DISCLAIMER: THERE ARE STILL FINAL EDITS AND DESIGN ELEMENTS THAT NEED TO BE DONE WITH THIS CHAPTER. IT IS NOT A COMPLETE, FINISHED DRAFT. Other than that, ENJOY. :--)
“You have put me in the depths of the pit, in the regions dark and deep.” Psalm 88:6 ESV
Adapting to the environment, my car harbored the scent of spilt liquor and peppermint cloves, I nestled my head on a thin tightly-knitted sweater. Clothes were scattered around everywhere serving more as a covering to my floorboards and seats rather than to my own emaciated body. My eyes, heavy as if they took the stinging burden of hatred from my heart and carried it on their lids, fell captive to the weight and I quickly dozed off.
Discontent, I woke and thrust away the once-white towel I was covered with; it seemed to imprison me. I climbed into the driver’s seat. Shuffling around for my keys, I found them tucked away under a water bottle between the seat and the door. Anxiously placing the key into the ignition, a deep prolonged cry brought it to a start. The gas light flashed red and the small pin that fell below the “E” from my fuel gauge exasperated me.
I knew I could stay in the parking lot and drive myself mad staring at the door to the loft that Chase lived in or I could try to get to the one place I knew I could drown my hostility. Chase had introduced me to his drug dealer and secretly I had been texting him. His name was Stephen and I knew that he would take me in and provide me with my mental escape. Taking in one last breath filled with envy, I turned my back and dolefully drove away. Rejection injected itself through my veins. A wall of lies had been constructed in my mind, effectively shutting out the truth. Believing I was worthless, without a purpose for living, a thief, a slut, deserving nothing, I found myself at the mercy of the man in charge of dealing the drugs that I cherished and that satisfied the craving that still held me close.
As I pulled up to the simplistic townhouse that appeared as any ordinary home, the security cameras reminded me otherwise. Paranoia was reflected in every lens. Two cars sat side by side in the driveway, a vast variety of car parts littered the ground beneath, confirming Stephen was home. Both cars belonged to Stephen who had a fond affection for mechanics and “fixing up” broken technology. However, the projects never seemed to come to an end. If there was nothing to fix, he would create something to fix--taking things apart just to put them back together.
The doorbell did not work, so I knew that I would have to knock softly. If I knocked too hard, he might think I was a cop and I did not want to cause any harm--to either of us. Contemplating to myself that I just needed someone to take me in, I found my hope in Stephen. A worn out willowy figure showed up in the doorway. I assumed that it had been a few sunsets since he had last slept. A smile crept across his face as he welcomed me in.
Passing through the living room, I noticed a trail of toys, and books, and a little pair of pink socks, leading through the hallway and into the back room. My curiosity went ahead of me as we stopped at his room a few feet away from where the trail ended.
“That’s my daughter’s room,” Stephen said in response to the puzzled look on my face.
“Oh,” I said aloud. My brain was trying to make sense of the situation.
Irritation consumed me because all I had wanted to do was get high. I was worried that his daughter might ruin my expectations because she would want to play and talk to me. When I was high all I wanted to do was float away and not be bothered, I enjoyed being left alone.
“She’s with her mom and won’t be back for about a week.” He assured me softly.
Stephen took my hand and escorted me to his bed. I couldn’t wait for what came next. He reached over me to his bedside table and grabbed a glass pipe hidden under a pile of cords and old broken phones. Lighting up, I melted into the pillows and found sheer satisfaction.
Deeper and deeper I went, further and further I buried myself in the bottomless well of my desire, letting my mind slip away for days into the fictional world where nothing mattered, all my emotions became entwined into one. What was this emotion, though? Was it joy, happiness, or something else altogether? I didn’t know; all seemed foreign to me. Always craving and wanting more and more--never getting enough-- that’s what I knew. I knew the feeling of defeat and I was getting exhausted.
Ready to just give up, I realized the true emptiness that my life had become. I had no motivation to change, just to quit digging. Putting down the shovel, I stopped going deeper, refused to climb out, and just laid there... collapsing back into reality. Nothing could get me high the way I wanted. What else was there?
Stephen started to notice my change in mood and appetite.“You haven’t eaten in days, are you sure you aren’t hungry?” Stephen questioned.
“I’m not hungry.” I assured as my stomach’s loud grumbles claimed otherwise.
“Well, I am going to make a pizza. You can eat some if you want.” He sympathized as he stood up and peered down at the scrawny mess of me. Smiling politely I thanked him. He took good care of me and watched out for me. I was a wreck but from what I could tell--I was starting to have feelings for him.
Waltzing back in with a whole sliced up pizza; he set it down on the end of the bed and then quickly left again to grab some napkins. I couldn’t take my eyes off the pizza. I reached for a slice only to find that it was extremely hot! As I pulled my hand away, Stephen walked back in and chuckled.
“I could have warned you it was hot, but I thought you weren’t hungry,” He jested as he picked up a piece and handed it to me on the napkins he had left to get.
“I am never hungry when I smoke this stuff,” I admitted, "but I am about ready to eat this whole thing.”
Why was it so good? I had never enjoyed food so much! After eating about 5 slices, Stephen made a funny face as he watched me scarf down the remaining pepperoni that had fallen onto my lap. “You’re eating like you’re pregnant or something!” he exclaimed jokingly.
Paranoia hit me like a sack of rocks with those words. I realized that I was gaining weight in spite of my malnutrition. I also couldn’t remember the last time I had my menstrual cycle. My face dropped and Stephen became concerned. “I was just messing around with you, but if that could be something you’re worried about, I have tests under my sink. You can take one if you want.” He quizzically studied my face as I agreed.
Jumping out of the covers, I raced to the bathroom and my heart raced along with me! I convinced myself this couldn’t be happening. Three minutes later, we had the results. A small red plus sign presented itself. Biting my lip, I displayed it to Stephen with anticipation that he would know what to say. Impatience parted my lips before he even had a chance to react.
“I’m not mad. I actually don’t care. Now I just have a problem that needs fixed.” I claimed as my grip tightened on the pregnancy test.
“Clinics are expensive. Let me know if you need my help. I am here for you.” Stephen concluded and then added, “but I know a few friends that have had abortions done. You’re going to want to do it as soon as possible, but I want you to think about your options.”
Promptly, I requested that Stephen provide me with answers, I questioned his knowledge. “Where do I go? Where do I start? How much is the procedure? Is it going to hurt?” The inquiries went on for days and after about a week, Stephen seemed uninterested.
Not getting anywhere, confusion, followed by loneliness, blanketed me like a fog over a deserted road. Blinded by this emotional fog, I pursued online sites I assumed would lead me to the exact clinic I needed to be rid of the ‘thing’ that was growing inside me.
After a week of seeking on my own, day in and day out, I got discouraged. The only thing I wanted to do was get high and stop thinking. If Stephen wasn’t going to be there for me, I needed to go somewhere that I would be taken more seriously. I slipped into some blue jeans and a t-shirt, grabbed my keys and said a silent good-bye. If Stephen wasn’t going to help me then I would find someone who would.
I dialed my sister and called the first person that came to my mind that I believed would provide me with some sort of insight. I didn’t tell her the news over the phone, but I just felt like she already about my untold pregnancy.
Following two hours of driving and two sleepless days, I pulled up to my sister’s quaint little duplex tucked away in the small town of Lebanon. My sister met me outside at my car and handed me a cigarette.
“It’s good to see you.” She said smiling while lighting up my cigarette.
“Thanks for inviting me. It’s good to see you too. I can’t wait to just relax and get away from all the drama” I sputtered as I let the smoke pour from behind my lips.
“So, what is it you have to tell me?” She tapped the ashes and looked at me quizzically.
“Let’s talk inside.” I insisted.
My sister was smart and possessed an indescribable talent. She had this way of looking at situations and turning the negative into positive. She could make you feel better when the rest of the world tells you that you have made a huge mistake from which there is no recovery. As I Entered the house, I was ready to just crash. It was nice to be somewhere I felt I belonged. The fresh scent of cookies solidified the warm welcome. Nervously, I walked into the living room and sat, dreading the conversation where I would not only have to say out loud that I was pregnant, but I would actually have to believe it.
That morning started out like any other at my house, feeding the kids, cleaning and other household chores. When I looked at my phone and saw my sister’s name I was a little surprised. Since I moved to Lebanon we rarely spoke on the phone or saw each other. Really, it had been that way since I was sixteen and had moved out of my parents’ house pregnant with my first child. Our lives had just drifted in different directions. Little did I know when I accepted that call that our lives would change forever "Hey there," I answered smiling.
"Hey what's up? Can I come over? I'm on my way and I have something to tell you," she replied directly.
"Yeah, of course! See you shortly." I hung up the phone and sat down. I had heard that tone in her voice before and knew in my heart what she had to tell me before she ever arrived. I knew because at one point, I had said those same words, in the same tone. As I waited, I prayed that I was wrong.
As soon as she pulled up, I walked outside to meet her. I noticed she looked thin, but it had been awhile, so maybe I was just imagining it. She followed me into the house where my boyfriend was now up and preparing to play his video games. They greeted one another and we sat down on the couch. At first we chatted about small things such as our little brother, work, school, parents, anything to avoid why she was really here. Finally though, the time had come to face it.
"So what did you need to tell me?" I asked mentally preparing myself for her response.
"I'm pregnant," she said looking at the ground.
Silently, I reeled. Why? Why did this have to happen to her? She has no idea what this even means! I didn't want my response to be cold but I knew there were only two options. She looked up at me and met my gaze. "Abortion or adoption?" I asked to relay to her exactly what I had secretly been thinking.
The weekend ended too soon and I had faced some tough decisions ahead of me. However, it was back to reality and I couldn’t face it on my own. I wasn’t ready to go back to Stephen's; he had really not been of any help. Having to go back to the place I ran from, I had to confront the fears that had been growing since the day I found out about my pregnancy. I came to the conclusion that I was going to have to go home.
An all too familiar house stood before me as I pulled into the short, steep, uphill driveway. The very house that I had abandoned hadn’t changed one shutter. This made it even harder; the broken memories had stayed stuck right in the cracks of those brick walls. Last time I was here, I had fought with my family, as I was a broken mess, and now, here I was coming back more broken than the stories the house held.
Taking a few exhausted breaths, I braced myself for breaking the news to my mom. I didn’t know how she would take it. One part of me was thinking of my sister who had also gotten pregnant, moved out, and was now raising a little girl while trying to keep her life from falling apart. The other part of me was thinking of the one way to rid myself of the same fate and not make my mother endure what she did with my sister.
My perception was once you had a baby, there was no living your life anymore, there was nothing good--everything would be a disaster and it would be the end of me. I thought that having a baby before I was ready was the equivalent of prison or... even death.
I opened the obnoxiously thunderous garage door and quickly slid into the house and hoped that my mom would not hear me. I lucked out. She was in the bath and wasn’t getting out to see who it was. I hadn’t run into my little brother yet either. Perfect. I ran and jumped onto the sofa facing the TV and threw my feet up. I hated confrontation. As a matter of fact, I had never been good about talking about my feelings without getting really defensive or upset. Reaching behind me, I pulled out a blanket tucked away under tan throw pillows and wrapped it around me; only my hand and eyes were visible.. The sound of the bath draining kept me alert.
As I waited for the conversation that was moments away from happening, I tightened my grip on my blanket. I had been sweating, but I refused to ditch the blanket. My Mother kept her house at a roaring 80 degrees and I didn’t have the courage to get out of the blanket. It was my hiding place where I felt a little security. Soon, she would be looking me over, asking me what I was doing home, and why I hadn’t bothered to call. Soon, she would be glaring at me as if to say, “ I know what you have been up to and I don’t appreciate you coming here and ignoring the elephant in the room.” Her eyes always had that way of looking into your soul and extracting information. It was worse than an interrogation room because I only lied to my mom to make myself feel like I knew something she didn’t. Mothers have a sixth sense and they know what you think they don’t.
However, my mom stayed in her room. I heard the springing of her bed and her lamp flicked on. She was tucking herself in. “Well that’s just great, now I will have to go in there and that makes it ten times more awkward because after I tell her the news, I will just be standing there waiting for a lecture...on the other hand, I could tell her and run out of the room.” I thought naively to myself, “Better yet, I am not even going to have a face-to-face conversation. I am already here, she can talk to me if she wants...but I am going to text her.”
My small purple phone was my saving grace. I began to text.
Hey Mom, I messed up. I have a proble. delete.
Mom, I love you. I am sorr. delete.
Would you forgive me if. Delete.
After a few more attempts and failures of typing and deleting what I was going to text her, I felt defeated. Finally, I took one last deep breath, gathered my thoughts and sent it. “Mom, please don’t be upset. I am sitting on the couch and am really confused about what to do. I am pregnant and I am scared. I tried to do it on my own and I don’t know what else to do. I just have a problem and I know that I can fix it. But I really need your help.”
Hearing my mom’s text tone go off, a few shuffles and a sigh, I begin to panic. By this time, I am drenched in sweat but even more scared to move now that the news had been delivered. Slowly, I hear my mom get up and come out into the living room. She looks at me with a calmer look than I would have ever expected.
“Is this true?” She inquired, holding up her phone.
“Yes.” I admitted sheepishly.
“What do you mean by this is a problem that you can fix? I don’t believe in abortion. There are other options if you are thinking about taking that route.” she replied.
Feeling a bit more courageous after my mom’s calm reaction I went on explaining. “Mom, I know that abortion isn’t the right thing to do, but many girls have had it done. I am just confused because I haven’t been able to find any information and everyone that I have called has been rude and unfriendly. My questions haven’t been answered and I feel like that’s the only way to fix the problem. I am not ready for a baby. I can’t be like Kayla, that’s not the life for me.”
“There’s always adoption. Let’s talk about it in the morning. You need to think about it and try to get some sleep.”
Unraveling from my blankets that had failed to protect me, I curled up into a ball and after a few hours of watching mind-numbing TV and drowning out the looming decisions, I finally drifted off to sleep.
My daughter told me that she was pregnant in a text.
Texted me. Told me. She. Was. PREGNANT.
My first thought was that I already knew and should not have been surprised by her text at all. Even if I thought I was prepared, I still found myself with these words echoing in my head.
I was disappointed. How could she let this happen?I already had one daughter with two kids and now another one who wasn’t married or ready to take care of a child. She couldn’t even take care of herself.
Re-reading her text it clicked that she was talking about getting rid of the baby by aborting it...but she had no luck in finding out any information. I do not believe in abortion. I believed that if you get yourself into a situation you should step up and take responsibility for your actions. Did I not instill this in her?
I have tried my best to raise my children with the ability to make right decisions. I knew that the best thing for my daughter was for her not to raise this baby on her own and I was not willing to raise another child at this point in my life.
While not wanting to initiate discussing the situation, I got out of bed to go talk to her. No words could describe the stirring in my stomach. I felt like I had failed.
The summer was good to me. My friends and I were anticipating infamous vampire movie premieres and time spent by the pool with their babies. Ben and I were about to go to Florida for a friend’s wedding where I was doing the hair and he was officiating.
In anticipation of the vacation/wedding I was also eager to see if I was pregnant. I was hoping I was this month as it would give me my ever dreamed of winter baby. Believe me, I planned this. Taking my temperature in the morning and calling Ben to come home on his lunch breaks to do the "deed" and make a baby--A a baby with his eyes and my smile, his freckles and my curls. We'd pray, after and talk about baby names, and how cool it would be the coming Christmas to be hugely pregnant.
I would eventually withdraw money or use my tips from the salon to buy a pregnancy test as Ben loathed me buying them every month, preferring I waited till I actually had missed my period before taking the test. Cash left no record of my expenditure and the "five days before your missed period" marketing got me too anxious.
This month, however, I was not pregnant. In my annoyance I buried the once hopeful test in some toilet paper and disposed of the useless, unpromising piece of trash. I was mad, again, at everything and everyone; I allowed the emotion to be brief. This month Ben and I were going to take a much needed vacation and I refused to wreck it with my heartbreak. I shut down that part of my brain, that part of my heart, and opened myself to some fun and “suffering for Jesus” in Florida.
During this time, my journal entries reflected hope. Though I doubted God would be gracious in His giving of a child, I was still amped on Him. I was seeking Him and His words and was incredibly fond of the Message Version of scripture. God was providing for us and we felt set. I was doing the latest workout in hopes of getting in better shape for pregnancy and Florida. Ben and I were doing the best we'd ever been doing, as far as communicating and relating. Though it often seemed very superficial,, we were okay with it, because the reality was too much to tackle. We had other activities to engage us including youth ministry, working multiple jobs, and hanging out with our buddies.
The occasional "when will you guys start having kids?" or "what have the doctors said is the problem?” would set ablaze something we weren't ready to face. So we casually gave them a staple answer and moved on to asking them questions about their life.
All in all, I just felt like I was in a season of want, and want for just one thing. I wanted and yearned for a baby. I wasn't speaking or believing like a heir to Christ. I lacked satisfaction in my womb, the very core of what I believed made me feminine.
Most times, though, everything was outwardly good or actually not bad at all, I still felt like I was in a pit. Small things were magnified by my poor attitude and lack of trust that God, my family, and my husband were going to pull through. Because, though, my day to day devotions were okay and I ultimately loved God, I honestly didn't trust Him or believe He was for me. This unresolved fact caused me to put that misguided trust in others. This was very dangerous, considering that humanity is totally imperfect. It only led to a continuing cycle of disappointment.
You may ask why God chose to put you in your the situation your in. You might call out to him pleading with him to explain why you were left behind by a loved one, why your friends abandoned you, why you lost your job, or why someone would want to hurt you. But can I just tell you the WHY question isn't what God is going to answer. It's not the question that will change your circumstance, your heart, or your situation. Let's say a child places his/her hand on the stove and it gets burned. Then they ask their mom, "Why did the stove burn me?" The mother would say, "Because it is hot." But what does this change? The accident still happened. Instead of getting the WHY answer, if we ask how, than then the child could have said, "Mom, how can I take the burning away?" She could simply come up with a solution and then, in the process, warn the child not to touch things that are hot to save the child grief for the next time a situation like that arises. The same is true for us children of God. If you ask how--it allows God to direct your steps and He will guide you to wherever you need to go. If you ask HOW you are saying to God that you are willing to follow his direction wherever that direction may lead. If you ask HOW then God will go before you and make a way.
Read Psalm 119:57-72.
Do you believe that God can change your situation? Do you believe He can use this experience for something great?
What does Psalm 119:71 say about suffering?
Do you trust in the path God has set before you?
When you don't know the direction God wants you to walk, maybe all He wants is for you to be willing to go any direction He needs. Our God is a creative God. He created this entire universe. Everything has its purpose. You have never heard a tree ask why it was planted where it was. But God had a plan for that tree--birds live in it, shelter is provided from it, and someone may eventually get some shade from it. Whatever purpose that tree has, it stays grounded. If God has a purpose for a tree, don't you think He has a much larger purpose for you? Turn to and trust in God when the big choices arrive and give Him your open heart so that He can do miracles in and through you the whole time you are going through your circumstances.
Righteousness will go before him and make his footsteps a way. Psalm 85:13 ESV