Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Streams of Mercy...

"to choose to take as one's own; make one's own by selection; to take or receive into any kind of new relationship." 
"to affirm, embrace, seize, take over"

           My name is Hillary and I am currently working at Lifeline! I just joined the family a few weeks ago and I am so happy to be blogging today!
A few weeks ago I was asked to blog about my adoption story. So my prayer is that you are encouraged and filled up with the Father’s love and affection for you as you read what He has done in my life!
At six weeks old, I was adopted into a wonderful family. I have a wonderful mother, father, and older brother. Through the years I have also gained a sister-in-law and a niece and a nephew who is due in a few months!
            I always knew I was adopted. My parents always told me I was adopted, and always wanted me to know. They always told me I was theirs from the beginning and that they never wanted to keep it from me. The funny thing is when I tell people I am adopted, they look very surprised because I look a lot like my mom and dad! Even my best friend in high school didn’t believe I was adopted!
            I grew up in an amazing and loving home. My family is very important to me and I am so thankful that the Lord chose them to be my family. Through the Lord, I have been blessed with a huge family on my dad’s side (30+ cousins!) and a small, loving and caring family on my mom’s side. There was never a time in my life that I didn’t feel loved by my family. My mom tells me stories of the first day they brought me home from the agency. She told me of the many family members and friends that came by the house the first day I was home. So it is safe to say, I was loved from the moment my parents brought me home.
            Again, I went through life always knowing I was adopted. Though at a young age I didn’t really understand what that meant. As I became older, I grew more and more interested about my birth mom. We did not have much information on her except we knew she was a young teenager when she became pregnant. When I was in 10th grade, I became even more interested in finding out who my birth mother is. My English teacher in high school gave a persuasive writing assignment one day in class. A topic that was listed was “Open v Closed Adoption.” She approached me and said that she thought I would like to write on this because she knew I was adopted. From there, I began researching about open and closed adoption which led me to contacting my adoption agency to ask them about these topics. A long story short, I finished the paper with a greater knowledge on these topics but also with a new interest.
            After I finished the paper, I remember riding in the car with my mom and asking her about possibly contacting my birth mom. At first, I was nervous because I didn’t want to hurt my parents by asking them about my birth mom. But again, I know the Lord chose them to be my parents for a reason. From the very beginning, my parents have been 110% supportive. I know this process was extremely hard for them. I knew it was going to be hard to somewhat, let me go and find out “who I am.” While in the car, my mom told me that I had a letter that my birth mother had written me. At the time I didn’t know that I had a letter, so I was really anxious to read it. The agreement was that when I turned 18, I would be able to read the letter.
            So fast forward a few years and it is my 18th birthday. My parents handed me a handwritten letter that my birth mother had written 18 years ago. At first I didn’t cry when I read it, but a few months later, I sat down by myself and read the letter again and began to cry. I cried because my birth mother told me how much she loved me and that she wanted the best for me. I cried because I saw how a young teenager had to make such a grown-up decision. Reading her letter made me realize that she had to give up a lot in order that I could live and have a life she wanted me to have. I never had a doubt that my birth mother didn’t love me. And through the letter, I began seeing not only her heart but the Lord’s heart for me.

I will not leave you as orphans;
I will come to you.
-John 14:18

            The letter sparked many thoughts about where I came from and what my birth mother was like. When I turned 19, I was able to access my file at the adoption agency and begin searching for my birth mother. It took a few months but when we found her, I really wanted to communicate with her. Through the social worker at the agency, my birth mother and I were able to communicate through emails. She told me where she has been the past few years and what she was doing now. She even sent me current pictures of her and her family. It was really neat being able to see what she looks like and getting to see that she has a family of her own! I was able to tell her about myself through emails, but I felt that I was unable to communicate what I was feeling. I expressed to her that I really would like to have a phone call with her and be able to talk verbally. So a few months pass, and the time came for she and I to talk on the phone. I was nervous, excited, along with other emotions. When she picked up the phone, it was awkward at first, but then we began talking. One thing I will never forget from the phone call is that Jen (my birth mom) told me that she never forgot about me and that she always thought of me. I knew that she probably thought of me but hearing her say that just made me stand back and realize the sacrifice she made 20 years ago. I explained to her that I really wanted to talk on the phone so that I could express how thankful I am. I was able to share with her what the Lord had done in my life because of the choice she made 20 years ago. I told her that I really wanted to meet her so I could thank her in person. I will always remember that day and how I became even more thankful for God’s sovereignty not only in my life, but in Jen’s life as well.
            So what does being adopted mean to me? Being adopted has added a lot to my life. I probably wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for Jen’s decision. About two years ago, the Lord really opened my eyes to what being adopted means. Going back to the letter she wrote me, seeing how much she truly loved me, the Lord opened my eyes to see that just like Jen, He too had given up so much for me to live. He had given up His Son so that I could live and have the life He always wanted me to have. He too faced the pain, of given up someone that He loved so dearly so that other’s might live. He has dreams for me and plans for me that I cannot even fathom. Though I was saved at age 13, I began to fall in love with the Lord even more through this new journey in my life. As I tried to process all of what the Lord was showing me, He revealed even more to me! He brought these verses to my mind:

“For you formed my inward parts;
You knitted me together in my
Mother’s womb.
I praise You, for I am fearfully and
wonderfully made.
Wonderful are Your works;
My soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden
from You,
when I was made in the secret,
intricately woven in the depths of
the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed
in Your book were written, every one
Of them,
The days that were formed for me,
When as yet there was none of them.”
-Psalm 139:13-16 (ESV)

Though I had heard and read this verse many times in my life, this was the first time I began to actually see this verse come alive. The Lord began reminding me that He had (and still has) a plan for me even before I was thought of, even before He created the universe, before all these things, He knew me. I began to cry thinking of how great the Father is! The days that are before me now, “…were formed for me.” You and I have a purpose here. I wasn’t some mistake in a teenager’s life and you weren’t a mistake either. The Lord began to pour His thoughts into my mind and tell me that He has a plan for my life. In the midst of graduating college, trying to find a job, a place to live, in all the craziness, He, the Creator of everything you and I see, has a plan not just for me, but for every single person. He has a plan that is better than anything I can ever imagine. Knowing that my future is in the hands of a Sovereign and Faithful God quieted my anxious heart. My heart became so full of how He has orchestrated every single detail in my life (big and small). 
Being adopted has opened so many doors in my life. I have been able to connect with others around me, and tell them my story. I have also been given so many opportunities in my life. I have been blessed with an amazing family and friends. I have been able to go on several mission trips and most importantly, I have been able to hear the gospel proclaimed throughout my life. Through Jen’s self-less decision, and through the Lord’s renewing mercies, I have been given “a hope and a future.”

For [the Spirit which] you have now received [is] not a
spirit of slavery to put you once more in bondage to fear,
but you have received the Spirit of adoption
[the Spirit producing sonship]
in [the bliss of] which
we cry, Abba (Father)! Father!
-Romans 8:15 (Amplified Bible)

Throughout this journey, the Lord has given me a heart for the orphans in our world today. He has also given me a burden for the young women who find themselves in a crisis pregnancy or who have taken the route of abortion. The Lord opened my eyes to see how these women need Him just as much as you and I do. Though I rejoice that the Lord has saved me, I don’t need to just stop there. I need to, as Psalm 107:2 says, “Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story…” I need to tell my story to as many that will hear. He has brought life into these bones so that I may proclaim Him in all that I do. So, through our rejoicing, let us also lift up a mighty roar to Heaven with our prayers for those who have yet to know who Jesus is and proclaim Him as their Savior! Again, He has created us for a higher purpose!
            Many asked me during the process of finding my birth mom, “What if she doesn’t want to know anything about you?” or “What if she doesn’t want to talk to you?” Though I had asked myself the same questions, the Lord calmed my fears with His voice of Truth. He reminded me that even if Jen didn’t want to know anything about me or didn’t want to have communication with me, it doesn’t matter. My identity isn’t in what other people tell me. My identity is found in the Father. He sees me as His child and calls me His beloved, and if all others forsake me, He will remain the same. I have seen the gospel more clearly even through these past few years. I have seen how my life, without Christ, is just like the orphans we work with. I was hopeless, fatherless, and homeless. But through the Lord’s Sovereign hand, I have been given hope, a family, and now, a new name. What an amazing Father you and I have!

But when the time arrived that set by God the Father,
God sent His Son, born among us of a woman,
born under the conditions of the law
so that He might redeem those of us who have been
kidnapped by the law.
Thus we have been set free to experience our rightful heritage.
You can tell for sure that you are now fully adopted
as His own children because God sent the Spirit of His Son
into our lives crying out, "Papa! Father!"
Doesn't that privilege of intimate conversation 
with God make it plain that 
you are not a salve,
but a child?
And if you are a child, you're 
also an heir, with complete access to the inheritance.
-Galatians 4:4-7 (The Message)

Hillary Dickey, Administrative Assistant


This High Calling said...

Love, love, love! We're so grateful for the beauty of Jesus being displayed through you, Hillary!

Laura Davis said...

What a beautiful post, Hillary! Thank you for sharing your story!

Unknown said...

God has blessed our entire family with you Hillary. You have always been such an amazing girl and now an amazing woman. I truly look up to you for everything you are and do. You are a blessing to everyone you meet and I know you will only grow from here. I love you sweet girl and proud to have you as my cousin! :)