Questions for My Birth Mom (And What To Do With Our Hard Things)


There are a hundred things I want to tell you these days. But, it’s hard for me to get my fanny over here to this quiet place to scribble it down for you. Because I figure out what I want to tell you when I’m driving down the highway, or when I’m taking a shower, or mopping the floor or standing in the check-out line. And how do I save it up and tell it to you later? Sometimes words have a way of flying away. Or they’re just not at all sufficient. Some things I want to tell you aren’t words at all. They are feelings. They are colors. They are memories full of meaning. They are deep, deep things that are hard for me to reach up and take hold of and pin them down.

But, I’ll try it anyways. Because it’s worth it. Because you’re over there, doing your life. You’re running to the store. You’re showing up for work every day. You’re constantly trying to bring order to chaos. Sometimes, you get bad news and you freak out. You panic and completely lose your peace. I get you. There are hard things happening here, too. But, God is showing up and giving grace. It comes in the most unlikely ways.

For now, I’ll tell you this one thing:

This weekend I saw my birth mom. Well, not in real life. But, I looked her up on a social media site and stared at her picture. She was sitting on a park bench and she looked tired and worn. Her hair is completely white (which explains why mine is headed that way.) My brother had found her picture a while back and mentioned it to me. It’s weird to think that if I wanted to contact her, I possibly could. She’s just a “click” away.

But, I don’t want to. At least, not yet.

Though, part of me does. Part of me knows that time is ticking away and I want to ask her things. I want to tell her that I remember the time we went out in the woods, picking polk salad. I remember the long car drives, and how we were always running away. I remember the men, one after the other, and the old house by the train tracks with the outhouse out back. I remember the time she bought a gallon of milk, and how it had been so long since we had bought milk so I watched her pour it in the little glass and I gulped it down—that cold and icy coolness down the back of my throat.

I remember too many things to write them here. But, I want to tell her that I remember them. I want to ask her where we were when I saw the fireworks across the lake for the first time. And where were we when we swam in the creek across the field? And where was that apartment at when the mouse was trying to get in through the cracks in the wall while I was taking a bath?

But, I won’t open that door just to have my curiosity met. It’s not that easy. I know that my birth mother is mentally ill. She is not always pleasant to be around. I have to think about that.


But, still. Part of me wants to sit down with her and listen to her story. I want to know what she played when she was little. Did she dream of becoming something? Did she always want to be a momma? Did something happen to her when she was little? How did she get so broken? How did she become so overcome by all those addictions?

The biggest thing that compels me to one day reach out is that I want to help her. But, could I even help her? What mighty helpful thing could I possibly say? Or would I just look into her worn out eyes and tell her that I’m glad she gave me life? Maybe I could just tell her thank you for that.

I want to show her that I turned out okay. I want to say, “I forgive you.” And, “Why’d you do that?

I’d like to tell her that I married the sweetest man and I got to be a momma. And that I love to dig in the dirt and go hunting for beauty and that my Ma and Pa and my sister and brother that God gave me were just what I needed and that I was lost there for a while, but Jesus found me.

I’d like to sit and talk to her about grace.

I don’t know if that will ever happen, but I know that my God is big and He makes the craziest things happen. After all, He’s the One who put it on my Ma and Pa’s heart to rescue me and my little brother in the first place. He’s the One who made a way for us to fly out of the darkness and into His marvelous light.


So, for now, I talk to my Heavenly Father about all these things. Because He knows where my birth mom is sitting down at, at this very moment. And where she’s walking around at. He knows the hard places she’s been and the thoughts that keep running through her head. I ask Him to show up for her and visit with her wherever she is and interrupt her thoughts with His love. I ask Him to open her eyes to see His bright beauty and tend to her heart with His tender mercies.

And I think He’s doing that. Because if she’s on my heart, if anyone is on our hearts, isn’t it because they’re on God’s heart, too? On our Father God’s heart first?

May God give you peace, my friends. Because I know you have things you’re processing, too. God is close enough to hear your prayers so keep talking to Him. He’s doing things, I tell you. A hundred thousand beautiful things.

“But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.” (1 Peter 2:9)


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