In a little over a year, I graduated high school, got pregnant at 18, deferred college, worked three jobs at once, got accepted to a new college, gave birth, moved across an ocean, endured an abusive relationship, became a single mom, and started freshman year of college with a five-month-old baby girl. Talk about an identity crisis, right?! I went through so many experiences that would typically be spread out over many stages of life, and in the opposite order. I wish I could say that it was a-okay and I always handled it gracefully, but it was hard. I’ve never been more challenged, broken, or lost. My faith in God and any sort of plan for my life was crushed. I learned a lot about life in that time; bad and good.
When I think of my life, I always think of it as split in two. Everything before 2015…and everything after. My life looked completely different. I mean, I was an 18 year old transitioning to a new baby, a new state, a new school, and a new normal. Beyond that, I was different to the core. I was finding myself after being entirely damaged by a relationship. I was experiencing true independence for the first time, and taking on adulthood with a whole lot of baggage. I had my sweet little girl depending on me, but I was still figuring out how to take care of myself. My life was unrecognizable, and I quickly fell into the victim mentality. I was stuck in hurt, confusion, shame, resentment, loneliness, and everything in between. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t ask the cliche “why me?!” a time or two.
Now, in 2019 hindsight, I know that everything did happen for reason. I had to be completely broken down to create something greater. It makes me think of that show, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, in which they demolish a family’s old, run-down home and rebuild a home they never could’ve imagined. Yes, that’s a silly metaphor, but that’s exactly what this felt like. The only remnants of my old life were the people who saw me through that messy season, who I’m eternally grateful for, and God, although I didn’t see Him in the moment. Everything else seemed broken beyond repair, until one day, I was staring at the “something greater”.
The quote “grow through what you go through” has been a mind-altering mantra for me over these past few years. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t just wake up one day with a totally new perspective on my situation. It took a lot of time and mental distance to heal. It took pursuing my own passions and realizing my worth. It took dedicating myself to be the best mom I could be, despite the struggles. It took rediscovering my faith and relationship with God. It took a lot of deep reflection to muster up anything positive about my past.
When I finally realized that I can grow from my experiences rather than drown in them, I was set free. I was finally free from the emotional ball and chain of my past. I was able to find the lessons in all the mistakes I had made and what happened to me. I actually began to appreciate the change in myself, as a result of it all. I was able to see God’s plan was bigger and better than I could’ve imagined; like His plan was the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition of my life. I felt hopeful and purposeful, for the first time in a long time. Like everything I went through was…worth it.
So for those who were or still are in a life-changing season like mine, I’ll end this with another quote:
“When you’re in a dark place, you sometimes tend to think you’ve been buried. Perhaps you’ve been planted. Bloom.”
Sincerely, M & E