To continue with the saga of California, this part of the story is going to get very, very personal, and it may even be uncomfortable, but it’s no less part of this story. Please know that I am in no way shaming anyone when I tell this story, that is not my intention at all. Life is messy, and it doesn’t always turn out the way you want it to, and that’s okay, because there is still beauty in the brokenness.
The main question I get asked since we returned from California is: How did it go? And honesty always seems like the best option:
How did it go?
Just as awkwardly as you could probably imagine.
I say that triumphantly and with an honest smile because I have learned to laugh at myself and my awkwardness. How should it have gone? Well, of course I had a perfect scenario in my head on how it SHOULD have gone, but it really came down to a bunch of flawed human beings trying to figure things out. And by the grace of God we stumbled through it.
Was our presence well received by everyone? No, it wasn’t, but I also didn’t expect it to be, so I was right on track. But I did my best to not make it more awkward. I had to not be the funny, sarcastic, silly, far-too-talkative me that I love being most of the time, and that’s okay. Ultimately I realized that this trip wasn’t about me (shocking), but it was about a 9 year old boy who had been praying for his father since he was 2, wrestling with just wanting to know who he was, and struggling to understand.
Where it all began…
When I got pregnant with my son, I was as far away from being a saint as one could possibly be, and maybe even 10 feet further than that for good measure. There were two guys who were possibilities for being the father of my son. When I told both of them that I was pregnant, even going as far as being honest and saying that there was the possibility of another man being the father, both of them reacted the same: they had been hurt in the past by the mother of their other children, and they didn’t want to have anything to do with me or my child because they didn’t want the drama.
That would be hard to hear once.
It was devastating to hear it twice.
Realizing that life wasn’t turning out the way I thought it would, and that I was going to be a single mom at the age of 25, I made a hard choice. If I was going to be responsible for a kiddo’s life, I wanted to raise him somewhere other than California. I was raised in California, but many of my memories were not positive for any number of reasons, and I didn’t want my child to grow up feeling the same way (projection much? I did say I wasn’t perfect, right?).
My sister and her family lived in Texas, and I had the opportunity to move in with them, so I took the chance and came to Texas with only what I could fit in my 1998 Ford Escort. I wasn’t feeling particularly brave, but looking back at the 6 month pregnant 25 year old, driving a tiny car that had no cruise control, which was stuffed to the brim with whatever could fit, with my sister and my cat…I would definitely call that brave.
When we finally got to Texas, I got a temporary job working the night shift doing data entry for a bank. It was easy work, which was perfect for where I was in life; a new chapter had begun in where I was living, and another new chapter – Single Motherhood – was about to start. I was also going to church with my sister and her family, though I was only doing so out of obligation rather than desire. At that church, I was befriended by several women, and one in particular who invited me into her home where we would talk through life and faith. I didn’t realize then that she was planting seeds, but I liked spending time with her because she was kind and sweet.
One late night in November, 2005 at work, while listening to my discman (seriously, those were a thing then…), and being bored of every other CD that I had almost burned holes in while listening to them over and over again, I ran across a CD that my best friend had made for me almost a year before.
At that time, we weren’t on speaking terms. We had lived together for about six months during a time when both of us were trying to figure out life and how this adult thing was supposed to work. While it was amazing at first, and we have some of the best memories of our apartment, it wasn’t so amazing in the long run, but in the year we were not speaking, I couldn’t bring myself to throw that CD away.
While listening to the (non-Christian) CD, I was thinking about life, and my best friend, and how much I missed her, but how much I was mad at her… Then it hit me: I was ANGRY. I was angry at everyone and everything I could possibly be angry at, and I realized just how much that little life that had taken to kicking me in the lungs never asked to be brought into the world to an angry mom. (To be clear, I wasn’t angry at the kiddo growing inside of me. I actually loved feeling his kicks…pregnancy was amazing! Maybe not the being kicked in the lungs part…)
I realized right then that I was the most angry at myself. The mistakes I had made, bad life choices, addictions, and how life just isn’t fair… it made me realize that I needed a God that loved me despite myself, despite my past…and despite my future choices. It was right then that I went into the bathroom at work, in the middle of the night, got down on my knees, and asked God to invade my heart and help me learn to forgive, because I couldn’t do this on my own. My son didn’t deserve to come into this world, already not having a father figure, but saddled with a mom who was angry at everything.
I can’t say that I’ve conquered the demon of anger completely, but I’m loads better than I use to be. When life doesn’t go the way I hope or plan, which is rather often, and I take my eyes off Christ, I do get angry and I have to remind myself that, even if what I want won’t ever come to fruition, God is still on His throne, and He still loves me…despite myself.
I’m going to end this rather lengthy blog post here. I have already started a thought for the next post, and it will be how this all came together. I imagine there will be a total of 5 posts to this story. Thank youfor sticking with me.