***Some of the links in this article are "affiliate links", a link with a special tracking code. This means if you click on an affiliate link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. The price of the item is the same whether it is an affiliate link or not. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will add value to my readers. By using the affiliate links, you are helping support my family, and I genuinely appreciate your support.***
If I speak in the tongues of men or of
If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
~1 Corinthians 13~
Pregnant with my first child, I finished the eighth grade at home due to excessive bullying at school. For the sake of my growing baby's life, daily beatings, death-threats, and being thrown into lockers was not something that I could endure another day. So, I opted to be home-schooled for the remainder of my eighth-grade year, and into the beginning of my ninth-grade year.
October 20, 1994, I gave birth to my first son.
At the age of fifteen, things at home were becoming too much to bear. Mother and I did not get along, and I feared for the well-being of my baby. So I moved out and into the apartment next door with my beloved husband. Needless to say, that day was a bitter-sweet one, filled with tears, drama, and nosey neighbors.
Though the crazy breakup-makeup cycle continued, I stayed and fought to make our relationship work and keep our family together. No matter what happened, or how many tears I cried, I remained committed to my beloved my husband, and our little family.
At the age of sixteen, and pregnant with my second child, I finished high school, earning my GED. On May 1, 1996, my second son was born.
Though jobs were scarce for teen moms in the 90's, I did manage to work part-time at the YMCA while finishing high school. And of course, there was McDonald's. I hated that job!
At the age of seventeen, my husband and I finally were permitted to legally marry with my mother's consent. It was a tiny and intimate ceremony with only a handful of my family members present. I planned the entire wedding myself, every detail from my handmade bouquet to my gown, nails, and hair, and the lavish little banquet I prepared and served in the kitchen of our two-bedroom apartment. Our wedding day must have been so difficult for my husband. His family lived in Mexico and were unable to travel to be present for our wedding.
February 15, 1999, at the age of nineteen, my third son was born. Though I had endured complications with my other pregnancies, and difficult deliveries, my son and I both nearly lost our lives that day. Due to my baby boy's fifteen-inch head being stuck in the birth canal, and the banshee-like screaming that you would clearly expect to hear terrifying everyone on the floor, my doctor decided that an epidural was needed. However, the injection was given too late and did not even take full effect until after my son was delivered.
Everything seemed fine for a few moments. Then one of the attending nurses realized that my precious baby boy's skin was not brown like his father's, but purple. My newborn son wasn't breathing! And I was hemorrhaging! Thinking nothing of the fact that I could bleed to death within seconds, and completely paralyzed from the waist down, I cried and screamed, over and over, "Please God, don't take my baby! Don't take my baby!"
Seconds seemed like an eternity. But soon, in the midst of all the chaos, a faint cry filled the room. God had heard me crying out to Him. He was there in that delivery room breathing life into my son.
October 1999, we packed up our family and our few meager belongings and moved to Tijuana, Mexico.
My father-in-law had left my mother-in-law for his sister-in-law of all women. And my husband, being the only living son, felt a tremendous responsibility to his mother in her time of need. So, for six weeks we worked hard and we saved enough money for the 24-hour drive from Eugene to Tijuana, gave away items we didn't plan to take, rented a U-haul, loaded up the kids, and said goodbye to our life and our Oregon home.
We remained in Tijuana for approximately two years. My in-laws reconciled their marriage after being separated for nearly a year and a half. However, my marriage was beginning to crumble, and our youngest son, who had been chronically ill with ear and throat infections the entire time needed surgery.
So, once again we packed up our family and moved across the border to San Diego where we would be able to make use of my husband's medical insurance to cover the costs of our son's surgery.
Not long after moving to San Diego, my husband wanted to purchase a computer. I really wish that we hadn't. Soon after purchasing the computer, pornography became a plague in our marriage.
It was always there.
Distance and hostility became the norm, and I was becoming suicidal. I had already had a history of self-harming, and I was beginning to relapse.
Our marriage had been poisoned and we were falling apart. The more that porn infiltrated our lives, the more hostile and distant we became. We were fighting constantly, though we rarely ever spoke. He slept on the couch most nights. I slept alone in the bedroom.
I continued on a downward spiral, punishing myself by self-harming, and ended up back on antidepressants. Yet nothing changed. I soon wound up on the psychiatrist's sofa receiving diagnosis after diagnosis, and a plethora of brightly colored pills that were supposed to make me feel better and somehow seem "normal".
The pills didn't help. And like my sense of self-worth, our marriage continued to crumble.
Eventually, we both succumbed to emotional affairs. In my loneliness and desperation to feel validated and still human, I started talking to a couple of guys on MySpace, while my husband was getting far too close and emotionally attached to a woman he had met on the trolly, (though I had no clue about this until years later when he revealed his indiscretions).
Our marriage was in serious trouble.
Feeling as if I were less than a woman, I was hopeless and desperate to capture my husband's eyes and heart once again. So, I decided to agree to breast augmentation surgery. This, of course, did not pan out as planned. I ended up requiring four surgeries which left me permanently scarred and suffering from permanent nerve damage.
Our poisoned marriage was growing increasingly toxic and volatile. Fights were breaking out nearly every day. It seemed that we had truly gone mad. And my husband had begun leaving me and the boys for three or four days at a time. Oftentimes, I would be so sick of the lies, drinking, and abuse, I would kick him out or pack up the boys and go to my aunts.
When we finally turned our lives back to the Lord and started attending church, I thought that our lives were finally getting better. But it only got worse. The more I sought help from the church, the more our lives fell apart. Though I believed that I was doing everything the Bible was telling me to, such as confess my sins and seeking counsel from the pastor and elders, I had no idea that my genuine desire to save my dying marriage and family from further devastation would only cause the devastation that I wanted to prevent in the first place.
Foolishly, I had poured my heart and soul out to the older and more experienced wives in the women's Bible study groups. Surely, they had a little wisdom to share that could possibly help me turn about this sinking ship of mine? At least that is what one would think. Right?
However, this was not the case. These women, like most women, were gossip queens. Conversations that I trusted were held in the strictest of confidence became town news, Sunday sermon's, and topics for new Bible studies.
Each time I would seek godly counsel from within the church, I was met with hatred and accusations of every sort.
Our church saw me as:
An "attack dog"
Unfit for the Kingdom of God
This was all too much to take in for a marriage in trouble and a family in desperate need of help. After five long years, we left and found a new church.