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I find life to be consistently inconsistent. Change is the norm. Look outside your window, take a stroll down the street, you’ll witness that nature is always transitioning. Whether you have extreme or stable seasons, they still experience their own cycles of birth, growth, development, and decay.

Years ago, I began to celebrate the beauty of change. My grandmother had just passed away and I sat reflecting on life from the wooden porch of a Kentucky cabin in the wilderness. The vibrant colours of the fall leaves painted across the landscape comforted and emboldened my heart. Sadness crept in as I realised I was admiring death.

This beautiful mirage would be the decay that disintegrated to the dirt that paved the forest floor. As that thought marinated, I felt a gentle nudge in my spirit that whispered that there is beauty in death. Nothing truly dies, it transitions into a new creation. The barren trees were still teeming with life internally, they were just regrouping to grow stronger and take on a new form for the next season.

 

The Lesson I Learned Long Time Ago

Many people view change as overwhelming, or unbearable, and it can be. Change can also be the catalyst that launches you to heights and ambitions you’ve never envisioned. Embracing change can be the choice that you reflect on with pride years down the road.

Personally, I’ve had so many changes in my life. I’ve been a high school dropout, a teen mother, a young wife, a young mother again, miscarried twice, became a divorcee, a college graduate, a single mother (for years), a step-mother, a business owner, a fitness instructor, licensed in insurance, licensed in real estate, now working toward certification in medical coding. I’ve never quite known what my cut and dry path would be, but I always say yes when a positive opportunity presents itself. I learned long ago, that while change may hurt, the pain of regret is far more profound and irrevocable.

When asked what change impacted my life the greatest, I don’t have an answer. Losing my father at a young age forever changed the course of what I thought life would be. Watching twelve years of marriage unravel and then facing seven years as a single mother altered my heart and mind in innumerable ways. Currently, I’m navigating who I am as a stepmother and my role in remarriage. Change always finds me, and I always feel empowered and strengthened in its wake.

 

My First Ever Defining Change

The first time in my young adult life that change found me will always be the one that defined me more than all others.

At eighteen years old, May, of what should have been my Senior year in high school, I found out that I was pregnant. Change was charging toward me with the fury of a hurricane. I was challenged by all the facets that come with bringing a new life into the world. I was absolutely terrified. I had left my parents’ home in December, lost the love of my life in February, and after being groomed on an accelerated college-bound path throughout high school, I dropped out in March. I had no idea who I was, I had lost sight of my goals. I had lost all self-confidence. I had lost hope for my future. I felt I could never recover from the depth of degradation and failure I had chosen for myself. I felt thoroughly defeated by life, at eighteen years old.

Then I reconnected with a boy, a boy I had always liked. The reconnection turned into a deeper connection far sooner than it should have. A month later, I was taking a pregnancy test. Words cannot convey what resurrected in my spirit when that test showed positive. I regained my sense of life, of ability, of confidence. I began reclaiming the identity that had always been mine. Two little blue lines thrust me from narcissistic self-destruction into dogged determination to protect and provide for this person I had yet to meet. This person who should not be held responsible for my shortcomings and mistakes. This person who has proven to be my purpose from the moment of inception.

I named this person Faith. I named her Faith, because I liked the name. It wasn’t until years later that I realised the overwhelming degree of faith that I had to have in myself, my intellect, my work ethic, my parenting ability, and God to have embarked on my journey with her. To me, that realisation empowered her name, it became inspired.

 

I Made The Choice

A few months after discovering I was pregnant, her father and I married. I quickly obtained my GED, so that I could start college in the fall as I was on track to do prior to my short sabbatical. 

Faith was the change that exposed my character and my internal fortitude. Well-meaning friends encouraged me to explore other options. Primarily adoption. I think adoption is a wonderful and viable option for any young woman in the situation that I was in. I believe it is a painful choice that many young women make out of sacrificial love for their unborn child. In my heart though, I knew that was not the path for me. Without a shred of doubt, I knew that I had the ability to attain an education and work to support myself and this child. After recovering from a traumatic falling out with my parents, I knew that they would forever stand behind us and help as they could to provide a stable upbringing for Faith. In my situation, in my heart, for us, adoption was not the answer. 

There were times, you can imagine, that teenage Faith did the math. I raise my children with authentic conversations and honesty. Eventually, the time came where I had to tell her about her inception and that she was the blessing I never imagined I needed at the time. I’ve told her countless times, I fought with all my heart to give her the best life I could provide. Because that day, the two little lines telling me that I was scheduled to meet her nine months later, that day saved my life. She and her sister have been my purpose and my greatest sense of pride from that moment forward. I am eternally grateful for life’s unexpected changes that find us all. They are a thing of sheer beauty.

 

Written by Jennifer Loftin, a Kentucky native savouring home and seeking adventure. Jennifer is a wife, mom of five, blogger, adventurer, and lover of words, people, experience, and life. Seeking to empower others and bring about positive change. You can read more at www.rootsandember.com. You can also follow her on Instagram and Facebook.