You Are What You Do


The thing about life is that it's messy.  Sometimes things go out of their natural order, like in my life for instance.  First came baby, then came marriage.  The key is to remember that you are still Lovable, you are still Forgivable, you are still Redeemable.  When there are others that would have you stoned for your sins, God would have you Forgiven.
That's what I posed for my Facebook status this morning.

And to be honest, I've waited on a text, a message, or a phone call going "What's up?  What brought this up?"  Because there's typically a very real-life reason behind most of my blogs or statuses.  I might wait a week, a month, or even a year down the road, but there's usually a trigger.

This time the only trigger wasn't real life.  Well, it was but it wasn't.

I had a dream last night of a time long ago and far away.

A time when I first began to fear and then become nervously excited about a great and wonderful adventure I've now been on for more than six years.

I dreamed of the time when I discovered I was pregnant with Ty.  And all the thoughts, feelings, words and emotions that surrounded those months.

I dreamed of those who supported me without question of what happened or who the baby's father was.

And I dreamed of those who wounded me in ways that they'll never come to realize.

I dreamed of telling my sister the night I found out I was pregnant.  I dreamed of how nervous and scared I was.  And I dreamed of how she shared my feelings up until the point that it was confirmed.  I dreamed how she almost instantly switched to being excited for me, buying me my first baby present within 24 hours of the positive pregnancy test.

I dreamed about sitting around the table to break the news to my parents.  I dreamed of the rose that my Mama sent me the day after our family pow-wow revealing my situation (the rose that I still have on a shelf in my room).  I dreamed of my Daddy's instant smile the second he heard the news.  I dreamed of a brief but life-changing conversation that he and I had that night before I went to bed.

I dreamed about standing in front of the church that I attended at the time and admitting to them what I had done and what had resulted.  I dreamed about how many of them hugged me and commended me for the courage it took to stand before anyone, much less a church, and say what I had said.

And then I dreamed about hurtful words that peppered my pregnancy.  Spoken words, public words, typed words, and whispered words.  Part of it I expected from the get-go.  Small-town people sometimes have a way of acting small-minded.  And there were a dozen or so people that made sure to act the part.  But some of the people who hurt me the most were people I expected better from.  Friends or leaders that suddenly turned on me when I needed them most.

When there was an opportunity to show love and compassion and forgiveness....well...there was a complete and utter failure on the part of some individuals I'd previously respected, admired, and considered friends.

This is what I dreamed of last night.  And as much as I loved reliving the good parts...the hugs, the support, the encouragement, the joy when I allowed myself to feel it...I loved reliving all of that.  But as real as that was in my dream, the hurt and the embarrassment was all the more real than I remember.

And it made me mad.

Because I'm not the only woman or girl this has happened to.

I have a friend who's a grown woman with kids and grand-kids and she has very strong feelings about how she was treated when she was in my same situation well over 30 years ago.

And I hear talk about girls and women--both teenage and grown--who find themselves in a scary place that really is embarrassing and you hear about the hateful things that are being said to them and about them.  You see people alienating themselves from them.  Or you see others using them to get in the know and find out any juicy details about her life that might spice up the Gossip Mill.


It just makes me mad because there's not a single person out there that hasn't done something that they shouldn't have.  Maybe they didn't get caught.  Maybe they didn't have anything happen as a result of it.  But they're just as sinful and guilty as I am or any other girl who's worn the title of "Unwed Mother" because a sin is a sin is a sin.

What makes me maddest is that these women and girls are in a place where they will remember what you said and how you made them feel.  I will forever remember my family and the friends--the true friends--who were honestly there for me and who honestly loved me and who honestly were everything that my heart needed them to be at that time.  But I will also remember how I felt when I opened email after email to find unloving, unforgiving and un-Christian-like words on my screen.  I will remember how I felt to be singled out as a whore by a Christian leader.  I will remember that when others had the chance to show God's love, they failed by not even attempting to.

Don't be the person others remember by your hateful acts.  Be the ones they keep around and cherish for your sincerity and love.
Ashley Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.