Transparent

To my former students and anyone who ever looked up to me:

I knew at some point I would have to address this issue, however I wasn’t sure exactly what words to use to convey across the most critical points in a way that accurately explains the points I want to get across. There comes a time in every person’s life when we have to stop making excuses for ourselves and own up to the decisions we have made and now is my time. I am writing this letter to alleviate any confusion or mixed messages sent by the life I live. Of course, I have more life to live, however I am living out a circumstance in which I never thought I would find myself, and I believe in order for me to do justice to my life’s purpose of motivating young people to live their best lives; I need to put words around what I think about where I’ve found myself. I hope renewed strength to continue to make tough choices is the result of this letter. I hope God‘s glory can continue to shine through me as I become as vulnerable as I can at this juncture. I hope someone is set free by my truth. So here it goes.

Countless people were (and still are) surprised by my getting pregnant, given I am not married. Those who know me knows my desire was to get married prior to having children, as it wasn’t something I was secretive about. God is not pleased with sex outside of marriage and while I have not been a virgin for some time, I had taken a vow of celibacy where I promised God I wouldn’t have sex until I was married. Shock waves rattled many opinions of me upon finding out about my unborn child, given I had gone years without having sex. During those years I was fortunate enough to mentor several young ladies who looked up to me and the choices I had made in life. They were able to witness first hand someone who was able graduate high school, college, and build a career despite the hurdle of a less fortunate background. I was able to be a living testimony that it was okay to be beautiful, smart, and abstain from sex. Often times they had the ability to hold steadfast onto their virtue because they had an example that not everyone who is saved is stuffy or living in a holy bubble, detached from the realities of today. I was proud to be that beacon of light for these young ladies.

So how do I reconcile becoming a single mother in the face of my beliefs? I’m certain my excitement over my precious baby girl and the countless public congratulations and words of encouragement and support paints a happy picture that can leave those who have known me for years confused. Make no mistake, I am in love with my daughter and am prepared to create the type of environment in which she can grow to become a better person than I am, however it is equally important for me to publicly acknowledge my disappointment in myself. It is critically vital I say that I know what I’ve done is wrong and I must face the consequences of my decisions, my broken promises to God. Often times we present a one sided picture of life. Either we are making all of the right decisions or we know we are living in sin and we bask in it. We may even gloss over and justify our bad decisions, making them sound “not as bad as they are” in an effort of saving face. Very rarely do we hear the testimony of someone who was living right and fell during their fallen moment. We usually hear the testimony after they’ve gotten back up and are praising God from the hilltops for bringing them out of the valley. In a time where social media is reality to some people, it requires little effort to create an image of ourselves that may not be an accurate depiction. As happy as I am at having a healthy, beautiful baby, I know I am currently in a valley moment of my life. I know, because of the choices I’ve made, there are less than favorable situations ahead in which I will find myself. I am not blind to the fact that my child may even witness these situations.

I think the natural question is, “Are you saying you regret your child?” My resounding answer to that question is NO! While I made a choice that is outside the will of God, God doesn’t make mistakes. Her life has just as much purpose and meaning as the next life and I will always love her unconditionally as she is the innocent party in all of this. What I will say is I regret not living up to my promise. I regret the impending circumstances that could have been avoided had I held on to those promises (obedience is better than sacrifice). I wish I could have brought her into a healthy marriage filled with love, but I don’t regret her and I pray she never feels as if she is to blame~I will work my hardest to ensure she doesn’t. What I’ve learned for myself is God’s ways aren’t like our ways. He doesn’t condemn us to hell for all eternity for falling outside His will. When He says “My grace is sufficient, for my power is made perfect in weakness” it means His grace can withstand all of our dumb decisions. He will forgive us and although bad things may continue to happen, He will keep us through it all IF we go to Him, confess, repent, and ask for forgiveness. Notice I said go to Him, not go to your friends. I think we mess up going to other imperfect people when God desires an individual relationship with us.

Additionally, this blog entry isn’t about me wanting pity. I am not seeking validation of any sort. We have to stop coddling people when they fall short. I am not saying cane them, but I am saying stern correction is in order. Otherwise, how else would we grow? For clarification, I am not saying there should be blanket-statement correction given to every single mother there ever was. I am saying, for those who are directly connected to you, it is your responsibility (for those who are believers) to give them tough love and the intent must be that they become stronger in the Lord~not to make them feel stupid or less than, because honestly; if we were all as willing to highlight our valley moments while they are happening, we wouldn’t have so much confusion as it relates to living a Christian life. We put forth sooo much effort to make things look perfect, we miss many opportunities to bring people to Christ. We quote so many scriptures we forget we too are human and fell short more times than we are willing to admit. It has gotten to the point where we have communicated one must be perfect in order to receive the favor of God. As a result, imperfect people are afraid to come to Christ because they feel as if they are not good enough, when the truth of the matter is there are countless examples in the Bible where the people who were called by God were less than desirable. God can’t use perfect people.

As a woman who preached the abstaining sermon only to get pregnant the first time she had sex after years of celibacy (yes, it really only takes one time), I feel it is my responsibility to tell the other side of the story. The side where I did something wrong, fell short, and still praise God because I know His love for me is unconditional. Even in His disappointment of me, He still loves me. Even when He allows the process of my bad decision making to unfold, He still loves me. At my lowest when I don’t know where to turn, I can still turn to Him. And I will still give Him the glory.

Don’t allow another person make you feel as if you aren’t worthy of forgiveness from God, as it is only through His grace and mercy that any of us are able to sustain and thrive.

There are other things I wanted to discuss in the piece, however I will save them for another time, as this post took a different turn from what I initially intended. As I learn and grow from my mistakes, I submit to additional opportunities to share my experiences in hopes they can help someone else.

Be blessed and be a blessing.

Sincerely,

Shanika

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8 thoughts on “Transparent

  1. It is strange, it is often the bad girls who are less likely to get pregnant because they plan in advance and use birth control. Anyway, God be with you, I know you still have a life of serving God ahead of you. Don’t get discouraged, and congrats on a wonderful baby. They really are blessings from God

    • I’ve known both “bad” and “good” girls who have gotten pregnant unexpectantly. I don’t think the label of the person determines what will or will not happen to them in life. I was a “good girl” who was on birth control for years, however in the eyes of God, I shouldn’t have been having sex anyway. In all, I am encouraged more than ever because I know there are still great things in store for me. Thanks for the congrats!

  2. Your transparency and honesty is refreshing. God will use you and work all this together for good in your life and the lives of those you touch.

  3. Thanks for being so OPEN and honest in this post. WOW! One of the many things I kept thinking while reading this is that ” … all things work together for the good of them who love Christ.” In my life this means that even when I “fall short,” make mistakes or have regrets those things STILL work together for somehow glorify God AND have a positive impact in my life and the lives of others. You have done a very noble thing here – publicly admitting your views on your current life situation AND openly sharing thoughts on both sides (blessings and challenges). I believe that this post will do more healing for you and others than anyone knows at this time. I also believe there are many wonderful things to come for you and your sacred new addition. Thank you for sharing.

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