Friday, March 12, 2010


Adoption is a wonderful gift, I absolutely believe that, but I also know that it leaves us with questions. They are questions that we look for answers to pretty much our whole lives. For some there are holes in our stories and a lot of times it may feel like we are not completely whole because of our lack of answers. We wonder who we are, why we are here, and what we had done to be abandoned by the people who should have loved us the most.

We may not have any pictures of the first months or years of our lives which reminds us all over again of what we have lost. We look in the mirror and wonder who we look like, whose personality quirks we have, or if our biological parents even remember us.

As we grow older we ask harder and deeper questions which many people are unable to answer. Though our families love us, they have to stand there helplessly and watch as we struggle with so many unknowns.

I have been struggling my whole life dealing with all the questions that would hit me like a wave. I would lash out at my parents because I thought they stood in the way of my getting answers. Looking back now, I see that my parents truly just loved me and didn’t know how to help bring closure into my heart.

I know how hard and painful carrying all those questions around in your heart is, I’ve done it for many years. As the years pass, I am realizing more and more that I may never know the answers to some of my deepest questions. Sometimes I think that is the hardest to accept, that full closure is impossible.

What has kept me going is my faith that God knows what He doing, even when I think He doesn’t. I totally believe that if God wants me to know more about my past, He will open those doors and make it possible. Maybe God out of love for me is protecting me from knowledge that I am not ready to handle right now, or ever. God always has our very best in mind. I do not see my tomorrows, God does. He wants us to trust Him with every area of our lives, the good, the bad and the ugly.

Looking back I see that it was out of my desperation, brokenness and need to make the pain go away that drove me to God. If at my adoption, God waved a magic wand and transformed me into a new person with no painful past, I would never have turned to Him for help. It is only when we come to God with all of our broken pieces, all the anger, questions, fears, insecurities, excuses, doubts, and pain that He can start to rebuild His Masterpiece.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3: 5, 6)

"For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29: 11)

Friday, March 5, 2010

A Matter of the Heart

Stealing was my biggest struggle when I was growing up. Looking back I can laugh at my antics, but when it was a reality, it wasn’t so funny. There are many reasons why I stole; some were because I felt like I needed to hoard food as much as possible. I swore to myself I would never go hungry again when I came to America, so I stole at the first hint of hunger. I also stole because it was fun. I know this doesn’t make a lot of sense to parents who are driven crazy by this nasty habit, but stealing for me was an adventure. I also stole as a way of punishing my parents when I was angry at them or when I had just been punished.

Stealing was a huge problem for me and I honestly tried to stop. I would go about two days and I would be back stealing again. I would be overwhelmed by the feeling of total personal failure at my attempts to control myself. I thought I was a really messed up human being who couldn’t stop herself from stealing a cookie even when I saw how much my behavior hurt my family.

As I have been working through issues from my past with God, He impressed on my heart that it was time to deal with this issue. You may not know this, but God completely understands theft. The very first sin ever committed was food theft! Adam and Eve ate the fruit from a tree God told them specifically not to and broke their relationship with God. (Genesis 3) Even one of Jesus’ twelve disciples was a thief. He stole money regularly from the group and in the end betrayed Jesus.(John 12: 1-6) Jesus never sits down to have a chat with Judas about how stealing was wrong, instead he went straight to the root of the problem.

“For out of the Heart of a man come evil thoughts, murder, adultery sexual immorality, theft, false testimony and slander.” (Mathew 15:19)
I have discovered that stealing isn’t the core problem; it is the result of a heart problem. I may have grown out of stealing, but it doesn’t mean I don’t struggle with more mature problems that come up when I don’t keep my heart in check.
So how do you and I get help for our hearts? We have to go back to the one who designed and gave us our hearts, God.

“My son, [my daughter] give me your heart and let your eyes keep to my ways.” (Proverbs 23: 26)

“Do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

If you struggle with stealing and are trying to break your arm to make yourself stop, I suggest work on your heart. Am I saying stealing is right? No. I am saying if you don’t fix the root of the problem you will never be able to stop and you will drive yourself crazy trying. Believe me, I know from personal experience!!
God understands our hearts, and today He wants us to trust Him enough to hand over the jumbled pieces.
“May the word of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Oh Lord my Rock and my Redeemer.”(Psalm 19:14)

Monday, February 1, 2010


Have you ever watched a person fix something that was once broken? It takes patience, time, space and they have to be pretty gentle with the broken item. It may take lots of tools and several attempts but when the job is done, it is something that is celebrated. Yes there may be a little mark or seam where there never was before but it is so minute nobody even notices.

You know the same goes for our lives. When our world is shattered by tragedy or abuse, rejection, loss, betrayal, the damage done may seem irreparable. I am saying this because I have had to walk down some dark roads that led to heartache, devastation and I know what it is like to wonder if your world will ever go back to “normal”.

As a little girl, I remember sitting in Russia, wondering what had I ever done to deserve being in the orphanage. I remember the last time I saw my brother and the last time my sister hugged me. I remember looking at my birth mother and realizing that she didn’t really care. These are just moments, but these brief moments created fractures inside of my heart and when I boarded that plane to America, they came along.

With all the wonder, the joys and excitement that comes with being adopted, at the end of the day, what happens to that broken, confused and wounded heart? What happens is that it sits there, painfully throbbing until we choose to go find someone or something to help us. Some choose healthy solutions, may it be through counseling, friends, family or God. Others choose to mask the pain with drugs, alcohol, rage, or silence.

I found a God that loves to mend broken lives. It is one of His many jobs and He is actually really good at it! He wants to make our lives whole again because He completely and absolutely loves us.

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord , plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
“Oh Lord, My God I called to you for help and you healed me.” (Psalm30:2)

In the Bible when Jesus healed people He not only healed them physically but He also restored their broken hearts. People that had their lives devastated by a physical handicap were also hurting on the inside. Jesus put their lives back together but you know what, those people then had to go live a life that proved they had been healed. They could not go back to begging or being outcasts, or living in their crippled mindsets. They were restored and they had to make choices that would lead them to staying that way.

The same applies for us today as it did for the men, women and children that were restored by Jesus. When we go to Jesus with our broken lives, He will begin to put back together with us the life that has been torn apart. He is faithful and will do His part, but we also have to do our part and that is to live a life that proves Jesus is restoring us. A life that once was broken now holds the refined marks of a God who heals and redeems.

“But He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him and by His wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53: 5)

Monday, January 25, 2010

How then should I Live?

How do I live today without letting my past influence every moment? This question I have struggled to get an answer to for years. Growing up, I always felt like I was chained to my past and I could never get free. I always thought that I had to either let it overwhelm me, or completely ignore it and act like I was totally fine.

I read verses on being free; I did Bible studies on breaking free from bondage, I would pray and beg God to make me normal. Nothing seemed to work, and there were days when I would get so angry at my birth mother. I would blame her for everything that was wrong in my life. I would say, “If only she hadn’t drank. If only she had loved me, If, If, If” …. And I would become bitter, angry, depressed and lash out at everyone around me. It wasn’t my fault that I had all these issues; it was somebody else’s! So I just decided to be a victim and make everyone suffer for the bad choices my birth mother had made.

I don’t know if you have struggled through this confusing maze that leaves you discouraged and desperate for answers. If you have or still are, I want to tell you that, ‘confused’ is exactly where Satan wants us to be. If we are upset, hurt and confused, then we will turn on not only the people that love us, but we will also question God’s character.

“For God is not a God of confusion but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14:33a)

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come so that you may have life and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)

It is pretty clear what Satan’s goal is when it comes to our lives, and it’s also just as clear that God’s heart is quite the opposite. He wants us to have a rich, full, happy life that is not filled with confusion and turmoil. The hard part is how do you and I make it our reality today?

We have to believe that God loves us as we are right now, but He loves us too much to leave you and I this way. We have to accept that this day God has something good planned for our lives and to actively seek out the good in spite of the negative. We have to put aside the questions, doubts, upset and tears so that God can start the process of healing. It is a day by day choice. Sometimes we will have to go over the same things repeatedly and God is willing to go with us! Trusting God with the past is the scariest thing, because it no longer becomes ours to control. God will do with it whatever He believes is necessary, but you can be certain of one thing! God will create something beautiful out of your story.

Does letting go of whatever happened to you mean it erases the pain? No, it simply means that now God can walk through the pain with you and help you sort everything out so that you can go on to live a happy life.

Even today, thirteen years after my adoption, I still struggle with letting go of my past and not being defined by my early years in Russia. The pain never really disappears; it only gets easier to give back to God when it comes creeping in.

Jesus is on your side, He is for you during every step of this journey!

“Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.”
(Mathew 11:28)

“I am the Lord your God who teaches you what is best for you and directs you in the way you should go.” (Isaiah 48:17)

“The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. The sorrows for the appointed feasts, I will remove from you, they are burden and a reproach to you.” (Zephaniah 3:17-19)

Monday, January 11, 2010

We are truly loved

“ Not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were influential, not many were of noble birth, But, God CHOSE the foolish things of the world, to shame the wise, God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things and the despised things and the things that are not to nullify the things that are, so that no one can boast before Him.” (1 Corinthians 1:26-30)

When I read these verses, I get so excited, because here I see beyond a doubt that God loves..I mean really LOVES to take the worse possible circumstances and turn them around. He chose you and me because He saw lives that He could transform, that He could bless and lavish with His love. When we grasp the amazing miracle of a second chance at life, we can with all honesty say, ‘I have done nothing to deserve this gift!’
God has chosen us out of the depths of the world to Love him, to know Him and praise Him.

At one point in our lives, we were nothing in the eyes of the world; we were mistreated and left to fend for ourselves. What Satan intended for harm, God has turned around for our good. He gives us a promise that He will never leave us or forsake us and God will never go back on His Word.

“For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. THEN you will call upon me and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when me seek with all your heart….I will be found by you declares the Lord …(Jeremiah 29:11-14)

All throughout the Bible, God over and over states His commitment, His affection for the fatherless, the orphans. God has clearly chosen us, but like in every friendship, we also need to choose. Today, we have a choice; we are no longer powerless, because God has put freedom in our hands. He will not push us; He will walk with us, love us, encourage us, believe in us, hope and wait with open arms.

Today if you are having doubts or questions about who God is, don’t feel guilty! Everyone has to work out the knots and kinks in their lives; it is part of this messy world but remember that God wants to help you with the process. Give God a chance and a little room in your life, because, “He who began a good work in you will carry it out to completion”... (Philippians 1:6)

“Be still and know that I am God…..Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken, nor my covenant of peace be removed says the Lord who has compassion on you, O afflicted city lashed by storms and not comforted….you will go out with Joy and be led forth in peace, the mountains and the hills will burst in song before you and all the trees of the field will clap their hands…I have redeemed you, I have summoned you by name…You Are Mine.” ( Isaiah 54:10-12; Isaiah 55:12; Isaiah 43:1)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The pain of it all

I am writing about pain this week because it is something I am working through in my own life and wanted to share it with you. Some weeks ago marked my adoption from Russia, 13 years ago. I have had many of these weeks come and go over the years, but this year it is different. This year, it is bittersweet because I can’t stop thinking about my biological family somewhere across the ocean. In the past it was easier because I had forgotten their names and faces, but this year, I found their names again. There are days when I truly want to sit down and bawl my eyes out, but I just push the tears back down and keep living. I think about them, I pray for them, but the pain of losing them never fully fades away.

What does this have to do with your life?

Well, I think it is a common theme that all adopted children have, pain and loss. What really matters though is what we do with the pain. Do we push it down, do we ignore it, do we use laughter as a cover, do we become bitter, do we hurt others, so they can understand what’s going on inside of you, or have we learned to hand it over, continually, daily, to God?

For many years, I used a great big smile to cover up the overwhelming pain I felt over the loss of my birth family. I seemed like the happiest adopted little girl, but my facade began to crack as I began to be more independent. I was blessed with a mentor who wouldn't play along with my games, and a God who was committed to my healing. I have learned that God respects us as human beings and what we have walked through. He wants to restore what people have broken or hurt inside and He knows it is a lifelong process that can’t be rushed.

“You are a pearl of great price”… A pearl is a beautiful thing, but it is only is created by extreme pain. They have always fascinated me, pearls. A grain of sand falls into a living mollusk shell, it is trapped in the softest spot and out of pain and shock, and the mollusk goes to work to get rid of the cause for its pain. Over time, it creates something beautiful from all the pain, a pearl, which is then sold for a high price because of its high value.

I believe that is what God is saying to you and me when He says , “You are a pearl of great price”…That if you only let me help you, if you only let me love you. If you only looked around, you would see that I am right there beside you. ..through all this pain, despite of all this pain, I can make something beautiful!

Is it going to be easy or pleasant or instant? Sadly no, but it is a journey to the heart of God. What you have endured matters in God eyes, and He will use it for something good, if we let Him have the painful experiences of our lives. Trusting God sometimes with the deepest, darkest, most painful areas of our lives is really scary and we would rather not then take that chance. Right? But we have a God who is faithful, gentle, loving, understanding, and patient. Who sees us for what we can be, with our entire potential, not who we once were. He wants to hear your voice; nothing you are ever going to say to God is going to shock Him. He has been loving and walking with deeply hurt people for thousands of years.


Today, I encourage you to go to God with your past, with your pain, and let Him begin a work in you that will create a pearl of great price.
(Isaiah 41:9-10, 42:9, 43:4, 48:17, and Jeremiah 3:3)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Where was God?

The title to this blog is a serious, haunting, question that we all ask when we look back at the life we had to walk through. It wasn't fair, it wasn't right, and if, we say to ourselves, there is a loving God why...WHY.. did He allow it to happen.
This question is what I have wrestled with my whole life, honestly. I look back on my days in Russia and I have the temptation out of my pain to raise a fist to heaven and scream, "WHY,WHY ME GOD, WHERE WERE YOU?..IT WASN'T FAIR,IT HURT,IT STILL HURTS!"

I remember telling my dad when I was about eleven or twelve, that I had decided there was no God. It seemed to me that God wasn't giving me an explanation for the years of pain or my loss and so I was going to walk away from Him
I wanted someone, something, to soothe the pain and anger I felt but couldn't express.

I sat in my room days later, staring through my tears at the Bible that sat open on my desk. I flipped through it angrily and I asked God to prove to me that He was worth believing in. There was no thunder or lighting, no earthquake or fire. I sat there breathlessly waiting and all I heard was silence. I looked down at the page my Bible was opened to and my eyes fell on words I had never seen or read.

" Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you, See I have engraved you on the palms of my hands and you are ever before me." (Isaiah 49:15,16)

I caught a glimpse of His Love that day and I realized that God wanted me to give Him my pain, because it was way too big for me to carry.

If I hold on to the pain, I need to expect that over time I will grow angry and bitter. If I let go of the pain, I need to expect alot of tears, alot of trust, and alot of patience.

Believe me, the only part I am really good at is the crying part. But even our tears are treasured by God.
"You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book." ( Psalms56:8)

Will I ever fully understand why I had to walk through years of abuse and neglect in my early childhood? I dont know, I really have no amazing answer to you who are searching for one. I can only say this, that when I give God my pain and let Him have control of my life, something good always comes out of the mess.

God wants you to ask Him the hard questions, He wants you to turn to Him and ask for His help, because He is more then delighted to restore what has been fractured.

God will help you only to the point you are willing to be helped. If its an inch, He will help you with that inch and wait with you until you are ready to give Him the next inch. He will not push because you are a beloved child that He wants to bring back to wholeness. Time is not an issue God worries about.

Every single time I have gone back to asking God where He was when I was being abused and hurting. He tells me, yet again, that He was right there by my side.
He gave my birth mother, and all the other people in my past life free will, just like He gave you and me the right to choose our own choices. Did those people take advantage of that gift and hurt us? Yes. But God can not go against who He is and take away the gift He gave to people out of Love.
What God will do is wade into our muck and pain with us and offer His help. We dont have to be defined by our past and the marks people have left on our lives.
The amazing thing is we are free to choose!