Getting pregnant at sixteen saved me.
That is not always a popular statement but it is true.
I was in a very self destructive place in my life. Life had taught me that I had no one to rely on but myself. Childhood abuse, rejection and hurt had built a calloused wall around my heart. Promiscuity, drug use and a general loathing of self replaced the little girl that had once dreamed of being a music therapist. The God I had known as a child would never look past the sins I had committed.
When both lines turned blue on the little white stick, I promptly vomited into the trashcan of the fast food bathroom stall I had locked myself in. For several days I pretended I didn’t know what was happening. Then, the panic struck. Pregnant? How can I take care of a baby? All I had was a room in an apartment and a job behind the drive thru window. “I can’t do this”….
Fast forward a week, sitting in a sterile clinic surrounded by literature about birth control, reproductive choices and my “options”. As I filled out the form, my hands began to shake. “I can’t do this”….
Thankfully, God was at work in my life even when I didn’t realize it. I made the decision to have my baby (which I intuitively knew was a boy). God brought people in to my life, including my future husband, who did know what they were doing and helped a seventeen year old girl become a good mama.
It was not easy. Jared was born five weeks premature (because I had an eating disorder and smoked throughout my pregnancy). He spent almost two weeks in the NICU before coming home. I became a statistic again when I became pregnant with Matt when Jared was just six months old.
Through it all, God was making a way for me to know Him, who He really is- a God of grace and mercy.
I was in a dark hole of post partum depression after Matt was born. Eighteen years old with a newborn and a sixteen month old, I was convinced I had ruined my life and would never be able to adequately parent my precious babies.
And, then I got the mail. Yes, something as simple as a postcard in the mail made my day AND introduced me to Jesus. Are you a young mom? Need a time-out? Come to xyz church on Tuesday for coffee. Free childcare provided.
Free childcare? You had me at….free childcare.
The next day was Tuesday and I tentatively walked in to a church with my a baby on my hip and a baby in a car seat, screaming as only his colicky self could. And a wonderful Christian woman took those boys from me, pointed me toward a room with a few other gals and I had the first quiet, peaceful two hours that I could remember. “I can do this”…
There was no judgment, no questions about my “situation”, only love. After six months of attending that teen moms support group, not only did I have my GED and was enrolled in the local college, I had found Jesus with clothes on. I was baptized that year and my husband the following year.
We serve a Romans 8:28 God, you know the One that works ALL things together for good?…Becoming pregnant at sixteen saved me….from continuing to hurt myself, from perpetuating cycles of generational sin, from always believing I was too far gone to be saved. I will always be grateful to those women, who looked past the tough exterior of a girl with big chips on her shoulders, to the potential that lied therein.
Now, I volunteer for a ministry that provides the same type of mentoring and love that I found when I most needed it. From taking girls to doctor appointments to guiding them through problems with their parents to helping them prepare for the GED or encouraging them to stay in school, God has used my experience as a teen mom and turned it into ministry. These girls are hard to love…so, who better to love them than one who knows just how they feel? And, I thank God for the opportunity to do so everyday!