When You Feel Like You Don't Belong by Jolene Engle

When You Feel Like You Don’t Belong

I’ve never written on this topic before, nor have I spoken much about it, but my Father has an uncanny knack of taking me to those deep, dark, painful places that are tucked away locked in the vault of my heart.  He has a way of stirring things up.  Getting to the root issues.  Ruffling my feathers.   I guess now I know where I get those attributes from!

When You Feel Like You Don't Belong by Jolene Engle

42 years ago today, it was a part of God’s providential plan for me to be brought into this world, yet my birth mother could have easily made the decision to abort me.  Instead, she made the choice to give me up for adoption.

At just a few weeks old I was placed into my adoptive parents’ home; a home that was already filled with their 3 biological sons.  I was the only girl and the baby of the family.

I grew up knowing that I was adopted; my parents didn’t keep the truth from me.

“You’re special.”  “You’re chosen.”  Were the words that I heard at a young age.

Yet, I still struggled to find my way. I didn’t fit in very well.  Sure, I may have had similarities like the brown hair and eyes, but I was clearly different from my family.

Who was I?

Why was I given up?

At age 16, my mother (adoptive) gave me some background information on my biological parents.  When I read about their interests and talents, I was blown away by how much I was like them.   That small piece of paper that I held in my hands said who I was, yet the truth on the page showed two people I had never met.  It was weird, I connected and identified with mere wordsNot  souls, but words.

I was haunted by the fact that my biological mother was 26 and my biological father was 29 yrs. old when I came into this world.  It’s not like they were 2 teenagers who couldn’t care for a baby.  And I wasn’t a product of rape.  Was it an affair?  Too much peace and free love in the year of 1969?

I’ll never know why they gave me up, and for many years since I was a young girl, I have lived with the feelings of being rejected and unwanted by my own birth parents.

I wish I could say that my relationship with my adoptive parents was filled with lots of love and acceptance, but it wasn’t.  Mom and I had a rocky relationship; we were at odds a lot.  I’m not sure why.  Must have been my strong-willed personality that she didn’t know what to do with. Dad, on the other hand, brought home a paycheck and was involved with the boys’ sporting events.  That’s about it.  We didn’t have much of a relationship.  However, I am thankful for the fact that my parents were brave enough to take me into their home and raise me.

Then I met Jesus Christ and my whole perspective on the adoption thing changed.  I realized that God had a plan for me to be a part of their family.

What I didn’t know was that a few short years later my adoptive parents would walk out on my life because of my faith in Jesus Christ. (There’s a cost to pay for following Him.)  That hurt deeply.  I was rejected again.  First by my biological parents, then by my adoptive parents.  I remember that Christmas morning like it was yesterday as I stood in my family room and just wept.

How do I live with a legacy of rejection?  How do I not let those scars define who I am?

I try to figure out who I am and who I belong to.  My spirit knows those answers, but I get lost in my flesh, my fears, and my insecurities of not being accepted.

Most of the time I silently deal with the rejection.  Some days are better than others, yet the enemy knows my weaknesses and he goes straight for the jugular.

The thoughts come:

Who am I?

Who do I belong to?

Who am I like?

Who will love me?

Who will approve of me?

Who will affirm me?

And my Father steps in and answers all those questions….

He tells me over and over again that I am His DaughterOh how I cling to those words.

I was bought with His blood; a crimson love.  I’m an heir to His throne.  I’m the apple of His eye.

But now God has me writing this story out.  Facing my issues head on.  Verbalizing my brokenness and clenching to the Cross in the process.

He knows the on-going rejection I face by others causes me to recoil and hide, thus, causing the ministry here to be hindered due to my own insecurities…and the devil knows this!

Child, you belong to Me.  I chose you and adopted you.  Those are life-sustaining words for me.

Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.  Ephesians 1:4-6

And He calls me Daughter.

But on this day I can’t help but think about her, the one whose womb I came from.

And then I wonder…

Who is she?

Is she still alive?

Does she hurt each year the calendar page turns to February 10th?

Does she know Jesus?

Then I think about if she wonders who I am.

What I look like.

If I hurt each year the calendar page turns to Feb. 10th.

And if I know Jesus.

Then, the little girl tears (and the grown woman tears) fall down my face….

Without fail, my Father tenderly wipes them away.

And then, He calls me Daughter.

I belong to Him and He has my heart.  He has a perfect plan for my life.

So today I reflect on the fact that He gave me life, and yet He gave up His own life so…

He can call me Daughter.

Whatever your story and the scars you wear …

He calls you Daughter, too, and you belong to the Father and the family of God.

(FYI:  my relationship with my mom has since been restored, and my dad is in heaven with Jesus.  God decided to use me to bring my father to Christ right before his death.  Hmmm, go figure.  Even in the midst of pain and heartache, God’s plan for us is always perfect even if we can’t see it.)

Live a poured out life for Christ,

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  1. says

    Thanks so much for sharing your story! My husband and I are houseparents at a group home for foster children. I know through their stories how painful hard times growing in homes full of rejection can be. May God bless you and your husband as you help women with Biblical answers to their everyday problems!

  2. Mary says

    Thank you so very much for listening to God and being willing to be used for His glory in all you have gone through. My hope and prayer through the things I’m going through (which don’t come close to comparison) is for God to use me also for His glory and the chains of self and depression be broken. Thank you for being here and inspiring others :-)

  3. Sandy says

    After my adopted mother died and my father and I couldn’t get along I ended up in foster , three to be exact. The First Lady was a lot like my adopted mother. They did a lot of the same thing. Things happened there that no one knew about and as far as I know they still don’t. My second and third foster parents were family’s from the church I attended after the first foster mother passes away. I had been with her from 12 1/2-16. The second set didn’t know anything about teenagers all their kids were eight and under. I never studied enough things I just couldn’t do right. He was a dog doc so guess who never went to a real doctor. The third set they had a daughter a couple years behind me in H.S.. They were nice but I never felt at home. Now I have five grown children, 13 grands and 3 great- grands. And though life was hard at times it is what you make of it good or bad.

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