Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Seventeen and Pregnant

In my last post, I talked a bit about feeling that God is calling me to do something that isn’t quite what I have been expecting or planning. I have a lot to say about this– so much, in fact, that it will probably take me several posts to address it all. But I don’t want to get ahead of myself. I think an important place to start is to share a bit of my story. So let’s go back to about ten years ago.

When I was seventeen years old, I was full of pride and rebellion. I had just begun my final year of high school, I was succeeding in things that were important to me, and I felt overly confident in myself. At the same time, I was planning my great escape from everything that had been my life up to this point; my faith was dwindling away, and I couldn’t wait to graduate, move out of my parents’ house, start college, and embark on a whole new life– a life that would include experimenting with some of the temptations I had so far resisted.

A few months later, the positive pregnancy test I held in my shaky hands changed everything.

By Christmas break, I had moved out of my parents’ house under very different circumstances than those I had planned; I was pregnant, newly married, and not quite eighteen years old yet. As I began the second half of my senior year, my attitude was quite different from the one I’d had just a few months prior. The pride and rebellion were gone. I just wanted to go unnoticed, under the radar, keep my head down, and get done with school without attracting too much attention to myself.

My lifelong dreams of going to college now seemed nearly impossible. How would I pay for college? Would I even be able to succeed as a student while also being a parent? I saw no way of making it happen. And then I happened to hear another student talking about re-taking his ACT in hopes of getting a high enough score to get a full-tuition scholarship. Further investigation revealed that this was in fact a possibility… at the school I had sworn I would never attend: the local Christian university. Still, it was my only glimmer of hope, and my ACT scores so far were only one point away from being high enough for the scholarship. So I arranged to take the ACT one last time– this time, pregnant, sick, exhausted, and knowing that my dreams rode on this test.

Weeks later, my results arrived in the mail. I’d gotten the extra point I needed. I could get the full-tuition scholarship for my first year; additionally, as long as my GPA remained above a 3.7, I would continue receiving the scholarship throughout my time in college.

I graduated from high school 7 months pregnant, and my son was born in early August. And I began school that fall under entirely different circumstances than I had expected: married, a new mother, and going to a Christian university.

Fast forward to today: my oldest son is turning nine this week, in December my husband and I will welcome our third child and celebrate our ten-year anniversary, and my faith is stronger and more authentic than I ever would have thought possible.

Sometimes it’s easy to see how (and why) God changes your ill-conceived plans. I have no doubt that the path my life ended up taking ten years ago was part of God’s plan for me (and a much better plan than the one I’d had for myself).

But sometimes it’s harder to understand why God puts a stop to certain plans, ones that seem good and worthwhile. That is something I’ve been contemplating a lot lately as some of my plans have come to a halt over and over during the past few years. But that is for the next post…

No comments:

Post a Comment