I am maybe 5 years old. “Go sit on your father’s lap.” My mother encouraged. The memory is faint, the moment is short, yet the impression has lasted my lifetime. Reluctantly and timidly, I climb on his lap. Who is this man that I feel nothing for? And feel nothing from? Like stone, rigid and cold. He is my dad. He lives with us, but sleeps in the basement, and my mother sleeps on the main floor. I do not know that this is not what married people do. They are divorced, and I am not sure I even knew that. My mother and father love us and are doing the best they can. This is my normal. I get off his lap as soon as I can.
I am 13 years old. In my ignorance I do not understand what is missing, but I try to find something, or someone to fill the emptiness. He is 16 or 18, I do not even know. “Maybe if I give myself away, he will love me. Maybe even cherish me.” I do. But what is this feeling? I do not know its name then. I do now. SHAME. I lay my head down at night and I am empty, my heart is pained, to the point where I feel nothing. Maybe if I give myself away, again, I will feel something. Maybe he will see that I am doing this for him, so he will love me more.
I am 15 years old. He has me whenever he wants. “He must love me.” I make an effort to convince myself. Why do I feel used, and worn? Worthless. Maybe that this is just part of it. I am pregnant now. I am 15 and pregnant. I tell him. He does not care. What do I do? There is only one answer I know. My fingers flip through the yellow pages until I find the number. I make the call.
I speak to a lady on the phone. “How far along are you?”
“Eight weeks.” I answer.
“Then it will be $400, but if you go past 12 weeks, the price goes up.”
I choose the day, without concern for how I might feel, without consideration for the life inside of me. I choose the time. I inquire, “Do I need my parents’ permission?”
“No. Fourteen years and older do not need parental consent. But, when you come there will be protestors. Just ignore them. Walk past them and do not speak to them or let them speak to you.”
Oblivious to the gravity of the path I am choosing, I respond, “Okay.” We hang up.
I collect the money. I ask friends. I deplete my own stash. I look for money where ever I imagine some might be. I am still short. I lack $70. I appeal to him for the rest. He does not have it or does not want to provide it. I am nothing to him.
I am 11 weeks. If I get to 12, I certainly will not have enough money. I am trembling with fear. What has become of my life? I make a desperate call, a last attempt. I telephone my sister, my elder, by 9 years. I inform her what I require and reveal to her why. I fully expect her answer to be, “Yes!” My sister loves me, she would do anything for me.
“I cannot do it, Michele. I have children. Put mom on the phone.”
I do. Maybe it is what I really desire after all.
How is my mother going to react? What is she going to do with me now? We do not have a good relationship. I am rebellious, disrespectful, disobedient and unloving. Now, I am pregnant. I have no regard for the consequence of my choices in this life. I walk through numb. I do not care about my future. I have no purpose.
I wait, and the moments pass by at a sloth’s pace. She returns to me in my room. I cannot gaze at her. “If I do not look at her, maybe she cannot see me.” I imagine. I wait for her reaction, and I prepare. I am going to defiantly take whatever she offers. However, what I am given, I could have not predicted.
Six months earlier, my mom was introduced to Jesus, and she offered herself to Him wholeheartedly.
Who is Jesus??? At the time, I do not yet know.
But He has known me since before I was in my mother’s womb…
and He knows who is in my womb.
He saved my mom, and now He saved my baby.
Love UNCONDITIONAL says, “Tomorrow, we are going to buy you a new outfit for church.”
Defenseless and relieved, I say, “Okay.”
Continue reading: My Story Part 2…