Story - Kelsey S. - as told to Tori Penton.
Kelsey’s story is one of brokenness, redemption, and overwhelming grace. Kelsey began college as many other students do. She moved out of her parents’ house and in with a roommate - away from home for the first time. The following months consisted of shattered relationships, poor decisions, and “excruciating pain” as Kelsey puts it. When Kelsey found out she was pregnant, she did not know what she was going to do or who she could trust. What should have been one of the most joyous seasons of her life turned into the darkest season she had ever experienced.
As Kelsey’s pregnancy advanced, she sunk into a deep depression. Most of the people that had claimed to be friends were no longer around. The father of her child did not know how to respond, so he left also, leaving Kelsey feeling abandoned, isolated, and very much alone.
Kelsey describes this season as the most difficult time in her life, as her pain was nearly unbearable. She didn’t know much about God, but she did know she was angry with Him, thinking “how could He let this happen to me?”
As time passed the pain and loneliness increased. She was filled with fear and felt like everything was out of her control. She realized the more she tried to control the people or situations in her life the worse she felt. Kelsey remembers the end of her pregnancy being very stressful; she was afraid and she needed peace. Desperation gripped her and she decided that she would try to pray for the first time since all of this had happened. At first, she didn’t feel anything, but she decided to continue praying in hopes that something would eventually change.
Shortly after having her daughter, Kelsey decided to start visiting The Harbor Church. As she made friends there, she noticed that her trust in people was being restored. There was a “realness” to the relationships she was forming through the church that she had never experienced before. She had felt abandoned and rejected for so long that it came as a surprise to her that people who knew so little about her were willing to pray for and love her. As her trust in people began to grow again, so did her trust in God. Kelsey began to realize that God had not left her through that dark season in her life. For the first time she recognized that “God was on her side” and that He wanted good things for her life.
Kelsey admits that being a single mother is extremely difficult saying, “It’s one of the hardest things I think anyone could ever go through. Being a parent in general is hard, but trying to do it on your own, not knowing if you’re doing it right and not having someone to come home to at the end of the day is excruciating.” The challenge of trying to parent alone is one of the reasons that drove her to pursue God; she knew that she would need help from a power outside of herself to be the parent her daughter needed. Kelsey credits her daughter as being the biggest blessing of her life. She knows that without the birth of her daughter, she might not have found Christ and certainly wouldn’t be the strong woman that she is today.
Kelsey wishes to encourage single mothers through her story, “It gets better,” she says of the loneliness. Kelsey says that trust is a major issue for most single mothers, as unfortunately many times, they are single because they have been abandoned. The most important factor for healing, Kelsey says, is letting your walls down so people can love you. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable often feels unnatural to someone who has been abandoned or rejected because your past experiences tell you to protect yourself by not allowing anyone in.
Unfortunately many of us are tricked into believing that no one will really love us so we build fortresses of protection, which ultimately become our own prisons, keeping us locked away from the very thing we yearn for the most - love.
Kelsey’s journey is a perfect example of the restoration that can happen in our hearts and in our lives when we learn to trust again. Kelsey admits that it was through her relationships with people that her trust in God was restored and that He was able to mend her heart. Kelsey says she has a long way to go still, but when she sees where she came from, she is encouraged. “God has never forsaken me,” she says, "and it is my sincerest hope that you also can realize this truth."
"Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail nor abandon you."