I struggled getting through a few days, these past weeks since reading the police reports. Truth be told, I’ve felt kind of frantic at times. My intention, sending away for the reports, was to find myself. Find some glimpse of who I was in those years. But I found no trace of myself in those reports.
“I know what I need.” I thought. “I need to send away for my adoption file.”
[The court system seals the files after adoptions are finalized]
“If I get my hands on those files, I’ll be able to see me and connect with myself. I need to see her!”
An unquenchable thirst to connect with her, the little girl I was, overwhelmed me. Thought after thought, feeling upon feeling poured into my mind, consuming every bit of space – Occupying all of my senses and even my sanity it seemed, at times, these past weeks. I paced the hall in sensory overload. I needed to unplug. I went to bed for the respite you get from a nap after a good, good cry.
Once the tears slowed, my breath less heavy, I heard God speak. I don’t audibly hear Him. I hear him in my spirit-mind. In a compassionate, comforting voice He says “Ohhhh Teresa, you won’t find your voice or your ‘self’ in those papers. As you’ve already seen, you aren’t present in them at all. You’ll only find the voice of those outside yourself. There is no amount of going back to help you find her, that time is past. They didn’t see you, but I do. I will tell you who you are and I will connect you to her. You are here now and she is within you. I am within you – you are within me – and I have held her safe for you all these years. I continue to hold you now.”
It was comforting to hear His words and know this truth. In that, I find myself able to rest. I’m in mourning for the loss of that time and connection to me. It’s not going to be an instant connection as I’d like but I know God doesn’t heal the way I want it. He heals the way I need it. I look forward to a time I see and feel clearly. In the truth of Him, there’s rest and ease for my soul as it aches toward clearing. There’s a point to it all. I drifted off into nap land and awoke with greater willingness to let Him lead me through, slowly. I love the times I hear and see him speak to my soul.
I was three years old the first time I heard God speak to me and I must confess, even though I’ve heard Him my entire life, I’ve also tuned Him out. There are seasons I’ve walked with Him and seasons I’ve run as hard and as fast as I could, from anything having to do with Him and His ‘people’.
The first time I heard God with my spiritual ears, I simultaneously saw the devil and his destructive forces (with my spiritual-eyes). I will never forget it!
My birth father was tall, dark, and handsome. I didn’t grow up with him but my birth mother, Julia, often showed me his picture. The little I did know about my Father, Sam, was just a memory that replayed within my mind’s eye throughout childhood. I didn’t find out until I connected with Julie again, when I was an adult, but she confirmed the scene in my mind was a factual event; even all the details of the cabinets and green shag carpet I stood upon.
I stood at the threshold between the kitchen and the living room behind me. Darkness was at my back and the kitchen in front of me was brightly lit. A demonic, deep roar swooshed in from behind and above me. It entered the atmosphere, hovered and swarmed above my father and his brother, in the kitchen. The demon’s face was defined by black smoke, his body like a dragons tail shifting into invisibility, dropping the palpable residue of his presence – thicker and heavier than heatwaves.
In that moment, God described what was happening, play-by-play, helping it make sense to my three year old self. He comforted me in the moment by explaining [by impressions and feelings within me] what was going to happen and why it was happening, instants before every move was made.
Sam and his brother were fighting over a drug deal. Cocaine. I was only three, but God’s explanation input the meaning of all the words that describe it. My uncle was angry and violent. He grabbed a butcher knife and stabbed my father in the the chest. To this day I can still envision it all so clearly. God told me about the demon. He also told me my father would live but Sam would have to go away. God told me I would never know Sam as a father and it was for my own good. God told me drugs and the demon would rule Sam and my uncle and my mom. The demon left the house and the ambulance carried my father away. I never saw it again but its face and the feel of its presence is not forgotten.
My father and uncle and mother invited that demon into their lives, and by default, anyone else who came into contact with them. The demon fed off of their lives, as it did generations before them. Like a vacuum it pulled in the darkness to them. And darkness sat wherever they refused to let light enter. We have to be willing to let light enter when it calls for us. It’s a choice. The pain of light can be searing but that’s because the light burns away the dark. [Thankfully, my mom finished her life better off than the years I describe here. We found peace and love with one another]
God isn’t to blame for the bad in my life but He is the reason I’ve been able to survive it. He is the Love that keeps my heart. He put into effect the natural flow of life and choices. Sometimes he intervenes when its necessary but mostly He lets us choose our path. He is here, always willing to run in the background, working to help us find our way to Him.
Terri is the shortened version of Teresa, the name my birth mother gave me. It’s the name I carried through all trauma you’ve read about so far; a name I learned to reject, hate, abuse and keep down. I wanted to erase Terri from existence just as everyone else had forsaken her. For a long time I believed God had no precious name for me. He hadn’t called me into existence as He did my own kids. I believed He couldn’t and didn’t claim me.
Ohhhh but he claims me! He calls me. He has a precious name for me. I am His daughter. And He is my God. With all I’ve experienced and lived through I know this to be 100% true. I learn it ever more deeply all the time. As I continue writing, sharing my life with you, I believe you’ll come to see it for yourself too. He claims you! He calls you! He has His own name for you. And it’s nothing short of sacred and precious.
I flow with the waves of hope and joy and fear and aches, knowing God will not let me fall. I’ll not be put to shame. It Is Well With My Soul.
You can enter His house doubting. Empty. Untrusting. Uncertain and unclear. But I promise you, you won’t leave the way you came. Step into God. Let the light in. In the meantime, in the same way I keep you who read my blog in prayer, keep me in your good thoughts and prayers too as I prepare to go deep for my next blog post titled, Not My Shame. This week I am just not quite prepared to go there.
God is our refuge and strength, and ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.
*if this is your first reading, be sure to go back and read the previous posts.