You have more power than you realize. Don’t think, and don’t worry. If the time comes, you’ll know what to do. It’s in your blood.
HELEN TO VIOLET – The Incredibles
Imagine, thinking everything in your life is falling into place.
You and your spouse are getting the hang of marriage and parenting.
Finally, you can afford to take the honeymoon you never took.
The holidays are near and you’ve just booked a family trip to spend time with your in-laws in Houston.
And, your family just killed it with Incredible costumes that left many asking: where’s Violet?
Clearly, we needed a girl to add to our Incredible unit!
The universe was talking to me. A baby girl was on the way!
I believe another sign was given the following Sunday at church.
While we were checking Legend out of children’s church, a volunteer asked what we were going to name our daughter, as Legend is a big name follow. Instantly, I said: Legacy! Legend and Legacy.
Later that night, my husband and I spoke about the future and how awesome it would be to have a daughter named Legacy.
We knew she’d be a diva. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, we joked.
After a few laughs, we agreed it would be another 3-4 years before Legacy would join the family. Our hands were already full with Legend being a busy toddler.
I went to sleep that night smiling at the thought of having my own daughter one day. But, the future was already present.
Days later, I remember zooming into our Halloween photo and noticing a little pudge around my mid-section.
Hmm… I thought: I better scale back on the Halloween candy and cookies I bake for the family.
I was still breastfeeding, so I didn’t have a period.
But then I was hit with fatigue. Why am I so exhausted?
The following Sunday, I had a melt down after my father failed to notify me in advance that he would be in town. My father always does this; it shouldn’t have been a surprise. Still, I sobbed inconsolably. “Daddy, you don’t love me!” I cried over the phone.
My husband comforted me; he was probably thinking I was a crazy woman. Nonetheless, he held me through it.
Later, he and Legend surprised me with flowers before we all took off to meet my father for dinner. My husband was thoughtful like that – always trying to keep me smiling.
The universe kept throwing me signs.
My two piece jumper doesn’t fit? It was hugging in all the right places just a few weeks ago?!
Later that night I thought: what’s wrong with you girl, you’re emotional and gaining weight… Wait, am I pregnant?
After taking several pregnancy tests, I finally accepted the reality that baby number two was on her way.
My best friend and my mom were the first to know. It should’ve been my husband, but I knew it was bad timing and he’d freak out, like always.
He is a stressor. Always worried about finances and making it in Hollywood!
How am I supposed to study my lines for auditions with two babies running around? He contested.
Little did I know, he was already filming his new role, as Pepa’s boy toy in a reality show.
That explains the anger and the ugly ultimatum I received from him. After telling him about our surprise pregnancy, he instantly became distant.
It was selfish of me to keep our baby. Abortion, or divorce. Those were my two options.
Things between us grew cold after that. I told him to leave, and astonishingly he did!
Initially, I was devastated and cried all night. But slowly I felt relief.
At least now, I could enjoy my pregnancy and my growing one-year-old son without the negative energy that was looming in our home.
So, I redecorated, watched “War Room” read some Christian marriage books and built a prayer corner in our home.
I thought my husband was just scared. When things didn’t go his way, he’d sometimes threaten to throw in the towel. So, I figured it was another manly temper tantrum.
I was confident he’d come back to the family he loved so much.
Boy, was I wrong!
The man I married was gone.
Shortly after, Pepa decided to let the world know that my husband was her boyfriend on social media while I was 8 months pregnant.
After setting the record straight, I then decided to share my experience with other women and let them know why I chose to preserves my unborn baby’s life in this IG video. I was super pregnant!
Indeed, babies are blessings. But, love does not give ultimatums. Narcissists do!
If you’re in a relationship with someone who gives you ultimatums please understand they don’t love you the way you deserve. That’s not love. It’s control and manipulation.
It took me a while to realize all the ways I had been rearranged.
When you love someone, you want to do things to make them happy. However, it shouldn’t be at the expense of your own happiness.
Plus, a person who truly loves you won’t feel comfortable forcing you to do something you’re uncomfortable with.
True love makes things grow. Its patient, nurturing, and allows you to flourish.
Any love that drains us, or makes strict demands is not true love at all.
I didn’t realize how much I wasn’t loving myself until I got that ultimatum.
But, now more than ever, I knew I had to end my walk with my spouse and begin walking with God.
So, I went to church every Sunday, bible study every Tuesday and listened to Christian podcasts by Steven Furtick, Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyers, or TD Jakes every morning.
By surrounding myself in the word, I was able to walk through the fire and come out not smelling like smoke.
There were times when I questioned and doubted God. Still, I kept showing up in church because I wanted Him to show up in my crumbling life.
But, the Lord was always with me. I just needed to fully let go.
Letting go means standing still and letting your world – or a piece of it – crumble at your feet. It means saying, “I trust you Lord! Let your will be done.”
By releasing it all to God, I’ve learned the true meaning of joy.
Joy is a point of view.
It’s a focus, before it’s a feeling.
Joy comes to my life when I am focused on what God is doing in every moment.
At that time, God was gifting me with a baby girl, that’s where I needed to keep my focus.
If I wasn’t careful, I knew I would miss a wonderful experience.
Often times we miss our joy by looking around, or looking too far ahead. Or by scrolling through Instagram and Facebook looking at other people’s lives.
I want to encourage you to stay present!
Sometimes, I questioned God’s presence. Frustrated and humiliated, I asked, “Where are you?”
He was always present. I wasn’t.
Be present by appreciating the good things that are happening right now.
If you’re depressed, psychologists say, you’re overthinking the past. If you’re feeling anxious, you’re thinking too far in the future. And if you’re at peace, you’re living in the moment.
Tomorrow is never promised. Enjoy each day.
I try to exercise this mentality daily by controlling my thoughts and my focus. Replace negative thoughts with positive ones. And focus on all that is good.
No longer do I attach my joy to temporal pleasures, like my job or marriage. I tried that & nearly lost myself!
Today, my joy flows from who God is to me.
God is love!
And He gave me the privilege to have a daughter during one of the worst times in my life.
Having Legacy was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I received something so wonderful in return: true love and strength.
Finally, I understood what is meant by the biblical saying: beauty for ashes. She is my living testimony!
Here’s what I’ve learned:
Unless you give God your ashes (your wounded parts) you don’t get the beauty!
We hold onto our ashes and wonder, “why doesn’t my life change? Where is His beauty?”
Well, where are your ashes?
If you keep holding onto them, He can’t give you His beauty.
Til this day I’m so grateful for the strength and courage God gave me to rock a solo pregnancy, and release the rest to God. I would do it again and again to have her with me.
P.S. Her father loves her.
And, were coparenting in the best way possible!
Every family has a story. This is a part of my testimony. May it help you through one of your trials.