How God taught me to deal with it
By Esther Tan
“You are not our real daughter,” my parents told me when I was 12 years old. Those words rang in my ears like a death knell and left a haunting echo for years. So I found out that I was given away at birth. From that very second, my adopted parents became strangers to me. I felt deeply rejected by my biological family resulting in me growing up with a feeling of low self-worth even into my adult years. It was like a perpetual bad taste on my tongue that would not go away.
Even though I was successful in some areas of my life, I continued to feel that I was never good enough. When I looked at myself in the mirror I only saw a person unwanted by her real parents. It cut so deep that I could literally feel the physical pain in my heart.
Even though I had a loving adopted family and good friends, I felt isolated and very alone as I looked around my friends and saw them with their “real” parents.
I became a born again Christian at 57 years of age. Being a new convert, I remember feeling inadequate when Christians referred to “chapters and verses” in the Bible. I had no idea what they were talking about. One day I was flipping through the Bible for the first time when my eyes were drawn to Psalm 27:10 which read “When my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will take care of me”. I felt those words jumped up at me to catch my attention and I realised that the Bible is not just a book but is a living force.
From that moment on, I knew I was a child of God and I felt God’s love for me.
With this feeling of assurance, I was overcome with forgiveness for my parents who gave me away. It did not matter anymore why they did so. What was important was the simple truth that the Almighty God loves me, a love which surpasses all human love.
Not long after I became a christian, I was very hurt and offended when out of the blue, a sister from church ignored me for no known reason. I was so affected and confused that I even contemplated leaving church as I could not bear the sight of her. I decided to ask her if she was ignoring me. “No,” she replied bluntly and turned her face away. Her cold attitude confirmed that there was something wrong. Her response upset and frustrated me even more that it consumed me and started eating into me.
Does it make sense?
I knew I would not leave the church for such a trivial reason but I was at a loss how to deal with this feeling of frustration. I prayed and sought God’s guidance.
Then a quiet and comforting voice said to me “Give her a love offering of $100”. “WHAT?” was my immediate response. It shocked me because it made no sense. I even bargained with God and asked if He can reduce the amount to $50 as I had several bills to pay. But eventually I put the cash in an envelope marked with her name and placed it in the church offering plate. She would not know it was from me. When she opened the envelop, I saw the expression of joy on her face.
Strangely something happened to me: I was filled with happiness and comfort. It did not matter anymore why she offended me, I had peace within me. I later came to understand that she had bitter root issues and has been using the offensive tactic to hurt others. I was filled with compassion and started praying for her.
The lesson I learned from these two incidents is to forgive and love those who have done me wrong. It is a difficult thing to do but it is a powerful spiritual weapon and the reward is worth all the hurt and pain. Throughout my Christian life, these two emotional experiences have helped me to deal with people who hurt or offend me. I praise God for the Holy Spirit “our comforter who will teach us all things……” Jn.14:26. With His instructions for solving practical day to day problems I can always enjoy peace, joy and comfort no matter how others treat me.
Esther is active with her husband Jose in Potter’s House in Adelaide. See her story of how she met and wed Jose in “Wedding Bells for Esther & Jose” March 5, 2015