Footprints

When I was a child, I was brought up in a divorced family and lived with my mother and stepdad. Though we were constantly busy, my mom would take me and my brother to a catholic church almost every Sunday. Yes, I believed in Jesus, but because I didn’t really have a great relationship with either my father or stepdad, I struggled to really understand, or even want to understand God. I don’t believe I ever felt love from either of my dads, and I longed to feel loved by a man. So I started dating at a young age.

I got married, for all the wrong reasons, at the very young age of nineteen and became pregnant by my oldest son’s father. I had my first son at twenty, and 6 weeks before my husband came back from being overseas, I realized it had changed him big time. I couldn’t handle it. Whenever times would get hard, I‘d put myself in fight or flight mode. When I couldn't handle it any longer, I would flee. Because I always longed for the feeling of being loved, I was always in a relationship and had never been single for more than a month or two. I always had a back-up plan.

When my son was almost two, I decided to join the military myself. I thought maybe then I’d feel like I belonged. I ended up getting pregnant, unexpectedly, when I came home on my leave. When I got home, I debated on having an abortion because I wasn’t in a relationship, and I wasn’t in a great place in my life. I finally decided that I was going to keep the pregnancy, and at 22 weeks, I found out my baby had hypoplastic left heart syndrome, meaning he was missing half of his heart. Again, I decided not to end my pregnancy. I carried him full term, and he was beautiful! He only lived for two days. I held him in my arms as he took his last breath.

I was at the lowest of lows and I was mad at God for doing this. To make things worse, only a couple of months later, I got into a horrible relationship. He was the perfect charmer and said all the right things at the right time, so I married him. Then I came to find out he’d been in prison, and while he was married to me, he was also married to another woman. He was extremely abusive in all ways; physically, emotionally and mentally, to the point where I felt stuck and afraid he was going to kill me. I was able to get out, but only because he committed a crime, and he was put back in prison. Thankfully, I was able to get an annulment. As usual, I felt so alone that I jumped into another relationship.

In the mix of all these relationships, I had been married twice and engaged three other times. I finally told myself, "Stop searching for what you think you need and put your trust in God.” Songs have so much meaning to me, and the song “Woman at the Well” hit me deep. The song talks about how Jesus meets a woman who’s been married before, and when He is talking to her He knows that the man she is with is not her husband. Still, He stays there by her side. I never really read the bible before hearing the song, but the song is about John 4:4-26.  

I met my current husband and, let me say, we have a very safe and secure relationship. In the beginning of our relationship I was still in the fight or flight mode, but he never let me walk away. He taught me that we had to figure things out. He’d grown up going to North Ridge Church. Because I grew up Catholic, I was very unsure and I was trying to find my way back to trusting God. Another thing I was very unsure about, was giving 10% of what little money I made in tithes to God. But my now husband told me that his family always did it, and were never short on money, and had many blessings! This just never made sense to me and I remember thinking, “We are buried in debt. How is giving 10% of our income going to help us?” I tell you all this because Jesus knew what I needed, and in tithing He has blessed us abundantly. We are paying off debt quickly, enjoy giving to missions and we’re having fun with it! After all, it is God's money; I just had to stop putting myself before Him.

A couple of years ago, right after we got married, I became extremely sick without explanation. Shortly after that, my mother-in-law found out she had cancer. Then, a short time later, we found out we were pregnant after being told I may not be able to get pregnant. I had so many emotions going through me! I was happy, sad, and scared, all at once. This again put me to the test and I was very heavy hearted. My mother-in-law told me that we need to pray, and that God hears our prayers. After finding out I was pregnant with another little boy, I was afraid to have another son because I didn't know if I could love him or give him the best life after the loss I already suffered. But I must say, he is the greatest blessing, and I am so thankful I am able to watch this little boy grow!

Although we prayed, my mother-in-law passed away. Her death was the hardest, yet best thing that could have happened to me. In the last couple weeks before her passing, I felt I was losing my husband to his grief, and my only choice was to trust in Jesus and put Him over everything. And Jesus strengthened our marriage. My mother-in-law taught me so much, and she was always there for me. Even though she did not win the battle against cancer, she fought hard and pushed me forward. Knowing Jesus is by my side is the reason the poem “Footprints” is my favorite. Prayer is a powerful thing. When I thought God was never there, that was when He was carrying me. And now, I am fully committing my life to Jesus, and I know He is over everything. He has blessed me and my family immeasurably.
Submitted Anonymously on 7/20/2022

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