By Debbie Altman
Like many others who will be blogging this month for our November “thankful” theme, I AM thankful for so many things. It’s almost hard to narrow it down. I praise Christ for finding me, lifting me up and never giving up on me. I’m grateful for my wonderful husband of 34 years! (Believe me, we are two strong-willed people and marriage hasn’t always been pretty. Yet, the stubbornness that can get us into trouble has also made us determined not to give up!) And of course my children, grandchildren, friends and loving community all bring me joy.
But what I want to talk about today is something more. There was a good chance that I would not even be here today to write this blog. In 1957 a single woman found herself pregnant with a man who did not want to marry her. Devastated, she moved back to her hometown of Buffalo and endured the guilt and shame of an unwed pregnancy. She gave birth to me, and then gave me up for adoption. That’s why I am thankful, truly, for being alive!
She could have had an abortion, but she chose not to. Many women have done so for various reasons, and I don’t want to offend them because there is forgiveness and healing for all in Christ. In fact, we have an amazing ministry at Grace Family Church called “Surrendering the Secret,” for women who made that decision and struggle with it.
My story, however, is different. I lived in an orphanage for three months and then a couple unable to have children took me home. When I was 38 years old, I found my birth mother, and she told me that all she had ever wanted was to be married and to have children. Giving me away, she said, was the hardest thing she had ever done.
But I am so grateful that she did.
If she hadn’t, I wouldn’t have made my way to Tampa. I would not have become a Christian and never would have met my husband and be used to speak God’s Word to Craig while we were dating. Of course, Craig became a believer and we got married. And now through the continuing hand of God in our lives, there is Grace Family Church.
In the Bible, Joseph was given away (actually sold) by his brothers. Things did not start out well for him and they did not get better very quickly. But through it all, God brought Joseph to just the place that He needed him to be–second in command of all of Egypt, a position from which he could help God’s people and his family.
What about you? Maybe your life, like mine and like Joseph’s, didn’t have a storybook beginning. If so, I want you to know that despite how your story started, I believe it will have a great ending. I am confident that God has a beautiful and important plan for all of His children!
“… Though my father and my mother have abandoned me, the Lord will take me in.”
Debbie is the wife of Pastor Craig Altman, and together, they founded Grace Family Church 20 years ago. She is a former RN and mother of a 30 year old married daughter, Dara, and 28 year old son, Brent. She is also known as “Nona” to her three precious grandchildren-Sienna is 3 and the twins, Price and Maddox, are 1 year old! Debbie enjoys family, reading, the beach, and is inappropriately competitive at board games.