Wednesday, November 21, 2012

In the Begining...

~Our Story~ Part 1~

I was 17, he was 17. When on February 14th, valentines day. He asked me to "court him". Yes. You read that right. And no the year was not 1942. It was the year 2000. 

We were still in high school. Though I believe he was actually finished with his classes "at home", and was attending a local community college. I was about finished too. Perk of being home schooled, you can work at your own pace. We were both home schooled.

You can read more about what happened on that cold Valentines Day here. We "courted" for two years. I knew he was the one I was to marry. He did too. And hindsight. We should never have "courted" that young. But, we did.

Our courtship was tumultuous  There was quite a bit of legalism  and controlling. We didn't go "on dates" alone. Always someone was with us. We got together as families. My parents thought it rather odd, and would always ask things like "Are you sure this is what you want?". They loved Brandon, they were just concerned about a few red flags they saw. And rightly so. At one point Brandon and I were only allowed to write letters to each other. We  weren't supposed to speak to each other even at church. Hindsight, I can not believe I went along with that. But, I did. Because I really did love Brandon. Well, at that point I was "in like". Because the Love I have for him now, PALES in comparison to how I "loved" him then. Through it all, he followed along with what was asked of him. Of us. He fought hard to stay with me.

We did have fun together, and made great memories. But much of our "courtship" was wrought with heartache. Senselessly so. A works based faith, is not a freeing or peaceful place to be.

Upon graduating, I acquired a dance studio. And at the very tender and rather ignorant age of 18 opened my own business. I taught ballet, tap, and jazz. I also worked at a retail consignment shop, volunteered in the community, taught a after school bible program,Baby sat three days a week, all while taking professional dance lessons myself to further my "education". You name it. I did it.

 Just thinking about how busy my schedule was, makes my head spin.

My boy owned and operated his own business too. He began a lawn care business with his brothers while he was in high school. He worked long hard days through the summer and fall. And did school, and volunteered in the community.He was a busy guy too.

We grew up fast. We didn't party, or hang out with friends much. We shared ideas on how to grow a business, he helped me with computer spread sheets and accounting. I gave him ideas on cutting costs, and took him a cold drink when he was out working. Yes,we were so very romantic.

Looking back, we were probably the most boring 18 year olds ever. Ambitious. Naive. Hard working. Maybe too hard working. 
We were put on a pedestal we could not live up too. And very quickly,we teetered off of it. Fast. And the only people who put us on that pedestal were, in fact, ourselves. 

Yes. I was a classic case of an over achiever. A first born type A personality. My "god" was perfection. Doing it all, and yet never doing anything really well.

At the age of 19, we became an "us".

I got pregnant.

We came from conservative, highly respected families. And we broke our parent's hearts. It was by far the hardest thing I've had to confess. And confess we did. We shared at our rehearsal the Truth of our hurried wedding. In that moment I was so very proud of how my soon to be husband stood before our closest family and friends and made the announcement, that should be a joyous one, and instead left a room of loved ones in tears. Our immediate families already knew. But, sharing with our entire wedding party. That was rough. Friendships were damaged, some to never be restored. We also wrote a letter to our church to confess. And that, that made me want to run and hide. I didn't want to step a foot in the church. Feeling so judged and ashamed. Like I had a scarlet letter on my back, and everyone was whispering "There's the girl that got knocked up!".

My Man,(he transformed into one upon stepping up and taking responsibility, even though he was only 19)was determined to stick it out at our church. He dragged me back after our wedding. Why? Because, we knew a lot of teenagers had their eyes on us. He did not want to turn anyone away from Christ, because of our sin. We didn't want the teens to think we were "run off". We wanted to show them, you can make bad choices, but you don't have to run from God. He forgives. We weren't run off, but I can't say I felt a whole lot of love either. It was work to renew my mind, and remember who I was in Christ. To not let the slander of the truth of my sin, soak into my marrow and suck me dry.

 On July 11th 2003 we were married. In a park, with 250+ of our closest friends and family. Originally it was going to be a small affair. Then it grew, and the precious friends and family who lived far away, who we honestly thought wouldn't be able to come. Did come. That spoke volumes right to my heart.

I wasn't nervous at all on our wedding day. It was beautiful,and I had a peace that passes understanding. I knew I was marrying my  forever husband. There were tears, and tensions, and your average family drama. But, it was our day, and I basked in it.

The moment I saw my man, in his tux, and my eyes met his. The entire wedding party disappeared  In that moment I knew we were right where we were supposed to be. All three of us.

I learned a lot while pregnant and newly married. The people who chose to love and forget, were really not the people I would have expected to do so. While all of my friends were in their second year of college. I was in my second trimester of pregnancy.

My pregnancy went perfectly. I was never sick, I felt great. I remember thinking "Man, pregnancy isn't bad at all!". My pregnancy was a breeze (don't worry,God taught me that not all pregnancies are like your first.) 

 I want to stop and say this. We take full responsibility for our sin. And we sought to make it right. Do I still believe in waiting till after you are married to have sex? Yes. I do. And we plan to raise our kids, and be honest with them, telling them our story. The heartache involved. And how God's plan is much better than our fleshly desires. Brandon is the only guy I ever seriously "courted/dated". I refused to "date" anyone who didn't have the values I would want in a husband. That being said, I'm also not trying to beat anyone over the head. God forgives,and Loves! I'm so thankful and blessed that we both did not come into our relationship with any past romantic relationship baggage. Goodness knows we had enough baggage because of a poor choice we made, and God knew our bags were full just dealing with that!

And oh, did I have baggage. Guilt plagued me for a very.long.time. The days waiting for our baby to be born, went by very slowly. It was difficult for me to connect to "our baby" growing inside of me, because it just felt wrong. After we had been married for a few months, I realized I needed to get help. Thankfully God placed a few key people in my life, and I did a bible study "Lies Woman Believe and the Truth that sets them free." God used his Word, and re-affirming who I was in Him, to begin to transform my heart and renew my mind.

We didn't know what we were having. And in my ignorance I thought it was a girl. I laugh at that now. We had a few names, but I wanted to see him/her before we chose a name. 

And on November 16th 2003, we welcomed a very healthy, bouncing baby boy. Who weighed in at 9lbs 11oz! After 56 hours of labor, I had an emergency c-section. I had planned a home birth. Yes. You read that right. How God loves to teach us that His ways are not our ways!

When I held our baby boy for the first time, it was so surreal. I felt this intense love for him, and at the same time, intense fear. It was the first time I really remember my anxiety issues coming to a major head. I'd always had a little bit of anxiety growing up. But when he was in my arms the reality of our choice hit me like a ton of bricks. He was beautiful, and perfect, and mine. And it was a lot to wrap my 19 year old mind around.

I loved him fiercely  And the mamma bear came out, and the thought crossed my mind "if anyone ever dares to tell him he "wasn't planned" or is "illegitimate" I'll make it the last words they speak." But, that was where my fear was rooted, in acceptance,and approval. Wrapped up in what others would say/think. I wanted to protect him from all of the judgement I was feeling. I'm not entirely sure it even existed outside of my mind.

 We decided to name him Jackson Lee. After Brandon's grandfather Jack, and Lee is Brandon's middle name and my father in law's middle name.

Jackson means:God has been Gracious, shown favor.

The meaning of his name was very important to us. Especially me. To declare that "God has been Gracious" and claiming "healing" in our life through Jackson's life.

I carried so much guilt, and while I still had plenty of baggage left. A weight was lifted, when he was born. He was a beautiful baby,every nurse and doctor said so. He was BORN with long dark eyelashes. Seriously looked like the kid had mascara on. The tensions between us and our parents eased, when they laid eyes on their Grand baby. And that re-leaved my heart ache a little, as I'd convinced myself they would never love him as much as any of their other Grandchildren in the future. That was a lie right from Satan himself. Because they did, and our church did too. Everyone would always say "He is the most beautiful boy ever!" Though I was partial. They were right. He was. And he was not only beautiful, but so happy. Such a sweet, happy go lucky, baby. 

We took our baby home to a tiny one bedroom apartment, where most nights he slept between us. We always reminisce about that first year of wedded bliss. We were so happy, and in love. And loved our baby boy so much.

But don't be fooled. I had so much baggage left. So many insecurities. We were babies ourselves, responsible for a little baby. 

Brandon got a job at an accounting firm, he sold his share of the lawn business to his brothers, and was buying and selling used cars on the side for extra cash. I closed the dance studio after Jackson was born. The building was being purchased by a developer, and it just worked out. I became a stay at home Mommy,and worked nights as a receptionist for a hotel. We lived on very little, but were very happy.

And then when Jackson was three months old. I found myself pregnant. Again.

But this time it was different. This time we could rejoice,even in the shock. Yes, I was on birth control. No, it wan't "planned". But, we learned the first time, that God's plans are way better than ours. I still struggled with anxiety, and was oddly so nervous to tell our parents. 

Fear has a way of robbing your joy. 

Next installment:Baby number 2 and more...


Anonymous said...

huge HUGS as you share you story, I know it's got to be hard. Going to FB message you because some of the stuff I want to say is probably too personal for here, lol.

Leah Raisingbushs said...

Thank you for sharing your story. We also became pregnant prior to getting married and I understand the baggage that you talk of and carried it for a long time myself. But our God had bigger plans and his hand is a part of everything so I take comfort in that.

Leah Raisingbushs said...

My husband and I also found ourselves pregnant prior to our marriage. We were planning out wedding but decided to postpone it but now I wish we had went ahead and married. We were married the week prior to our daughter turning a year old. I understand the baggage you wrote about because I carried it for a long time myself. But I take comfort in knowing that Gods plans are bigger than myself and that his hand is in everything. Now we are happily married with our 3 little's. We also became pregnant with our 3rd quickly after our 2nd was born. Even though we are married and happy, those feeling of shame also come back at the beginning of pregnancy because I relive those first days of my first pregnancy.