Angela had no parents.
Her dad was already married when he got in a relationship with her mother. When Angela was born, her father decided to have nothing to do with her. Her mom, who was very young, similarly gave her up to be raised by a great aunt.
Thank God for “Great Auntie,” but she, from time to time, would regrettably reinforce the rejection by saying things like: “Children like you whose parents aren’t married, they call them bastards.”
“I would ask, ‘Why did my parents not want me?’ There were no calls, no birthday cards,” Angela narrates on a CBN video. “As a child, I would think of parents and feel very alone. There was a deep longing to be part of my family.”
Shame accompanied her growing up.
““If your own parents don’t love you, why would you feel lovable by anyone else?” she asks.
Just once, she met her father. He seemed like a total stranger and Angela felt awkward. Though she wanted very desperately a relationship with her dad, she realized he didn’t want to have anything to do with her, so she didn’t pursue it.
She was taken to church and sang, “Jesus loves me.” But she was troubled by the words: “I wondered if He loved everybody, why He let me be born into this situation. Why someone who supposedly loved me enough to die for me didn’t even love me enough to give me a family?”
She walked to church, but no one ever told her to read the Bible. She learned about the sinful condition of mankind but not about God’s love. Eventually, she stopped going. It was just rules.
“I just said, ‘Forget it.’ I didn’t believe that God really loved me, and I just walked away,” she says.
She joined the military and got married. Her first husband wasn’t “all in,” so the marriage didn’t last more than a few years. Her second husband was emotional abusive and ridiculed her family background.
She found herself all alone and frustrated in her quest for happiness.
At the time she worked for the federal government. On 9/11, she watched with horror as the Twin Towers burned and people threw themselves from the upper levels.
“I have never felt fear like that in my entire life,” she remembers.
She drove home and watched the news in stunned silence.
“At that moment, I wanted God to exist so much because if there’s not a God, there’s no hope,” she says.
She felt God impress on her heart: You’ve got to get back to the church, you’ve got to get back to church.
From that Sunday on, she’s attended “full steam ahead,” she says.
Finally, she learned about God’s love. A passage talking about the “everlasting love” of God towards Israel impacted her heart the most. She became born-again and realized church was not about rules and condemnation but family.
“Finally I had a Father — and not just a father but the perfect Father,” she says. “It was a freedom for me. Freedom from fear, freedom from being lonely. He helped me to understand: ‘I’ve always been your Father. You had to go through those things to get to the place you where you are now, but I was always your Father.
“So I forgive me earthly father, and I receive the love of my Heavenly Father,” she says. “I am settled in my soul. I am content and at peace. I was welcomed into the arms of my Father. I am lovable.”
Laken Wilson studies at the Lighthouse Christian Academy in Santa Monica.