Neglect and abuse motivated Lisa Walker to believe that finding her biological father would complete her but it was another father that brought her true healing
"Even though I was happy to find my father, it didn't make my life complete the way I thought it would. Something was still missing," Lisa recalls.
Lisa was only two when her father was imprisoned for armed robberies and her mother was remarried to a violent alcoholic.
Apart from the vicious beatings Lisa received from her stepfather, she was made to feel unwanted because of the resemblance she had to her biological father.
"Everywhere we went my stepfather would always say to people, 'Oh, she's not my real kid'," she says.
The wounds from such comments stung and at age 13, when she found out that everyone had lied to her about her father being dead when he was in fact alive, Lisa had had enough.
"Not out of rebellion, but out of my search for love and acceptance I turned to drugs, my new boyfriend, and running away from home," she explains.
"Almost overnight I went from a straight-A honour student to a juvenile delinquent."
At age 14 she was taken to the Orange County Detention Centre because in the early '70s running away from home was considered a crime.
"With the pain of rejection, only being home two days, my stepfather told my mother that he couldn't stand to look at me any longer and it would either be me or him. She chose him," Lisa says.
After running away from her foster family she once again ended up in detention.
"My mother never came to visit even though she was allowed...no one ever did," she recalls sadly.
"We had one hour group sessions every day, but I would never open up. I never revealed my biggest secret of all about my uncle molesting and raping me from four to eight years old."
"My mother and grandmother had told me to forget about it and to never ever tell anyone, but no matter how hard I tried I couldn't forget. I now wish that I had told someone, as I cried myself to sleep almost every night. I felt abandoned, rejected and so alone."
Due to good behavior Lisa was eventually allowed to visit her grandmother but, after her boyfriend broke up with her, she decided to overdose on prescription pills to end her pain.
"God was truly watching over me as my grandfather came home early from work and saw me ... the doctors said that if we had been 15 minutes later (to the hospital) I would have been dead."
Still in her teens, Lisa turned to partying and drugs, which left her in dangerous situations.
"Once I injured my neck by falling out of a speeding car and another time I was raped at gunpoint," she explains before adding, "God spared my life and the rapist was arrested ... God in His mercy was watching over me once again."
Lisa's turning point came when she later became pregnant with a son and, after an 11-year search, was eventually reunited with her biological father.
"I still remember the prayer from a Christian counselor as she prayed that I wouldn't only find my earthly father, but that I would also find my heavenly Father. My father was located only two months after her prayer," Lisa recalls.
Yet these miracles were only pieces of the puzzle that lead Lisa to the ultimate Father who had been there all along.
"Throughout my lifetime I have been through all kinds of secular therapy, counseling, hypnotherapy and medication finding only temporary relief until through a series of events I was led to church and rededicated my life (to God)," Lisa explains after committing her life to Jesus Christ.
"I was full of bitterness and resentment toward all of the people that had hurt me and it had affected every area of my life. Only after I surrendered my life to God did a real change occur in me."
While Lisa had known about God from a young age it was only at this point of complete surrender that she realized what she had been missing all along.
"I found true healing through letting go and forgiving everyone who had ever hurt me. At first I didn't feel like I had really forgiven them so I prayed that God would let me truly feel the forgiveness...eventually I did," she says.
"One day my uncle called me crying and said that he was so sorry for what he had done to me when I was a little girl. As I told him that I had already forgiven him years ago I really meant it and I really felt it. Only God can change hearts this way...I'm living proof!"
Today, Lisa says her greatest desire in life is to let others know "that they can rise above any situation and that there is only true hope, true healing and true forgiveness through Jesus Christ".
In closing she adds, "I now know that the most important thing in life for anyone is to find their Heavenly Father and to read His Word (the Bible). My search is over...my Heavenly Father was what I was searching for all along."•