Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Dropout (05/12/11)
TITLE: Forfeited Faith
By Jessica Turner-Stotz
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That girl. I was never supposed to be "that girl." Having always clung tight to my Christian values and walk with the Lord, having always done the right thing my whole life, and there I was, dropping out of college, pushing aside my faith out of guilt and shame, and in resignation, leaving the road I had already detoured off of a couple months before. I’m sure Jesus watched me in sadness as I took steps further and further from Him; freewill has to frustrate a powerful God who made His children to love them, and to constantly have His love be rejected for what the secular world has to offer. Not only was I a college drop-out, I was a faith drop-out. My faith had been snuffed out by the choices I had made in response to a painful time in my life and the resulting disillusionment that had come of Christian men.
The second line on the home pregnancy test had appeared immediately and every dream I had ever had, every decision I had made up until that point for my life, shifted, and the entire focus turned inward to the tiny life the Lord had begun to form inside my womb. I remember the words of my favorite Psalm 139 resonating in my soul, as He spoke through them to me, and even in those first seconds I knew I would keep the baby God had chosen to bless me with. The Holy Spirit was already laying the foundation for what my child’s passions and gifts would be, moving in my life even though I had done a wonderful job of rejecting His love and guidance. I felt a joy like no other, even as I experienced fear, because I also knew there would be sacrifices I would have to make. Parenthood is permeated with sacrifice, paralleling the greatest sacrifice of all, that of the Lamb. Our Father allowed His only son Jesus to hang on a cross for every sin humanity would ever make. He saw straight through to me, to my sins, to my poor choices, and He died for me, for everyone who had come before and would still come after me. He took that burden, willingly. I knew that whatever I would face in the years to come, would be nothing compared to that, and somehow, even through the mistakes I’d made and would most likely still make, He was able to bring me around to His purpose. That’s the greatest miracle of all, renewing a drop-out like me, reinstating me, redirecting me onto the road less traveled, the one I had not been able to find my way back to.
My son was born on the 2nd of December and every day that he grew, so did my faith, so did my trust in God, that He had a greater plan for me, whether or not that still involved finishing college. I was not a drop-out in his eyes. I was redeemed. As I turned to Him and toward a deeper relationship with the Triune God, greater than I had ever experienced before, I was made anew. For my God is the God of Second Chances and He loved me enough to not let me stay where I was. He consistently drew me back, helped me to forgive myself, something I had the hardest time doing, showed me a love I had never encountered anywhere other than in relationship with Him, and granted me a beautiful baby that fills my days with every fruit of the Spirit, in abundance.
I was deemed a drop-out, but became a mother in the process and strengthened a vibrant friendship with the Lord. I found in my failings the way back to what God intended for my life and did not allow dropping-out to keep me "out" of pursuing the dreams God still has in store for me and my son, the plans He’s already declared for our lives.
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