Sunday, November 29, 2009


We spent Thanksgiving at my parent's home.  All of my parents' brothers and sisters were there, along with a few of my cousins.  Some of them I haven't seen in quite a while.  It was good to see everyone again.  It was also the first time that I've seen everyone since, well, you know.  It saddened me to know that I am not related genetically to half of my family. 

I did get to talk with my dad, briefly, about my conception.  I asked him if we could talk more when I see him again.  I'm glad it's out in the open now.

Seeing all of my family really stirred up a desire to know all of my family.  I wondered how my biological father spends his holidays.  I know that this time of year is difficult for people who have lost loved ones to death or who are just far away from them.  Now I'm getting a taste of it from experience. 

I feel very unsettled after this trip.  It's easy for me to wallow in the seeming hopelessness of it all.  Some moments over the last few days, I had to tell myself to keep breathing.  I keep reminding myself in those times when I just want to cry that I must cast my burden on the Lord, because he cares for me.  It doesn't mean that I can't cry, or be sad, or pray that somehow the Lord would allow me to know who he is.

It does mean, as Tim Tebow reminded football fans yesterday, that I must fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of my faith, and throw off the sin that so easily entangles me.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

About The Hymn

I want to explain a little bit about why I posted Light Shining Out of Darkness by William Cowper.  I first heard this hymn sung as a modern song by Jeremy Riddle - incredibly done, by the way.  This stanza really scared me and comforted me at the same time:

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take,
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy, and shall break
In blessings on your head.

It scared me because I've had a few clouds break on my head over the last few years.  We've all gone through difficult circumstances.  I hate clouds! 

It encouraged me because it reminded me that those things that we fear most are often the things that either drive us further away from God or closer to Him.  I need to take courage when I see the clouds forming, because while it may rain (or pour), those clouds aren't going to do anything God hasn't sent them to do.

To me, this is the most powerful part of the hymn:

Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.
His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding ev'ry hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flow'r.

It would be really easy to ask why God has allowed me to be conceived by a father who is not present in my life.  It seems like such a burden to carry, this not knowing.  But I think that line of questioning is the wrong line of questioning.  I don't think that God allowed it in the sense that he let them (my parents and the doctor and my biological father) create me in this fashion.  I think that Scripture shows us a God who is so involved with His creation that it was not permission that was granted, but rather it was part of God's plan - what He ordained. 

Are you familiar with Joseph whose life is included in the book of Genesis?  Joseph was hated by his ten older brothers because of their father's favoritism toward Joseph.  They hated him so much that they threw him into a pit and then pulled him back out of the pit only to sell him into slavery instead.  He was taken far away from his family and home as a slave in Egypt.  The ten brothers told their father that Joseph had been torn apart by a wild animal.  Long story short, in several years' time, Joseph went from being a slave, to a prisoner, to being second in command of Egypt. 

A famine spread across the land, but Egypt had a storehouse of food.  People from all over the area went to purchase food from Pharoah.  Joseph's ten brothers came before Joseph to buy food, not recognizing him as their brother.  After a long, drawn out process, Joseph, who still hadn't yet revealed his identity, determined that his brothers had repented from the evil that they had done to him and so he could not keep his identity secret any longer.  This is part of what he said to them:

"Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.  For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting.  God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance.  Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God..." (Genesis 45.5-8a)

The brothers did, indeed, sell Joseph into slavery.  But God ordained it to happen.  Joseph, the one who endured slavery, defamation of his character, prison life, separation from his family...he recognized that God sent him to Egypt through his brothers.

Toward the end of the narrative, Joseph says this to his brothers: "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive."  Joseph may have wondered why exactly his life was unfolding in this manner, but he could see God's providence, even in prison.
Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758), a pastor and one of America's greatest thinkers, said this about the sovereignty of God: "There has been a wonderful alteration in my mind, in respect to the doctrine of God's sovereignty.... The doctrine has very often appeared exceeding pleasant, bright and sweet.  Absolute sovereignty is what I love to ascribe to God."

Knowing the true circumstances of my conception has made me love the Lord all the more, because I can see Him working in my life.  Even in the darkest days, I knew that nothing I was going through was by chance or accident.  I don't know all of the whys, but I'm really ok with that. 

Even if you don't like what is going on in your life, God has His purpose for it.  Will you fight Him or trust Him?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

John Edwards and Fatherhood

This article by Russell D. Moore dates back to September 20, but I'm just now getting around to posting it here.  Dr. Moore talks about John Edwards' "love child" with his ex-mistress and fatherhood.  Just a snippet here:

Edwards risked more than his career or his party or even his country. He risked, if the stories are true, his little daughter’s very identity.

And that’s where it matters to us. Because no matter how many jokes are made about the “Brek Girl candidate,” we’re all vulnerable here.

We know from the Bible that a child learns who he or she is in relation to his or her father. That’s why persons in the scriptural story are known as “Joshua son of Nun” or “John son of Zebedee.”

You can read the whole article here.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

It's Still Surreal

It's been about 6 months since I found out about my conception.  The shock is gone, I think.  It's still surprising, though, to think that I have a biological father out there, somewhere, probably practicing medicine, somewhere.  And maybe I have half-siblings, somewhere.  And maybe, somewhere in his heart, does he wonder about me? 

I've wondered about him...what he looks like...what mannerisms of his that I might have...what he thinks about about that day in August of 1976...

He's known about me for 33 years.  I've known about him for 6 months.

He has no idea, but he has five amazing, beautiful grandchildren.  Three of them probably look just like him since they look just like me.  He is so missing out on knowing them.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My Husband's Sermon

I think I mentioned that my husband is my pastor. If not, I have now!  He's been preaching through Philemon, which is a little tiny book in the New Testament. The Apostle Paul was imprisoned in Rome when he wrote his letter to Philemon, who was a wealthy citizen of Colossae, a small town several hundred miles from Rome. Onesimus was one of Philemon's slaves, who had run away, somehow met Paul, and became a Christian. Apparently he had become close to Paul and helped to take care of Paul in prison, because Paul says of Onesimus that he was "my very heart." Because slaves were property of their master, it was illegal for Onesimus to run away. Paul was aware of the fact that Philemon had the power and authority to put Onesimus to death for running away.

So do you think that Paul hid Onesimus away? No, though Onesimus was "helping me while I am in chains for the gospel", he didn't. He actually sent Onesimus back to Philemon with a letter, asking him to reconcile with Onesimus since they were now brothers in Christ, and no longer just master and slave.

Part of my husband's point was that Christ brings reconciliation, not just between us and God, but also between people. A master and slave relationship became a relationship between brothers.

It made me think of my biological father. I want desperately to reconcile with him. I want him to know that I'm not angry that I don't know him. I want him to know that in some way, I do love him.

Another part of his sermon dealt with not wasting the opportunities that God gives us to bring Him glory. I could tell you the opportunities that I waste daily, but that would take up too much space here. I thought about this opportunity that God has given me in being donor conceived, though. Yes, I do see it as an opportunity. I've been given the opportunity to see God work in my life through this situation - an opportunity that I would not have had, had I been conceived the 'normal' way.

I've been given the gift of deep loss in that I've lost my biological father. That loss has caused me to see God, my Father, more clearly. He truly is so caring and loving and kind.

I've also been given the gift of losing what I thought was a completely unbroken connection to my Dad, the wonderful man who raised me. The first time I saw my dad after finding out about being DC'ed, I cried because I wanted to be his daughter in every way, both emotionally and biologically. It was painful to know that there is that disconnect, but it made me appreciate that our relationship isn't just an emotional relationship. Because he also loves the Lord, ours is a spiritually-linked relationship as well.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Light Shining Out of Darkness

I love this old hymn by William Cowper.  I thought it would be appropriate to share it here. 


by: William Cowper (1731-1800)

God moves in a mysterious way,
His wonders to perform;
He plants his footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never-failing skill,
He treasures up his bright designs,
And works his sov'reign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take,
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy, and shall break
In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust him for his grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding ev'ry hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flow'r.

Blind unbelief is sure to err,
And scan his work in vain;
God is his own interpreter,
And he will make it plain.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

What is my identity?

Identity can be a tricky thing to nail down, and I'm not talking about social security numbers, either.  Who am I?  I am a daughter.  I am a wife.  I'm a mother.  But what is my identity? 

It's funny how God prepared me to find out about my dad.  I spent 9 months prior to finding out about this situation thinking about how my identity must be in Christ.  Here is something I wrote on April 23, a month before my mother's conversation with me:

Maybe He (God) does this for you, too: for several months at a time, He seems to impress on me certain themes, usually through preaching and life in general. One of the things that He has been teaching me over the last 8 months has been that my position is in Christ.

I am a mother. But my children will grow up and I will no longer "mother" them as I do now. I am a wife. But my husband could die before me. I will no longer be a wife. But I am forever Christ's. As the song goes, "no power of hell, no scheme of man can ever pluck me from His hand." Paul puts it this way: "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8. 38, 39)

God was preparing me for the identity crisis that was headed my way.  He was so good to get me ready spiritually for what could have been a life shattering revelation.  His grace blows me away.  I don't deserve it yet he gives it anyway.

Monday, November 2, 2009

What This Has Done In My Life

Finding out that my dad isn't my biological father was pretty devastating. I felt as though who I am somehow cracked, like an old sidewalk that has worn with age. It was all I could think about. It seemed as though my entire childhood was based on a lie - my dad, who was such an important part of my childhood, was raising another man's child. When he looked at me, what did he think?

The fact is, though something in me broke, it wasn't a permanent broken-ness. It was cracked, but not unfixable. My dad does love me, and did love me and I know in my heart that he couldn't have loved me any more than if I were his biological child. Any questions that would arise in my mind as to whether he ever regretted having me are chased away by the knowledge that I am loved by my dad, even as the Parkinson's strips away his faculties.

As for my father whom I do not know, every waking moment was filled with thoughts of him. What does he look like? Would he like me? How am I like him? Do I have any of his personality? Did he marry and have children? How many times did he 'donate' - are there other siblings? I would look at my children and wonder who their grandfather is. I would look at myself and wonder who I was seeing in the mirror. Washing dishes and wondering about my grandparents. Grocery shopping and checking the faces of the tall men who have dark hair. It seemed to never end. There were days that I couldn't carry on conversations without struggling to focus. He is still in my thoughts, though not like he was.

All of this has caused me to be even more thankful to God because He has made me His child, which makes Him my Father. I have no doubt that I know who my true Father is, and that knowledge is more valuable to me than anything else. He will never hide His identity from me, never make me wonder who He is. He created me with the purpose of bringing Him glory, and I hope that my life does that. The Bible says that God works all things for good for those who love Him and who are called according to His purpose, which means that even in this situation, God is working things out for my good. That "good" may not look the way I expect it to look, but that is where I trust Him and learn that "good" is all in perspective. When Jesus died on the cross, those who had followed Him for three years and those who had loved Him didn't see any good at all. But once they understood that Jesus had to die but then rise again, their perspective changed. Suddenly, the cross was good because it made a way for us to be redeemed.

I may not fully see on this side of death what the good is in this situation, but I know that I can trust Christ.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Hard Days

When I first found out that my Dad isn't my biological father, I had no idea who I could talk to about it. I didn't know anyone who has advertised the fact that they are donor conceived. I couldn't afford a therapist. My pastor has never dealt with this before, but since my pastor is also my husband, he learned as we went. He was a comfort to me by holding me and loving me and letting me just talk, but he couldn't offer that "been there, done that" experience.

I needed someone to minister to me in a deep way. Telling me that I should be thankful for the dad that I have and that I'm selfish to want to know my biological father doesn't meet that need.  I needed someone to point me to the Father that I do know.  Fortunately I know how to pick up my Bible and read, because that's all I had as far as "therapy" - God Himself who knows exactly what I was feeling. 

There were four really hard, difficult, how-am-I-going-to-get-on-with-life kind of days.  The first day that I found out, followed by the next day, which was harder than the first.  "Shock" is a funny thing.  I think the second day was harder because the news was becoming reality.  Yet I was still in shock.  I think it was at least 2 months, maybe closer to 3 before I felt as though I wasn't in shock anymore.  How do you deal with the reality that your entire life (for me, 32 years) was spent believing that one man is your father, only to find out that he isn't?  My dad has had such a huge influence on me, good, bad, and ugly, but mostly for the good!  I felt that I was stuck in a nightmare and could not wake up.  I was helpless to do anything to change my situation.  So I prayed.

God really did answer in an incredible way.  He hasn't brought my biological father to my door-step (I have prayed that, though!) but He has given me the peace to know that He is not in shock, but has planned this for my good and His glory.  Sounds crazy, I know.  How does not knowing who my father is good for me?  Frankly, I don't know.  But I do know that the Bible says that He works all things for the good for those who love Him and who are called according to His purpose, so either the Bible is lying, or I just cannot yet understand how God is working this situation for my good.  I know Scripture doesn't lie, so that leaves me with waiting to see how it is worked out for my good.  I only know that God is good and as His child, He knows how to take care of me.  So even when it hurts, I trust Him.

The other two really hard days were the days that I found out there were no records left from my mother's visits to Dr. Aiman's offices and the first day that my house was quiet and I had time to think in silence.  That may have been the hardest day of all. 

My older children where gone to their grandparent's home, and my babies were napping.  The entire day was much less noisy than normal, and once the little ones were sleeping, it was really quiet.  No noise was intruding on my thoughts.  I had 6 weeks to settle in to this new reality, and it really hit me hard that afternoon: somewhere out there is a man who is my father.  How do I live not knowing who he is?  How do I go on not knowing where I came from?  Who my grandparents are/were?  Do I have half sisters and/or brothers?  How could I NOT know??

My emotions had my mind spinning out of control.  The weight of the whole situation was pushing my soul down into this darkness that I'd never experienced before.  When I first found out that I wasn't my dad's, I felt darkness trying to push into my heart, but it didn't get too far.  This time, the darkness wasn't pushing in on me, but I was slipping down into it.  I've never dealt with depression before, and thankfully, I haven't had any major traumas in my life that I had to experience on my own.  My husband and I lost our first baby to miscarriage, he has been unemployed, we've lived with both sets of our parents, but these were things that we went through together.  This situation, this having my heart ripped out...this was mine to deal with.  My husband was with me, for sure, but I felt alone. 

I could feel myself being pulled down into a pit of dispair and I was desperate to get out of it before it enveloped all of me.  But how do you get out of that if you can't change anything? 

My husband came home to find me crying over the sink in the kitchen.  He knew what I was going through, but neither of us knew that THIS was coming.  He sat on the couch with me while I blew up at him.  He didn't know how to help, but listening was what I needed from him and he did a great job of that. 

His best friend had also come home with him, so the two of them listened to me and then talked to me, and I don't remember any great fantastic things that they said, but they were there and that really helped.

After they left again, I got my Bible and read.  I don't remember what.  Somewhere in the Psalms.  God used His Word as a salve on my heart.  He plucked me out of the darkness.  He gave me peace.  Just as Jesus calmed the storm when He was on the boat with the disciples, He calmed the storm in my heart.