So this is my story…

My name is Leslie. I was born in August, 1981 in a hospital in downtown Jacksonville. Perhaps the most profound and impactful event in my life occurred three days later when I was given up for adoption. Though I don’t remember anything about it cognitively, I have done years of soul-searching, enough to know that it was one of the defining moments of my life, and I’ve written at length about all the emotions tied up with it.

I had a beautiful childhood. I really could not have asked for a better, more stable, loving or attentive family than the one I was gifted. I was Daddy’s little girl and spent hours on the beach and in the water. I have a brother, also adopted, who is 2.5 years younger than me. I am blessed that my mother was very social, so from 6 months I have had many friends, a handful who I am still close with, 26 years later. I had a priviledged private school education and participated in different activites (none of which lasted too long, but that’s another story).

Now I said I had a wonderful childhood, and I did, but I always struggled with myself. I do not ever remember a time that I did not feel displaced in some way, that I did not feel the need to fit into a group, to like the music they did, wear clothes like them, to have similar handwriting, talents, affectations, Sanrio pencil boxes. I (thought I) didn’t know who I was, so I was always changing and transforming myself to be like someone else. Thinking back upon my elementary years, I absolutely remember specific instances that I did this consciously and purposefully. In middle school, the need to be important, valued became overwhelming.

If you would have asked me at, say, age 10 why I had to have the same Sanrio pencil boxes or like the same show (or even pretend to know what show it was), I would not have had an answer for you. Today I have a few.

Deep down inside I know the insecurities I had were partially connected to being abandoned, feeling unwanted, while I know that even the healthiest child feels insecure at times. And having those feelings exist just made the other thing that was lost, a personal relationship with God, that much more difficult to find. Oddly enough I found what I was looking for while looking for everything else in the world. It was like stumbling in the dark. I wanted to know, wanted to be filled, wanted answers, something to let me know I had an essential place in this world. Abandonment was my question. Jesus is my answer.

Look, everyone follows something, whether it is the Lord, the latest trends, the rap culture, the rebellious anarchy, his or her own personal agenda, the executive track, whatever it may be. I just feel deeply that among the millions of options out there from which to choose, and knowing that ultimately I will chose at least one, Jesus is the only path I have found that completely and truly fills up the void. And, frankly, if only one key fits into a keyhole, and it fits perfectly, opening the door to a profound, unique peace not found in any other room I’ve ever entered, AND it just happens to open any other important door anywhere I go, I see no reason to try any more keys.

One Response to “My Testimony”

  1. Sherrie Warren Says:

    Les – I hope that your newfound relationship with Jesus will bring you the peace of heart
    you so greatly deserve and the forgiveness of self that you so desire. I love you so very much and am so proud of you. Mom

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