I am Lauren, a 27 year old graduate student, working full time, and a proud mom to an 8-year old daughter. I grew up in a religious household and attended Mass every weekend, however I never really felt that strong connection with God. Senior year of high school, I became pregnant.
I truly thought my entire world had come to an end. Little did I know, it was just the beginning…
After what seemed like days of crying, lots of hugs, and tons of family meetings, I began to move forward. I accepted that my life was about to change. My father, for the 27 years I have known him, ALWAYS referenced God in good times and bad.
Some of you might ask what a father might say to his only daughter (and youngest child) who just announced she was pregnant? Surprisingly, he was not angry. He did shed a few tears. He told me that everyone makes mistakes. No one had died. No one was ill. We all had our health. Babies are a blessing from God. The only way to move forward is to see the positive side of things, learn from the mistake, and pray to God for guidance. As you can see, God truly blessed me with some amazing parents. I continued on for the next 8 months, preparing for the birth of this baby, but not prepared for the life altering change she would bring to my life.
All the while, I was still questioning my bond with God.
My daughter arrived four weeks early, as if my family needed anymore surprises! She arrived with no complications. I do not think there is an emotion to this moment in life. The world stops. Nothing around you matters except that little baby. That moment, when I held her for the first time, I knew God existed. I am pretty sure it is impossible to look at a newborn baby full of innocence, purity, and love, and not believe in God. That moment changed me as a person. It changed my faith.
I see God in my daughter everyday. The great thing about children is their innocence. They know no evil. They do no hate. They forgive easily. In the end, they just want love. Everything you say, everything you do, molds your child. I teach her about God every day, how to treat people, how to be a good person. She is my reason for getting out of bed every morning, she is my reason for being a better person, she is the reason I found God.
I know it sounds as though I painted a pretty picture. I did go through some hard times and still am. Being 17 and pregnant does not exactly warrant acceptance from society. Being 27 and a single mom, working full time and going to school is not easy. What I’ve learned from my career path in social work is that no one has it easy. Everyone in life is going through or has gone through some sort of trauma. It is our job to follow in God’s footsteps. We cannot judge other people, but instead we must reach out to those in need. I encountered teachers, friends, and family who supported me during my time of need but most importantly God. I learned from God that with his help, I can overcome anything. My quote in my yearbook Senior year read as follows,
“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
Thank you St. Benedict’s for listening to my story. I’ll leave you with a picture of Jillian, my angel.
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