I heard an incredible story of a Korean women who was given up at 4 years old. Her mother chose to marry and be protected over taking care of her half-breed daughter. She was abandoned, lonely and had experiences in her youth, that many adults have not had to endure. She fed herself bugs, slept in fox holes and was abused by others of her same race because she was half as much as them. She wasn't just a bastard in Korea she was a Toogie.
Our pastor shared her story out of Lee Strobel's book," The Case for Grace." Her name is Stephanie and today she ministers to orphans in Korea and leads many to Christ. During his sermon, he discussed how even after she was adopted by an American couple she never felt good enough. They loved her but still she had to be the best, because in her heart she was still that little street urchin that was a Toogie. I, for one, could relate to a very small part of the story. I am a bastard just like her, however, our stories are very different. I was from a middle class family and I learned of my birth status when I was 12 years old. I had continued to have a re-occurring nightmare, always on Halloween. I was Dorothy of the Wizard of Oz and something very evil was chasing me. The ironic part of my story is I lived in New York and now I live in Kansas. I guess that the dream was partially right anyway. Back to my point though, in the book it denotes how she did not cry, kept everything deeply bottled up inside and worked for image and perfection and that's where we are exactly alike. It took a major situation in my professional life to unbundle and free years of anger, frustration and a sense of lacking more than being. Maybe that's why I chose sales. In sales, you are only as good as your last sale. No one cares about what you did yesterday, you have to keep going, be better, run faster and make more money. You are never enough and for years I have chased that thought. I am not enough. Maybe you can relate. This world has a way of making you feel like you are Dorothy running from the evil witch and you just keep running wondering when all the chaos will stop and you will just be enough.
Stephanie reached that point and so did I. The challenges, thoughts and confusion are what make us depend on God. As we seek Him, we find him and how I have sought His guidance, His light and His will. Bastard to me is one of the worst words ever until today. Until my pastor said that Stephanie's father told her a story of a boy who was a bastard, who grew to be a man that had laid in straw, was severely abused, tortured and gave His life. That boy was Jesus. His father was not Joseph. Joseph was His earth father but God was His Father and all of the sudden I felt a quiet in my heart, a sense of being and an understanding what the last couple of years were for me. They have been about casting my image, anger, abandonment, and perfectionism to Christ and saying, "I am weak but You are strong."
Words hurt and emotions that are bottled up to the point of storing our tears aren't what make us strong. We may have overcome them but none of that matters without Jesus. My first thought every time I write is that I hope you like reading my words and I hope they are meaningful to you but that's not what matters anymore. What matters is the fact that I know I'm weak and through Jesus His Grace is sufficient. How I was conceived and who had a part in that conception doesn't matter. What matters is that God said, "You are mine."
Fame and fortune are what the world is about. The image we create is just that, void of substance and lacking of our purpose and call. Jesus called us to spread the word to the nations. He prayed and prayed to remain in His Father and until His very last breath He did. You may be dealing with many circumstances that are out of your control and praying for deliverance. I get that, I've done that. He hears you and when we can say that we are grateful for all the bumps, lumps, molding and pruning, we will begin to see our full potential. It has taken 51 years for me to feel the kind of peace I felt today. To sit in church and realize there is no shame in what or who I came from. I am not unclean because by GRACE I was saved! I did absolutely nothing to achieve it and really don't deserve it. And yet, He gave it to me anyway.
If the following words resonate with you today, understand one thing. God is grace. So here are just a few that I want you to pray about with me. They are:
Abandonment, shame, bastard, unworthy, awkward, ugly, babbling, idiot, sad, emotional, angry, image, perfectionist, driven, controlling, unemotional, saintly, judgmental, broken, abused, tyrant, smart, stupid, dirty, gross, unclean, wreck, killer, excuse ridden, co-dependent, coveting, touchy, bigot, argumentative, addict, sexually promiscuous, orphan, confused and broken.
These words describe many who have come to love Jesus Christ. In their hearts, they were unworthy to wash His feet but by Grace we are saved. He didn't come for the one who believes themselves to be mighty, He came for the broken, bruised, and repentant. He came for you!
Once again, my Lord and Savior meets me on the road of my own thoughts and beliefs. Once again, I am washed with a picture that reminds me that He has gone through everything I might possibly face in this world. I am His, which makes me wonder why He would want to love a wretch like me. And then again, this story and the many in the Bible remind me of why I love Him so. With all my faults, confusion and constant berating, He hits me with this story. I am enough because His grace is sufficient for me. Please pray that God would reveal His grace in our every day lives. My prayer is that these words would because a harmony of God's great song of Grace.
2 Corinthians 12:1-10 NIV:
1 I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord.
References for 2 Corinthians 12:1
2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows.
3 And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows—
4 was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell.
5 I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses.
6 Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say,
7 or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.
8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.