Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21.
It was Spring (April ) the end of my Sophomore year in High School. My family had just celebrated my Granny and Papaw's 50th Wedding Anniversary. We had moved to the "country" the end of my ninth grade year and for multiple reasons my parents felt it best to seek out where God was calling us to worship. We moved to a little church in the middle of no where. It was in that little white church that I laid eyes on my prince. He was taller than me, which was rare, and I tell him all the time that is the only reason I married him. He had blonde hair, and blue eyes. I mean who didn't love Bo Duke right? We became friends, best friends. He made me laugh, my heart smile. I knew within a few months that I would marry that boy someday. We started dating in August of that year. He became my high school sweetheart. What a better place to meet your future husband than church? We were good kids. We were at all the youth functions. We made good grades. He was an athlete. A pitcher on the baseball team, and played on the varsity basketball team. I sang in the High School Chorus. We didn't cause our parents trouble except for an occasional attitude or smart mouth (sorry Mama and Daddy). We had hopes and dreams that included each other in them.
We continued dating throughout my Junior year. In June of 1997 I got very sick. I had lost down to about a size 4 from the sickness (I'm 5'8"...that's skinny). I suspected that there was more to it than sickness but like any other 17 year old I dismissed the possibilities from my mind. I had gone to several doctor visits and was put on several different medicines. Off and on battling sickness on a daily/nightly basis. We moved and I changed schools right before my senior year. It wasn't until October of 1997 that my original suspicions were confirmed. I went to the doctor (again) thinking I would be getting a shot, having some other tests run, and a new medicine. After a few minutes the exam room was quiet, the dull roar of the elevator music playing through the overhead speakers had faded. All I could hear was the sound of a little beating heart.
My entire world stopped. Everything I knew would never be the same. I cried. The doctor started talking to me. I really don't remember anything he said. My mom was in the lobby. What was I going to say to her? I heard him say the word "options". I immediately looked up and stopped him from speaking any further. I may have been 17. I may have been an un-wed mother. I may have been in the most difficult situation of my life at the time. But, without a shadow of doubt, this child was mine, and there were no options.
He politely said ok and asked if I wanted him to bring my mom in to his office. I felt like I was in the principals office for a reprimand. She came in and sat quietly. Her face was white. She had a tremble to her voice and hands. She was terrified that I was sick. That something was wrong with me. I don't remember much more after that other than the look on her face and the words "Kellie, why didn't you tell me". Broken. Both her heart and for mine. She knew what I would have to face. The big SCARLET LETTER so to speak. She knew that I would endure ridicule, whispers, and disdain for what I had "done".
My daddy was/is a truck driver. We didn't have cell phones. We would just wait for him to call us collect from wherever he was each night. Mama wouldn't tell him on the phone. It would have been too much for him alone in that big truck. I can remember him walking in the door with his over night bag, dirty laundry, and shaving kit in hand. He looked at her and then me. Most of the conversation is a blur to me but I remember him saying that he had "prayed all day that nothing was wrong with me". So God had answered his prayer.
I called Chad and told him he needed to come over. We were sitting on the porch when I told him. I had prepared for him to get in his car and drive away, not because I didn't have any faith in him but because that's just what happened to girls that got pregnant as teenagers. He didn't leave. He hugged me. He told me we would get through this. He told me he loved me. He went home.
My parents had Chad's parents over to "supper" the following night to talk to them. I'm pretty sure no one ate a thing that night. They were all hurt and disappointed. All the things they had hoped for us would not come in the order that they had planned.
I had lots of doctor's appointments over the following weeks. I had not gained weight. An ultrasound was scheduled. Thankfully, the Lord had blessed us with a healthy baby. Our parents discussed marriage. Not marrying. How things would be handled. At some point during all of this Chad and I decided we needed to do whatever it took to make things right for us and our unborn child and our parents all allowed us to make that decision. I am so thankful for GOD-seeking, LOVING, FORGIVING parents. A week or so later Chad proposed to me. In the eyes of the people around us we would never make it. I was told that on multiple occasions. That we were ruining our lives. I think in some weird way those people that said those things wanted us to fail, church people, "good" people, people we thought were friends. It became harder and hard to discern between who wanted to be there for us and who was just being nosy. This resulted in me pushing people away as a defense mechanism. Parent's of my "friends" no longer allowed their daughter's to talk to the likes of me. During that time our parents also felt the heat from those "friends" that were supposed to lift up and encourage as well. Some treated them differently, still do today.
They will fight against you but will not overcome you,
for I am with you and will rescue you,
declares the LORD.
We didn't know much of anything other than how much we loved each other and how much we already loved the baby we would soon meet. We were married on December 13, 1997. It was a simple wedding with mostly family and a few friends. I wore a simple dress and Chad wore a suit someone let him borrow. It wasn't the "dream" wedding I had hoped for since childhood, but my mama helped me get ready, my daddy walked me down the isle, and the love of my life said I do. That was really all I needed. It was extremely cold that day. We woke up the next morning to find the ground completely covered in snow, a rarity in central Mississippi.
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. Psalm 139:13-16
I dropped out of High School and got my GED. I started college when Peyton was about 7 months old. Chad finished High School and went to work. We were fortunate to live with both sets of parents until we could get on our feet. We soon got our own place. We worked hard, barely saw each other. I graduated with honors in the top 13 of my class. When I finished college I began working at a local hospital and Chad started college. He finished as the top student in his class. We would NOT be a statistic. We would not depend on the government or our parents to financially support us. Our parents raised us to work for what you want.
Right after Chad graduated from college we found out that our second little blessing was on the way. Peyton was getting ready to start kindergarten, I had just gotten a promotion, and Chad was just getting settled into his career. Yet again NOT PLANNED by us, but by God's divine intervention. Our little Landon Taylor arrived on April 17, 2003 right after I had left work for the day. Our little ball of fire entered this world when he wanted to and hasn't slowed down since. He made us whole. He was sent to us to complete our family.
On Landon's birthday, ten years later, at a revival I was saved by God's grace. That same night Peyton and Landon were both saved as well. I share my spiritual birthday with the two greatest gifts I have ever been given. For years I had spent the majority of my time trying to PROVE myself to others. That I wasn't just the "pregnant teen". That there was more I had to offer. What I didn't realize is that I didn't have to try prove anything to anyone on this earth. At that moment HE was the LIVING PROOF of what redemption looked like.