Eyes of a Stranger: My Story, Post #3

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February 23, 2014 by Renee Griffin

Once upon a time there was a beautiful Garden, the perfect setting to hold God’s first story of flesh. It was a story about a man named Adam and the woman, Eve, that he loved.  There inside the protection of God no tears fell nor heartache burned. Every need met was met in the Presence of The Perfect God.  He had every detail of their lives provided for, and they lacked nothing.  Everything was perfect until the villain appeared.  He slithered onto the scene and told a story of his own.  Hidden within half truths, Satan convinced his first human to trade in the Truth of God for a lie.
Did God really say….
Genesis 3
He convinced these two that there was something better than the story God had written for their lives.  And, well…we have been falling for the lie ever since.  This was the first story of man and it was true.
If you will allow me to make a simple connection, while understanding that there is no comparison, the stories of this world are somewhat similar to the Garden of Eden. The fairy tale stories we’ve heard since childhood with princesses needing rescue, settings involving castles, evil forces defeated by handsome princes point to a deeper state of our souls desiring a perfect story.  Fairy tales try to recreate with human hands what is only capable in God’s Hands. We look at the reality of our life story and some of us are disappointed.  We want the fairytale.  And we, as believers, know at some point in our lives, we have exchanged the Truth of God for a lie because we would rather write our own story.  Between the Garden of Eden in the beginning and the day the believers in Jesus reach heaven, our stories are not perfect.  Being an adopted child was not the story that I wrote for my life. 
Papers that arrived from DFCS asked me to write the story of my life in order to gain access to the stories of my past.  Filling in what I knew to be true from the starting point of my adoption would be the details needed to point me to the beginning.  As I completed these papers, I thought about the person who would open my letter.  Would they understand how important this was?  Would they hurry up and fulfill my request simply because they could feel the weight of my questions?  I looked long and hard at the envelope in my hand before I let it go.  I said to my husband before I sent it on its way, “Once I do this, my life will never be the same.”  I knew I would never be the same.  
My story was about to change.
Facing uncertainty, letting go must be decided in the heart before it leaves the hand.
Truth be told, I felt so helpless when I dropped that small package down into the cold, blue steel box.
Hurry up, mailman.
Hurry up, person.
Hurry up.
I have waited my whole life to read my story.
The wait was supposed to be 3-6 weeks.  That was the timeline the office in Atlanta gave me.  How in the world would I ever wait 3-6 weeks? Forget the 3-6 part, they had exactly 3 weeks until I began to call.  When I went to my mailbox at the 3 week mark, and there was no return letter, I spun around and walked straight to the phone.
Hello, Atlanta?  Yes, it is me.  I am the girl who will be calling everyday until you answer me.  No joke.
Another few weeks went by and still no reply.
Hi, yes, me again.
And then, a curve ball comes that I didn’t expect.  It was definitely not a part of the story I imagined.  The reason my wait was a bit longer than normal is because the office of adoption reunions had been waiting on the vital records office to send over my original birth certificate.  They needed the original birth certificate to match with my sealed file.  Okay…. What does that mean?
The lady delivered two bombs back to back in the nicest way she could I guess.
Bomb #1- I was not born in Georgia.  Excuse, me?
Bomb #2- They have no sealed file on record for me.  Wait, say #1 again, please?
I was so shocked over this first news that the second part didn’t really register.  So, the obvious question here ladies and gentlemen is, where oh where was I born?  As causally as you say, “Good morning, how are you today?”, this stranger says with no fan-fare, “You were born in Tennessee.”  Five words in and my story had already changed.
She was very upbeat about this wild, unexpected news as she shared how the laws in Tennessee were different than Georgia.  Turns out, they have open adoption laws.  Things unavailable to me in Georgia were mine for the asking there.
I wasted no time digesting all this, but immediately called the number she gave me for Tennessee.  God’s Hand was at work there too as my call connected to the nicest man named Jerry.  Jerry filled me in on the specifics.  Yes, if I was born there then my birth certificate, the sealed adoption record, names, everything was mine for the requesting.  One little, tiny snag though…  As you might imagine, there was a long line of adoptees wanting their biological data.
I would have to get in line.
And so, I did.  I officially joined the line two days later as my request arrived in Nashville, TN.  Jerry and I became friends that day.  He really didn’t get much of a choice in the matter.  I would call and ask for him every month and that was before caller i.d.  Poor guy couldn’t even screen my call.  Three months after I got in line, the office was working on requests filed in 1999.  It was a very long line.
I waited for exactly 1 1/2 years, before I made it to the front of the line.  Jerry and I were close by then.  Eighteen months had passed when the gal in the Georgia office had given me two new twists.
Those months were hard months.
Jerry told me once that maybe all this was happening so that I could learn a lesson in patience.  I won’t say what I replied back but just know that Jesus had to forgive me.  Never one to mince words, Jerry and I came to an understanding about his unrequested counseling advice.
Looking back, he was right.  I was in such a hurry to know my story that I didn’t realize God was writing another one.  I was rushing right passed it all driving hard to reach my goal.
Making it to the front of the line was supposed accomplish my goal.  Get the papers, know the names, hear my story, and finally be free.
A paper did arrive that fall day marking the end of my wait, but the news inside was devastating.  Tennessee was ready to process my request, however their “files do not indicate that we maintain a sealed agency record.”  Remember what Georgia told me?
No sealed files in Georgia.  No sealed files in Tennessee.
No story.
The letter also gave me a deadline.  I had 6 weeks to send in my payment for processing or my request, my year and a half, would be discarded.
All this time wasted or so it seemed that day.  But God wastes nothing.  He works out everything.  Romans 8:28 is one of my favs. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”
Sadly, that day I wasn’t quoting scripture.  I was too busy “shining out” as my Grandmother used to say.  I had placed all my hopes in a timeline.  God said, no, not today.  Today is not the day when you read your story.  Every time I thought I had it all figured out, in His Great Mercy and Love for me, He would throw a roadblock in my path forcing me to wait more and grow more.
What feels like a waste of time may be the very place you need to grow.
While I cried and screamed and thrashed about that day, God knew in a matter of three months, my hands wiping tears would be holding my story.  He had miracles to perform during those three months.
Yes, miracles happened.
The details that happened next, while so thrilling for me to relive in the beautiful view of hindsight, may be very boring to you.  Just know they involve many more characters.  There were a few judges, a lawyer, many folks in government, and a few more social workers just to keep the story interesting.
I will skip to the unbelievable part.
As a part of a legal process I was pursuing, it became necessary to recontact the Georgia office to obtain proof of registry there way back 21 months prior.  The lady I had spoken to before was no longer employed so I made a new friend.  Apparently she was more “observant” than my old friend because she saw something the other girl had missed.  My sealed file had been there ALL THE TIME.  
Hidden from view 21 months ago, it had been there all along.
You see, God decides.  If you have been waiting for something for a long time, and you are in His Will, He will decide.  Don’t lose hope while you wait. He knows what He’s doing.
Twenty days later, a 4 page letter arrived.  The story I was waiting on finally made it, and it was more than I expected I could know.  Although there was no identifying information as far as names or cities, there was a summary of my beginning.  That old sheet of information I had carried around all of my life was a glimpse.  This letter was a much bigger look.
My nervous system took a major shock that day.  Waves of reality crashed into fantasy as I tried to make it all fit somehow.  So many tears fell.  My eyes burned from staring at the words. There were answers there on the page, and yet more questions, too.  I kept reading the words over and over as if saying them and hearing them out loud would make them real.
This past Sunday in church, we sang a beautiful old hymn, “Blessed Assurance”.
You have to stop reading right now and listen to Greater Vision sing this song on YouTube.  You. Will. Have. Church.
As I was singing, this one line kept repeating, and I felt the Holy Spirit nudge my heart.  “This is my story, this is my song…”  The emotional surrender of writing my story on this blog met the spiritual surrender of obedience right there in my pew and all of a sudden I understood.
My story is my SONG to Jesus.
Your story, the one He has written with your life, is your song to Him.
When we lift up our stories with open hands before a Holy God and give Him the pen, our lives become songs of praise.  The notes He will arrange can ring out to a dark world still listening to a snake selling fairy tales.
No matter what has happened to you or what your story was, is, or will be, God can use it for His Glory if you will let Him write.  Stop buying the lie that our stories here on earth can be perfect. In my strongest southern twang…it just ain’t so.
Between the Garden and heaven when the story isn’t perfect, the world needs us stand up and praise Him with our stories and call out that Jesus is mine.
Jesus IS mine!
We can come into His Temple with thanksgiving and into  His Courts with praise because Jesus is mine!!!
Let go of the fairy tales the serpent is selling and sing it out…
Jesus is mine! 
JESUS is mine!
“This is my story….this is my song.
Praising my Savior, All the day long.”

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