Once upon a time, there lived a girl. She was a good girl raised in a Christian home. Raised up "right", she couldn't even remember the time before Jesus lived in her heart. Even though she had been "good" and raised up "right", this girl made some mistakes. Mighty, mighty big mistakes.
...okay, enough of the third person already. It's starting to give me a headache...
Mistakes? you ask. Oh, yes, dear friends. Big mistakes. Mistakes that years down the road I can look back on with philosphical hindsight and not grimace at (too much, anyway).
That being said, I'll keep that part of the story short. By the age of 22, I had given birth to my beautiful eldest daughter and left my (now ex) husband when she was 10 weeks old. Back at good old mom and dad's, I licked my deep emotional and mental wounds from an abusive marriage and focused on my reason for living - Gi-Gi, I call her. I got up everyday to take care of her. To love her. I reminded myself to breathe everyday for her.
I breathed, I loved, I took care of her. And I felt shame. Deep shame. I felt guilt for bringing a child into the world who wouldn't have the perfect situation of a mama and a daddy together. I grieved, I wept and I prayed. Oh, how I prayed. I was certain that I had now irrevocably damaged my life and it couldn't be put back together to resemble anything of beauty. Functional, yes. A joy for anyone to behold, no.
Looking back now, I see how the Lord was slowly putting me back together. My confidence had been broken down and ground into dust. Going through an abusive relationship makes you feel absolutely, positively worthless and unloved. I had to become me again.
No. That wouldn't ever happen.
I had to be made and molded into a new me. Mature, experienced, softer with some of the old Jamie thrown in there just for fun.
And we did have fun. Those days of showering my full attention on one baby, reveling in the firsts, feeling the love and need were therapy to my soul.
But the time was coming when I'd have to go out and face the world again. Mom and Dad couldn't keep us supplied with diapers and every various and sundry item that a baby (and a mama) need. So, I girded my loins and headed off into the long-forgotten world of employment. I even started school back up with the intention of getting my nursing degree. I wanted to be a labor and delivery nurse so that I could be around more babies, especially since I didn't know if I'd ever have any more.
May I say that I was so proud of myself? I was picking myself up by my bootstraps and taking care of us. Not the ideal situation to be sure, but I was doing it. With much, much help of course!
With classes being taken, I started waitressing which I had done in my past and felt that I could do well enough to keep Gi-Gi in diapers, apple juice and cute pink outfits. Even though I was dying to be home, I knew that there was really no other option, so off to work I'd go. And every night after I'd trudge home, I'd slip into my room and gently pick her up out of her crib and just hold her. I needed just to hold her and feel her warm body and gentle breathing.
Between job, classes, and baby my physical energy was pretty much spent. Facing the people at church and my extended family was quite exhausting emotionally, too. People knew what had happened and I felt blamed. No one, absolutely no one said anything to me (except one man), but I felt the "I told you so's" that they were thinking.
Slowly, I was getting through the emotional baggage. The grief and the sorrow had slipped away, but the shame continued to plague me. I just kept thinking, "Christians aren't supposed to be divorced. They're supposed to stick it out through thick and thin. Good times and bad." For years those thoughts followed me. Despite all of this, I never felt more cared for or loved by my God than at this point in my life. I know He always loves and cares for me, but the closeness at this point in my life is something that I'll always remember and strive for.
Weeks turned into months, months to years and I was still working, still going to school, but my favorite was being a mama to one beautiful little two year old girl.
And then one night I went to work. And my life was never the same.
To be continued...