After 5 days without deoderant, the demon lurking in my armpits made her presence known. Climbing invisible ladders into the depths of my nasal cavities, stink monsters assaulted my senses. The smell proved beyond a doubt that what is hidden will emerge.
Deoderant is necessary. It’s non-negotiable.
In a house full of teenagers, two of which are boys, it’s a mantra we repeat regularly.
Why would I stop wearing deodorant?
Because it was Spring Break.
Because I wanted to do the complete opposite of my normal routine.
Because I could.
Because I am one of those people who says, “why not”?
Seeing how long I could go without deodorant was only one difference in my Spring Break routine. I also swore off wearing makeup for 5 whole days. I had been reading online about the coconut oil craze and wanted to test the hype for myself.
Would coconut oil really moisturize deeply and give me a youthful glow?
I don’t know if it was the coconut oil, or just going without makeup, but by week’s end my skin never looked better. Thankfully, my glowing skin was the only thing my family noticed after five days. Immediately, I resumed the use of deodorant.
Gross, right? Yes, gross, but completely true.
I learned a valuable lesson after going without deodorant for 5 days.
Hidden things don’t lose their power.
You can cover them, keep them secret and tucked away, or disguise them, but hidden things still hold power.
In the pit of your arm are tons of tubes that produce sweat when your body is overheated. These tiny, sweat glands are hidden within the skin, but they hold great value and tremendous power. If you don’t believe me, just stop using deodorant for a few days. You’ll see.
I am certain that somebody is wondering why on earth I am writing about something so crazy. I have tried to write this several different ways, but keep coming back to this deoderant story. God must have a plan for it. He made a donkey speak so He can use this too I suppose.
It does seem natural to begin with a stinky tale as I introduce you to my brother. Armpits, deodorant, and brothers are words that seem to fit well together.
It was on the one year anniversary of finding my birthmother, that my brother and I met for the first time. He hadn’t always known about me.
Many birthmothers keep the secret of giving up a baby for adoption hidden in their hearts. Sometimes their families don’t even know. It’s their secret, and they have their reasons for hiding it away.
The culture today isn’t like the one 40 years ago.
Birthmothers themselves were often hidden away.
Places like maternity homes kept pregnant girls tucked away from the world. They experienced deep wounds from a society that didn’t accept them. It is a sad, hard reality to comprehend. I certainly don’t understand that kind of pain. Until my search I had never even heard of a maternity home. These homes were organized as temporary living arrangements for young mothers until they gave birth. I have a brochure of the one my birthmother lived in while waiting on my delivery. My heart breaks as I think about her there alone. She was so brave.
After giving birth to me and going back to her normal life, my birthmother was given a gift. It came from her mother’s friend. It was given her so she’d have something tangible to hold on to as she faced the difficult days ahead. The gift was a pale, pink, crocheted baby shawl and blanket gift set from JCPenney. It was nested in a cardboard box with a white bottom and a clear lid wrapped in a white ribbon. She would look at it and pretend to see me in it. The meaning of this gift was a deep hidden place in her life.
Over the years, the box found its way to a drawer in my brother’s playroom. He found it and asked my birthmother about it. She’d told him that he was “supposed to be a girl”. Something about that box registered in his heart. It was like he could sense that there was more to the story.
The connection with my brother was instant and strong. When he came to my house for our first meeting, the most powerful moment for me was hugging him. It was like two old friends being reunited. He’s this tall, handsome fellow with a full head of dark hair, olive skin, and deep, kind eyes. His smile lights up the whole room. He reached out to hug me with big, open arms and a huge heart.
I was mesmerized by the sight of him.
In my family, I was the loud, animated one who was always putting on a show. When my brother walked into my house, there were now two of us. We were the same. Same voice, same intensity, same laugh, same heart… We looked at each other for a long time.
I loved him instantly.
He is so funny.
Another time when we were together, he told a story that made me laugh harder than I have ever laughed in my entire life. Seriously. I thought I might pass out.
When he is around all I do is laugh and smile. I smile because I love being with him. I smile because he makes me happy when he calls me “sis”. I tell my own kids that if I ever need back-up, he’d be one of my first calls. I know he’d come running. He knows I’d do the same.
My brother had grown up as an only child. He told me that whenever people asked him if he had brothers or sisters, he would say “no”, but he felt “yes”. He just knew something was missing, hidden.
It was during my search for my birthfamily that God arranged it so that my brother finally learned about me. My birthmother had the opportunity to tell him about my existence. When I heard about this event and the timeline, I was again reminded about God’s Perfect timing. My brother was a big part of God’s timing. Being accepted and loved by him meant so much to me. I am so thankful that God gave me a brother.
There is a parable in Luke chapter 8 that has been on my mind lately. Jesus told a story about a lost coin and a woman searching for it.
“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one.”
Luke 15: 8a. NIV
This woman in the story had started off with ten coins. In losing one, she still had nine coins. She could have just cut her losses and been happy with the nine, but the value of this one coin sent her on a search. She turned the house upside down looking for one hidden coin.
“Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it?” Luke 15:8b. NIV
The coin was hidden, but it’s value didn’t change.
It was the coin’s value that motivated her to search. My NIV notes say that searching would not have been an easy task. “Near Eastern houses frequently had no windows and only earthen floors, making the search for a single coin difficult.” (Zondervan, 1985)
Jesus searches for the hidden. He not only searches for lost souls, which are valuable to Him, but He searches our hearts for those hidden hurts that only He can heal.
Because we are valuable to Him, and He knows the power that those hidden places can hold over us. He knew that nothing would satisfy me until I had found those hidden from me. God used the reunion with my birthfamily to heal several hidden places in my heart. It was a gift of love allowing me to find them. The beauty of God’s healing the hidden parts in my heart is the gifts I received along the way. He gave me the gift of learning how to wait, learning how to forgive in light of my tremendous need of forgiveness, and the gift of learning to love like He does.
And, He gave me another gift that I didn’t expect…a brother.
In His plan for my life and His plan for yours, there are hidden treasures along the way.
You cannot imagine.
If you haven’t given your heart to Jesus, please let Him in. If you have, please let Him shine His Light on the hidden
parts of your heart. He wants to heal you. There is such freedom in Jesus.
Everyday with Him is a gift.
The gifts would keep coming my way as more family members were added to the story. One man came walking into my life that had hidden hurts in his heart that nobody knew were there. I pray that God will give me the words… My throat is tightening as tears roll down my face just thinking about him. He was a precious gift, too.