Vacation Bible School is this week. And pretty much all week Little S has been running around saying “LETS PRAY!” and clasping his hands together.
And it got me thinking, would I have been serving as a volunteer if Little S wasn’t here? Would I even be interested in stepping foot in church? Or would I be too consumed with other things to even take a second to think of God?
It’s not a secret that Little S was not exactly planned. My first semester as a sophomore at Longwood University I found out I was pregnant just a few days shy of turning 20. Growing up with my dad being a pastor, I had been a christian since I was a little kid. But something changed when I was in high school, I was no longer interested in anything that had to do with church. I had no faith and was constantly pushing everything church related away.
I started dating Big S on and off throughout high school, but decided to make it official once we went away to college, him in Denver, me at LU. After a year of skating my way through classes and spending more time at parties and the gym than I did in class, I miraculously finished my first year. Big S decided to come back to VA and go to school closer to me. After a few weeks back at school something wasn’t right. And at first, my doctor thought I had a cyst or even spoke that I may have a condition where I couldn’t have kids. 2 weeks later, I walked out of the doctors office with an ultrasound of Little S.
The first week I knew dragged on and on. I didn’t tell anyone except Big S at first. I remember rehearsing over and over what I would say to my parents. I remember feeling like they would never forgive me. I remember making plans of where I would stay once my parents kicked me out.
But they didn’t.
That phone call with my parents still plays over in my head.
“Mom, I’m pregnant.”
“…. I thought so… So what’s the plan?”
No yelling. No screaming. I wasn’t kicked out. I wasn’t lectured. What was done, was done.
Then time sped up really fast, wedding plans were made and vows of a lifetime were exchanged and Big S and I started our lives together as a married couple. I remember there were nights when I would just cry and feel so incredibly sorry for my parents and what I had done to their reputation. I remember telling my dad how sorry I was and that I hated to embarrass him like that and that I hated myself for what I assumed would be judgements put onto his parenting based on my choices. But all he told me was “You’re my daughter and you come before anyone else’s opinions. You’re not the first person who this has happened to and you won’t be the last.”
Throughout my pregnancy I was constantly surprised by the people in my church who supported me. People who I had blown off and let down time and time again when I was in high school. People who I was plain rude to when they told me they would pray for me. And people who were just trying to be kind. But to me, I was too cool and too smart to fall for the “Christian act”. But it didn’t matter to them. And as time went by, the more people spoke words of encouragement to me, the more I cared and appreciated it.
Then, when Little S was born, something really changed.
And I know it’s cliche. And I know it sounds dumb. But the moment I held Little S, I knew something was different in me. I remember looking at Little S and knowing, there was something WAY bigger than me. The tiny little man that I was holding wasn’t my plan. But he was God’s plan and gift to me.
Big S was not a Christian when we got married. But after Little S was born I started really talking to him about the changes I felt in my faith after Little S was born and how badly I wanted Little S to grow up knowing God’s love and teaching him about forgiveness and the amazing amount of mercy we are given. And after a few weeks of talking and praying about it, Big S and I walked into the waters of baptism together.
Today I was sitting with Little S at church, listening to his toddler blabber about the cross he decorated at VBS today and it just seemed very profound to me the way things worked out. What if I had gotten pregnant on my own terms? What if I hadn’t come home and was surrounded by encouraging people during my pregnancy? Would I be as excited about thing words coming out of Little S’s mouth? Would I even be taking him to church at all? Would I ever hear him exclaim: “The cross! And Jesus! And pray! Let’s pray, mommy!”
Sometimes I feel the pressure of being a young mom and the bad choices I made. I feel beat down and like I don’t even deserve to be in church after the things I’ve done. I feel like I don’t deserve my kids and my husband and my family who has been nothing but supportive of me every step of the way. But then I think about the mercy God gives us. And his forgiveness. And I realize that maybe this was meant to be all along.
This is not about what you’ve done, but what’s been done for you. This is not about where you’ve been, but where your brokenness brings you to.