October 08, 2019
I was in grade school when I learned that I was a love child.
I was raised by my relatives since I grew up without a dad and my mom was an OFW. At first, I thought this setup was normal, until my cousins, classmates, and playmates started asking questions that made me realize I was different from them.
I was an illegitimate offspring, but the word “illegitimate” was too much for me to grasp. So, my teachers tried to discreetly explain to me that my parents were not married. No matter how hard my relatives tried to protect me, I often got a lot of questions that made me feel like I don’t fit anywhere.
There was a deep void inside my heart, left by a big question mark about my family. So I started to look for answers, and with the seeking came voices of rejection and abandonment. I felt lost.
Looking back, I knew it was the hand of God in all seasons of my life that helped me move on, and even forgive.
Now, I would like to share with you truths that helped, strengthened, and comforted me in my journey. Your story might be different from mine, but God’s Word is an absolute comfort in all situations and in all seasons.
No matter how uncertain we feel about our earthly family’s love, one thing is certain: The love of our Heavenly Father goes beyond our needs and expectations.
I was in high school when my insecurities hit me hard. I didn’t want to look at myself in the mirror. I felt undesirable and unloved.
The lie in my head was, “If my dad and my mom abandoned me, how else could anyone love me and choose me?”
But God says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you . . .” (Jeremiah 1:5)
God assured Jeremiah of his identity. In fact, God knew Jeremiah even before he was in his mother’s womb. The word “knew” reflected an intimate relationship with God the Father.
This truth is not exclusive to Jeremiah. Even before you were born, you are already deeply known and deeply loved, regardless of your family situation. God allowed us to be part of our family for a purpose, but our identity is not based on them.
My parents may have made a mistake, but God never made a mistake when He made me.
If you have experienced rejection and abandonment, don’t lose hope. Allow the truth of God’s love to comfort you as you read His Word.
The Bible says in Psalm 68:6 (NIV) that God sets the lonely in families. This doesn’t mean that He uproots you from your family and then places you in a new one. But He will place those who are in need of a family in a spiritual family who can journey with them in healing.
Pain caused by family does not surprise God. In fact, God is not surprised by any of our pains. We live in an imperfect world and we are imperfect people who hurt not just God, but ourselves and other people, too.
God is the only one who can heal our pain. Sometimes, the healing process itself causes pain, but it’s the only way that we can experience true freedom.
One of God’s ways for us to fully experience healing is by forgiving us and making us feel His love as we surrender everything to Him—and I mean everything. This includes our hurts, our pains, our entitlement to apologies, our pride, and our hearts. This does not come easy, but God is gentle even in the process of forgiving.
We can experience freedom, knowing that Jesus also experienced pain, yet He did not sin—not even once. He even asked God to forgive the people for their sins because they didn’t know what they were doing.
Jesus died for those who have hurt us, whether intentional or not, just as He chose to die for you, though you have hurt Him and others. Looking at our lives with the lens of the gospel gives us the grace to forgive when we remember that there is no pain too deep that Jesus can’t reach or heal.
The Bible shows us how God fulfills His plans and promises despite our flaws and relational dysfunctions. There is hope despite your family’s imperfections and struggles because God is still working. He is not done with you or with your family yet.
One of the most beautiful pictures of family reconciliation is the story of Joseph and His brothers. After 22 years of separation, Joseph finally admits to his brothers that he was their long lost family member whom they have sold into slavery. He lived a hard life but knew that God allowed it to happen for the greater good (Genesis 45:5; 50:20).
Joseph lived a life of faith, believing in God’s plans for himself. As big as his breakthroughs were, he knew that his breakthroughs were not just for himself, but for the benefit of his family and others.
Instead of dwelling on his pain and taking it out on his brothers, Joseph forgave them, chose to let go, and allowed God’s will to be done in his life. Instead of talking about his hardships, Joseph talked about God’s faithfulness as he went through those tough times.
My dad reached out to me 16 years after he left me. As he was talking to me over the phone, a million things were running through my mind, but I knew God prepared me for this moment. I began rehearsing line after line until I gave up and just asked God for His grace to speak blessing.
We met up at a nice coffee shop. The first thing he told me when he saw me was that I looked beautiful. I held back tears as I heard the words I longed to hear from him. He started sharing his stories, with lots of apologies in between. I looked at him in the eye and I told him that I had forgiven him and that God has been my Father since the beginning. His shoulders eased up, and I knew he was released from the guilt he held on to for a long time. Through Jesus Christ, what seemed impossible was made possible. This is the hope we can hold on to.
What are the things that you are hoping for your family?
Keep hoping because Jesus won the victory for us when He overcame sin and death in His resurrection. He can raise any dead or broken relationship to life.