First comes love (check!)
Then comes marriage (skipped)
Here comes Kristal with the baby carriage (check!)
Since I am up AGAIN in the middle of the night, I figure I express some things that have been on my mind.
I never posted on my blog how I came about finding out I was pregnant. I have a long draft I started back in November that I never went back to so we will get back to that later (or I might just offer the condensed version later in this post).
Anyway, when I am out and about with Zakiah and see another mother with her child(ren), I often find myself glancing at that one little finger to see if her significant other had "put a ring on it". Most times he had and I think to myself, "they probably did things in the right order like we are supposed to do-marriage before carriage." Sometimes I find myself 'hiding' my ring finger when around other married folks because I don't want to be judged for being the single mother.
I can't stand the terms illegitimate or out of wedlock. My baby is very much legitimate because God blessed me and Josh with her instead of with some life long or life threatening disease. God extended His grace and mercy on us and has provided so much for us and Zakiah when we least expected. Out of wedlock is a whack phrase because you don't hear married folks refer to having their children within wedlock. Such a weird term in the first place. I prefer simply the term premarital because that is how it went down. Before marriage.
Now, as a disclaimer, I am not condoning premarital sex. I believe that a couple should maintain abstinence until they say 'I Do' which is so hard to do in this twisted sexually driven society we live in. And that was what Josh and I had intended to do, but things sometimes manage to happen during some of our best efforts and intentions.
I guess I will go into my story now.
So Josh and I have been together since February 2005. Just like any other couple, we have had or share of struggles and still do. One of the hardest struggles was sexual temptations. At the time, I was not a Christian while he had been a Christian since a wee lad. In the bible, a Christian being involved with a non-Christian particularly in marriage is NOT ideal because of the fact that not only there is spiritual division but God is not fully at the foundation of the union, which can cause the relationship to crumble.
And boy, did we have our crumbling moments!
When I met Josh, he had been abstinent for 2 years. He was really trying to focus on God and do what is right. I thought that was awesome that he had been holding off for that long but unfortunately didn't respect or value his intentions. Sorry babe! Now as for me, I engaged in sexual behavior as a result of being in long term relationships which were three total before Josh. I thought of it as an act of showing love until I later learned the hard way during my 2.5 year relationship right before my involvement with Josh.
That is another story that I probably won't share. Just know that God used that relationship to get my attention and bring me closer to Him. Praise God!
So ultimately sexual temptation found its way into our relationship mainly because I (the woman) initiated it and he (being the guy who has been without for a long time) gave in and for a year, it had been a losing battle both spiritually and emotionally (something I wished my mom would have told me could happen when premarital sex is involved in a relationship).
Things got really strained as I started to see how my behavior had eventually gotten someone who was really focused on doing right to get caught up in doing the very thing he was abstaining from. Guilt and anger started to set in and I didn't like what was going on between us. I been down the same path with my previous relationships and I just couldn't continue to go down the same path with someone else.
I wanted to find Jesus. I wanted to have Him as the focus of my desires. Not flesh. So after a brief but hard break up, a mirage of conflicting emotions, and a strong desire to be whole again, God managed for Josh and I to reconcile and study more about God. April 13, 2006, after all the spiritual debates and bible studies, all the Sundays I attended Church with Josh, and all the struggles period, I was baptized into the Church of Christ.
The best move I have ever made!
I started to see things differently once I was added to Christ's Body. I started to respect my body more and realize that my body is a vessel given to me by God for Him to use to get His work done on earth. It's my responsibility to take care of it.
Sexual activity had dropped significantly between us because we both were Christians and were moving toward the same path spiritually. Don't get me wrong, we got caught up in the behavior every now but unlike before I was baptized, guilt would immediately set in following the act.
Not a good feeling to wrong God.
Two months would go between our acts. God was working in us. Josh left to go to Arizona for a year so we only engaged in the behavior during the two times I went to visit him that whole year because we simply just missed each other and wanted to enjoy the presence of each other before having to go months without seeing each other again (not a valid excuse but we REALLY did overwhelmingly miss each other and just didn't help ourselves). Once he got back to NC in 2007, we got back to the same old beat of things as they were before he left. Our last act was early January 2008 and I told him NO MORE! I can't stand the guilt anymore. I couldn't enjoy the behavior as much as I could have because God was on my mind during the act. I felt horrible and dirty.
So we held off for a long time (at least for me). Valentine's day would pass, my birthday, the hot summer months. I was on a roll! Resisting temptation! Almost 8 months have passed and I thought I got this abstinence thing down pat.
Oh, BUT September 19, 2008 came along. It was like everything slipped out the window. Temptation fell once again (particularly after I worked down to a lovely 138 pounds of beauty haha). For some reason we gave in just that easy. It was weird after being strong for so long. Now I understand how after 2 years of abstinence, Josh was able to give in. As before, I felt extremely guilty and repented immediately. I was so upset because I thought I was in control. I then realized that all this time, I relied on my own strength instead of turning to God for His strength to help me overcome my temptation. I got big headed and didn't give God the praise of getting me through as far as He did.
He showed me who is the Boss!
So I got a normal period the week after and thought I was in the clear. Whew! Now it was time to focus my attention on God and stay strong through Him.
To cut this story short already, on November 3, 2008, after a strange urge to detox my body from fair food I thought was making me feel woozy, an unexplained (at the time) super sense of smell, and a simple google search on the topic 'increased sense of smell', I found out I was pregnant. Naturally my world was shook and I will have to share how things changed in all aspects of the word in a whole other long post later.
My point I guess is that just because I am a single (in Christian term for being unmarried) mother does NOT mean I wasn't trying to save myself for marriage or that I was out there having guiltless sex with a lot or random guys. It was something we struggled with for a long time and eventually in our efforts we got caught up with one of the most difficult but rewarding blessings God graced us with-Zakiah.
It is not like I had to explained my situation to the world but if I can help someone as a result of my experience, then I am all for it. I don't mind being a walking example of how God's grace and mercy is good even when we slip and fall. You never know what a single mother went through that ultimately lead her to where she is now. She could have been raped, molested, drugged, had sex for the first time, or been married and divorced before or right after the child was born. Just because there is no ring on the finger gives anybody the right to judge anybody's situation. Just pray for that person because raising children is hard period. Married OR single. Bad intentions or good intentions. Ultimately we should want to raise our children the right way so they don't fall in the same hardships as we had to go through. That is why I quoted Proverbs at the top of my blog. We must train our children in the way the need to go so they don't depart from that way once they get older.
I love you Zakiah and don't ever want you to think I am ashamed of you! Being pregnant was not the sin. Having premarital sex was. And just because you see a couple married before having children doesn't mean they didn't engage in the same sexual behavior as those who have children and never been married. Being married doesn't make any premarital behavior any less of a sin.
Nevertheless, it has been way over a year since we have engaged in any behavior of the sort and I definitely praise God for His strength to overcome times of weakness. He knows our desire to wait until marriage before resuming the act because then it will be my duty as a wife to please my babe (yay!)
I can't wait! I have a feeling something is in the works but I pray that everything works out so the next time you see a picture of my left hand, you will see a precious piece of accessory.
I love you Josh!
I love you Zakiah!
I love you Father!
Side note: Forgive me if you find any errors in this post. I typed it from the blackberry with my thumb in the middle of the night and now I am too tired to proof read. Thanks!