never known I could. I knew she was depending on me for her very life as I felt her kick and move inside me. I often wondered where my path would have gone at this time in my life without her, but struggled with the why I wasn’t “good enough” to be her mother. When God showed me that verse again recently, I saw something more. She could not simply be the result of huge mistake. My daughter was not a consequence. God had a plan for her life. I do not know why He didn’t just put her in the womb of her adopted mom. He could have. He could have waited to to put her in my womb until I was married. But He didn’t choose to do that, either. I do not know why He chose me, while still a girl trying to figure out life, to give birth to this precious child.

And if I’m going to ask the really tough questions, I do not know if adoption was the right choice or not. But even in those doubts of a decision made at a time in my life where I did not see another option, I have to trust that God already knew; God already made a provision. I can see how He has answered the prayers of that scared and confused teenager, as I poured my heart out to Him. There are definitely consequences of my sin and heart places of brokenness caused by the choice of adoption that God is showing me. I am trying to be open to all God is teaching me and it may take a while.

What I do know is that God loves me. His plans are good. He is a sovereign God. His character never changes and His word is truth-all the time. And as we trust Him, as we give our lives to Christ, His grace is all we need. He makes us righteous and grows our faith, knowing we will still sin and we will still fall short. My faith as a teen was still very immature. I still lived my life controlled more by my fears instead of trusting Him. My legalistic views held me to standards I could not achieve in my own strength. I failed, and yet He was still faithful. He never left me and I could ever feel His presence. He continued to grow my faith as I grew up, got married and had six more babies to love. He taught me so much as I learned to trust Him with my marriage and with my children, those I raised and the one I knew nothing about. I prayed for her and missed her, but kept it all inside. God knew my heart even when I did not. In His perfect timing He gave me what I needed and also what my daughter needed. He gave us each other.

My faith was stretched like never before as I started this new path. I didn’t know if I could be a birth mom. I really just wanted to be her mom for always, but I had to realize where God had placed me now was where I needed to be. I committed to being whatever kind of mom He was calling me to be and so very grateful for the opportunity. He reminded me that my shame is at the cross, already dealt with. No longer did I need to feel guilty about the past. I’m still very much in the middle of learning what it means to be a mom to my first born.

There are a few things I have learned already:

1. There is no limit on how much you can love your baby.

2. You may grieve. You may grieve the loss, you may grieve what could have been, you may grieve the normal, you may grieve what you missed.

3. Allow yourself to feel the feelings. You don’t have to feel guilty about grieving. It doesn’t mean you are not thankful for the family you have. Sorrow and joy can coexist. Work through the feelings and learn from them. Share with those who will encourage you and walk along side of you. God is doing a work.

4. Be patient with the healing. There will be some hard days and sometimes it feels like you can’t get past the difficulty of it all. Forgive those who may have hurt you in the past. Ask for forgiveness as you are prompted by the Holy Spirit. Know that He is sufficient. Stay in His word. Replace lies with His truth.

5. Have no expectations. As a mother, it’s our job to let the child (even when they are grown ups) set the pace for the relationship. Be willing to make sacrifices and be willing to take chances. Do not take things personally if they need a break to process. You need to realize that there will be boundaries. These boundaries are ever changing and different for everyone. Be mindful of them but not afraid of them. Talk them over. Respect their space and the life they have without you. They had no choice in adoption, so it should be their choice on what kind of relationship they want now.

6. Be honest. Be honest with yourself, be honest with your child, be honest with those closest to you. Communication is important even when it’s about your feelings. Be honest but sensitive to the feelings of those around you. It’s not all about you!

7. Take a break from reality once in a while. Go to the park, exercise, love your hobbies. Sometimes our heads and our hearts just need a break to refuel.

8. Be present. It’s so hard sometimes not to be sad that you can’t have all of your babies together all of the time, and maybe never at the same time. It’s hard sometimes not to feel guilty or afraid someone will get their feelings hurt. Be ever mindful but enjoy the time wherever you are and whoever you are with.

9. Be thankful for the blessings and through the trials and struggles. God promises to make everything to work for good, if we just trust Him. He heals the broken-hearted and He takes away our guilt and shame. We have an opportunity to let Him grow our faith and give Him glory. “…to the praise of the glory of His grace” Ephesians 1:6 has been a wonderful focus verse to me for 30+ years.

10. Know that God has a purpose. There will be consequences of sin in our lives that often reach down into the lives of those we love the most. We have to be aware of those things and ask forgiveness. God has already provided the atonement for all our sin. He is a good Father who made a way even knowing we would fail, sin against Him and follow our own rebellious hearts. He gave us His only Son, as a perfect sacrifice for our redemption. What an example He has shown us. His is sufficient to cover any shame or guilt. If we surrender our lives to Him, all our past and all our future, He is faithful to save us and to guide us. He is a good, good Father. His plans are for our good and for His glory.

I wish I could say I remember all of this every day, but some days I still struggle with shame, doubt and fear. I still have to remember that my baby had a purpose before she grew inside me. God already had a plan that cannot be thwarted by me. I still have memories that make me cry, but I’m trying to work through them knowing God can even use memories for healing, for teaching, for growing my faith, and to give me empathy for others. I sometimes fear rejection but all God has shown me is the miracle of restoration. I am learning every day to trust Him more.

One thing for sure is I am so thankful my daughter took the chance to find me. She was so very brave! She risked being disappointed and even rejection, but she wanted me to know that she was okay. She imagined as a mother that I would want to know that. And once that door was open, wow. I am so blessed to be able to pray for her by name. I am so honored to be able to be in her life in any aspect and yet she has allowed me to not only be a friend, but also every once in awhile, be the mommy I didn’t get to be when she was little. I never dreamed I would get to hug her or kiss her forehead, but here I am loving her as the mother God is calling me to be for her in a way I never dared dream or ask for. He knew how we would need each other and gave us more than either one of us could imagine.

“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,”

Ephesians 3:20

By KP Jan 2020

birth mother grief

One morning just a few days after my husband and I met my daughter’s adoptive parents, I found myself wondering why I was so extremely sad. I was crying for no reason. Yes, the prior weekend had been an emotional roller coaster- meeting the couple who had raised my daughter. I was still processing all that occurred that weekend. I was excited about reconnecting with my daughter and meeting her parents as they encouraged our new relationship. There was definitely thankfulness and joy in my heart.

As I started my day I thought to myself that I felt like someone had died. I wondered was I feeling some sort of grief. I had never lost anyone to death, besides my grandparents who I was not extremely close to. Then it occurred to me that maybe this had something to do with all of the events of the weekend. My daughter’s mother had giving me a tour, sort of speak, of their home. She showed me the paintings hanging in the hallway painted by my daughter as a teen. There were pictures of her granddaughters as babies wearing the dress she wore as a baby. And as I saw them I was realizing all the memories I missed out on. Not only did I miss my daughter’s childhood, but the first 40 years of her life. I also missed the birth of her babies.

I decided to Google “birth mother grief”. I was surprised-it is a thing! As I read a blog post by Lisa Taylor, Understanding Birth Mother Grief (It’s real. It’s powerful. And you shouldn’t have to pretend it’s not there.) at Adoption.com, ( https://adoption.com/understanding-birth-mother-grief ) everything I was feeling began to make sense. I had been fighting this grief for several weeks since meeting my daughter. I argued to myself that I shouldn’t feel regret. I love the family God has given me. I know I have been forgiven. I know God is sovereign and even in my choices He is still in control. How could I wish things had been different and still honor my husband and my children? If my choice had been different would I have this family? There is no use thinking like this because I could not change anything! I was becoming frustrated with myself. I also thought that since I made this choice, I had no right to mourn. I saw my sister grieve when she lost babies to miscarriage, which is many times also a silent grief. During even those times, I would push any grief feelings back, as I thought it could not compare. And as I began a relationship with this daughter after 40 years, I thought I should not be sad, because I should only feel joy with this amazing gift I had been given. God had blessed me so much more than I could have ever dreamed. I constantly told myself-you can’t grieve the loss of a baby if she is alive, especially when you have her back in your life!

One thing that really hit home for me from that blog post was that I needed to grieve. It had been forgotten and ignored for 40 years.

When a birth mom chooses to place a child for adoption, the loss of that child is just as devastating [as a mom who loses her child to death]. For birth moms who lived in the era of mandatory closed adoptions, as I did, the separation of mother and baby is just as complete as if the child had died. The difference occurs because much of the time, the birth mom’s grief is not validated or legitimized. In fact, it is often ignored or even forgotten.

Lisa Taylor, Understanding Birth Mother Grief/December 28, 2015 https://adoption.com/understanding-birth-mother-grief

After several weeks of dealing with this grief, along with still trying to figure out the shame of my pregnancy and the adoption choice, I decided to seek counseling, with the encouragement of my family-especially my daughters. I’m not sure that my counselor really understood birth mother grief, but I’m sure she understood how to help people with grief. She did give me permission to grieve, without feeling guilty about it. It didn’t mean I didn’t love my family that God had so blessed me with. It didn’t mean I would change the past-even though that is impossible anyway, but of course, I regretted the bad decisions I made. I regretted the hurt it caused in my daughter’s life. I didn’t know if the choice of adoption was truly the best choice, even though her parents loved her greatly. All of these regrets didn’t mean I was not thankful or grateful.

During these first few months of dealing with this strange grief, I spent many hours just reading God’s word, writing in my journal, listening to podcasts-especially sermons from some of my favorite pastors, and listening to praise music. I tried to eat healthy and exercise and even though I didn’t always feel like it, I tried to get out of the house and have lunch with friends or coffee with my sisters.

Even in my second year of reunion with my daughter, I still have some hard days with grief. Sometimes, there is an obvious trigger, like her birthday. Sometimes, I don’t know what has brought feelings of grief. It’s a complicated thing. It’s layered even with the loss of other things: the loss of the last part of my childhood during those final two years of high school, the loss of my identity, the loss of not being all I wanted to be for my husband, the loss of transparency, the loss of siblings knowing each other when they were still growing up, the loss of normal, the loss of being my first daughter’s mommy, the loss of memories-so many memories-the making of memories and even of the memories of things I experienced, like my first daughter’s birth.

God is still teaching me. Grief is not the same for everyone. Grief is hard. Grief has it’s own timetable. Grief is not easily explained or understood. Grief teaches us empathy and gives us compassion. Grief may make an appearance at very unexpected times. Grief can be lonely, especially when it is denied or not verified. And grief cannot be fixed by just thinking happy thoughts or being thankful for what God has done. It has to be dealt with and learned from. God can work in me as I give this grief to Him, with humbleness and trust. I do not want to become bitter because of what I have lost. I want God to use this in my life to depend on Him more, to love people more and to make myself available and vulnerable to those God puts in my path. I need to remember words can’t always fix the hurt in our hearts, no one Bible verse is going to bring peace to our lives-as my first daughter pointed out to me a few weeks ago, and sometimes we just need to listen. And when grief comes upon me, when I see the things I lost, I pray I will lean into Jesus just a little more, because in Him only do I have hope.

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

KP Feb 2020

hope in crisis

Even though our world is in crisis, we can trust that God knows and He is in control. We see people in fear as they buy too much toilet paper or bottled water. I feel like maybe they just have a need to control SOMETHING in this crisis they have no control over or any understanding of.

I pray as we are confined to our own personal places of seclusion that we can still extend love and grace and offer hope to those who need it. We can still call our neighbor to make sure they are okay. We may need to be creative in our thinking. Seek the good, look for the beauty in God’s creation, read the Bible and share the gospel. Most importantly, pray for healing. Pray for the first responders, those in the medical field, the elderly who are at risk, teachers who are tirelessly working on curriculum for their students while taking care of their own children, parents who struggle to work from home and make sure kids are taken care of, pastors who are trying to figure out how they can minister to their flocks, grocers, restaurant owners, small business and big business as they try to find ways to keep their employees. Everyone is affected. We need to encourage each other instead of criticizing. It seems to me most are doing a pretty good job of doing just that.

Let’s work together and remember God is in control.

What are you doing to manage stress?

What creative ways are you keeping in contact with loved ones and friends?

How are you keeping peace in your home with everyone home?

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:6‬ ‭

KP May 2020

for the distance

I remembered something today when I was starting my second mile. I’m not a long distance runner. I never have been. I’ve been trying to get to the point where I can run 3 miles without stopping. I can do maybe 1 1/2. And then the thought occurred to me-the way I run my race doesn’t have to look like someone else’s. So I instead of jogging at a super slow pace I ran sprints and walked in between. (Okay “sprint” might be a stretch, think shorter distances) My time was a little slower but I felt my heart-rate increase just a little. I felt like I was using more muscle. Same race, different method. Goals similar, results possibly better achieved as I tried to adjust the techniques I used to keep from becoming discouraged and to keep motivated.

Yep, I started thinking how this applies to my spiritual walk. Sometimes I can jog through at a steady pace, it doesn’t require much thought on my part. Now I imagine a true long distance runner has all kinds of strategies as they run. Calculating pace, terrain, distance, as they compare past races to the one they are currently running, making mental and physical adjustments along the way. But my mind doesn’t work that way. I’m just trying to get to my mile marker without stopping, probably reminding myself if I keep singing I’m not going to have enough breath to finish, totally not thinking about the run itself.

During this race sometimes I like to just run. Enjoying the “faster” pace. These are the times I’m praising the Lord with a loud voice, hitting a problem head on, encouraging someone, and ready for just about anything. But then sometimes I have to walk in between. Some things require me to almost stop and take my time. It’s not always my favorite. There are feelings there. Maybe if I was a long distance runner I could just work on these feelings as I ran my race, readjusting as the terrain changes. Maybe it’s my personality bent or just how my heart works but I can’t focus like that. Sometimes I need reflection, more study in God’s Word, journaling through it, until my feelings match up to God’s truth.

I saw this quote by John Piper-

My feelings are not God. God is God.

My feelings do not define truth.

God’s word defines truth.

My feelings are echoes and responses to what my mind perceives.

And sometimes – many timesmy feelings are out of sync with the truth.

When that happens – and it happens every day in some measure –

I try not to bend the truth to justify my imperfect feelings, but rather, I plead to God: Purify my perceptions of Your truth and transform my feelings so that they are in sync with the truth.

This, for me anyway, takes time. So even as someone reminds me of the truth, it may take some time for my heart and my feelings to fall in line with that truth. It doesn’t mean I don’t believe it or that my faith is in crisis. I’m just traveling at a different pace. I can’t just change my feelings out of sheer will, because believe me I try. When I try to rush through it, I’m probably just jogging around it. I’ll still have to deal with it again at some point. So when I’m slowing to a walk, I’m still enduring, still persevering.

Maybe I’m running my race differently than other people today, but we all run the same race in this Christian life. We all have different ways of running it. We all have to figure out how to live in His truth, by letting Him do the work in our lives and in our hearts. There’s not necessarily a right way or a wrong way, as long as our goal is to be more like Christ, as long as we are seeking the truth in His word and depending on Him to show us the way as we look forward to the finish line.

“… let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith…”

Hebrews 12:1-2

KP Feb 2020

healing

A few months ago, I was tempted to go on my walk without a brace. After all, I wore cute shoes finally on the Sunday before. I had been walking and even jogging a little three miles almost everyday. I felt almost as good as I did before I broke my ankle.

I remembered the doctor saying that the bone in my ankle may never completely heal. But as the rest of the ankle heals I should not have any problems with mobility. So I chose wisdom over pride or comfort. I thought about how this broken ankle probably happened-well, because I’m clumsy and I was running on a rocky driveway. But maybe it happened as a result of poor health decisions of the past-weak core, bad back, too much weight. There’s also the years of eating whatever I wanted until it finally became a problem, followed by years of taking things out of my diet, like dairy and gluten. Now I have realized that it’s just as important to fill my diet with the things that provide the most nutritional benefits. Even with all the diet changes, even adding exercise back to my daily routine, I’m never going to be 20 again. It’s the reality of not only poor choices, but of aging and of living in this temporal world.

Sometimes, we like to say to ourselves “in moderation”. Just this one roll at Texas Roadhouse. Just this piece of pie. It’s my birthday and I deserve to eat cake. And we do and then we realize the next day it probably wasn’t worth it. Or we may find one piece leads to another and before you know it sugar and gluten are back on a daily basis.

It seems lately God is teaching me some new lessons as I read His word. Sometimes even through music and as I walk and pray-sometimes through both at the same time.

As we go through our Christian lives there is still sin that causes brokenness. We live in a fallen world. It seems sometimes people think because of God’s great and amazing grace that they can maybe sin “in moderation.” As we grow in faith we can see the joy of putting our flesh aside and following Him. We begin to see it’s not just about turning away from sin but also filling our lives with His word and allowing the Holy Spirit to guide us and to heal us. But sometimes in the healing, the pain may remain awhile. Sometimes our choices not only bring pain in our own lives, but in others’ lives, as well, sometimes in those we love the most.

There are wounds that have happened in our lives, because we were negligent, or acting in the flesh, or maybe even for some wounds were the result of someone else’s sin. There are those wounds we suffer from, because we live in a temporal and fallen world, we or our loved ones become ill or a loved one is taken before we were ready. I think of Job, of Naomi and Ruth, of King David. It isn’t just how the wound came to be but what we are going to do about it. What are we going to let God do about it?

Personally speaking, the struggle I am dealing with right now is how to be a “birthmom.” And I can honestly say God is taking what I hear in those words-“not good enough to be a mom” to a place where I am humbly seeking Him for guidance to be whatever kind of mom He has called me to be. Although, it is a slow (and sometimes painful) process, I know God is doing a healing of my heart. He has taken away the shame, though sometimes I still feel it. It can be pretty embarrassing when others see my sin. There are many reasons I could doubt and even regret my decisions in the past. I pray I am learning, taking responsibility and asking for forgiveness where I need to. I’m trying to give God my guilt, doubts, fears and grief. There are so many triggers to make those feeling flare up. But I know God is healing me-even when I don’t feel it. I can see that God is building something wonderful-it’s so amazing that I get to know my first daughter. It is even more amazing that we have a special relationship, I could have never hoped for. I never dreamed the six would know their sister. He has given me blessing upon blessing, not because I deserved even one. No, He wants to be glorified. He wants to grow my faith. He wants others to see Himself and His goodness in my life. And in His presence I can have joy.

As I experience this joy knowing and loving my first daughter, of being a mother to the six we have loved greatly, raised and sent off into the world, of being married to my best friend for almost 40 years, and oh, those precious grandchildren, there is still a healing of my heart going on. The Holy Spirit is gently showing me the walls I have built up. As I allow Him to tear them down (slowly), I have to feel the feelings. I don’t really like feelings. It was more comfortable keeping them behind the walls. I am realizing, though, as the walls start to come down that there is so much peace and joy! The grief of what I lost may never be completely gone. There will always be reminders of the loss even in the restoration. Satan says I deserve not one of my blessings. And guess what, I don’t. Grace is only grace because we cannot deserve it. Mercy is given, because we so desperately need it. Jesus came so we could live abundantly in Him, because in His righteousness we are made righteous.

I know this does not mean that wounds can’t be deep and that wounds won’t be painful. Sometimes they seem more than we can bear. That’s when we realize we need the Father. Sometimes it takes feeling pain to seek the Healer. Just like the pain in my ankle finally made me realize I needed to go to the doctor. My heart may never be like it was when I first gave it to the Lord at age nine. It has some scars and it has some wounds that are a little deeper than I thought. I probably ignored the symptoms and the need for healing for too many years. My child-like faith has changed but hopefully it has grown stronger. I know He is sanctifying me and in that glorious day of Christ’s return I will be transformed by His righteousness. So I really can say, It is well with my soul, because our Father is good and His love is everlasting. I am such a small part of His big beautiful story, but He fully knows me and fully loves me.

“O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, You know it all. You have enclosed me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it. Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me. If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, And the light around me will be night,” Even the darkness is not dark to You, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You. For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand. When I awake, I am still with You.”

Psalms 139:1-18

KP October 2019

about me

I am no one special, just the typical American woman: wife, mom, Grammy-and a little more unusual-birthmom. One thing I have learned over the years is that I am created in the image of God and loved by Him. Because of His great love for me and all mankind, He sent His Son to live a perfect life. Jesus took my sin upon Himself as He was crucified buried and then He rose again victorious over death. He lives and reigns as Lord of lords and King of kings. Through faith, I have believed that Christ is my Savior and Lord. He has given me eternal life because of His great mercy and grace. He has grown my faith and blessed me in ways I could never have imagined.

I was 16 when I became pregnant. In the 70’s it seems it was not uncommon for girls to be “sent away” to have their babies. We were already moving to a new city so the secret was kept from all my friends and not many knew beyond the birth father and my immediate family. The guilt and shame I experienced made me want to be invisible. I’m thankful I did not have to live at the home “for unwed mothers”, which my parents had to insist on. I attended monthly meetings (?) and checkups with the adoption agency at the “home” where all the other girls lived. I went to the same alternative high school that most of them also attended. It was located around the block from the high school my sisters attended and the middle school my brother went to. I finished out my junior year there even after she was born in February. We moved to another part of the city to a different school district that summer. So after a very lonely and trauma filled year, life went back to normal, like nothing had ever happened… which of course is so ridiculous. I honestly tried.

I married just two and a half years later. Even though I told my husband about my pregnancy and adoption before we got married, we rarely spoke of it. We were blessed with six babies. The secret pretty much stayed a secret, even as we prayed about when to tell the six they had an older sister. Plans were made that didn’t work out and we kept thinking they all needed to be together, which is so hard once everyone starts growing up. The years just add up so quickly.

Then June 2, 2018. The day I learned my daughter’s name. She was now 40 years old. My world has not been the same since. I could not have imagined what it would be like to know her. I never allowed my thoughts to take me there, thinking she would never want to know me. I am certainly learning a lot about myself. And I’ve learned even more about the Lord. His sovereignty and His grace and mercy is so evident as I am going through this journey. I am so very blessed to have this opportunity to be a birth mother to my first baby girl. All of this has not been easy as I’ve dealt with emotions and grief that I never dealt with before, but God is faithful, and the joy is greater than the pain. I’m so thankful!!

As I am navigating through this life as a Christian, wife, mother, birthmother and grandmother, I can share through my story how God is a God of grace and mercy, who loves us and has made a way for our redemption through His Son. I’m praying that the glory of God is evident as His story is being played out in my story.

Any feed back is welcome. Just try to be kind. I’ve already taken this blog down twice from second guessing voicing my story-and then someone messages me wanting to send it to their birthmom….

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