To Live or Not to Live?" That was the Question
Just five years into marriage and one year after giving birth to our first child, my fairy-tale quickly turned into a tragedy. It all began when my father died unexpectedly without a legal will, creating complicated circumstances. When he died, his estate went into “Probate” under the protection of the state in which a set period of time is allowed for the deceased debts to be paid, the heirs determined, and the remainder of his possessions divided equally among them. We all assumed it would be the standard six- month process. (NOT) Two years into all the chaos, I was shocked by accusations that I might not actually be my father's daughter. My only sibling filed suit for my inheritance, claiming I had no rights as an orphan.
How Could This Be?
I had always found pride in being my father’s daughter. He was popular and I used his name to my advantage. I spiraled into an identity crisis. With no legal precedence, the magistrate pondered forcing a DNA test. The courts couldn’t decide whether it was even relevant to my inheritance since my dad had claimed me as his own for thirty years prior to his death. As the events unfolded, the emotional pain was overwhelming. I didn’t know who I was as a daughter, I lost the foundation of the only family I had known, and there was nowhere to hide from the chaos. I found myself drowning in hopelessness. In desperation, one day, I determined it would be easier to die than live. That day, while my husband was at his office, I filled a tub full of water. I put my son in room-time with music playing and a gate up to protect him, and I climbed into the water. I was five months pregnant at the time, but I couldn't see past my pain. I wasn't crazy and I had never had mental illness, but the pain was unbearable. I felt trapped in a dark, cold, underground tunnel and as I clawed at the walls I could not escape. I believed dying would take away my family's pain. I kept thinking, “If you'll just sink into this warm grave and inhale, it will all be over and the pain will stop.” Most suicides are based on some form of pain and the desire to escape unbearable hopelessness.
What Saved My Life?
As I slowly lowered myself into the water, seconds away from inhaling, I heard a powerful presence speak, “Get up and get help NOW, before you destroy your life and the lives of everyone you love!” It was a divine intervention. I had been so focused on escaping my own anguish I had failed to consider what my choice would do to my husband, my son, and the life I was carrying. Sadly, suicide may ease the human pain in the life of the one who is suffering, but it leaves behind lives that will never be the same. It leaves those who love you with unresolved pain, unanswered questions, unprocessed grief, and no emotional closure. On this day something more powerful than my pain was saving my life and the life of my unborn daughter.
I Chose Life, Will You?
I got up, wrapped myself in a towel and called a counseling center. Within minutes, I was headed towards intense counseling. I realized I really did want to survive and I loved and wanted the baby I was carrying. My husband and I started marriage counseling to help us sort through the debris from the storm. We started putting our lives back together one piece at a time even though the legal matters were still unresolved. Over the next five years, we faced more tragedy including death, a family breakup, an identity crisis, an incurable illness, a freak accident, two surgeries, a near suicide, medical bills, mounting legal expenses, and our marriage almost dissolved but the peace I found through Biblical counseling and prayer, and the miraculous things God continued to do in each situation gave me the courage to choose life one day at a time. He is a good, good Father and he was faithful.
How Did it End?
At the six and a half year mark of the probation of my father’s estate, there was another divine intervention. I heard the same powerful presence tell me to voluntarily take a DNA test to determine my identity and end the probate of my father's estate once and for all. Since the courts couldn't decide, God was making the decision. Little did I know, the DNA results were not the answer I was about to receive. As Dan and I sat waiting for the DNA lab to open, I began to fall apart. I was struggling with fear. As I flashed back over the last seven treacherous years, I realized I had lost everything I had known as normal. My identity as my father’s daughter had been pillaged and taken. My family was broken. Everything I had known before my father's death was dead.
What I didn't realize was God had been ordering my steps to this place in time with a purpose bigger than my human DNA. That morning as we left home, I had grabbed a book from the shelf I'd been reading called The Gift by Max Lucado. As tears streamed down my face, I pulled the book from my purse and opened it to the place I had marked a few days before with a book marker. At the top it read, “God’s Bounteous Grace.” Then as my eyes moved down the page, I was awe struck when I read what was written in bold print at the bottom.........
“For you no longer have to worry about who your Farther is; for you are an heir to MY throne through my son.” Galatians 4:7 (The Gift)
Is Life Really Hopeless?
In an instant, everything shifted. I had just received the greatest gift my Father in Heaven had to offer me! For the first time in my life, I realized all those years I had found such pride in being called my father’s daughter I'd been wrapped in false identity. My real heritage was in being the daughter of a Great and Mighty King! I was an heir to an estate far bigger than my earthly dad had possessed. What God had for my inheritance was unmatched. It could not be taken away in court or contained on a piece of paper. For the first time in my life I knew who I really was!
God had adopted me and my earthly identity had been wiped away. I had asked him into my heart as a six-year-old little girl growing up in abuse, but I became his daughter when He took me as his own and connected me to his bloodline. My birthright had been finalized. On this day I actually recognized my pedigree. The DNA results no longer mattered. My identity had been divinely determined. Months later the estate dissolved. Our journey lasted seven years. The number seven means “perfection” in Scripture and God’s work was done. It was finished!
Why Choose To Be Adopted?
By definition, adoption means “to choose or hold as one’s own; to take, rear, and provide for a child of other parents, specifically by adoption.” All over the world, orphans long for parents. They hope to be adopted by someone they can trust who will love them forever. When Jesus, God’s son, came to the earth and lived, died, and rose again on the third day, his resurrection built the bridge to our adoption by a Father who can be trusted and who will never abandon us. So often God is blamed for all the wrong in the world. The truth is, we have an enemy who rules this earth called Satan. He seeks to rob, kill, still, and destroy. God longs to adopt us and protect us from that enemy, but we must choose to be adopted. Love never forces us into adoption, it allows us to choose because forced love isn't love. God sent his son Jesus to the earth in physical form, so he could lay down his life as a sacrifice and pay the price with his blood for our adoption.
When we willingly place ourselves in a covenant of faith with God, it means we’re placing ourselves underneath his protective covering and He becomes the roof over our lives. He covers us with his love, his power, and his royal name just as the noble King of any kingdom does. Being his daughter didn't mean all my pain or circumstances went away, it meant his love and care empowered me to survive it all and gave me hope in a hopeless situation. As noble children of the King of Kings, we are commissioned to change our chaotic castle into a peaceful palace. He becomes the roof over us, destined to cover us from the chaos that surrounds us. His banner over us is love!
“The Spirit you received (when you believed) does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the spirit you received brought about your adoption to son-ship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father’.” Romans 8:15 (NIV)
Where is Our Hope?
Our hope is found in an unmatched covenant of love. That love is offered through our adoption and adoption delivers hope in any hopeless situation. It's the unending circle of God's love for our lives and it's available to anyone who chooses to enter by faith into the covenant through the blood of Christ! These are the steps of the covenant.
C - Confess that you make mistakes and cannot do life without you Father's help.
O - Open your heart to God who created you, loves you, and wants to be your Father.
V - Veto any thoughts you have that you can do this alone or you don't need help
E - Enter into a relationship with God the Father by choosing to believe and trust him and embrace the sacrifice he made through his son, Jesus on your behalf.
N - Never doubt the simplicity of your adoption. All other religions require you to be good and work hard enough to earn your way to a God. You don't have to do anything but receive the free gift of adoption through faith and belief.
A - Allow God to love you just the way you are, no matter what you’ve done or where you’ve been. His love is free if you choose to receive it. As your parent in adoption, He loves you no matter who you were when he found you.
N - Never fear! Your identity is sealed and your birthright and inheritance cannot be taken from you.
T - Take him by the hand, walk across the bridge, and embrace your new identity as son or daughter!
Pray this Prayer in Faith and Trust Him for Your New Identity:
Dear Abba Father, I cannot save myself. I know you sent your son to die for my mistakes in order to provide a way for my adoption into your family. I want to walk across the bridge of faith that Jesus created through his death, burial, and resurrection. I am asking you to adopt me and make me your child. Please forgive me for all the wrong choices I have made. Please become the banner over my life and our palace. Please become my Lord and my Savior. I believe in your kingdom. Thank you for calling me your own and making me an heir to the inheritance you have for me. Thank you for adopting me and giving me a new identity in you. Amen
**If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, choose life now. It is worth living. You've been given life for a purpose and God has great plans for you. Reach out immediately, get help. Call a counselor or contact the national suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or follow this link:https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/help-yourself/
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