Tell It Well, Part One: Alone

 Sometimes you have to ask yourself, “If I could only tell one more story, what would it be?”  Tell it Well is my answer.

Part 1: Alone | Part 2: Sought | Part 3: Found | Part 4: Redeemed | Part 5: Bitter

Not long ago I realized I had published over 970 posts.  The number kept creeping up and soon I was on the verge of publishing my 1000th post; this nearly paralyzed me. Today is just one more Tuesday and one more post, but I find it sobering to think that I have written my thoughts and tentatively pushed the “publish” button 999 times. There is a sense of responsibility that  comes with this.

As I considered today’s post, I prayed about what I most want to say.  If this were the last time I ever published a thought, what would I want it to be? Driving through the wheat fields on our way home from Seattle last weekend, I got tearful. I told Russ that I wish I could sit with each one of you and share the one thing that matters most to me.

God is writing a story with our lives, but if we don’t share that story, if we don’t live His story, of what use is it?  Today I want to tell you the most profound and only important story of my life.  If I had to give it a title, it would have the word redeem in it, because  Jesus has gone into the grimy corners of my life and redeemed it all.  If I were to tell you the whole story, you would have to visit me for a few days and sit at my kitchen table drinking cups of coffee as the hours ticked by.  I would cry, hard, and we would hold hands, and more than anything, I would hope that life would flow to you and you would be amazed at the goodness of God.  I would want you to know that Jesus loves you and there is nothing wasted in your  life; and maybe you would tell me your story, too.

I hardly know where to begin, but since time is short, I’m going to take a very deep breath and jump right in.  I was a very young teen when I found out I was pregnant.  Just typing that sentence is hard for me.  It was over 33 years ago and yet, it is still so painful.  But this story isn’t really about me, it is all about Jesus and what He did in my life, so my pride, or shame, is not the key point.

I went to live in a foster home far from my family, friends, and boyfriend.  It was a culture shock.  My foster mom was recently divorced with two young daughters and ran a daycare in her home.  This was a far cry from the life I had at home, where my mom managed everything for me and my two sisters, made great dinners every night, and washed my clothes.  It was 1978 and long before cell phones, so I was completely cut off from my life; I was profoundly alone – alone in a way that is hard to even describe.

I attended the local high school where many assumptions were made about me and the kind of girl I was.  They knew nothing about me.  I poured all of my energy into growing my baby and reading every book the public library had on pregnancy, especially the radical natural childbirth books written by hippies who gave birth in VW buses.  I also studied hard, took honors classes, and refused to be the girl people assumed I was.

One day a girl in my philosophy class invited me to her home for dinner and to her youth group.  Marcia didn’t seem to mind my growing belly and the kids at her youth group welcomed me, uncomfortably, to be sure, but I was so thankful to just be with people.  I don’t know if I went more than a few times, but the experience made an unforgettable impact on me.

My fostermom and several of her friends were Catholics who were really into Jesus.  It was a little odd, but I liked them, and I found myself listening to them talk.  I was Catholic, but I didn’t really know Jesus.  I respected Him, He was God after all, but that didn’t seem to matter all that much in my life.

Part 1: Alone | Part 2: Sought | Part 3: Found | Part 4: Redeemed | Part 5: Bitter

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer. Ps. 19:14

 Lisa

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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

23 Comments

  1. Pam
    January 10, 2012

    Ummmm cliffhanger, much??!!! 🙂 Wow I can't wait to hear the rest of your story. You have been such an encouragement to me. I read other Trauma Mom blogs, but many aren't christians. I'm so thankful that I found your blog! I can't wait for "The Rest of The Story". 🙂

    Reply
  2. Laurel
    January 10, 2012

    I would love to sit in your kitchen for a few days and share our stories over coffee. 🙂

    Thanks for your transparency. I look forward to hearing the rest of God's redemptive story.

    Laurel

    Reply
  3. Staci
    January 10, 2012

    I am weeping. Thank you for sharing so much with us. Thank you for your faith and example.

    Reply
  4. Teresa
    January 10, 2012

    I've read your blog for several years – never commenting, though tremendously blessed as you share your life. I will be praying for you as your pour out God's story of grace. I can't wait to hear how He has glorified Himself by rescuing you…all of us, really.

    Reply
  5. Michele
    January 10, 2012

    Lisa, I rarely comment, but wanted to today when I read the first part of your story. I know this story of yours — I love it and I love that you are sharing it. Your story of redemption is a beautiful one and I am so thankful that God made us characters in each others stories.
    Love you, friend,
    Michele

    Reply
  6. Lisa Henderson
    January 10, 2012

    God has done something beautiful in your life and it's really evident in this post! I can't wait to hear the rest!

    Love to you, Lisa!

    Lisa

    Reply
  7. Traci K
    January 10, 2012

    I appreciate so much the way you allow God to use your story. It takes courage to be so transparent. Thank you. Are you still going to be at the Empowered to Connect conference in Texas? Maybe we could find time for group coffee.

    Reply
  8. angela
    January 10, 2012

    way to leave us hanging 🙂

    I'm approaching my thousandth post, too….. How grateful I am for the support of other trauma mama in this bloggy land.

    Thanks for your posts and encouragements.

    Reply
  9. Abbey
    January 10, 2012

    I am so fiercely proud of you for sharing this part of your journey, which has touched the deepest parts of my journey on so many occasions. Your story will bless your readers in a whole new kind of amazing way. Praying I can one day have even a fraction of your courage…. I love you!

    Abbey

    Reply
  10. Ann
    January 10, 2012

    Lisa, thank you for having the courage to write this post. I know it will bless many people–including me! I will keep Kleenex next to my computer for part 2.

    all the best!

    Reply
  11. Kim
    January 10, 2012

    I love this. I love Him and His story and redemption. I love that you are baring your heart here in the 1000th post. I can't wait for part 2. Your story is beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing.

    Reply
  12. Hannah Tucker
    January 10, 2012

    Mrs. Qualls, your courage in sharing Christ's workings in your life never fails to amaze me and encourage me and spur me on to sharing a greater humility. I can't wait to read the rest of this story.

    Reply
  13. Nicholas
    January 10, 2012

    I look forward to part 2. I love you.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      January 10, 2012

      I love you, too. This is our story – and God shows up. He loves us.

      Reply
      1. Anita
        January 10, 2012

        He loves us even more than to show up. He's always been there, and is always here, but we don't always see it until later. What a tender Father we have to shower us with such love! Thank you for sharing your story, Lisa. I'm looking forward to hearing about God's working in your life! You're an encouragement to me!!

        Reply
  14. Melissa
    January 10, 2012

    Oh Lisa, I would love to sit at the table with you. Thank you for sharing part one. I am looking forward to part two. God is so good. I cannot wait to hear your story of redemption, so we can once again marvel at his goodness. Thank you for your blog and sharing, it is very encouraging to me.
    Melissa

    Reply
  15. Courtney
    January 10, 2012

    you are brave. and God is going to use this in mighty ways! (i'm certain He has already in many ways…but all over again now!)

    Reply
  16. Kelli
    January 10, 2012

    Lisa,
    I am incredibly grateful for the ministry God has given you through your blog. You have ministered to me on so many occasions- in ways you know & ways you could probably never know. So, thank you. For sharing your life. For being honest. For going deep. For setting an example of trusting Him with it all. I trust He is pleased. I look forward to hearing the rest of your redemptive story. I am a firm believer that He wastes nothing in our lives.
    With love & gratitude,
    Kelli

    Reply
  17. Sara
    January 11, 2012

    Thank you for your vulnerability. Thank you for your honesty. I too would love an hour to chat heart-to-heart. Your posts are always inspiring to me. Always hopeful, always meaningful, always real. Thank you for sharing your own personal story of redemption. I am blessed to be able to hear it!

    Reply
  18. Julie
    January 12, 2012

    Thank you again for being so vulnerable, Lisa. Even through the painful words, I see the story of redemption. He comes right where we are, plucks out out of the miry pit and sets us on a firm place.

    Reply
  19. Sharon
    January 31, 2012

    I'm happy for you that things ended well. As a Jew I get a bit put off by some of the comments about Jesus helping you find the right toothpaste or whatever. There is one God and we should honor him and be kind to one another. That's my take on things.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      January 31, 2012

      Sharon, I understand that my thoughts about Jesus don't make sense or perhaps don't feel comfortable to you. I think we can both handle that difference. I wouldn't say that things ended well for me — the real issue is how I lived through it, found healing through the love of Jesus, and hopefully have become the woman God wants me to be. Adoption has shaped my life in many ways, both the very hardest and very best parts of my life. Thanks so much for reading and for leaving a comment.

      Reply
  20. lgnetworksinc.com
    July 26, 2015

    I've read your blog for several years – never commenting, though tremendously blessed as you share your life. I will be praying for you as your pour out God's story of grace. I can't wait to hear how He has glorified Himself by rescuing you…all of us, really.

    Reply

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