Finding My Faith Again
For years, I have always called myself a Christian. I was saved when I was 12 years old and I believed in God. No, I didn't always go to church like I should have, or even prayed everyday and yeah I cussed and drank and carried on like all of the other people my age were doing. I was fitting in; doing what was expected of me. God would understand, I told myself. God would understand why I chose my friends over him, wouldn't he? God would understand why I stayed out on a Saturday night, partying a little too much, and too hung-over to attend church the next morning. I was just having fun, right? Surely God would understand that. I mean, he wanted me to be happy didn't he? And before that I worked. Surely God would understand that even I need a day to rest, I mean, I did work all the time.
What is so surprising is that through all of my years of putting God last, He did understand. And he waited for me. Here is my story. Not exactly from the beginning, because many factors came into play when I was lost. But, this is the most significant to me.
Through out all my life I could never remember actually being happy. I had happy moments, but there isn't a time in my life that I can remember truly being happy. In August 2002, I had suffered a miscarriage. Chris and I weren't married at the time, and it was an unexpected pregnancy, but we were of course devastated. Our wedding was planned for September and we can still remember being sad on that day. It was supposed to be the happiest day of my life, and all I could do was wonder why I had to loose my baby. I became a desperate woman after that. I tried everything to get pregnant. Chris and I went through 4 1/2 years of pure hell trying to have another baby. Fighting with each other, splitting up and getting back together. And not to mention, we pretty much went bankrupt. I was spending money that we didn't have trying to get pregnant. We were pretty much broke and in debt over our ears. I prayed occasionally about it and tried to reason with God about giving me another baby. I'll go to church, I'll do whatever it takes, just please God, let me be a Mom. But it didn't happen. I already had weakened faith, but not being able to get pregnant pushed me even further from God. I some how blamed him for the miscarriage.
It was then that I decided to become a nurse. I had worked for years in Labor and Delivery as their unit secretary and they were my inspiration for going back. Not for the reasons they thought. My reasons for going back were simple. I needed to make more money to have more infertility procedures so that I could get pregnant. So I started school. I finished all of my prerequisites, then started nursing school in August of 2006. Nursing school was tough. I almost broke under the pressure of trying to study, working full time and fighting with my husband. Things were getting bad. I was drinking every weekend I could and sometimes through the week. And then it happened. I got sick over Thanksgiving weekend, and I felt different. I took a pregnancy test and sure enough I was pregnant. I couldn't believe it. I thanked God and then immediately resented that thanks when I realized that this was not the greatest time for me to be pregnant. I didn't have time to be pregnant! But I was.
And I made it. I made it through my first year, working full time and being pregnant. I gave birth to Landon via C-section on July 27th, 2007. Twelve days later I had to go back to school. That was tough. I almost quit nursing school, but something kept me going. And I made it through my second year. I graduated on May 9th, 2008 when Landon was ten months old. I was so proud of myself! How I did it, I made it on my own. It was my amazing strength that got me through and I did it.
I did eventually start to think about God again and we took Landon to a church in Bellefonte. Landon was the same rambunctious child he is now and sitting in that church was a nightmare. We felt like everyone was staring and judging us because we couldn't get him to sit still. We never went back after that. Chris had never really attended church before and for him not to feel accepted didnít really make him want to ever go back.
Then on June 4th, 2008, my second day as a nurse, I got sick again. My friend Sarah teased my about being pregnant. So I took a test. Sure enough, I was pregnant again. I couldn't believe it. Landon was 11 months old and now I was having another baby? God, I thought, what is going on? I don't want another baby; I barely get to enjoy Landon. Why are you doing this to me now?
Madiís pregnancy was a lot harder than Landon's. I was very anemic and worn out. I was also working 12 hr shifts on an extremely difficult floor. Chris had to quit his job at Wal-mart to take care of Landon because I was too exhausted. I had to work though; I was the one who made the most money. I pushed myself, so that we could get the bills caught up and plan for another maternity leave that we hadn't expected so soon. Then I was struck with severe migraines that landed me in the hospital for 2-3 days at a time. I had no vacation time or sick leave left. I could feel the pressure building and I was starting to buckle under it. I still didn't pray for help though. I kept thinking to myself. I can do this. I got myself through nursing school being pregnant, I can do this too. I am strong; I can do this on my own.
I was taken off of work the first part of December 2008. Madi wasn't scheduled to be born until January 23rd, 2009. I was out of maternity leave and had no sick time left. Chris couldn't go back to work because I felt so bad; I could barely hold Landon, much less chase after him. We were pretty much living off of our savings at this time. Could we make it?
We did make it. I praised myself for being the strong, skilled individual that I was since we were able to make it on such little bit of money. Madi was born as scheduled. I thanked God, but I didn't truly thank him.
Then an amazing thing happened. Chris was invited to church by Charles, a friend that he had worked with at wal-mart, and he went. Madi was two weeks old. I had known Chris for seven years and he had only been to church with me 3 times, and he always put up a fight when we went. But he did go, and he took Landon with him. I was amazed. He came back from church more excited than I had ever seen him. He asked me to go with him the next Sunday. I told him no, because Madi was still so little, I didn't want to have to worry about her getting sick. As it turns out, she got sick anyway. Chris didn't go to Church the next Sunday. Charles called and asked him why. Chris didn't have an answer. It was then that I decided to go. God, Its time for me to find you again, please don't let my babies get sick.
Madi was 4 weeks old when we went to the church. I was amazed, everyone greeted us with open arms, I was even hugged my first day there. I didn't feel uncomfortable at all. No one cared that Landon was running around like a madman and screamed his head off when we tried to make him sit down. They were glad that we had brought him. There was a power in the church that I cannot describe. I felt it come over me as soon as we walked in. Chris took Landon to the nursery and I sat in the pew by myself holding Madi and listened. My heart woke up. I started thinking about everything that had happened over the years. God had been there after all. It wasn't my strength that got me through, it was his! I had been priding myself on all of my accomplishments and thanking everyone but him. I would never have been able to do this if it hadn't been for him.
If God hadn't allowed me to get pregnant with Landon when I did, who knows where I would be. Probably a divorced alcoholic who dropped out of nursing school. But no, he gave me Landon and my life changed. I still didn't go to church to thank him because I worked every Sunday and was too tired when I didn't or I had a test the next day.
Then, he gave me Madi. I was so resentful of the pregnancy at first because I felt like I was cheating Landon. I loved her and wanted her; I was just so worried about them being so close in age. I truly believe that I would never had gone back to church with Chris had I not been on maternity leave. I would probably still be working every Sunday.
God works in so many mysterious ways. Sometimes we don't see him working. Chris and Charles stayed good friend for a reason. I had Landon and Madi for a reason. Everything happened for a reason. Landon stopped me from a life of drinking and partying, Madi and Charles are the reason I came back to church. God had a plan. Now, itís my turn to thank him for it.
God thank you. Thank you for giving me the strength when I didn't know I needed it. Thank you for putting me back on the right path, again and again when I strayed. Thank you for my babies. Thank you for all the things you did for me that I didn't give you credit for. Thank you for loving me through all of my sins and despite of all my sins. Thank you for my husband and for keeping us together through all of our downs. Thank you for never putting more on me than I could handle, and thank you for helping me carry the load.....And in regard to Madi and Landon being so close in age, Thanks for having a sense of humor.
There are so many more things I need to thank him for. Itís not been an easy path, and I still find myself struggling. But he is there, helping through it.