I was raised in a loving home with parents who cared for me and provided for me. It was not, however, what I would call a “Christian” environment. My parents both professed to be believers, but we rarely went to church. If I did go it was either for Easter or Christmas or after spending the night with my grandparents. We didn’t read the Bible or pray together and I was not taught biblical truth. Around age 10, my grandma sent me to pre-teen camp with her church and that is where I was “SAVED”. After camp I tried to get my family to go to church; we tried a few different churches but didn’t really connect anywhere.
For the next few years I became quite confused. I spent a few weeks every summer with a family member who belonged to a Unitarian Church which basically teaches that whatever you choose to believe in is okay. The church openly studies all different religions believing none are right or wrong, just different. Not being told any differently, I began to agree with them. Although I knew who Christ was and had accepted Him as my Savior, I also had the opinion that my life was MINE and I was capable of making my own decisions, without any consequences.
I began to spend a lot of time with my best friend at her house along with her older brother and his friends where there was NO parental supervision. As a teenager, I was very interested in boys and with the lack of supervision this was not a good combination. I began to find ways to get the boys to notice me. And they did. I wore clothes that were too tight, too short, and way to revealing. And they noticed. I began making out with boys much older than me hoping for love and acceptance. Not to say my parents weren’t around or didn’t care because they did, I just got to be really great at lying and sneaking around and they had no idea what I was doing. This behavior eventually led to me deciding I was “grown” and, at the extremely misguided age of 13, I had sex for the first time. I had convinced myself that I could make my own decisions and lead my own life without the need for any adult’s guidance. The guy that I thought cared for and LOVED me really didn’t.
When I was 14 my family moved to Greenville, TX but I continued down the path of bad choices and bad boys who were much too old for me. I tried dating a guy my age and he was a really nice guy; he was a gentleman, treated me respectfully, and didn’t push me physically. Unfortunately, I didn’t know what to do with that! I still was not going to church, not growing spiritually, and was living like a lost soul.
This is when God intervened. When I was 15, I met the guy I would eventually marry. His dad was a preacher and one of the conditions of dating him was going to his dad’s church. Only one problem… it was all in Spanish!! I didn’t speak Spanish, didn’t know what they were talking about, and stayed confused most of the time. But I loved that guy! Although not many changes were being made in my life, I began to learn Spanish and pay closer attention in church.
We were married when I was just 17 years old and had our first baby when I was 20. While we were still attending church with my in-laws, if we went at all, I just wasn’t being filled. After I had my second child at the age of 22, we began the search for a new church. Once again God stepped in! We found a church and got connected instantly; which is where we still worship today. I began to crave more knowledge and wanted to know more about the Bible and live my life for God, not just for myself. We had two more children when I was 25 and 28. All four of our children were girls. Life was good. Although I had worked full-time on and off and part-time here and there, I was able to stay home majority of the time with my girls.
I was truly happy with our family but knew something was missing. I longed for a son and repeatedly prayed for one and pleaded with God that if that was not part of His plan for my life to take that desire from me. Just three days after giving birth to our fourth beautiful baby girl, I became ill. I spent some time in the hospital with strep and went home not knowing that the illness had caused a blood clot to form somewhere in my body. Two months later I returned to the hospital with a pulmonary embolism and was told that if it was meant to kill me, it would have done so already. Quite a sobering thought but God had bigger plans for my life and our family. A loving husband, three gorgeous little girls, a two-month old precious baby, two great parents, and an amazing group of friends were all there to love on me and take care of me. What more could I have asked for? God had richly blessed me! So why did I still have a need for more? Why was I still longing for a baby boy? I had been told by my physician that I could not have any more children. This was something my husband and I had already decided on our own since we had four girls (that’s expensive) but being told you cannot have any more children and having someone else make that choice for you are two VERY different things. But life went on.
In the fall of 2008, we got a strange call. My mom had called to give us the latest saga about a family member of ours. His two children had been removed from his care by CPS. This was actually good news for the children since he really had no business raising these kids. We had been praying for a good home for them and a stable family to come into their lives for quite some time. My mom proceeded to tell us of how CPS was looking for a family member to place the boys with and they had asked my parents to be that family member for them. My parents were in their late 50s at this point with 9 grandchildren. Needless to say, they declined.
As my husband and I were discussing the situation and how outrageous it was for them to ask my parents, my husband tells me that God was telling him that WE are supposed to be the family for those two young boys. Now wait a minute! I love my girls but there were times I couldn’t wait to get all of them out of the house for a few hours a day! I had the older ones in school and I just had the little one at home with me during the day and had been devising a plan to get her into Mother’s Day out program. I must say though, we had also always been open to the idea of adoption and after 4 girls we teased that it was the only way we would get our boy, but this seemed so sudden and we weren’t quite prepared yet. We agreed to pray about it, made some calls and asked some questions, but made no commitments.
One October evening I received a phone call from a social worker and was told what the process would look like and got some general information. By this time, our prayers had changed from “Are you sure, God?” to “If this is what you want, then we trust you will make this happen”. The very next day, we received another phone call from the same social worker, that there was an infant sibling, also in state care, and asking, “Are you willing to consider placement for him as well?” STOP IT! THREE KIDS! THREE MORE KIDS? We already have four children! I mean really, who has seven kids? Nobody! [Insert more prayer here.] We just continued our prayer of, “Ok God, this is ALL you.” We decided that they were all brothers and needed to stay together. How could we one day face the two boys when they are older and say “We knew you had a brother, but that would have been too much of an inconvenience for us, so we decided to say no thanks”? We simply couldn’t do it.
We had many talks with our girls and wanted this to be a family decision. We wanted them aware of the coming changes in our lives and not to feel this was being forced on them. We began to make the necessary arrangements and to have weekly visitations at CPS with the boys. The visits were intended to be for the parents, but they hardly ever showed. We didn’t want to cause any more undue trauma for these little guys and wanted them to at least be familiar with us before they came to live with yet another family. Our two oldest boys were placed with us at ages 21 & 31 months old in February of 2009. Our youngest daughter was 18 months old at the time and had been to most of the visits with us.
There was ALOT of adjusting for everyone and a move to a bigger house; it was quite stressful, exhausting, and emotional to say the least. The Mother’s Day Out program our daughter had attended a few years earlier, wonderfully “scholarshiped” us for about 4-5 months for my sanity. Then summer activities began in addition to parent visitations with their biological parents and fighting for our youngest to be placed with us as well. He was eventually placed in our care in October 2009 at the age of 11 months.
Although I always felt led to homeschool, even before our oldest daughter started school, the timing had just never seemed right. Our three oldest girls were in public school and our oldest boy had just begun Head Start. He was not adjusting very well to all these transitions including school and the addition of our youngest boy. After another move, more home studies, and more waiting, our adoption was FINALLY complete in July 2010. After a CRAZY fall semester of five kids at two different schools, two at Mother’s Day Out, a child with a broken femur, and me feeling pulled in multiple directions, God was telling us it was time to homeschool. We pulled them out of school in January of 2011 and started our bumpy and blessed road to homeschooling. Our oldest two children were NOT happy at the time. The 6th grader had been in either public or private school since age four and felt we were taking away her life, the 4th grader was mad because we had taken away her friends, and our oldest boy in 1st grade didn’t really seem to care either way. Our oldest child will be in high school this next school year (September 2013) and when given the choice, she chose to continue homeschooling. In fact they all did!
It is an adventure everyday to say the least and most days are completely nuts but we won’t ever go back to public school voluntarily. I’ll admit there are days I dream about how much I could accomplish with everyone gone for 8 hours a day, but what we’re building in them every day is so much more important than homework and completed projects. I’ve told them that it would be easier for me to put them in school and let someone else teach them, but life isn’t about doing the easy thing. It’s about doing the right thing, which means obeying God. This is what God has called us to do during this season of our lives and this is what we are going to do. I love our time together and for our large family it works perfectly. We set our own schedule and are able to keep it extremely flexible. While we didn’t have problems with the school system or any of their teachers or schools, we didn’t do well with an ISD telling us when to be where at what time and am so happy we don’t have to deal with all the new rules due to current events or any standardized testing. When I hear other parents complain about school related issues, I feel complete contentment in my heart and hear God reassuring me we are doing what He has planned for us.
About 7 years ago I got involved in a Women’s Bible study, and about 2 and a half years ago God put it on my heart to get involved with the youth. God has been telling me to use my past mistakes and experiences to mentor young girls and help them from making the same mistakes I made as a youth. Seeing as I now have seven souls in my care, I am very passionate about teaching them God’s plan for sex and marriage. I want them to know what I didn’t know then. God gives us guidelines to follow in all areas of our lives for our benefit. He knows what He is talking about. Sex is a BIG deal, it DOES matter, and it does change things! Sex is not something you can undo. Even though God offers forgiveness and grace, there are consequences for our sinful choices, and some can be life-long costs. I’m now trying to help young ladies to see the lies the devil is telling them and to know that the attention they receive from dressing “cute” is not the right kind of attention they really want. I truly believe that most girls don’t understand what guys are thinking when they wear certain things. Please hear my heart on this… I know from personal experience, if you don’t wait until you are married to have sex, you WILL regret it. I don’t want that for anyone! Sex is meant to be a special gift from God for a husband and a wife. My hope is that we can drown out the constant barrage of lies from our culture and raise-up a generation who treasures purity, a generation who is proud of their virginity and not ashamed of it, and a generation who will follow God’s plan for their lives. My hope is that we can raise a generation of Christians who can change the world for Christ.
I hope my story can help someone on a similar path. May God richly bless you as He has me!