This Kid

Warning: Long post, but you have to see the guts to appreciate the glory.

As a little girl I never imagined I’d end up a single mother some day. Pregnant at 18, not knowing who the father was. I never sat down to play Barbies and imagined a car seat in the back of my Barbie Corvette while I pushed it down the sidewalk in front of my house. No, my plans were more typical, go to college, get an awesome job, change the world with my super awesome husband and have a bunch of cute kids.

Even though these were my dreams as a little girl, I wasn’t incredibly shocked that day in August of 1998 when I took a pregnancy test with my friend next to me.

Earlier that day I had been fired from my job and just a few weeks prior to that I had been kicked out of my house. Yep, things were really looking great for me (insert sarcasm here). I could back up and tell you my WHOLE life story, but that’s not necessary. Here’s a snapshot of my life up until I became a pregnant, jobless, homeless and a high school drop-out.

My parents divorced when I was 10, and then remarried when I was 13. We moved from the only town I’d ever called home (Austin, Tx.) and into the country. East Texas to be exact. Bitter isn’t harsh enough to describe how I felt about our move. My parents tried and failed to keep our family together under one roof for more than 3 years, and eventually ended up divorcing in a less than hospitable way. The aftermath was evident in our home.

I should also let you know that my parents are both great people, just not great at the being married to each other part. As with any divorce, deep wounds developed in all of us. On top of that I also carried a creepy burden with me that I could never quite identify. As a kid I referred to it as “the yucky feeling”. It had been with me as long as I could remember and it wasn’t until much later that I discovered its origins. (That will have to wait for a different blog.)

Trying to cope with these wounds and my nemesis “the yucky feeling”, I began to make some pretty bad and bold choices. Skipping school to hang out with my boyfriend(s) became a regular thing and I quickly fell behind in my classes. It wasn’t too long after my first real boyfriend and I broke up that I found myself not caring at all what my future looked like. I moved in with a “friend” of mine at the time and his roommate whom I had been on a couple of dates with.

After a ridiculous amount of alcohol and some other drugs one night, I ended up sleeping with both of them at different times. To say I was at my lowest is an absurd understatement. I’m not here to call their characters into question, but you can imagine the type of crowd I was hanging around with. The level of self respect I had for myself was non-existent.

So, needless to say that day in August when I realized I felt a bit funny, pregnancy wasn’t my first thought, but it wasn’t entirely shocking to me when the two little lines showed up on the test either.

Anyone’s initial response probably would’ve been “OH CRAP!”, but mine was different. My very first thought was, “Finally, someone who will have to love me.” Heartbreaking now when I look back at it, but it makes total sense. I was desperate for love and what my parents, friends and family could offer me wasn’t enough. I had screwed up too royally to ever be loved wholly again, and a baby was my chance at a fresh start. You maybe wondering if I got pregnant on purpose. I can see how someone could come to that conclusion, but the honest answer is, no. This wasn’t what I wanted. Especially for my baby.

The next chain of events seemed to happen as quickly as the news of my pregnancy spread. Both of my friends/roommates/possible baby daddies quickly bailed. My mom allowed me to move back in with her under the stipulation that I would go back and finish high school, and after the baby was born, go to college and or get a job.

As you can imagine, my family was less than thrilled. My mom and I screamed, cried and fought while driving around for hours the day I told her. Abortion came up, as well as adoption. Both of which I knew were not the right choices for me. I started to hear from anyone and everyone who thought it would do me some good to hear their advice. Things like… “This kid is going to ruin your life”, and “This kid is going to turn out to be a brat, and the both of you are going to amount to nothing.”

A quick word of advice for anyone who feels compelled to give their two-cents worth of unsolicited advice to a young pregnant girl…don’t. No, seriously. Don’t. I can guarantee you she’s already scared, and already shaming herself enough for the both of you. Don’t kick her while she’s down. Show her love. Tell her she can do it. God’s given her everything she needs in Him and He’s a good Father who redeems. Tell her nothing’s too bad or too big for Him to handle, and with Him it will all work out and be ok.

And now that “this kid” is officially a senior in high school, I can tell you what I said above is true. You have no idea how many years I’ve beaten myself up and lived in shame. How many years I lived in fear that “this kid” would grow up to be what everyone expected him to be. How the hurtful words of others proclaiming curses over him would keep me up at night worrying that he’d end up like me. Drop out of high school, have a terrible relationship with me and the man that became the only dad he’s ever known, and ended up adopting him and giving him his last name when he was in the 2nd grade.

To the lonely, scared momma who might be doing this alone, can I give you some hope? Ask the One who can love you like other people can’t. No, not even my sweet precious and amazing baby boy gave me the love that I so desperately needed. It didn’t even come from the most amazing husband that has ever walked this planet. I found it when I surrendered to God. When I invited Him in, He gave me a love like I’ve never known before. One that could never be filled by even the most perfect, loving human on Earth. I was created to be loved by Him. When I receive this love, all of the people in my life take their rightful place in my heart and I don’t have to worry about being hurt or unloved ever again. Yes, I will still feel those emotions, but His love will cover, heal and make me whole when I do.

And that’s my prayer for everyone who reads this post. I pray you find His love because it’s not like any other. I pray you surrender your life to Him and invite Him in to heal you and make you whole again. I pray that no matter how low you are or have been, you know that you’re never too far gone for God and He always has a solution and a plan for you. I pray that you have love and compassion when you see someone at their lowest and can see them with the heart of our good Father. I pray you grow closer to Him and that His grace, love and mercy become the words you speak and the actions you do. I pray you find His peace and you see how God can turn “this kid” into one of the best things that’s ever happened to you, just like He did for me.

Proud to be Seen With Me

I remember my first Mother’s Day well. I had a week old baby in my arms who could barely hold his head up and couldn’t say one single word yet. He had the softest skin, the sweetest little cheeks, toes and fingers. He had a hairline like and old man. Bald and appeared to be receding.

He couldn’t do a single thing for himself. He depended on me to feed him, change him, bathe him and keep him warm. Yet my heart was a million times fuller than it had been just a week and a day earlier. I was BEAMING with pride!

This baby, MY baby was the most incredible thing I had ever laid my eyes on. I got excited over the most ridiculous things like newborn diapers, onsies with dinosaurs on them and tiny little toe nails. He took my breath away.

As I sat down looking over every little detail of him, the doorbell rang. I ran to answer it with my bundle of joy in my arms and opened the door to a delivery lady with a beautiful bouquet of flowers in her hands from my dad wishing me a happy first Mother’s Day.

“What a precious baby you have!” She said. “He must be days old!”

“One week!” I said absolutely exploding with pride and holding him at a better angle for her to see what I saw. I’m sure in her line of work, she’d seen hundreds of newborn babies and new mommas. But that didn’t stop me! I wanted her to get a GOOD look at him and tell me that was the cutest newborn baby she’d ever seen!

I tell you this not because Mother’s Day is approaching and you needed a reminder to go buy your momma a card, but because I wanted you to know the pride I had for my newborn baby that day. He was mine, a piece of me, my legacy, my flesh and blood. Years later he grew into an adorable toddler, curious preschooler and big brother to a sister whom I was equally proud of and melted over. Now they are 16 and 12 and my pride for them has only increased. They resemble me, their mannerisms are like mine, and their personalities are awesome! I love the uniqueness of them both and how they are their own person, but I also love how they are similar to me and fit right into their rightful places in our family.

Everywhere we go I am proud to be seen with them. They bring me joy, laughter and make our family complete. When I think of the way my heart swells with pride for my children, I can’t help but think this is how my Heavenly Father thinks of me.

I fit in His family. I am uniquely me, and yet I still carry the characteristics of my Father. He’s proud of me not for my accomplishments or how well I behave, but simply because I am His. Before I ever began my relationship with Him, He was proud of me, just like I was proud of that little baby who couldn’t even hold his head up. And like I was proud to show that brand new baby off to the florist, He’s proud to be seen with me.

The revelation of this truth for me broke off some heavy chains of shame, self doubt and lack of confidence. If He’s proud to be seen with me, I can be proud to be seen with me! No more shame, feeling like I don’t belong or don’t fit in. No more fear of being me! He’s proud of me people! And He’s proud to be seen with you too. Not because of what you’ve done, or what you can offer, but just because you’re you. He adores your toenails, your hands and feet, your hairline…even those that are receding. He loves everything about you and you never have to do a thing to earn it. He’s proud of you. I know like me, someone needs to hear this.

My prayer for all who read this post is that you will receive His pride and love for you. I pray you will know that it’s not what you do, but it’s because He created you and because you simply exist. You belong to Him and you have a perfect place in His family (Psalm 68:6). I pray EVERYWHERE you go, and in EVERYTHING you do, you know that He is proud to be seen with you. Even in your darkest places. I pray when you’re struggling in those dark and hard places, you will remember that He is still with you, and He is STILL proud of you, so much so He sent His Son for you. You are His. I pray you look for Him in those places, look for Him in the everyday ordinary things and know you are loved and that He is BEAMING with pride for you.

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Click HERE to hear the song that inspired this post. Pieces by Bethel Music