Do you look more like your mom or your dad? What time were you born? Is there a history of heart failure in your family? These are questions I dreaded for years. Why? Because I don't have an answer for any of them.
I was born in Asterkhan, Russia, and was immediately put into an orphanage. I have no knowledge who I am, or where I come from. From my birth, the only information I have is the day I was born and names for my parents which have the possibility of being made up, just written on a piece of paper with no history behind them. Slightly after my first birthday, another little girl and I were adopted by a loving family in America with three boys, a big yard, and a heart for God. My parents have never hidden the adoption from my sister and I; it made us special. I mean, they got to pick us but we're stuck with my brothers! For the majority of my life, it didn't bother me that I was adopted, I loved it! Until junior high.
I started comparing myself to everyone. It would go from my friends being the spitting image of their parents, to believing my brothers could do no wrong. They were all 4.0 students, top of their classes, seemingly perfect. I was a B average student, who just wanted to be where ever people were. I was always at church, sports games, bonfires, anything that would mean being around people. As many fun times I had, I couldn't stop comparing myself. I began to hate myself for not being exactly like my brothers, for not getting the grades they got. I started believing lies the devil would be screaming at me. Lies of failure, unworthiness, incompetence. I began to believe, that since I wasn't my parents "real child, " they didn't love me as much. This led to me taking classes senior year way beyond my level, in fields I have no interest in, i.e., Anatomy and college algebra. My parents suggested I not take these college classes, and stick to some general classes. I was furious. I kept telling myself, they think I'm dumb, they think I'll fail. Then I start applying for colleges. I had a plan to attend school in Minneapolis at a small Christian college, major in Elementary Education and minor in Music Education. My parents sat me down one night and said, in summary, we don't think you're ready for college, we think you should take a year off. I was enraged, once again believing they didn't think I was ready because I was stupid, and not as smart as my brothers.
Eventually, a friend told me about a christian internship in San Francisco. My parents and I decided it sounded like a great opportunity. So starting September 2016 after graduating high school, I packed up my life and moved west only knowing one person. At the church, I took classes, cleaned, served in the community, and learned about who God was every day. I realized that before I was able to truly know who I am, I had to know who God is.
I found my identity in Christ. My identity no longer comes from where I was born, who friends say I am, who the devil says I am. My identity comes from the promises God has spoken over my life. Promises of life, abundance, restoration and so much more. Whenever I began to doubt the reason for my existence, I am reminded that I am on earth to help people encounter God in the ways I have.