DISCLOSURE: For this blog series, It is my heart to step into the lives of some very special people and share a glimpse of their world. I have found that we can all learn how to better love others through the power of story. During this series I will ask some very personal and often difficult questions.The answers are exactly their words. I am so grateful and humbly overwhelmed for the honesty and the trust these people have shown me. All I ask in return is that if anyone in this series touches you, encourages you or influences you in any way, that you would share and let us know. They are heros to me!
I met my friend, Khristian at church during the time Ridley was pastoring. Her interview is raw, difficult and honest. Her heart through this whole interview was to share her full story so that God can get the full glory for what He has done. Her tears were a reminder of the pain and the smile in her voice was a celebration of redemption!
QUESTION: How long have you and Erik been married?
ANSWER: We were married in 2008. October is our dating anniversary month. We dated for about a year before going out and getting married. Erik had been married before when he was right out of high school. He has 3 kids from that marriage. Erik was divorced for 6 years before he met me. We lived together while dating but I had to leave the house when he had the kids over. It was my house but his divorce decree said no one of opposite sex could spend the night. I often slept in my car.
QUESTION: How was your marriage?
ANSWER: It was bad! It was violent. We were both arrested for domestic assault. He had several affairs. Erik worked with a girl and he hung out with her all the time. I was very jealous of that relationship. I tagged along with them so that my presence could be known. I felt like Erik wasn’t fighting for our marriage. I moved out for 7 months and then we filed for divorce.
QUESTION: What happened next?
ANSWER: I moved into the basement of a lady (Renee) who was a Christian. Before Erik, I lived a life of sex and drugs. When we married, I gave that up. I became angry at my husband for the fact that I gave up that party life for him. So when I moved out, I went back to drugs, partying, concerts and I felt that was what I had to do to get people to like me.
QUESTION: What was your family life like growing up?
ANSWER: I came from a close and tight family. At 11 years old, my mom abruptly left. She lost it and she turned to alcohol and prostitution. I thought sex and drugs made people happy. Why else would she have left a perfect family? So, I followed in her footsteps. (tears)
QUESTION: What role did Renee play in your life?
ANSWER: She led me to the Lord. She wasn’t pushy and she was watching over me during my wild partying. I believe I was meant to be there. It was her basement where I got pregnant by a guy that I worked with. I liked the attention he gave me. I didn’t care what people did to me as long as they said they loved me and made me feel special.
QUESTION: Tell me about the day Renee introduced you to Jesus? What was different in the party cycle that made you go upstairs to talk to her?
ANSWER: Hearing her stories and the refreshing, good feelings she described, I decided that I need to find out about how she was able to have that. I knew that my way wasn’t working so I thought I would give her way a try. She prayed with me and had me say out loud the sinner’s prayer. This emotion rushed over me and I was bawling like a baby.
QUESTION: Crazy question….were you drunk or under the influence of drugs when you spoke with her?
ANSWER: No! I was completely sober and it was the middle of the day. I know it was God telling me to go upstairs and to leave all my garbage in the basement. He told me it was time to start over.
QUESTION: When did you go back home to Erik?
ANSWER: In the middle of the night a couple of days later, God told me to go back home. I called Erik to tell him that I needed to come home. He told me he wasn’t there and that he was at a guy’s house. He was really there with a girl and I didn’t know it. I went home the next morning. At that time, I didn’t know I was pregnant. I lost friends and people thought I was crazy. I didn’t care because God told me to go back home.
QUESTION: What happened next for you and Erik?
ANSWER: We sat down and I put everything out on the table that I did while I was away from him. Erik didn’t tell me very much at all about what he did. I didn’t care because God told me to go back. We had signed and notarized our divorce but we never took it to the judge so we were never legally divorced.
QUESTION: Did you ever find out things about Erik for the time you were apart?
ANSWER: Yes, over time I continued to hear things and find out about things that Erik did, but I didn’t care because I was more concerned about obeying God than I was about finding out all the truth. He even began to share some things with me when he realized I wasn’t going to go anywhere. I still am not sure if I know everything, but I don’t care. I have my own mistakes that I have to take responsibility for. I have repented. It is not my place to condemn him.
QUESTION: Tell me about when you found out you were pregnant?
ANSWER: I had been told I couldn’t get pregnant. I smoked cigarettes then and I was sitting outside when I got a sharp pain in my side. I was talking out loud to God while smoking. I told God if I happened to be pregnant, then as long as He don’t leave me, I won’t leave Him and we could do this together. I went inside and there was this pregnancy test under my sink…I swear it was just there I guess from over the years somehow….I’m not sure. It turned out to be positive.
QUESTION: Who was the first person you called?
ANWER: My sister in law who is a Christian. I needed sound, Godly advice. I was scared to call Erik. He was on the road. I called him and at first he was so mad that he hung up on me. Duh, he should have been mad. I was so overwhelmed with emotion. I wasn’t sure who to turn to for affection and support. I called him back and asked if he wanted me to leave. He said he didn’t want to talk right then. I called the Donor (that is what I call him). He needed to know. He was initially excited. He told me we were going to raise this baby together. Then Erik came home angry, hurt and mad. However, he didn’t want me to leave.
QUESTION: How did Erik respond throughout those first months?
ANSWER: He was somewhat cold to me. People were calling me and telling me that being pregnant was a sign for sure that I needed to get away from Erik and go back to the donor. So my first doctor’s appt. I go with Erik and the Donor shows up. We all 3 go into the exam room. It was like Jerry Springer for sure. I was so nervous to have them both in the same room. Donor says, “that’s my baby”. Erik says, “Well that’s my wife.” I was embarrassed. I had become THAT girl. You see, I started drinking, having lots of sex, smoking pot, and doing drugs at the age of 14. How did I not get pregnant all those years, and now I am trying to save my marriage and I am pregnant by someone else. Really? I told God that I would do whatever He wanted but that he needed to be very clear to me.
QUESTION: Where does this take a major turn?
ANSWER: At Christmas I was feeling uneasy. I was 4 months pregnant. I had worried more about these guys than I did being pregnant. Donor called Erik and said that it was obvious that I wanted to be with Erik. He told Erik that he would walk away but he wanted to know that Erik was going to take care of his child. He wanted to make sure that Erik was going to sign the birth certificate and that he would not leave me and the baby. I still wasn’t sure that Erik was really going to stay but I had a calmness that regardless, I was going to be ok. While Christmas shopping one day, Erik took me to the jewelry store and got me a wedding ring. I had never had one. That moment was reassurance for me.
QUESTION: So does Donor leave?
Yes, and he moved out of state. I only talked to him about a week after Liam was born. He needed to know that Liam was ok and we were all still on the same page with the agreement. However, I felt like I was pregnant by myself. Erik isn’t an emotional guy to begin with. He never wanted to touch my belly. He never rubbed my feet or painted the toenails I couldn’t see.
QUESTION: I remember you were 8 months pregnant when you got baptized. Why was that such an important time for you to do that?
ANSWER: I guess it was my way of sealing the deal with God.
QUESTION: Do you battle with guilt today?
ANSWER: Yes, all the time. I pray about it and I read Scripture to keep truth in my head. I got back to that night that God was in my room and told me to go home.
QUESTION: How are things now?
ANSWER: Erik is now my best friend. I love him! My marriage is a miracle from God. Erik has no regrets and unless you know this story, you wouldn’t be able to tell he isn’t Liam’s biological father.
QUESTION: What would you tell other 14 year old girls struggling or others feeling overwhelmed by their bad choices?
ANSWER: You do not have to be a product of your past. You can walk away from it all and start over. The boy goes away and the high wears off, but Jesus is there forever! You can’t do it without it.
QUESTION: Do you have any fears now?
ANSWER: My only fear and worry is that something is going to happen to me before I can raise my child to know Jesus. I have beat it into Erik’s head that if anything happens to me, that I want my son raised to know Jesus. I don’t ever want him to wonder if he is loved and special and has a purpose.
QUESTION: Is there anything else you want to say?
ANSWER: My 1st day that I walked into your church, I felt dirty. I felt like that church was a safe place and after I shared my story with you and Ridley, you still loved me. You embraced me and that was a fragile, breaking point for me. If you had turned me away, I think it would have broken me. That is what the church is supposed to be.
I am now in school to be a social worker so I can help others. I do not want a pity party.
I went through all of this so I can help others. I can not afford to play victim, I have a purpose. I also have a 4.0 in school. Yeah!!!