Wednesday, March 15, 2006

All About Me: IV From Orange to White

You will want to read these first:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Moving to Texas was based purely on my economic status. I couldn't afford to move back home to San Diego, and I was NOT staying in Oklahoma (bleh), so I opted for the closest civilization. Plus my Aunt and my dad also lived here, so I knew I would have a support system close if need be.

Back in Oklahoma I had taken up the family business of bar-tending. It's what I knew and what was comfortable. As soon as I was settled in Texas I got a job waiting tables at one establishment donning some very short orange shorts, and a second weekend job at a trendy cigar bar.

My life was wheels-off and I was heading nowhere fast.

I had lost my virginity when I was 14. Yes. 14!!!! I always had sex with my boyfriends, because I thought that was what you were supposed to do to keep them around. By the time I reached Texas, I was a seasoned veteran. And by this time drugs and alcohol (lots and lots of alcohol) were also in the mix. When I wasn't working, I was partying. And sometimes I mixed the two together to liven things up. I was having sex with anything that walked all the while telling myself "It's just sex. It's my body. I'm in control of this."

Fast-forward to age 21. I had been living with a boyfriend for over 2 years. He was a Dallas cop and a complete jerk. He didn't hit me (only because he loved his job too much) but he was really great at thrashing me with his mouth. I finally decided to move out and move on.

God was orchestrating something amazing, and I had no idea.

By this time I had cut down to one job (still donning my orange shorts) and was living in my own apartment. I had been broken up with my boyfriend for a few weeks and had absolutely no intentions of getting involved in another relationship.

So I thought.

One night late in October of 1998 I was working (as usual). A guy comes and sits down at my bar. He's really handsome (okay - unbelievably hot), has a nice smile, some tattoos and earrings, and muscles on top of muscles. My first thought: Big Dumb Meathead.

I get him a beer and start a tab for him. Moments later one of the girls I work with walks up to him and introduces him as her brother. We make small talk and he leaves to take his sister home.

The next night, while working again (I worked too much), in walks Big Dumb Meathead. He sits down at my bar and we start chatting. After getting him drunk, I give up on him asking me out, so I had to do the asking myself.

We had our first date a few days later. After a week of dating, I knew he was "The One", but I always vowed I would never get married and most definitely never have kids. I was simply okay with shacking up with him for the rest of my life (or until he got sick of me and left).

6 weeks after we started dating, with my head in the toilet with uncontrollable vomiting, I realized I was 2 weeks late. LATE!

After regaining my composure and getting my head out of the toilet, I ran down to the corner and bought a home test. It was positive. All I kept thinking was, "Crap! What am I going to do with a kid? I can't be a mother to a baby."

I called Jake to come over and just handed him the test. I was still numb and in shock and I couldn't even talk.

He just got a big, goofy grin and said, "We're going to have a little wrestler!"

Bleh!

Abortion and adoption were never an option, so I knew I only had 9 months to get used to the idea of being a...MOM. I could hardly even say that word. Bleh, Bleh, double Bleh!

It wasn't that I didn't like kids, because I LOVE kids - other people's kids. I never wanted to subject another human being to the kind of life I had been through. Plus, I had NO IDEA how to be a mom. My mom was always at work and I was always left alone or with a sitter. I had no example to go by.

A few weeks later I met Jake's mom for the first time. She had flown down from Pittsburgh for Christmas.

"Hi! I'm Minnie, your son's PREGNANT girlfriend who has only been dating him for 8 weeks! Merry Christmas!"

She was shocked at best. She didn't have much to say. Who could blame her? Her sweet, innocent, All-American boy had fallen prey to a fast, easy harleton who wore orange shorts for a living.

After the shock wore off, we got to know each other and I soon realized how gracious she was and how Jake's ENTIRE family was about to accept me with open arms. I even had a phone shoved in my face with his grandmother on the other end congratulating me on our upcoming arrival. It was too much for me to handle. Did people really behave this way? Where was the screaming and fighting and antics? Where were the slamming doors and "I'll never speak to you again" vows?

The following month was my 22nd birthday. Jake took me out for dinner and when we got home he proposed. All I kept thinking was "No! I can't get MARRIED! I'm already PREGNANT. Why do you want to make it worse and get MARRIED!?"

But I didn't say the things that were flying through my over-loaded brain. Instead I smiled and accepted, but planned to put him off as long as possible. What was the point of a piece of paper? It would just end up getting ripped up anyway.

Fast-forward 8 months to August 17, 1999 when my life changed forever. My son, Jacob came barrelling into my life with a vengeance.

What was this wet stuff coming out of my eyes? What was this thumping in my chest? What was this feeling going on in my gut? Was it....emotion? Love? FEELINGS?!

I never expected to fall in love so hard and so instantly with that 8-pound ball of rolls and fat. But I did. Completely and without hesitation.

After Jacob was born there was this "empty spot" that I had never felt before. I had a great relationship with Jake, a beautiful new healthy baby, a nice house, two new cars in the driveway, and I made really great money at my job. I didn't understand what could be missing.

Jake knew what the "empty spot" was. He said we needed to find a church.

HA! Yeah, RIGHT! I'm not darkening the doorway of a church so I can rub elbows with a bunch of hypocrites and get looked down upon by all of those 'goody-goodies'. No thank you.

But he was insistent, so I gave in.

Over the next few weeks we visited a few churches that met my every expectation. I was bored, people looked down their noses at me; it was a colossal waste of time. I could be sitting at Blue Mesa sipping on all-you-can-drink Mimosas and grubbing down on Sunday brunch right now!

Then, of all places to hear about church, I overheard a girl at work going on and on about this church she had been going to (yes - girls who wore orange also went to church and raised families and led good, clean lives. Just not me.). She was talking about the awesome band and music, and you could show up in your jeans and flip-flops, and the pastor was COOL! I interrupted her conversation and asked where this place was. It was only 15 minutes from my house!

That Sunday as we walked in this huge building, I was awe-struck. This was a church? But it's so cool and contemporary. Then we walked through the doors of the worship center. WOAH! The service had just started. They were singing a Police song! There were lights! Auditorium seating! People with tattoos and piercings mingled in with the normal 'curchy' people!

I had no choice but to sit back and listen to what they had to say, because every preconceived notion I ever had of 'church' had just been blown right out of the water.

We came back. And kept coming. But I still didn't 'get it'. I still had no idea who Jesus Christ REALLY was. I knew he was some dude that died on a cross a long time ago, but that's as far as it went. My heart had been so hardened that all of the preaching about Him had fallen on deaf ears. I was still partying and going out after work. I still wasn't married.

Then we went to a Newcomer's Membership class early in 2000. One of the pastors, Tracy Barnes, was talking about God and how He knows all about us because He created us, and He wants to have a relationship with us. But we can't do that until we accept His Son, Jesus into our lives.

I was still not getting it. To me, it was something for 'good people'. I certainly was not worthy. I had made too many mistakes in my life.

Then they had an information card you had to fill out. One line of questioning stated: "Tell us your story" and it had about three lines under it.

They want me to tell them my life story on three little lines? SKIP!

They had several counselors come over to everyone and go over any questions, etc. Mine was a nice man with red hair and a gentle voice. He read over my information card and said, "Oh, you can't leave this blank."

"Well what am I supposed to write?"

"We want to know the story of when you accepted Christ."

I was still not getting it. "Accepted Him for what?"

Clearly he had an idiot before him, but he never for an instant made me feel that way. He explained to me that God wanted me to have a personal relationship with Him through His Son. He had sent His Son to live a sinless life and die - for me.

ME!? Oh no, you see, I'm not a good person. You don't understand.

It didn't matter what I had done, or even what I was going to do, he explained. God wanted me where I was and He wanted to forgive all of my sins; past, present, and future.

So I prayed with him for God to take my life in His hands.

But I still didn't really get it. We left and were walking to the car and the tears just started coming and they wouldn't stop and I had NO IDEA WHY! Jake thought I had gone crazy. He had no idea that I had just prayed to receive Christ. He wasn't the only one who didn't have a clue as to what was going on.

A few months later my fear of the marriage thing was gone and I took the plunge into marital bliss.





15 Comments:

At 3/15/2006 12:26 PM, Blogger tubsytoo said...

Minnie - I have been reading these "about me" blogs, and have not been able to come up with the words to comment, and I still do not know if they will come out right. I have cried, laughed out loud, and thought I was reading something I had written myself at times. I've been awake at night thinking about you, praying for you. The Holy Spirit is ALIVE in your writings, and obviously your life. You have helped it to awaken in me again, I have been ignoring him, wrestling with him, trying to take back control of my life again, and you have shown me that everything in my life IS HIS, it IS NOT mine to take back, give in and let it be used for his Glory alone. Thank you.

 
At 3/15/2006 2:05 PM, Blogger Minnie said...

WOW! Thank you SO MUCH for your sweet words of encouragement! This has been one of the hardest things for me to drudge up all of these memories. I am so thrilled and extremely humbled that God has used these stories to re-ignite a fire inside of you for Him.

I was talking with Jake the other night about these stories and I was saying it feels like it was some girl I used to know. Not me. Weird, huh? I guess there is some truth in that, though, because I am surely a changed person and nowhere near who I used to be.

Now go back to sleep already! Sorry to have kept you up. :o)

 
At 3/15/2006 3:24 PM, Blogger Jeana said...

Wow. You know "amazing" seems so overused, but I can't think of any other word that fits. Thank you for being so real.

 
At 3/15/2006 7:05 PM, Blogger Catherine said...

All I can say is WOW! Minnie, you are such a great writer and you have blessed ALL who have read this! Saying I've enjoyed reading this is an understatement! I have walked away from reading your stories still thinking about them and thinking about you. I feel like I've walked down a path with you while reading all this and I'm so excited for you to take such a courageous step. Just look at all God has done in your life and now imagine the plans He has in store for the rest! I think about that with my own life and it gives me so much HOPE knowing He is steadily making us new and blessing our lives - overflowing. Jake is so blessed to have YOU and you are so blessed to have Jake!

 
At 3/16/2006 10:40 AM, Blogger Leslie said...

Minnie,

I am so glad you wrote this! What an amazing story! You are just an amazing person. WOW!

 
At 3/16/2006 2:38 PM, Blogger PEZmama said...

I am always encouraged to read about how God can redeem lives. Praise God for his mighty works.

 
At 3/16/2006 5:32 PM, Blogger owlhaven said...

Praise God for His work in all our lives!! Here from Jeana's

Hugs
Mary, mom to many

 
At 3/17/2006 12:20 AM, Blogger Minnie said...

Thank you so much for all of the great comments, girls! It truly made this all worth it to hear how much my junk helped people.

And thanks for stopping by Jeana and Mary! :o) I'm honored!

 
At 3/17/2006 9:23 AM, Blogger Addie said...

Minnie - Thank you so much for sharing this with others. I love the title of this last one from Orange to White! You have such an awesome testimony and I can't wait to hear more of how God uses it to bring others from Orange to White!!!

 
At 3/17/2006 11:52 AM, Blogger Susan said...

Wow. I am floored. These are so real. I am here from Jeana's blog and I am just shocked that I can relate to almost everthing you say.

Thank you for being so real!

Susan

 
At 3/17/2006 10:58 PM, Blogger Lauren said...

I'm here from Jeana's too. I am so glad she mentioned these posts, you and I have much in common. I am so touched by your openness and as much as it helps others to read, I hope it does the same for you to write it out. He has made us new creations in Christ, how cool is this God we serve?

 
At 3/18/2006 2:18 AM, Blogger Diane said...

Minnie,
I am here by way of Jeana's blog, too.
Thank you for opening your heart to all who read your life story. There is a lot of truth to the old adage that confession is good for the soul. Not confession in the sense that you have sinned, but that you have unburdened your heart.

I had some bad experiences as a child, but nothing on the scale of your experiences. I am so glad to be able to call you sister in Christ.

May you continue to heal in soul and spirit, in defiance of Satan who wants you to remain defeated and wounded.

Remember the alabaster box that Mary broke, then poured out on Jesus? You are like that alabaster box. You were broken, but now sweetness and healing is pouring out. Praise the Lord!!! I am getting Holy goosebumps as I type this!

 
At 3/19/2006 9:53 PM, Blogger Kili @ Live Each Moment said...

Minnie-
Thank you for sharing your testimony. I really enjoyed getting to know you, and it was brave of you to share everything you have been through. But I know it has been beneficial, for not only yourself but others reading your blog (even if they don't comment). What a wonderful testimony..
Love your sister in Christ,
Kristina

 
At 3/20/2006 2:02 PM, Blogger Pastor Steve said...

You did a geat job of putting down in words what God has done in your life. You might want to put that on www.mostimportantthing.org

Very encouraging well said

 
At 3/23/2006 1:41 AM, Blogger Stojo28 said...

Thanks for sharing your life and opening your heart. It is never easy to re-open the past. I wish I had your courage. I hope you don't mind me reading.

 

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