“You are worthless now!” “You are cheap!” “You are ruined!” “No one is ever going to want you again.” “You will never find someone who truly loves you now.” “You have ruined your chances at being a real christian.”
At 17 years old (a week before my 18th birthday), I found myself somewhere that I NEVER would have imagined, pregnant and alone. My boyfriend of 3 months had just dumped me right before I found out. He was the guy that every mom hopes their daughter runs from. But out of spite I started dating him and even though I really did not love him I made the decision to have sex with him- against all my beliefs and promises to myself. If you knew my mom, you would know that she is very judgmental and very overbearing. So when I thought I might be pregnant, I wrote her a note and then went to a friend's house to wait out her anger. After a phone call of come home now, there was no talking, just get in the car. She took my to my pediatrician (yes of all places a pediatrician's office) and made me take a pregnancy test. I remember how judgmental and condescending the nurses and the doctor were. That was really my first taste of judgment and disdain. Then it was time to tell my ex-boyfriend. His only response was that it was not his problem and for me to take care of it.
Abortion was never an option that crossed my mind. And no matter what I might have thought, adoption was never discussed because as my mother said, “You made your bed now you have to lie in it.” Of course I had 5 and half months left of high school so my mother couldn't stop me from going there but she certainly stopped me from going to church so that there would be no judgment there. She also tried her best to keep me from being seen by anyone she knew. I remember her trying to find a dress for my cousins wedding that would absolutely not let anyone know that I was pregnant. And she fought my going to prom tooth and nail. But it was my senior prom and I had a job and I paid for it. She was more worried about what my “situation” said about her then how I felt. There was judgment passed down from my entire family, including the father who had been out of the picture for over 6 years. It didn't matter that when my cousin did it it was all roses. I was me and I was a christian and Christians did not do this kind of thing.
My ex started coming in and out of my life wanting to make up and then disappearing for the next 5 months until one day no one knew where he was. He never really had an interest in the baby just in what he wanted from me. And at this point I was falling for the “no one will ever want you after this” and “no one will ever love you after you have ruined yourself” lies. I am not trying to paint myself as a saint. I was not a saint then and I still am not today. But I was still a very sheltered kid who knew nothing. And I do mean nothing. The decision was made that as soon as I graduated I would move to my current town to stay with my grandmother. I was 18, just graduated, and pregnant moving in with a woman in her late 60's to a town where I had only spent summers and school breaks growing up. And where I was supposed to stay in the house and act like I was invisible for the next several months. With no other options I went.
I stayed in the house, pretty much in my room, all the time. We didn't really go anywhere. At 7 months, I woke up in the middle of the night and went to the bathroom only to find a basin full of blood. My mom was in Atlanta and I was 4 hours away. I still did not have a doctor here and the closest hospital that dealt with any of this stuff was 45 mins away. My aunt and uncle came and took me and my grandmother to the hospital. There isn't a whole lot that I remember about that night except a doctor was found for me through the hospital and when the nurse asked my is I had had sex that day my grandmother saying “No, but I have.” (Imagine my uncle's face when his mom said that)
The next day, I went to the doctor, and for the first time I didn't feel judged by the staff. I felt that way in Atlanta every time I went. My doctor made me feel comfortable and didn't preach at me or judge me at all. I loved it. It didn't stop my family from saying what they wanted but at least every week I had someone telling me it was okay. It turned out that I had a kidney stone and a blocked ureter. Surgery followed along with bed rest for the duration. This was when my grandmother started telling everyone that I had been on drugs and had gone wild. Which was absolutely not true. I am not trying to say what I did was right but I promise you and God that I have never taken any illegal drugs. I was heartbroken. I was “ruined”. And I started to really believe all the lies. On September 10, 2000, I gave birth to this perfect little boy. And I found out what real love was. There is nothing like it.
But the lies kept being thrown at me. After my son was born and I started college I tried to date. Only to find out that having a child is a sign that you are cheap and will put out no matter what. Can I just say how untrue that is! People make mistakes and people grow from them. And I started reading and studying on my own because even at our new church and at home I still felt judged. It wasn't until October 19, 2002, that all that changed for the better.
I am sitting in my Sunday school class teaching the 2 year old class when my world was rocked. A member of our church that I deeply respected and admired for his walk with God and his journey to get where he was, was found dead on his couch that morning. It was devastating to our congregation as a whole. And it shook my heart to it's very core. No one is guaranteed anything, and that day was the first time it really hit home. Two days later at his visitation, I walked over to his nephew, who up until this point I didn't really pay any attention too. I told him how sorry I was and that I would see him the next day. After the funeral, the church fed the family dinner. And said nephew and I sat and talked for about an hour after, ending the conversation in call me if you need anything. And he did. Later that week he called and asked me on a date. He knew a version of my story, that I wasn't married and that I had a kid, from his mom who I went to church with. It didn't matter to him. We went on our first date and spent 3 hours talking in my driveway after. I told him the truth of what happened and why I had a child and he was okay with that. Our dates alternated between just the two of us and all three of us. And he fell in love with both of us and I fell in love with him. And through him I became closer to God, he came back to church, and I stopped believing all the lies that were told about me, to me from everyone else, and even the ones I told myself. I was not ruined. I am loved by a God who is bigger than anything on this Earth. And I could be loved again by the man that God made for me.
I am not saying that I don't sometimes still fall for the same lies and even new ones. I do. The lies never go away. But I also know that the are just that, lies. It doesn't make the dark days go away. Because I suffer from depression that started back then. But it does make it easier. And by reading and studying God's word and trusting in God's plan for me I can move forward. I look at my son everyday and realize that one day he will need to hear this story and I know that God will let me know when. But I also know that God will fill me with the right words and will fill my son with a deeper love than I can give to hear it. He has 3 fathers. He has his biological father who has never seen him and has only once expressed an interest before disappearing again, he has his Daddy- who has loved him and raised him as his own, and he has the best Father there is. He has God. We have done our best to instill that in him and plant all the seeds so that when the day comes he will know that God has a greater love for him then us and that this is all in God's plan.
Overcoming lies is not easy by no means. Hebrew 6:18 says “God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled may take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged.” God offers us hope. God offers us grace and mercy. God is truly our only judge and in him we can be wiped clean. Lean in to God and his son and overcome whatever lies you are being told. God loves you! You are not ruined and you will be loved. You are already loved more than you will ever know. I pray for you and your journey. With love, Laura
***Last week Ashley told me that they are offering custom prints to go along with the blog tour! I am so excited to introduce you to mine. You can visit www.overcomethelie.storeenvy.com to purchase it.