Sunday, May 8, 2011

In honor of Mothers Day...

I love Mother's Day and not just because we get to make the wonderful women in our lives feel special but because I LOVE being a mother! I am so glad for a day just to reflect on how much being a mother means and what a wonderful job God has given all mothers to do.

I had to work this mother's day, as I have for the past four years. I am always sad to have to work on holidays but today it was a reminder of why I work, for my family. I got off a little early and Blake and I played with Kennedy outside in her kiddie pool. She had a blast!

I am so blessed to also have a mother who means the world to me. She is so much more than a mother; she is a true friend. She is the most kind-hearted, soft-spoken, loving, and caring woman I know. I love her so much and I am so appreciative of all she has done for me since... well, before I was born. I am so blessed that God gave me a wonderful motherly example to follow! I can only hope to be as wonderful as she is.

In honor of mother's day, just thought of some things that I have learned since becoming a mother and reflecting on the days before I was a mother. My life has changed so much. People at work comment on me having "mommy patience" with kids when they come in to eat. And I do believe my perspective on life has changed. In thinking of all this I was reminded of this note I wrote on Facebook 3 days before my little girl was born.

25 Things I've Learned The Past Nine Months
1. God is indescribable. I am completely blown away by His amazing love, forgiveness, and grace. I am so undeserving of every blessing He has given me and I could not imagine life without Him.

2. Family is the most important thing in my life. No matter what I go through and no matter where I've been I know my family will stick by my side and stand up for me.

3. Who my true friends are. True friends are the ones that stand up for you when you've messed up. That understand and will do anything to help you. Will call you just to see how you are doing. Don't run away when things get uncomfortable and will not care to be seen with a waddling pregnant woman in public :)

4. The miracle of life. Pregnancy is truly a miracle. It is completely unbelievable how a life can form from two microscopic cells. Just watching the ultrasounds and hearing a heart beat at just 10 weeks from something that honestly looks like a peanut. And watching that peanut turn into something that looks, feels, sleeps, and kicks like a baby is indescribable.

5. The only thing that is eternal is a soul. Everything in this life is meaningless. When it's all over it doesn't matter what career you had, how much money you made, or what your GPA was. The only thing that matters in the end is where you are going to spend the rest of eternity and the impact that you left on this earth.

6. Patience. Although I haven't mastered this goal by any means, I feel that it is something I am faced with daily. From waiting on doctors, waiting on circumstances to be solved, and truly seeing that with a little patience in every situation, God will come through.

7. Love. I know what it means to love someone so much that you would sacrifice everything you thought was important just to be able to be with them. I know that human love will never be perfect but I know that no matter what Kennedy does or says I will always love her. I have also seen such great examples of love in my own life lately. From the unconditional love from my parents and close friends to the overwhelming and magnificent love of a wonderful Savior.

8. Not to care what people think. Everyone has his or her own opinion. You can't change that. All you can do is be completely confident that you are doing the right thing and ignore the looks, comments, or judgment that is trying to keep you down.

9. God answers prayer. From the very beginning when I prayed for God to slam the door in my face if I wasn't meant to go to New York (right before I found out I was pregnant) to insurance problems, pediatricians, and other situations that arose. God doesn't always give the answer you expect but he will always lead you in the right direction.

10. Stable doesn't necessarily mean normal. Though Kennedy may not be born into what some may consider a "normal" family she has more love and people that are so excited to see her than some babies who are born into a "normal" family. I have seen that there are many different types of families and the definition of a family is simply people who love each other and look out for each other.

11. Some people surprise you. Some people I thought would be so judgmental or unsupportive of my decision to keep the baby have had completely opposite reactions. The same is true however for some people that I thought would be supportive that haven't been.

12. Fetal hiccups are so much fun! I never thought that I could get so much joy, excitement, and entertainment from feeling Kennedy move. Out of all the movement and the kicks I must say that the hiccups are my favorite. Annoying at times, yes, but I just have to remind myself how amazing it is that there is a little person inside of me that gets hiccups just like I do :)

13. The generosity of people is amazing. I had four baby showers. Four! It completely blows me away at the gifts I received and the eagerness of so many friends to help out. I am so thankful and grateful to every single person. I ended up not having to spend much money at all on things I needed to get ready for her to be here and for that I am soooo thankful and couldn't put into words what it means to me.

14. Pregnancy truly bonds a mother and daughter. My mom and I have gotten extremely close throughout this whole experience. She is my role-model and my constant friend. I am so blessed to have her as a great example to look up to.

15. Distance is no match for true friendship. True friends will stay close no matter how many miles are put between them. Period.

16. No matter how big you think the baby is getting it will ALWAYS get bigger. I remember thinking how big I was and how heavy she was at just 5 months. HA!

17, Great stories are meant to be shared. I love telling my story to people. It is such a personal testimony to how God has truly reviled Himself to me. I love sitting with people one on one and simply sharing this experience.

18. What To Expect When You're Expecting is the holy book of pregnancy. If you are pregnant and do not have this book, get it. Now.

19. Mexican food does not start labor late in pregnancy. In fact mexican food late in pregnancy just causes nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach and possible diarrhea but you can't take pepto bismol when your pregnant so just watch out :)

20. Full moons do not always lead to labor. My mother was convinced that Kennedy would come on the full moon. This was because she went into labor on a full moon with both me and my brother. There is some scientific proof to why full moons make women go into labor. It didn't work for me. 

21. No matter how much you think you are ready for labor you will never be. As much as I try to convince myself that I am so ready to have this baby I am so nervous about what it is going to be like and how everything is about to change. I really think I am ready to tackle all of this but there is still that anxiousness.

22. When you are pregnant you will see numbers on a scale you never thought possible. Enough said.

23. The first trimester of pregnancy is def the worst. The second is the best and by the third you are miserable but at least you aren't as sick as you were in those first few months.

24. Nine months are needed in pregnancy to fully prepare you for motherhood. I look back at who I was nine months ago and how much I have matured and changed in order to be a good mother. It is amazing how much motherly instinct just comes over the months.

25. My life has changed forever. It will continue to change but I believe it has been the best change I could ever ask for and I couldn't imagine having it any other way.


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Share your story

This morning was an interesting morning. I went to see my little brother's senior recognition at the church I grew up at. It is always weird for me to go back there. That place holds so many memories, some good, some bad. It is good to see people I haven't seen in a while but most of the time it makes me feel uncomfortable. Anyway, I can not believe that my little brother is about to graduate high school. They had a time for prayer and had all of the parents of the seniors go down front to pray over their students and I lost it. Tears started rolling down my face. I don't know what was making me cry exactly I think it was a mixture of Jason growing up and also the fact that he is going to college where a lot of my straying from God began. I think I am more scared for him than anything. I was praying with them over him from my seat just praying for God to keep his heart focused on Him.

After this we came back and had a nice brunch with my grandparents. I made omelets for everyone and it was really good. I love making omelets :).

I went to our small group tonight from church. About ten of us try to get together every Sunday night to go over the message and just talk about what is going on in our lives. Blake and I are blessed to have a church that does these "community groups." We are in a group with our pastor and it is always good to hear him elaborate and talk more about things he may have left out of the sermon or just to hear his imput. We have a very diverse but great group of people.

The sermon this morning at OneLife Church, where we go, was about sharing your story. It was about sharing what God did in your life and how he saved you or has shown you hope in your life. How we as Christians should be ready to tell people why we have the hope that we do. About all of those little confirmations we receive from God. I feel the need to share my story of redemption with you. How God saved me from a path of destruction and because I trusted Him, He overcame my circumstances.

Before I tell you my story I would really like to hear yours. If you are a child of God how did he call you to him? We all have different ways He calls us, but as my friend Harrison said tonight, isn't it cool that we all have the same result, a relationship with God!

So here is my story:
My junior year of college was a pretty crazy time in my life. I lost my boyfriend of a year and my best friend took his side and didn't talk to me and we didn't really talk again until a couple years later. In this time I found some other people that accepted me but the only thing they wanted to ever do was go out and drink and this is where my downfall began.

I also became complete consumed in my schoolwork and what career I wanted. I was an advertising major and poured my heart and soul into my classes. Resulting in many many all-nighters and a ranking at the top of my class. I had an internship at a great ad agency here and was headed for the big city. In November 2008 I was selected as a top candidate for interviews for two summer internships at world wide ad agencies in New York. This was all I focused everything on was my future life in New York City.

While interviewing in New York with several other advertising students in January I was living the New York life. We were going out every night and having fun. Well I was surrounding myself with people that didn't know me and because I had never really been a good christian example around them they didn't know that I was any different than them. The last night we were there me and this other girl were out with two guys that live in NYC that we had met through an alumni. They took us to a lot of local bars and we thought it was really cool. The guy I was with then proceeded to take me home with him. I told him that I didn't want to go home with him because he worked at one of the places I was interviewing at. After another drink I went to the girl I was with and asked her when we were going back to the hotel because the guy wanted me to go home with him and she simply just told me to go with him.

At this apartment, with a guy a barely knew, and entirely too much alcohol, I lost my virginity. I didn't want it to happen, I just didn't know how to stop it. The only thing I could think at the time was he has to use a condom. If this is really going to happen, which that is where it looked like it was going, he has to. So I told him and he put on a condom and proceeded. There were things he said to me that night that I will never get over. I was personally degraded by him.  I woke up the next morning so embarrassed and regretting everything. I got up told him I had to leave and took a taxi back to the hotel thinking the entire way how much I had totally screwed up and let God down.

The other girl I was with had gone home with the other boy as well. And the entire next day at the airport I got to listen to her brag about her amazing night with this guy. I was just so regretful of my night and I was so miserable being around these people who didn't seem to care about me. I text my roommate/best friend and told her I was so ready to come home and that as soon as I came home I needed to talk to her. She asked if I was okay and I told her that something had happened and I needed to talk to someone who really cares about me.

After we got back I told her about the guy. She was the only one I told. She helped me out so much and just told me that God will forgive me. Then she dragged me to church the next day because I didn't want to go. I was so embarrassed and broke down and cried during church the next day because the guilt was so great. I hadn't cried that that in a year and a half because crying to me was a sign of weakness and weakness wouldn't get me to New York.

The next day I had this very strong come to Jesus quiet time where I was so convicted and just confessed everything. That I knew it was wrong, did it anyway, and I was so so sorry and I wouldn't do it again. I was then completely covered in the forgiveness and grace of God and it was the best feeling I have ever experienced. I committed to not drinking for a month, which was going to be hard with the people I surround myself with. But I felt that God was calling me to do this so I obeyed.

I had learned my lesson. I had really messed up and and now I had repented and was forgiven. I knew that there would would be the guilt and regret but that was the only consequence I thought I was going to have to face. There was just one question, what about New York? Could I really go up there and be who I was down here? Was this one instance enough to change me? Or would I continue to try to erase what happened to me with more men, more mistakes, running further away from God by getting swept up in that "Sex and the City" lifestyle? I knew only one way to find out. There is only One who can see into the future so I prayed. I prayed with all my heart. "God, please please help me make this decision. You are the only one who can see into the future and God if I am going to go up there and live a life that isn't for You, please stop me." When I prayed this prayer my way of stopping me was that by some miracle I, after all my hard work and dedication, would not get the internship. But I did eventually get offered both internships. God stopped me in another way. What would turn out to be a much much better way.

A few weeks later I bought a pregnancy test when I happened to be a few days late just to prove to myself I was crazy and that I wasn't pregnant. I just wanted to see the negative to put my mind at ease. Instead I was shocked. Shocked doesn't even begin to describe it. I went out and bought 2 more and took them, all of them saying positive or thanks to the digital readout "pregnant". I called my roommate, Lauren, and told her to come home. She got back home finding me laying in the floor crying and just sat there and held me. She was the strong person in my life that kept me sane and grounded in God throughout all of this.

Lauren called the Hope Resource Center and made me an appointment and drove me there the next day. That night I told my parents. They were in shock because this isn't me. It's not who I am. But they have been VERY supportive. God has blessed me so much with them and I'm so thankful.

Two weeks after I found out, my church at the time had its disciple now for college students. I went and the speaker, Brian Richards, was amazing! God moved in my life like I have never experienced. I realized how I hadn't included God in my New York plans and how this is His will. That I have a baby and use this as my testimony to show how he can take a huge mistake and change a life while creating a new one inside me. He has taken all of the plans I made and worked so hard for and put above him and crushed them. He has blessed me with a soul that I can raise to know Him! This is something I wrote to a friend: "I have realized how everything is meaningless (in Ecclesiastes) and just how the only thing that is eternal is a soul. This is what I have now, a little soul. I don't have a career plan or a corporate lifestyle but I have something so much better. I have found God's plan. I'm not sure what all that entails and how it is all going to work out. I know it is not going to be easy and I'm going to get a lot of looks of disappointment and some judgment but I'm relying on God to help me through it. He has blessed me with so many people that are supporting me and I am so thankful."

Another thing among many that I had to deal with was the father. I didn't want to tell him. I never wanted to talk to or see him again honestly. I remember spring break I was house sitting and by myself in this big house just crying out to God about what to do about telling him or not. God answered me, not in an audible voice but spoke to my heart and this flooded my mind. "If you do not tell Him you are taking this situation into your own hands. Let me handle it. Let me handle him." At that point I knew that I had to be obedient to God. I had to tell this man and leave his involvement up to him. I didn't want him to be involved but that needed to be left up to God. Left in His control. This all happened about 3 months after I found out. I waited a long time because I needed to make sure that I was grounded enough in my decision to not let him influence me. The only way I had to contact him was through email and he wrote me back saying what a horrible mistake I had made and how I was stupid for keeping the baby. Needless to say he didn't want to be involved. He wasn't really mean about it it was just very differing opinions. This made it much easier on me though.

Kennedy Grace was born on October 9, 2009. I decided to name her Kennedy Grace and chose Grace because that is what God has shown me through all of this. His grace.

God gave me the strength to finish college by only extending my classes one summer. I worked three jobs for  a while and got a job offer right out of college, that job didn't work out, but I did learn a lot from it.

I have a huge heart for girls going through situations like this. Especially Christian girls. One of the hardest things for me was that some people could not believe that I was a christian and make a mistake like that. How could I be a christian and a single pregnant woman? My goal is to make people aware that God always calls His children back and that Christians aren't perfect we just have a God that overcomes our mistakes.