I was born in Chicago Illinois in 1982. I obviously don’t remember much about most of my childhood. At about age twelve is where I can look back now and see who I was beginning to be and I have some memories. To be honest my childhood was filled with fear, nervousness, confusion and the constant feeling that I was not loved. I constantly felt alone and that my family did not see anything good in me. I constantly assessed whether I was loved or not. Apparently, that was very important to me.
At a young age I was constantly observing others; their behavior, their friendships, their sincerity, everything. I saw people that were happy and people that were hurting. It was in many ways like I could feel their happiness or pain. Aside from what life was like at home and the ways that shaped me there was a disposition that was with me from the womb. Sins that were incubated in my life experiences and allowed to flourish.
Throughout my life, before God revealed himself to me, I had some amazing experiences with God. Some people think that your experience with God begins when you are saved. When he comes in and opens your eyes to the war of good an evil that we all live in, but scripture says, “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all my days were written in Your book and ordained for me before one of them came to be.” (Psalm 139:16)
One memory that stands out to me is during the time I was at the train station in Indiana. While I was there a homeless man passed by me and gave me a crack rock. He told me it was worth two hundred dollars and that I should sell it. Not really knowing what to do with it. I wrapped it in tissue and put it in my purse. Later a young man asked me if I would like to smoke some marijuana with him. We went behind a building to smoke it. What I later found out was that it was black expo weekend in Indianapolis. Apparently that weekend they load up the city with a lot of police. Needless to say, we were arrested. It was a weird situation because they took us to the side of a building and interrogated us. After they went through my things and found this drug I started crying. Being seventeen I knew they would call my parents. That was my biggest fear at the moment. I pulled it together and told them that a man gave it to me and told me to hold it for him. I told the officer that I didn’t know what to do because I didn’t want him to come looking for me and I had never even seen crack before so I didn’t know if it was like acid which got into your skin, which is why I wrapped it in the tissue (that part was true). Anyway, they eventually let me go. As I got on the train to Michigan I saw a big black billboard with small white letters that read “If you are looking for a sign from God this is it”. I pondered that in my heart the whole ride. I never saw a billboard like that before or after this one.
I could look back and remember countless stories like that where God stepped in and protected me from myself. Even when I didn’t change or give him credit. My mom had always taught us about God. We went to a Catholic church here and there. My mom read her Bible pretty often. There was always a lingering sense of God in my mind. I always told myself “God understands”. I believed he knew that I have to do what I had to do and somehow he didn’t mind. I guess since I didn’t know any other way to live.
Still seventeen and headed to Michigan. I lived with some hippies for a while. Life was “fun”. That was all I really cared about what having a good time and not having any rules. I found peace in feeling that I could do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. This was one thing that kept me single and having a lot of friends that were men/boys with no problem keeping it that way, even though now I realize that the hope of more was how I got them to do so much for me. I stayed with a few different people and eventually met a guy and had a nice dysfunctional relationship who had recently been released from prison.
I eventually made it back home to Illinois.
Many moments I could look back on now and see how my perfect loving Father was with me the whole time.
Throughout the course of this time, I stayed in contact with the guy in Michigan. We saw each other once in a while and I believed I really loved him. He was controlling, abusive and in and out of prison though so I kept my distance. Always waiting for him to change but never putting my life on hold for him. I wasn’t going to settle… permanently anyway.
Fast forward three years, I was now 19. I remember sitting on my front stairs after just thinking about this guy I thought I loved. Maybe I did… I prayed for him. I prayed; “God if you let him out jail… I promise I won’t sleep with him.” Well, God did let him out of jail. A few weeks later I got a letter from him saying that he was going to be released and he wanted to see me. I immediately made plans to see him. Completely aware of the promise I had made, knowing full well what I was about to do.
It wasn’t long before I found out I was pregnant. As you can imagine, this is where my life changed. For the obvious reasons, but also that I knew in my mind and in my soul that this was a crossroad. For the first time in my life, I had to live what I claimed I believed. Was God okay with my life cycle of sinning and confessing? Did God really not care that I “had to do what I had to do”. If God was real and he was watching over me I had to keep this baby. If God did not exist and cared nothing for me then I could have an abortion and move on as many people recommended that I do. There was only a small minuscule moment in time that it took me to decide. In my head and in my heart I knew that this baby was my family and how could I kill my family member knowing that God allowed this and that I was not innocent in these results. I was so scared. I did not know what I was going to do.
Eventually, I had to tell my parents. I remember my mom was in the kitchen. I said, “Can you come outside, I have to tell you something.” Before we made it completely out the door she said, “You’re pregnant aren’t you?” I said “Yes.” We both cried together and she said she would take care of me and be there for me. This was the beginning of God’s restoration in my family. She was there for me and so was my dad. My whole family was on a path to restoration and healing because of this beautiful little baby that was to come into the world.
There was something stirring in my soul ever since I found out I was pregnant. God was reaching out to me. I remember this moment clear as day.
I was in my bedroom alone, aside from God and the baby in me. I felt God’s presence come over me, a complete and amazing feeling of love. God’s love. I saw my past life flash before my eyes and all the evil things I had done. I realized at that moment that God loves me. He had all my life.
I saw all the moments he had protected me and all the ways He had blessed me. Even in my suffering, He was with me. I decided that day to give Him my life. I fully trusted Him, I was fully His and I wanted to have the love He freely offered. I wanted the life that He created me for.