I turned 20 years old when I was 38 weeks pregnant with my first child. I was dating his father, on and off since I was 17, and I was in my last year of school working towards my Social Service Worker diploma. We had dreams of marrying, but upon the news that we were expecting our first child, the best thing we thought we could do with our money in our eyes then was buy our first home. So at 19 years old we became home owners to a small, and very old bungalow. We didn’t have much, but we had each other and the promise of a bright future together.
When our son was born, they placed this new life on my chest and instantly I knew there was not way this was strictly science: a random egg meeting a random sperm and tada! Yes, that is how he got here – but the level of love I felt the instant I looked at this new person whom I had grown and birthed was not explainable by science. Before he was five minutes old, I easily would have given up my very life to give him his. I can not fully explain the instant and preposterous love I felt. To be honest, it’s quite vulnerable.
Slowly, as I watched this new life develop and grow I wondered about God more and more. I had always felt because of the circumstances of my childhood and life that He must really hate me. But now, staring at the face of the little boy I loved deeper than anything in this world, I knew I’d endure anything to be this guy’s mom, and I began to wonder about God’s love, and why He found me worthy of becoming a Mom to this sweet son.
If you were to tell that 20 year old new mother that just before her 31st birthday, she would become a Tyndale Student pursuing a diploma in Religious Education, or that by now she would have written and preached two sermons, lead multiple bible studies and worked for two churches she would have laughed at you and said, “no f—ing way!” I’m not kidding.
Yet. Here I am. How on earth did I get here? Reflecting on my 20’s and the last decade has been quite humorous to say the least. In my 20’s, I would go on to marry that man, give birth to 3 more absolutely incredible children, sell and buy 2 new homes, each time in a different community, witness the death of my mentor, my Grandmother, and witness deaths in my family that included suicide and murder, burying several people much too early than they should have been gone. I would live through my biggest heartbreak, a story for an other day, and not just survive but turn the trials into triumphs! I would travel and see much of North America. I would survive several dysfunctional relationships, some now ended, and some restored by God’s grace. The theme of my 20s was definitely self building.
I took the broken and confused little girl who thought surely God must hate her, and turned her into a confident woman, a loving mother and wife and an advocate for the Kingdom of God here on this earth. And even I still can’t believe it!
So how does that happen?
I carried my own weight and burdens for years. I knew I could get through every trial, because I had so far, so my thought process was just to keep persevering and keep going. I was doing well too, mostly. I was a good Mom from the moment I saw the two lines, immediately quitting smoking and focusing on finishing my studies. I made positive choices like breastfeeding, and staying at home with my son when I was financially able to. I read a lot, and looked for mentors who could guide me and I tried my best at maintaining a positive relationship with my spouse. I slowly got better at keeping the house tidier, cooking nutritious meals, learning how to be frugal. I grew up, essentially.
But despite seeing life get better, I still struggled internally. My husband and I were newly married and both had families who had been broken. He lived through his parents divorce at 14, and I was born to separated parents who had married my ‘step’ parents by the time I was 2, so my norm was always two homes and four parents. My husband struggled too. We were simply doing our best as broken people to help unpack the baggage of each other’s pasts, but when you are broken yourself, its incredibly hard to put someone else’s broken pieces together.
We both had a curiosity for church, and even tried a church at one point, but it was kind of out there and not your typical church and it scared us off temporarily. I was invited by a woman I really admired to come to her church. She promised me it was super laid back, and they even had guitar and drums as opposed to an organ, ha! So, my husband and I went together and the first sermon was so amazing that it was like God was yelling at us from a megaphone himself. Boy, did we hear Him loud and clear!
There are so many little stories from that time, seeing God provide what we needed, exactly when we needed it, the conception of our daughter after a period of secondary infertility, peace where there hadn’t been peace, comfort when anxiety arose, protection, provision. You name it, God did it just to draw us closer and open our eyes to His amazing deep love. We both began to see God all around us in ways our eyes had not been open to before.
Slowly, we changed. It wasn’t some miraculous overnight experience. Hooray, we found Jesus now we’re mature and we’ve got it together! Ha, I wish! Slowly we gave up things that were detrimental to us. Slowly we learned how to gain momentum to move foreword again after we backslid numerous times. Slowly we learned to reach out to other Christians. Slowly we learned to read, and study the Bible. Slowly we learned how to pray and developed habits of prayer. Slowly, we found community and friendship. Slowly we developed an indestructible bond with God Himself. Slowly, we became new creations in Christ. Slowly we learned how to put the broken pieces together with God as the glue.
And now, I look back on so many little moments and I see God all around them. How did I get here? Slowly. One step at a time. By seeking to grow a little bit here, and a little bit there. By training for endurance rather than sprinting. By being available when God spoke. By saying “yes, I can try that” even when it was outside my comfort zone. By many, many apologies to God for not connecting with Him through prayer, or reading His word that day and the promise to try again tomorrow. By dealing with one burden at a time. By learning one new skill or ability at a time. By painstakingly self assessing and recognizing I was heading down a road I didn’t want to be on, and having the courage to redirect myself. Slowly, one victory over an other.
And somehow I made it here. A happily married mom of four kids who loves Jesus with all her heart. A confident, and happy woman who walks around with a huge smile on my face. A person full of joy and peace. A woman who is not perfect, but strives to be stronger, kinder and better each day. A child of the one true King who no longer feels shame for her brokenness, but rather feels encouraged and loved deeply by Her creator.
Start somewhere. Pick one small area and work on it. Then, pick a different thing. Life changes happen as a result of the small things we do day to day, not always the big moments. The small things really do matter and add up. Suddenly, you will look back and be amazed at how far you have come!
I wonder where God is going to take me by the time I turn 40! I cant wait to see. This past decade has been one of contrast and difference. What will the next one hold?
Stay tuned! 😉
“For your unfailing love is as high as the heavens.
Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.”
– Psalm 57:10