“I chose you before I formed you in the womb; Jeremiah 1:5; Psalm 139:13
I set you apart before you were born.”
“For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”
You may not think about being in your mother’s womb, but I do. I have thought about the chaos that must have surrounded my mom as her then husband, my bio-dad, left for parts unknown while she prepared her life for me 44 years ago. I don’t usually speak out about this, because my mom is quiet about it; but my mother really is a beautiful example of what it’s like to be committed to loving someone (as she has done with me all my life). Her beauty lies in her quiet strength. I felt this same quiet strength as I prepared my life for having my son without a father present – 11 years ago. I believe God resides closely in single pregnant mothers.
Think about this for a moment: think about what it was like for your mother when she was pregnant with you. For some of you I know this may be a hard task I’m asking of you. For some of you I know for sure your mother was addicted, or she’d been violated and you were the beautiful result of a violent act. For some of you it’s a pleasant thought – your mom and dad loved you and were preparing a nursery for you. For some of you it’s hard because you cannot have a child. For some of you it’s very difficult to think about because your mother isn’t with you daily anymore, and no amount of knowing you’ll see her again in heaven helps the ache in your heart.
I know. I see you.
Whatever your circumstance, here’s what I know about every single one of us – God created us. He created us uniquely, undeniably in his image.
Until just a few weeks ago, I looked on this time in my life – the time I was in the womb – with discomfort and spite. The most consistent negative thought I’ve had throughout my life is: I wish I had never been born.
This thought has woven a theme through my relationships, my friendships, and even my own heart. I thought: They probably wish I had never been born.
I never wanted to die, I just never thought I was good enough to live. So I haven’t. Not really. But something happened recently that changed all of that.
I went to see my bio-dad after 44 years – and he couldn’t wait to see me. He was waiting for me with his eyes fixed on the road hoping I’d hurry up and arrive. He wanted to see me after all. And over a dinner conversation I came to realize that it wasn’t that I wasn’t wanted, it was that he didn’t have the capacity to raise me at that point in his life. He didn’t protect me or my mom or my brother. For whatever reason, he just didn’t. And it was not my fault. As I thought back on my life on my 7-hour drive home, God began dismantling that stronghold – that recurring thought pattern – and all of the sudden I am so very glad that I have life.
I had a conversation tonight with someone who I’ve chosen not to keep walking with. She said some hurtful things, but she said something that at first hurt my heart, then helped me realize how big of a lie it is and how this has been the enemy’s refrain over my life for too long. She said, “Why would you choose him anyway, knowing that he will never choose you.”
She was talking about a mutual friend, but I realized in this moment that I have accepted this as truth over and over and over. About men. About friends. About so many things. I have swallowed the lie that no matter how much I choose someone, they will never choose me back, because I am not worthy of being chosen.
This is a bold lie.
I am chosen. I am worthy of being chosen.
See, not only did God form me – uniquely, precisely, exactly Melissa – he chose me. He set me apart for this life before I was born. He chose the Dad who would adopt me. I heard today from my friend The Donna Miller that when you’re a natural born child with parents who signed your birth certificate, you can be disowned, but when you’re adopted, you cannot. I am adopted. Permanently. I have a Daddy who loved me enough to adopt me. And it wasn’t just that he had married my mom when I was 5. He married her, then he chose to adopt me. This was two separate decisions/transactions. I haven’t ever really let this fact in to my heart. My mind, maybe, but my heart had to shut everyone and everything out when I was young to protect itself. I had to protect my own heart because one of the main people who should have protected my heart – didn’t.
I got home tonight to a letter in the mail from a friend who said she’s missed my posts on Facebook while I’ve been mostly gone from social media this month. Her card had a picture in it that says, “Perhaps this is the moment for which you have been created. (Esther 4:14)” This is exactly what God’s refrain over my life is these days.
I got another card in the mail from my pastor and his wife – who wanted me to know that they noticed and appreciated my ministry at church last week. I got a text this week from another friend who just wanted me to know she’d missed my posts as well. This has happened a number of times over the last 37 days.
From the meeting with my bio-dad to the cards and letters and texts, God is teaching me who I am and what I’m called to do. He chose me – for this family, for this online ministry, for mentoring women, for this moment, for this generation, with these skills as a writer, and mother, and poet.
Truth is – I’m exactly who God has made me to be, in the exact place he knew I’d be right now, and he is in the middle of my heartache working it for my good. It makes me think of the picture my other friend Donna had recently – of a wound covered with a band-aid and God’s hand holding a needle and stitching the wound closed – but from the inside.
I asked God to go back with me to the womb. I believe our souls have memories that far back. I asked him to show me where he was when I was in my mother’s womb, and he showed me a picture he had sketched of a little blonde-haired, blue eyed girl. He was looking at the sketch while excitedly, diligently working on carrying out his design plan for me – one day at a time. Beside the sketch he had written out these words: creative; poetic; carefree; writer; mom; wife; friend; daughter; sister; kind; tender-hearted; smart; strong; loving; beautiful; loyal; encouraging.
You may not think about being in your mother’s womb, but I do.
I am so grateful he chose me and created me.
I am more grateful still that he chooses me daily and is still in his workshop – looking at the sketch and creating me.