I just spent the weekend with a collective group of birthmothers. We were retreating to a safe place to be and heal and find acceptance for our journey through placing a child for adoption. We laughed. We wept. We did art therapy. Some of us didn’t make it through the weekend. We talked about joy and love. We talked about hate and pain. We took a walk through our individual stories, the moments of that particular adoption journey, and we asked, how does this fit with God’s story?
That is the ultimate question, right? How does this present chaos and struggle and grief fit with an eternal God of love, joy and redemption?
We wrote it all out on two panes of glass.
Our story: Grief, pain, anger. Joy, love, peace. Gut-wrenching. Disappointment. Surprise.
God’s story: Grief, pain, anger. Joy, love, peace. Gut-wrenching. Disappointment. Surprise.
They looked a lot alike, we all had to admit it. The circumstances were different, but the truth was present.
This told us two things.
First, God can relate to us and we can relate to Him. He is not untouchable or unapproachable. He is sympathetic and receptive. He gets it. That’s an important thing in a room full of birthmothers. So, often our chief complaint is that hardly anyone can relate to us; they just don’t get it. But there it was, plain as day. Jesus gets us. We are not alone.
The second thing the truth told us was that all of the “bad” has purpose, a purpose for good. How can that be? We have a hard time understanding when people beg us to choose life and then look at us in disgust during our pregnancy and in our process after placement. Post-placement life for a birthmother is a train they can’t get off of. The ride keeps taking them up and down but never stops because the story stands as it happened. We cannot take away the pain and anger and grief because it would no longer be our story. Likewise, we cannot ignore the joy and love that are so real and present in birth of our child.
And maybe that’s the point. Jesus’ “bad” was important and relevant for our good. We couldn’t ignore His “bad” because it was vital to His good. It comes to us, then, with that truth before us. If we can relate to God, our “bad” is important and relevant for our good. But it’s still bad, right? I mean, because it feels bad and looks bad and others agree that it is bad.
So many times I have come to my view of God by way of my circumstances or my story. I have tried to organize my thoughts about the truth, using my truth.
My truth. My truth is not sufficient because my truth is temporary. I have to know God’s truth and His story in order to understand mine.
Could my “bad” be a gross misunderstanding of what bad is? Could bad be defined as anything that separates us from Christ? If that is true, my adoption process has led me straight to Christ, connected me to Him in a radical way, and is therefore good. All this time of misunderstanding my pain and running from it…Should I be embracing it instead, the way Jesus embraced the Cross?
I look again at the two panes of glass sitting side-by-side, and the questions come.
Could it be that this train is not headed for a wreck, but for a deeper relationship with Jesus? Could that moment of sin so many years ago be a catalyst for your overwhelming redemption? Could you be free, in Christ, to process and feel all of these things, in order to relate to Him? All these little rejections and forgotten birthdays and lonely Mother’s Days and misunderstood intentions and need, oh this desperate need, for your feelings and process to be valid…Could all of this suffering be a gift? To know and be known?
The truth comes as well, and the truth frees us.
He suffered to be intimate with you. You have suffered and can be intimate with Him. You are not alone. He gets it.