I will never forget the first time I heard God speak.
Sitting on the floor of my “temporary” bedroom, I opened my Bible to Ecclesiastes. I said a simple prayer beforehand, asking the Holy Spirit to speak to me through His Word and show me ways that I could apply it to my life. This type of study was new to me, taught to me by my mentor who I was living with after an unexpected surgery.
But, I am getting ahead of myself. Let me back up.
At 19, I was in college, taking care of my almost two-year-old son, and working fulltime. I lived at home with my mom. My childhood was one of divorce, physical, verbal, and drug abuse. There were many nights I was held captive in my home by enraged boyfriends or that I witnessed my mother be beaten. But, the birth of my son seemed to pull us together.
Then one spring, Mississippi night, my grandmother died unexpectedly. This news sent my mom back into the deep, dark place of drug abuse. She decided on a whim to move and I found myself left to put the pieces back together. My two older sisters were in college in other states. I decided to move in with my boyfriend until he physically attacked me the day before. I knew that I had to get away from this cycle.
But my self- worth was destroyed. I started experimenting with drugs. What began as an occasional thing quickly began to seep over into my daily life.
I met a new boy. It felt so good to have someone like me again. My self-esteem was so low that I barely could look anyone in the eye. We dated for a few months.
One day, I decided to take a pregnancy test. To my disbelief, it was positive.
Up until this point, I had been making choice after choice that was quickly leading me down a destructive path. But, I was about to learn that long ago, God chose me and He was drawing me into a relationship with Himself.
I contacted my sister who was a strong Christian and asked her if I could come visit her. She agreed and I made the trip with my son. I broke down with her and we prayed, begging God to intervene in my life.
The very next day, on our way to church, we were hit head on by another car. My arm was crushed in six places. I was unable to work which left me unable to care for myself and my son. My sister’s church sent out a plea and just when it looked hopeless, a family stepped up and took us in. I felt like I had finally found what I was longing for — two parents who loved me and would love my son as their grandchild.
I began to study the Bible, soaking up all I could about a relationship with God. During this time, I was so broken, yet I felt God right there with me, every step of the way. Each day, He revealed another piece of His character to me.
Enter the day I was sitting on the floor of my bedroom. It started out just like every other day, but this time something different happened. I opened my Bible to Ecclesiastes and heard God speak for the first time. The verse was Ecclesiastes 12:13: “The chief aim of man is to obey God and enjoy Him forever.” I can’t explain how, but I knew at that moment that God was calling me to place this precious baby inside of my womb for adoption. It was the hardest truth I’ve ever had to swallow. I memorized over 100 verses on obedience and started the process to choose a family.
Choosing a family was very difficult, but God was faithful through the process. There were little details that made me know that the family I chose was the family God had intended for my child long ago before he was even created.
The day came for me for his arrival. I will never forget the heart wrenching experience when I handed him over to his parents — my beautiful olive skinned, light brown hair and bright blue-eyed baby. They named him David.
Going home that day empty handed was the most painful experience of my life. Distraught, I cried and shared with a friend that I needed a promise from God — a promise that one day I would get to experience this again and have a “normal” family.
A friend from church was on the other line. She said, “I feel that God told me to call you and read you this verse.” The verse started out with “I the Lord make a vow by my own name…. because you have done this and given me your only son, I promise to give you as many descendants as there are grains of sand of the seashore and stars in the sky.”
After the adoption, things weren’t the happy ending for which I had hoped.
My faith was shaken and I spent many more years running from God. But I always held on to that promise He gave me.
And God was faithful to me. I have been married almost eleven years now. Just three years ago, God’s promise to me was fulfilled for the first time through the birth of our miracle son after seven years of infertility.
The beauty of God is that He works out all things together for good for those that love Him. I am still close to David and his family. We have an open adoption and my entire family has been able to see him and watch him grow. He is now thirteen-years-old and a thriving, happy, hip, talented, and cute teenage boy.
That doesn’t make it any less painful but in the midst of my pain, I’m to be intimate with Christ in a way that I am not sure I would have otherwise. And because of that, I will never forget the first time I heard God.
Welcome to Ungrind!
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Ashleigh Slater, Founder & Managing Editor
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"Real life is not always pleasant. Every marriage experiences disappointments, misunderstandings, sickness and financial crisis. Ashleigh doesn’t camouflage the pain in her own marriage, and offers practical ideas on how to walk through the difficulties and find intimacy on the journey. If you are anything like me, I predict that as you read, you too will find yourself laughing, wiping tears, and saying 'Oh, yes.'"
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