As a little girl from a broken home, I often dreamed of what my life would be like when I was older. Visions of the perfect husband, three children, the smell of homemade bread in the oven, and a white picket fence often visited my thoughts.
In fact I became even more obsessed with them as life began to throw even more at me. See, my parents separated when I was very young, and apart from that me and my sister both ended up separated in various different foster homes. Expectations for my life seemed to be based on me “messing up” and the statistics of me becoming anything were against me.
Because of that I spent a lot of my childhood trying to earn people’s acceptance and love. In fact, I spent most of it trying to be perfect. I focused on getting good grades, staying out of trouble, going to church, and being seen with the right crowds. I wanted to defy the odds. I wanted to overcome the statistics. The problem with that was that when I did mess up I would often punish myself by isolating myself from others due to the fear of not being loveable.
It wasn’t until the age of sixteen that I met a boy and only months later found out that I was expecting our first child. When my honeymoon baby quickly turned into one conceived from the backseat of a car I remember being terrified, I remember being ashamed, but even more I was concerned of what I would look like to others.
My little Abigail was born just five months after my seventeenth birthday, and Chad and I quickly learned that marriage was hard, children were work, bread was bought in a store, and fences needed upkeeping. I realized that my dreams had been unrealistic and that life was nothing like I had seen in the movies.
There were many times I would feel like I was being punished for something, that I deserved the bad that happened to me. I had stopped going to church, I was an unwed mother, and I had shameful eyes on me at all times to remind me if I forgot.
Eight extremely hard years and three babies later Chad and I did marry. My wedding day truly felt like a dream come true. Years of relationship struggles, finishing college with a newborn, a brief separation, and a stillbirth had left us wounded, but we had fought through it. Together we had defied the odds. I was proud and honestly (and naively) I thought I was safe. I was married now, and for some reason I felt like that placed me in a giant bubble that would protect me from life’s harm. On July sixth two-thousand thirteen I thought had officially made God proud.
“Proof” of my foolish thoughts quickly began to follow. We began to attend church again as a family. Very soon after my wedding I found out I was pregnant without the use of any fertility interventions I had to use for my second daughter. In December of that year we found out we were expecting a healthy baby girl at the very same ultrasound we had received bad news from my second pregnancy. Now that I was following the “rules” my life was finally going to be like I had dreamed.
My dreams were again quickly changed when my perfectly healthy honeymoon baby died in my arms exactly a year to the day I started following the rules. It was an extra hard blow to accept when I began to think of what I could have had possibly done to deserve this hardship. I immediately felt the same feelings of disappointment, shattered dreams, and loneliness I had fought so hard to avoid all these years. It hasn’t been until recently that I have finally realized something I wish I had of so many years ago.
See, God didn’t start to love me more on July sixth, two-thousand thirteen. God loved me when I was a tiny cell in my mothers womb. God loved me through my parents separation. God loved me through years of being shuffled through the foster care system. He loved me as I sat sixteen and pregnant next to my unwed boyfriend in the church pew. He loved me through my wedding day. He loves me whether I live in a small house in Tusket or a huge home with a white picket fence. God loved me through the morning my sweet Audrey entered his home and every day since.
Even though I am aware that God may have not been proud of some of the decisions I had made….. there was never a time that he has loved me more or less. The years I spent fighting and trying to earn love and acceptance…I already had all along. I always have been enough for him based on what statistic or expectation society has thrown at me….has thrown at you. It is a freeing feeling to know that there was nothing I could have done differently, or more(or less) to “earn” for my daughter not to die. But that she died because life nor death favors certain people.
So to the single mama, to the teenage mama, to the mama struggling financially, to the mama who feels like a disappointment, or the mama who is struggling for air….. God loves you just how you are right now. That no matter what you are LOVED. I wish saying that would magically take away the hurt you are feeling.. but it won’t. Life is hard, and often it throws you curve balls you never expected to be faced with…… but with God you can and will overcome them. Just hang in there and cling to the fact that no matter what battle comes next you are not fighting it alone and no matter what expectation you are confronted with there is only one that truly matters…..because with him, there are no statistics…..anything is possible.