Navigating Consequences & Faith

I believe wholeheartedly in the power of transparency, but there are times when even I shrink from wanting to talk about something. After a lot of thought, some back & forth pros vs. cons discussions with myself and of course God, I finally decided to that if my blog is called "butterfly confessions" it wouldn't really be fair of me to not divulge a crucial change that has occurred in my life. I can't gloss it over or act as though it's not going to have an impact on myself or my future writing, because it is. So....here we go. I'm a Christian. I love God and Jesus Christ is my Lord & Savior. But look, here's the truth: I don't have it altogether. I don't have all the answers. There's alot that I don't understand. I have doubts. I have fears & anxieties. I fall short of His standards every day-several times a day. Sometimes I'm more concerned about my own selfish desires & what I want more than I am about what He wants for me & my life. That's just the truth. Do I desire to do the right thing & live a life that's pleasing to Him? Yes, very, very much. But I'd be lying if I said I do, all the time, everyday. I'm an imperfect being-that's not an excuse, it's simply a fact. There are things that I, even as a Christian, struggle with. And when I give in to my own selfish desires instead of turning away from temptation, when I let my flesh overpower me, I sin. And those sins always have consequence(s) that have to be lived through & dealt with.

2 years ago this summer I gave in to some selfish desires that led to sinning & some consequences that myself, my boyfriend, & my oldest son have had to live with ever since. I wasn't married. I had sex. I got pregnant. I had another child. Out of wedlock. A pretty much normal occurrence these days, but not very Christianly, eh? Yea, I know. The guilt I felt over it rocked my relationship with my boyfriend, myself & with God. The shame & guilt over what I had done pretty much kept me from enjoying much of my pregnancy-I tried. I desperately wanted to. I eventually came to a place where I realized that while God may not have been please with me, He forgave me. But I still struggled with the guilt. And shame. And judgement. Not from God but from people. And it depressed me. That, along with health issues, & the challenges one would expect from two different people with two different lives having to learn how to merge & grow together into one, into a family, ravaged my relationship. To say it's been a roller coaster ride is putting it mildly....

A little over a year ago, I wrote about one challenge in particular that I was struggling with: moving in together or continuing to live in two separate places. Marriage was something that was talked about, but we weren't even close to, so that wasn't an option. Having the baby meant I wouldn't be in school, which meant no GI Bill benefits to pay my bills. Living in two separate places would put a strain on our finances, especially with him being the only one working....but I felt I couldn't compromise...and neither did he.....long story short, we broke up and were stuck with two leases for another year. Two rents, two car payments, daycare for two kids, two utilities payments....yea, everything has been double for the past year. Once I went back to school I was able to start carrying more of the financial weight, but a year later we're both pretty much broke. We've made it through the year, but the strain of dual living arrangements has destroyed us financially.

So back in April, after I had gotten accepted to my school of choice & was jubilant over my upcoming graduation, we were faced with the same question: were we going to live together or not?  After breaking & making up for the second time, we had pretty much decided that this, our family, was what we were going to make work, regardless of our differences or circumstances. No more running. No more walking away. No more giving up. We have kids we're raising, my boyfriend is the closest thing to a father my oldest son has had the past 2 years, & despite our growing pains, we are best friends. We just are. And while we are in a much better place than we were even just 6 months ago, and marriage is definitely part of the plan, it's not happening tomorrow...so the question became whether or not we wanted to go through another year of like the one we just had. The honest answer & conclusion we came to is no. Even if we wanted to, we can't. Our circumstances just don't give us the room to. It's not feasible, financially especially. So again, I was faced with truth versus my circumstances. Compromising. As I've said before I've learned some lessons about compromising. Hindsight is always 20/20, so looking back I can say that it's best not to compromise when it comes to issues such as this at all. But once you've made the compromise that leads to a sin that yields it's consequences, what do you do then?

I've thought long & hard about this for months. Prayed about it. And the conclusion I've come to is that all you can do is navigate the waters as best you can. Would it be better to never get in the boat in the first place? Yes. Should I have not put myself in this position? Yes. But I did, and part of being an adult is accepting responsibility for your actions, and that's what I've been trying to do for the past two years.  Be responsible. Live right. Please God. I don't always hit it right on all three counts. But I've been navigating the seas of consequence the best I can and begging God for mercy & grace as I ride through each tidal wave. And when I made the decision to move in with my boyfriend, I did it with a prayerful heart. A heart begging for a sign, or a door to open, or a way to avoid this. But....there was no sign, no doors opened & the waves that lay before me proved  unavoidable. So I'm doing what I have to do, especially for my sons, until the season comes when I can do something different. That's all I've got folks.

I know this isn't the "Christian" way to do things. I know this isn't considered Godly. I know this isn't ideal or traditional, I know people will have their opinions & judgments about me "shacking up" with my boyfriend. I'm not sitting here pretending like I don't know these things, or like I'm comfortable with this or like this is how I want my life to be. I'm not even going to act like I think God is okay with this. I honestly don't know the answer to that question. I've asked. But I've also asked for understanding. For mercy. I want to be married. But I don't want to force someone into marrying me-what's the good in that? That's not healthy. I truly believe that it will happen when it's supposed to....so until then...I keep navigating. I keep putting up what boundaries I can (like being celibate) & not allowing guilt or shame about my situation to keep me from drawing back from Him.  I keep praying with each step I take that I'm using this experience to grow, learn, & lean heavily on Him...trust in Him....ground myself in Him so that I give in to my own desires less & bend toward His more. And I honestly wouldn't be in this relationship if I didn't believe I wasn't supposed to be-I've struggled & prayed over that too. And well....I'm here.

I'm not asking Him to "bless mess". My prayer instead is that when I make mistakes, mistakes that break me, that He will help me wade through the mess those sins create, building me back up in the process. No more shame. No more condemnation. No more guilt. Just more navigating....and giving myself to the building process :)