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.

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