I was 16 and pregnant at Gateway High School when I started going to meetings with Ginny and Kara who led YFC’s Parent Life gatherings. There I met other girls who were pregnant and had babies. They invited us to New Covenant Church on Thursday nights for food and child care which sounded like a dream to me. The first time I went we played games. I was really shy but It was nice to see community of girls in my same position.
Though I still was thinking “this is not for me,” I kept getting notes from the leaders who were praying for me and reaching out to me. Then I had my second child River, and he wasn’t even a month old when I posted online that I needed something, that I need to get out of the house. Another kid invited me to Parent Life camp and that was it, the next day I was going to camp.
At the time I was lost, I was a momma with a toddler and a newborn, and I didn’t know anybody. But at camp I didn’t feel so alone. Parent Life camp was amazing. Honestly, I despised the whole entire thing, I was a metal head, I was rebellious, but it was the way Ginny told the story, told the gospel, that I was hooked immediately. I had never felt an abundance of love that way. It was the people there, it was their stories and testimonies that made me feel like I don’t have to do this alone.
I came back from camp on a high. Hearing about Jesus was so new, I had scripture with me for the first time. The first verse I ever read was Jeremiah 29:11. A couple days later I messaged my leaders on facebook, how do I do this, and I gave my life to Christ on FB messenger. I accepted Christ right there in my bed with my kids.
Initially I thought it might be a magic pill that would make all my problems go away, but the more I showed up and went to church I grew and learned. It opened my eyes that I can depend on God instead of struggling through life on my own.
I gave my life to Christ and yet my life felt like a wreck. My son was dealing with big health conditions. But I was blessed to have the woman in YFC and the girls to support me.
Pl impacted me in such a profound way, spiritual, and with my mental health, I heard about Jesus in a fresh way. Being involved as a teen and as a leader was beyond a blessing. There’s just not words i can put into it that explains how much it impacted my life for the better. The woman that I met, the experience that I had with my mentors, my kids still remember these stories and memories of camp. I will always hold this close to my heart.
After I graduated I saw volunteering as a no-brainer. I saw how much it helped me and my situation. They continued to love on me and my kids and I wanted to be a part of that. I wasn’t just going to receive all that though, I wanted to help and give that back.
One of my favorite volunteer memories is from serving at a Christmas party for the kids. There was a little baby who was colicky and screaming. I took the baby out in the hallway all night so the teen mom could participate. I just held the baby and my arms until my back was dead but the baby feel asleep with me. Mean while the girl could pick out presents and laugh and be a teen with her friends. I was able to enjoy looking in I really enjoyed being able to help.
I’m still on a journey now. I’m still rediscovering who Jesus is and growing into my own. My family is figuring out Church after the pandemic but we’re together and doing well. At the end of the day though, in my heart, I am grateful that now I know the truth!