Saturday, August 29, 2015

Beautiful Redemption

As many of you know, my birth mother passed away earlier this month after a 15-month battle with brain cancer. I had emailed with her over the past 5 years and was blessed to have met her and her son last September. I got to tell her the words I had longed to tell her my whole life, "thank you". I thanked her for giving me life and making a brave decision for me at a young age. I blogged about meeting her in this post. I'm beyond thankful that Nick and I were able to be with her family at her visitation and funeral. Getting to know them, learning more about the impact Julie made on the world, seeing so many photos of her life, it all was so healing for my soul. 

It may be hard to understand if you aren't adopted, but there is just a feeling many adoptees have of not fitting in, "being abandoned" to put it harshly, or left behind in some way. I'm thankful to have great loving parents, but I did have some of those feelings growing up too. NOT that it was anyone's fault at all, it was just there in the background. I came to know Christ in college and felt so much more at peace knowing God had been there ALL along and that I was never alone, and all of the ups and downs would serve a purpose for Him. Being with Julie's family that week though, and feeling how accepted I was into their family, was so redeeming for me. They even listed me as one one of her children in her obituary and had me sit with her kids during her celebration of life service. I'm still in awe and can never explain how amazing it felt to have that honor. To have her rights eliminated when I was born, yet to be called her child in the end is such a beautiful picture of redemption of that little life. I'm SO grateful for their love and kindness, which I can only imagine is an expression of Julie's heart. 

Fun similarities:

  • Our faces. Seeing pictures of when she was younger had me in AWE. We look so similar in some photos! I love it. I have literally grown up my whole life wanting to see someone to looks like me:) She's right there!

  • We both have step-dads named Joe
  • She was a elementary school counselor --> My internship in college was counseling, and I had some school counseling experience in that internship. 
  • She was in Girl Scouts and was a troop leader for a very long time (13 years I think?) --> I was working for the Girl Scouts when we started emailing a few years ago. 
  • She named her kids Alyssa and Michael. Many people think it's neat that my name (which Julie didn't know until we emailed a few years ago) kind of combines their names. 
  • Her sister taught at my elementary school. We may have passed each other in the hallway. How wild to think of that!
  • I grew up in the Des Moines area, and got married in Ankeny (Iowa) --> Julie grew up in Ankeny and got married in Des Moines. 
  • Talking to one of her friends at the visitation, we realized (stay with me here) my manager at a retail store in MN a few years ago is one of Julie's good friend's sister. Woah! That was fun to realize. 

This is one of my favorite pictures from our time there. (Nick, me;), Alyssa, Michael, Julie's husband Scott, Julie's sister Amy). {Apparently, I got the short gene!:)}

I also learned that Scott actually dated Julie while she was pregnant with me. So it was neat to realize that he's known me from the beginning too! 

During the slideshow with photos and memories of her at the visitation, I kept nudging Nick when I saw pictures where I could see my face in Julie's. I could see myself in her wedding photos so much! 

A fun selfie with Nick, Alyssa, Michael and their cousin:)

Alyssa, Michael, myself and Nick

The girls - Julie's sister, Amy and (my "half" sister:)) Alyssa. They both have been so sweet and loving to me as we've gotten to know each other. I cherish these girls! 

Love her - she went above and beyond to welcome us and help be sure we felt comfortable and included. I wish we lived closer together! I pray the Lord continues knitting our hearts together.

We also got to go out on Julie & her family's boat on the lake they live on. She had told me how much she enjoyed it in our emails over the years, and being able to be in her house and on her boat with her family, was really incredible. What a beautiful place too!

 Y'all know how I love my dogchild, and meeting Julie's was so neat too. I loved petting her, loving on her as I know Julie did so much. 

I could get used to boat time on that lake! It was such good casual time too, to share stories and get to know her family more. It all was so good for my soul to know Julie, hear about the difference she made on lives and the community around her, and get to know the people she surrounded herself with. It challenged me to reflect on the difference I'm making, and the purpose I'm serving in this one life. I'll always wish I had more time to know Julie here better on earth, but I am so grateful for the way the Lord has poured blessings into this situation. He is the Creator of the most beautiful love stories, and this is surely one. 

Today's Pinspiration:
This poem was chosen by Julie's sister Amy, and was read at the funeral. It will always make me think of Julie, how many people she loved and uplifted, and how full her dash was on earth. What an inspiration to us all!

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...