Click For Hope

divorce

I had decided, maybe that was not for me.

Jasmine Lopez1 Comment
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The majority of people seem to believe that pregnancy is a state of bliss where you're on cloud 9. Most people feel pregnant women are simply patiently awaiting their little bundle of joy... this is especially true if you "planned" the pregnancy or have talked about wanting babies to anyone before. In an ideal world, that would be the case... but for some of us... well, it doesn't pan out quite as dreamy...

For as long as I can remember I have wanted kids-at least one. After an infertility diagnosis, 2 rounds of IVF, 2 miscarriages and a failed marriage, I had decided, maybe that was not for me. Instead I focused my energy in working with or volunteering abroad with high-risk children. 

However, one seemingly normal day I met a guy that made me feel I could aspire to a family life. After almost 11 years without a real relationship, I decided to try it out. Still, knowing my reproductive history, I explained to him that I couldn't have children. He didn't mind, so knowing my past, I forewent all forms of birth control.

A year into the relationship, I became pregnant. Imagine my excitement!!! But life is full of twists and turns, like 50 cents says...At around 21 weeks into my pregnancy, I learned that my cervix was opening... and exactly 2 weeks after that I gave birth to a baby whom I wasn't able to bring home with me... her name was Alahna Maia King. The gut wrenching pain of carrying and giving birth to a child you will not bring home is subject to another writing

... for now it should suffice to say that holding the lifeless body of your newborn child is a pain I wish no one had to experience. 

Yet, wanting to feel normal, and not like a complete wreck of a woman I decided to enjoy my relationship. And guess what? I became pregnant once again. The initial excitement was met by fear and doubt. I didn't want to allow myself to feel joy, or attachment; after all, I was well over the 12 weeks mark when I lost my Alahna. 

Still I went to the doctor and the pregnancy plan was filled with weekly appointments, pills, weekly shots, a surgery, strict bed rest, pelvic rest, no work and pretty much nothing but laying around. After going through such traumatic events (at least they are for me) I would feel is expected to have others understand that every ache and every sensation is going to trigger a whole set of "abnormal" responses from the expectant mother.... but no...this is not the case... somehow, because I know my history and I still wanted to have a child, I lost every right to my emotions... 

During this pregnancy I have heard some pretty hurtful things from many- doctors, friends,  and yes, even the baby's father... " pregnant women feel sick... it's part of the package"

"You knew this could happen..."

"You're gonna feel all sorts of things. It's part of being pregnant...you have a high risk pregnancy, so it will be normal for you to feel things that you didn't want" And my very favorite, "this is what you wanted.... isn't it?"

Well no... actually, HELL NO! 

What I wanted was to have a pregnancy that I could enjoy. I wanted to go to work wearing cute maternity outfits and still give 110% at my job. I wanted to be able to let my closest friends feel the baby kicks and laugh as I peed in my pants. Yes, I expected the pains and aches, the swelling and the ranging emotions, the sleepiness and the restless nights. I expected the backaches, the no-shoe finding days, the throwing up and the growing pains as your organs shift place... 

What I didn't expect was to have to stop working, stop having sex for the entirety of my pregnancy, having to go to surgery, get a pay cut, or living in constant fear. I didn't expect to have to be inside my house all the time and basically live my pregnancy alone. I didn't expect, after doing everything I could possibly do, to still have my body work against me. I didn't expect praying for one more week every single day... so here I lay, at 26 weeks pregnant feeling and seeing things indicative of all efforts failing... and you ask me if that's what I wanted...no, that is not what I wanted...not at all... so my heart aches as I don't know what to do, when to call the doctor and who to talk to about my pains and fears... if you were in my place, would that have been what you wanted....?

Forgiving my dad...

Divorce, Single Mom, Forgiveness, Single Parents, Clickforhope, My StoryJasmine LopezComment

I was born into the world rejected by my father, who made a new life with a new family. So all I knew was our little family: my mom, my older brother and me. I don't have many memories of my childhood. If I'm honest, I've suppressed so much of it, that I can only recall a memory here and there, and they aren't all good.

I do remember my mom doing her best trying to juggle it all. She was determined to figure out how to make it work with no assistance from anyone including the government.  A few of my fondest memories together was having a sock fight and making cheesecake for bake sales at church because I always got to lick the spoon with that delicious cream cheese filling. Other than that I don't remember much.

As a teenager, I was very cold, angry, bitter and didn't really know what I believed about "love". In fact "love" was distorted to me. I hadn't seen a positive example of it as well as marriage because all I was surrounded by was divorce. I don't think I realized it then nor could I even communicate that I had daddy issues. I just knew that when he'd come to pick us up I'd find an excuse to not go to his house. I wanted nothing to do with him. I didn't care if he ever got to be a part of my life again. I felt he had lost his chance.

Summer of junior year I was reacquainted with a childhood friend. It was through her a series of events happened where I found myself going to a youth retreat. I had no idea what I had gotten myself into, and my motives in going were totally wrong too! But God had a different plan for me. After a fun day full of competitive games and teaching, there was a worship experience that I will never forget. It changed my life forever!

I remember being in a room full of other high school and college aged kids, but somehow the room felt empty with just me and God. I was sitting on the floor in a fetal position and I heard a voice say, "I've missed you!" Tears began to stream down my face, as a LOVE no words could describe consumed my broken heart, and filled the room. I wanted this LOVE. It felt so warm, inviting and perfect.....and all I could say was, "I've missed you too!" As more tears streamed down my face I heard a voice tell me, "If you're going to follow me you're going to have to forgive your father." A simple nod was my response.

That Labor Day weekend was the weekend I decided to surrender my life and follow Jesus. What I didn't know how to do was forgive. My mom worked nights so we had opposite schedules and my brother was off at college, so I began having beautiful moments with Jesus as I studied and read the Word every night on my bed. I was intrigued by the simplicity but yet complexity of who Jesus was. The miracles He performed was something I wanted to see one day. The stories of Paul and how he was redeemed and used to do a amazing things was only evidence for me in how I could have a similar story.

Three months later, my mom called my dad and told him to call me. A part of me felt so betrayed, but knew deep downside she only did what I didn't have the courage to do. Over the phone I began sharing my Jesus story with him, and said, "Dad, I just want to let you know that I forgive you!"

I cried. He cried.

I can't say that instantly we began a relationship and everything was just peachy, but what I can say is that when I said those words, I literally felt bitterness, hatred, unforgiveness and so much more lift off my shoulders. I was instantly a different person. I began to learn what love was according to 1 Corinthians 13. I began to let the walls down that I built up towards my dad, and in turn, other people.

It's now been 16 years since that beautiful exchange took place. My dad has been in my life for as long as he was out of it. To me it was worth walking down the path of forgiveness, not just for our relationship, but for me to become the person I am today. My dad and I have a fully restored relationship. He walked me down the aisle when I got married 10 years ago, he's been at the hospital for the birth of each of my daughters. My girls know their grandpa and love him very much. We talk on the phone about marriage, faith, and life. When I look at my dad, I don't see him as the man that abandoned me... I see him as forgiven. All those feelings of hatred no longer reside in my mind or heart. I live my life free, knowing I'm forgiven and loved by my Heavenly Father.

So I end with this! If there is someone in your life that you need to forgive, my hope is that you would begin to walk down that path. It's not easy, and everyone's forgiveness story is different. What I do know is, when we choose to forgive it frees us up to love. It humanizes your pain. It allows you to feel verses numbing it all away. I pray that you would open your heart! Please feel free to email me at clickforhope@jaziphoto.com if you'd like more information on how I walked through that journey or if you are looking for help/advice on how to forgive someone who hurt or abandoned you.

 

 

 

Forte Wayne | Alexandria's Story

Clickforhope, Divorce, AbuseJasmine LopezComment

Please share your story: : I am a single mom of the most loving & free spirited (almost) 8 year old, Everest. When I discovered I was pregnant at 22 I was in shock and not ready. I chose to plan an adoption and his birth dad agreed, since we were young and unmarried. At 7 months pregnant I broke down... I couldn't possibly go through with this. I sought God and clearly heard him remind me He has never and will never leave me alone. He said I can and will do this. I chose to raise my son & his birth dad chose to walk away. 

Over the next year I met a man who would soon after become my husband and adopt Everest. I thought I finally had all I wanted. A family, stability, marriage. Soon after we were married I realized I didn't truly know the man I was married to & the relationship became abusive. After 4 years of abuse, 1 separation, many sleepless night crying out to God... he left with a text & filed for divorce that week.

It's been 3 years since then & I am thankful to God for keeping his promise of never leaving us and always giving me strength to get through the days. Some days I still worry I may have messed up the first years of my sons life but then remember God is not only writing my story but he is writing my sons as well. My son is just as much a child of God as I am & God is a faithful God who redeems.

Last year I started a company Foreveresta in dedication to my son & being a light in the world which can be so dark. It is a mobile retail boutique with a mission of educating guests through global artisans and brands, retail partnerships, and mission-driven organizations while supporting emerging entrepreneurs in the developing world through economic development of underserved communities. 
My hope is that everyone who has a chance to walk in our doors can experience a glimmer of hope and leave encouraged. I hope through this my son will grow to see he is valuable and can achieve anything he dreams with God on his side.

How has your story shaped who you are today?: Being a mother has taught me of God's deep unconditional always forgiving love for us. How at times we walk away, mess up, think we know better whats best for us yet he never once changes. He is always right there ready to redirect and help us back up. I have learned to be still with God & trust what HE says is good, right, and purposed for us... even when I can't understand it. Just because something seems to be everything you want and seems to be "good" doesn't mean its ultimately what IS good for you. God's ways are unlike ours but HE IS reliable & trustworthy. I have learned true joy, contentment, and peace come only from our heavenly Father. Nothing of this world will ultimately satisfy, so I continue learning to abide in Him first.

Why should your story be selected to be featured on our blog?: I have a passion for sharing honest stories from my life with others in hopes they can be encouraged and say "me too!" There is something comforting in those words. When we don't feel as alone in our circumstance and can stand along side one another in love. I know my "story" is still being written but God has given me a voice and these stories to share with other women who can relate.

What encouraging words would you give to someone who shares a similar story?: Lean not on your own understanding but TRUST GOD in ALL you do, he will surely direct your paths. 
Take one day at a time and don't be to hard on yourself. Give yourself and your kiddos lots of grace in love, stay humble, and laugh as much as you can. Laughter is good medicine for the soul :) You are always enough and you are never alone!