I sat there, listening. Listening to the story another woman told about her daughter. A daughter who was similar in age to me, and similar in background to me. Yet, she was in a far different place in her life, so it seemed, or was she?
The story was of a girl who out of high school had received attention from a boy, ended up getting pregnant, having an abortion, had struggled with addiction, and was still struggling to get her life back on track. Things which only by the grace of God were unfamiliar territory to me, however the beginning of her story was shockingly similar, frighteningly familiar.
A girl with not so good self esteem, who was simply longing for another to care about her, to make her feel special, to make her feel worthwhile. Oh, she had loving Christian parents, but somehow her soul had gotten lost in a sea of self doubt. Then along comes a boy, one who shows her special attention, who promises he loves her, and suddenly she is starting to feel better about herself so it seems. So she does whatever this boy wants, anything, because she doesn’t want to lose this feeling, she is up for the first time in a long time. Yes, this was me, and it led me into a situation at age 15 that I longed to forget, so much that I never even talked about it for the last 13 years. And when I began to talk about it, talk about a flood. It seems the longer we pen up the floodwaters, the more force they fall with.
And so that is where I find the kinship with this other woman, who also found someone who made her feel loved, and special, and so she did what she thought was right, she followed him wherever he led. However, for her, things went on a much different path. You see, I never got pregnant, and so I never had an abortion, and never fell into addiction – and all of this is ONLY by the grace of God. I went on from that relationship at 15 with some significant emotional impairments, and I still struggle to trust and have an open relationship with my husband, but the baggage seems so small compared to what it could have been, but for the GRACE of God I was spared so much pain.
And suddenly I find myself in a place of sheer thankfulness, and am almost a little shocked at myself that I have failed to acknowledge the blessings God has provided. My life is not perfect, my marriage is not perfect, and I have a child with Asperger’s Syndrome and another with Sensory Processing Disorder. But, how immensely blessed am I. I could have been pulled over for driving drunk and gotten a DUI, but I was not. I could have gotten pregnant, but I did not. In the place I was, I don’t doubt that I would have contemplated abortion, but God shielded me from that choice. I could have fallen in love with another boy who would have emotionally abused and raped me again, but I did not. God provided me with an amazing man, my husband Kevin, who I love with all my heart. And who is always patient despite the UHAUL of emotional baggage I brought into our marriage, and God has blessed both of us with the most beautiful children in the world. So, today I count my blessings, and I consider how loved I am that God has spared me all this hurt and pain. I have my struggles, I have my own demons to fight, but by the abounding love of grace of God, I have been redeemed.