I was seventeen years old, and comfort was exactly what I needed.
At eleven years old my parents were divorced. For the next several years I didn’t have a relationship with my father and I became very close to one of my brothers, Keelyn. He was five years older than me, and I adored him with everything in me. For as long as I could remember he was my protector. I looked up to him so much, but the problem was he was always in some sort of trouble and was a drug dealer. To be honest, he was the one that needed protecting because he was in and out of PRISON for years. Because I looked up to him so much, I followed closely in his footsteps and by the time I was fourteen, I had already tried my first cigarette and joint. That year my world crashed even more … my brother that I loved so much, died tragically in a car accident when he was 19.
I couldn’t deal with the pain I had so deep in my heart, I turned to anything that could numb it.
At fifteen I was drinking so heavily that I frequently had alcohol poisoning. By sixteen, I was as wild as they come. My friends and I partied every weekend; we were babies but we always found ourselves at some club in Dallas. I had no business acting as if I was a grown woman, but I didn’t care. After all, this was all that I knew, yeah I had heard about God and knew that He was real, but I had no idea how my actions would affect my entire life. I was young, WILD, and free.
That same year I was introduced to my baby daddy (now husband), and I could not have been crazier about him. After six months of dating I found out I was pregnant. By this point in my life I was so numb to my feelings that I didn’t even know how to accept this. On one hand there was a part of me that felt good to know that this little baby would love me … but on the other hand I really just had no clue what it meant to be a mother – especially being 16 years old. Oh and you probably guessed it, me and my boyfriend were not doing well anymore. We broke up when I was 2 months pregnant and I felt completely alone. I had a crazy pregnancy dealing with going back and forth with him as well as dealing with one of his ex girlfriends that tried to harass me. I felt so lost and helpless.
Two weeks before my son was born, me and my baby daddy got married. I thought we could try to make everything work as a family but just 4 weeks after my son was born, my husband “casually” mentioned that he was leaving in two weeks for the Marines boot camp and that he had actually enlisted 8 months before but never told me. My world stopped. How can so many bad things keep happening? I felt like I was being punished for all of the decisions I had made and everything was just starting to catch up to me.
A lot of stuff happened during this marriage – trying to make things work. We even have another sweet baby girl now. I can see that he has changed so much and God showed me so much through all of the hard times. He helped me to forgive and look forward it was as if God whispered to me “Rachael, he’s my son, just as you are my daughter, and I want you two to love each other. Love him for who he IS … not for who he was and focus on ME and your marriage.”
My heart was changed and so was my life.
We all live in North Carolina now and it is if I can see my husband in a light that I never have before. He isn’t perfect, but he is exactly what we need. He has changed, and it is nothing short of what I had secretly prayed for so long. I am now almost three years into my marriage, and, although the first year and a half was going to be the death of me (or so I thought), I am now happier than ever. I feel so close to God – I had him to lean on Him and he was there for me the whole time. My whole life. I can now say, without a doubt in my mind, that with God all things are possible. I have lived my life out of God’s will and trying to live MY way, and never again will I choose to go against what the Lord says. His way is SO much better and His way gives me so much peace in my life. God not only saved my life from a lifetime of emptiness, He has blessed me with 2 beautiful children and an awesome husband.
No matter what I go through in life, I am not going to fear – He is ALWAYS right there with me. My hope is in God … forever.
Written by Rachael Collins