My sophomore year everything changed. In fact, on that day, the entire course of my life changed. My mom was fired from the school. I honestly don’t remember the whys of it and I suppose it doesn’t really matter much. The bottom line was I knew it caused her pain to take me to school there everyday. I offered to go to another school and she accepted my offer.
I said goodbye to everyone, which was very difficult. I would miss them greatly. I prepared to go to public school. The public school’s sophomore class was as big as the entire student body at the private school. I was nervous about that but thrilled that I could wear jeans to school for the first time in my life. (It’s the little things!)
It’s easy to follow Christ when times are good. I accepted Jesus as my Savior at a young age and in my fairly sheltered life, up until then, my bad times were fights with friends or something else that now, as an adult, are what I would call trivial. I knew that God would take care of me at this new school. What I was too inexperienced to know was that God’s version of taking care of me varied quite differently from my version of caring for me.
In my mind, caring for me included surrounding me with friends and allowing me to enjoy the activities I enjoyed before the change of schools. Essentially, giving me the life I had before just at a different school. After all, I had changed schools for the betterment of someone else. I was trying hard not to be the selfish person my mom so often accused me of. I suppose I thought good intentions would earn me some points. If only…!
I ended the year with one friend. I had a difficult time adjusting and felt very alone and I was angry. I felt God had abandoned me. So, I decided I didn’t need His help. I thought the age old adage; if you want something done right you have to do it yourself!
The school I went to was closed by the district so I, again, got to go to a new school for my junior year. Yeah! I made the varsity cheerleading team and was now surrounded by new friends and now friends with their friends. I did not choose well. There was nothing wrong with them, mind you, they just didn’t share my Christian beliefs. If I wanted to go to the places that these new friends went to I would have to lie to my parents at times. Not a huge deal in my mind then. The thing is, my parents didn’t want me going to those places for a reason. I guess I was just too desperate to be accepted that I didn’t see that.
Then the unthinkable happened. I found out I didn’t live in a safety bubble. I was 16. I was raped. My entire world changed that day.
I told one of my “friends” about it and they told me I had probably deserved it, so I kept my mouth shut. I just wanted to forget about it and move on. But move on to what? I was still in with the wrong crowd without the prospect of getting out. I felt I was in a grave that I had dug myself into with no way of getting out. What was the point of getting out anyway? I felt tainted.
Here is the thing I have learned about God. When you are His child, he doesn’t forget about you. He never lets you go. He gave me an out. The date was January 9th. It was the most unexpected blessing. Granted, at the time it scared the crap out of me, and it was not immediately clear that it was a blessing. I was pregnant.
It was not obvious to me that this was something God would use for my good. It made me quite unpleasant and that attitude carried over into my relationship with my parents. I continued to keep my mouth shut about the rape. At their wits end, they sent me to a home for unwed mothers. At the same time, all my friends stopped being my friends. It was as if pregnancy was a virus they would catch. I was completely alone. It was the perfect time for God to speak to me and for me to ask His forgiveness. It was also the perfect time for me to fall completely in love with the baby I was now carrying.
It took awhile for me to mend my relationship with my parents so the few months I spent away from them was just me and this little girl whose very existence saved my life. I talked to her about everything. She is the only one who went through everything with me. She was an anchor in my life. She kept me going. She made me want to heal so I could continue my life. I finally opened up about the rape.
I went through a lot of counseling and I knew all the work that lay ahead of me. I knew of the pain, heartache, and grief I had to face over the things I had lost. My daughter gave me so much and I knew I had to give back to her. She needed the things I could not give her at the time. God blessed me with her and I knew I needed to do what was in her best interest. The thought of placing her with another family was heartbreaking, but it wasn’t about me.
She was born and I held her for the first and what I believed would be the last time. Her new parents came and took her home with them. My heart broke. I cried so hard and for so long the nurses had to sedate me. Because I had a c-section I had to stay in the hospital for a few days so that gave me some time to compose myself.
I started my senior year 2 weeks after she was born. I was at a new school, yet again. Super yeah! However, my arms ached for my baby. There were several days I would never even make it to school. I would be pulled over on the side of the road sobbing. Throughout this whole time, I had to keep reminding myself that she was in a better place. I had a lot of work and healing to do before I could be a mother to anyone.
I made it a few months at school until I got to the point that I wanted to scream. I was surrounded by talk of which person liked that person and what are you wearing and can you believe she said this or that. I just wanted to tell them that none of this was important. I was missing my daughter and frustrated that these seniors still had the opportunity to be kids for awhile. While they were doing math homework, I was wondering if this was the night I would die from a broken heart.
That was 19 years ago. My broken heart eventually healed around the piece that was missing...her. It would be a sad story if it ended there but God brought her back into my life. Shortly after her 18th birthday she contacted me.
She found this blog. Who knew a blog could be so useful! We started getting to know each other, sharing our likes and dislikes. We talked about the things going on in our lives. We talked about this blog and if I could share our story. It filled me with joy every time I got a message from her. There was some sadness though, knowing how much of her life I had missed, followed by joy, knowing I can be a part of her life now.
Rebecca and her wonderful friend embarked on an ambitious road trip. They covered 20 states and one of them was Oregon. On Thursday, I got to put my arms around her. The piece that was missing from my heart was returned! I didn’t want to let go. It was a moment that I had been thinking about for 19 years. It was so much better than anything I had ever imagined.
Rebecca is a beautiful young woman. She is smart, funny, well spoken, and has a sense of adventure. You can tell she has a gentle, loving spirit. She has so much to offer the world and I look forward to watching her life unfold and being a part of it.
She has made a most courageous and honorable decision. She will soon be serving this country as a U.S. Marine. She will be on the opposite side of the country and I will miss her even more but I respect and am in awe of her commitment to our country.
We spent hours talking. She got to meet her brothers. She got to meet Rolo. But the time came when she had to leave. It was hard to say goodbye but what an awesome day it was. It went by too fast but it was time that I treasured.
For years I was focused on what was taken from me; my virginity, my firstborn, my daughter, instead of what was given; redemption, reconciliation, forgiveness, and a beautiful daughter. She was the most unexpected blessing!