I didn't intend for this to be my first post. However, this issue weighs heavily on my mind this morning and highlights an ongoing conversation I've been having with God, so I felt the need to express it...maybe someone out there has dealt with it, has advice, can share their perspective with me....or maybe someone reading is going through the same thing and is searching for the same answer I am.... I'm a Christian, (no denomination in particular-I don't believe in those, but that's another discussion for another day) I'm 27 years old, & I'm 33 weeks pregnant with my second child. I'll talk about the process I went through to reconcile my emotions about it, and how it has affected my faith in another posting....but for now let's just summarize and say I've finally moved into a place of acceptance concerning it and have finally shed the guilt I carried about it. And for the record, let me state it was no easy task-it tore me apart and challenged my sanity in a way I didn't expect.
Thinking about it now, this whole experience has challenged me in ways I didn't expect. Each stage has confronted my very beliefs, forcing me to really seek out God and ask myself some hard questions about what I believe, why I believe it, and what God really has to say about my "situation". Notice I said what GOD has to say...not people, not other Christians, not my parents, not my pastor, not my boyfriend, not what "religion" says....I say that because I've come to the point in my life where I've finally learned that people really don't have the answers. They might have sound advice, they can give you guidance, they can suggest what you should do, but at the end of the day, only God can give you the answers to your problems, or questions you have. Now of course I believe He can speak through a person to give you the answer you're searching for, or use someone to confirm something He's already started to point out to you....but I think sometimes as Christians we come to depend too much on people and have a tendency to go to them to vent, to express how we feel about something, to ask tough questions, when in reality, we should be going to God first. Now maybe that's not you...maybe you go to God first for everything, and if that's you, then kudos. But if you're like me and lots of other people I know, then you know how easy it can be to put people in God's place, even when it's not your intention. Friends, family, your church family, your pastor, your mentors, they mean well, but this experience has taught me that they don't always have the answers, and that it's best to go to God first, lay it all out there on the table, and then see what He has to say about it. By going to Him first, I've also learned that sometimes what God has to say is the complete opposite of what people have to say. People are limited in what they know and what they can see about a situation, but God isn't. I mean, He's God. He knows everything, He is limitless-why not go to Him first? Your closest friends and confidants may mean well, but ultimately, shouldn't what God has to say about your situation matter more than that of the opinion of man? I'm not saying you shouldn't consider or even listen to the advice you receive from people. I'm simply saying that it should be secondary to what God has to say. If you go to Him first, He might direct you to who you should talk to about it, to the person who, with His guidance, can give you the right answers. Sometimes, you might get the answers by just sitting quietly at His feet, listening until He speaks, the ways God can give you the answers you're searching for are endless, I've just learned that the process goes alot smoother when you "cast your cares" on Him first, and not people.
So it seems I've digressed, but I said all of that to say that I'm dealing with an issue that I know only He can answer...I know what people say about it, but I'm in the process of asking God what He has to say about it, and what it means for me. I know what religion says....I've started searching the Word to see if the answer is written in His word...but I'm desperate to know what He thinks about it, and how He proposes I should handle it....
Like I said...I'm 33 weeks pregnant with my second child. I'm in a relationship with a man I love, a man who is committed to being there for me and my children. However, we aren't married, and we don't believe we should get married just because we are having a child together. We are committed to building a strong relationship with each other that could lead to marriage in the near future, but we see no need to rush things because we have a child. I'm also not comfortable with getting married to him just so it won't "look bad". Yes, I love him, but if I married him now it would only be because I don't want people(mostly Christians) to judge me or think less of me because I'm an unwedded mother with two kids. My parents are divorced and I watched my dad remarry 6 times. My mother remarried and has been so for 21 years and I've seen how much work marriage is. These factors make me hesitant to just jump into a marriage...especially if it's for the wrong reasons. So that's why we aren't married and are only focused on continuing to build our relationship and work through the challenges of having a child together.
The problem is that we are considering moving in together once the baby gets here in 7 weeks.Let me say that if I wasn't pregnant, this wouldn't even be an issue, there would be no need for it, so our reasoning for it isn't coming from some desire to just be with each other. Our reason for doing so really comes from a matter of practicality: it would make things smoother for both of us, especially financially. With a new baby here, why pay two rents when one is cheaper? And of course, with two children to care for, it would help if both of us were here to take care of both, especially during the first few months. I know there are single mothers out there who do it on their own, independent of their partner, even if he's playing an active role. But I'm just talking about what fits my situation, my circumstances and the only solution I forsee working. The truth is, could I do it all on my own? Yes, but it would be alot harder, the transition wouldn't be as easy to navigate. I've even asked myself, do I want to go it alone? Do I want to be the only one in the house taking care of two children 24/7, with him helping out when he can? The answer is no. And besides, we are in a relationship, trying to make it work-so moving in together shouldn't be a huge deal right?
For most people these days it wouldn't be. It isn't for my boyfriend. He sees it as a matter of practicality and even though he (well, we both) acknowledge living with someone isn't easy, he sees it as something that could be more beneficial than harmful....and so do I....until my circumstance is confronted with the Truth that says you shouldn't be living with someone you're in a relationship with unless you're married to them. Now I'm not saying I'm an advocate of just living with your boyfriend/girlfriend-as a matter of fact, up until this experience, I was staunchly against it. However, circumstance has the stigma of "shacking up" whispering in my ear, and I find myself staring the Truth in the face and questioning it, wondering how it applies in this situation.It makes me uncomfortable, which I can honestly say I don't know if its conviction or something else. It has forced me to run to God, earnestly seeking a solution that satisfies both Truth and Circumstance, if that's even possible. I want to do the right thing. Despite my mistakes and my shortcomings, I love the Lord and my heart is tender toward Him. I believe He has a plan for my life and has amazing things in store for me inspite of my mistakes. And even though it took months, I finally believe that He has forgiven me for having another child outside of marriage, and is going to get me through it. But I have tough questions to ask and possibly a tough decision to make.
If I move in with him when the baby gets here, am I wrong? If I am wrong, then by what standards? Am I wrong according to the Word-if so, where can I find it? If I am wrong, then why am I wrong? Why is it wrong to move in with someone I'm having a baby with especially if we are doing it for practical reasons? Who says it's wrong? Does God say it is, or does "religion" say it is? I know sex outside of marriage is wrong, it's stated clearly in the Word, but what about this? Is there a solution that satisfies both Truth and my Circumstance, or am I searching for the impossible? If I do move in with him, how will it affect me spiritually? Will I be living in sin? How am I going to deal with that? If I don't move in, then what? Am I wrong for wanting convience and practicality? If I move in, will it taint my annointing? Will it inhibit my ability to minister, will it prohibit God from using me and my gifts to help build the kingdom? Will He still be able to use me?
These are the questions I'm asking God. The questions I need answers to. The questions that I ask myself while I'm washing my dishes, driving my son to daycare & sitting in my ridiculously boring Sociology class. They wake me up at night, I see them when I look at myself in the mirror sometimes. They are the angel I wrestle with during the night, like Jacob did,wrestling what I know with my current circumstances, refusing to let go until I find out the answers. These are the questions I lay at His feet daily, seeking guidance, because in my heart of hearts, I want to please Him, I want to rely on Him to work it out.
Navigating through this experience hasn't been easy, it's shaken me to my very core. It has reshaped me, redefined what I thought I knew about faith, about God, about being a Christian. It has forced me to really find out why I believe what I believe, and sometimes to find out exactly what it is I believe. I haven't really talked about it with anyone outside God until now. It wasn't until my mother pointed out to me over the phone how readily she could see my struggle that I realized how deeply it has been affected me.
As dramatic as it may sound, I feel like I'm in the middle of a battle for my soul. Despite my struggles, shortcomings, and questions, I'm still determined to ensure He wins out....until then, like Jacob, I continue to wrestle.