“’I’ve dealt with my ghosts and faced all my demons, finally content with a past I regret. I’ve found you find strength in your moments of weakness, For once I’m at peace with myself. I’ve been burdened with blame, trapped in the past for too long, I’m movin’ on.’ – Rascal Flatts, I’m Movin On
I listen to this song daily as a reminder to keep pushing forward.
Have you ever said the words ‘My child is the reason I am alive’ and actually meant it? I mean wholeheartedly, without any doubt, meant it? You know in your mind, that if it weren’t for that little human who NEEDED you, you would give up? I have.
This is a touchy subject, I know, I also know that many people reading this won’t appreciate the fact that I am openly discussing it, a lot of people didn’t want to believe how badly I was hurting. I understand their mindset, I understand their denial, and I appreciate their honesty in letting me know that they didn’t understand.
I know it sounds cliché, but school is where a lot of my self-confidence issues started. If you know me personally, then you know that the Lord found it necessary to dab some extra color on the left side of my face and low and behold… we have the stamp ‘That girl with the birthmark.’ Anyway, the majority of the people who attempted to make my life a living H-E-double hockey stick (trying to not use profanity here), used that as an easy target. It probably didn’t help that my boyfriend at the time was a total chick magnet, girls back then were suckers for blue eyes, blonde boy band hair, and a late 80s/early 90s mustang. That was real fun. (Total sarcasm) The remainder of high school and a little while after was a total whirlwind of typical high school drama, break ups, make ups, and whatever else you throw into the mix. The people who contributed to the issues have all grown up and (most) have apologized. I am so thankful I have finally been able to move past that.
My real struggles started when I became pregnant. I was scared to freaking death. I couldn’t do this, I didn’t want to do it, this wasn’t my plan. I was in college at ABAC, I had a great group of friends, I had my whole life ahead of me. I like to think that God knew how badly I would need someone to need me in the years to come, so he gave me her. Once her biological dad and I split, I started hitting the bumps in the road, hard. I had never felt so low in my life. This is where it gets interesting… bear with me.
I met this guy who was a little older than me, he had a daughter the same age as mine, I got along so well with her mom, it was almost too good to be true. I laugh at myself now, but I can remember thinking, this is it, this is the guy that’s going to fix what was broken… HAHAHA. I learned very quickly how someone could live two totally separate lives. It was a nightmare. The things I went through because of him still give me chills. I had never met anyone who could build me up and then tear me down in a matter of seconds. I couldn’t understand why I kept letting him, why did I keep going back? I knew I was making stupid choices, but I was convinced that I wouldn’t ever find anyone else. I had someone who tried to help me, the one person who back then, knew me better than anyone. I still chose the one who treated me like crap over the one who only wanted me to be okay. I knew I was making the wrong choice, but I still couldn’t let myself walk away from the one who was contributing to feeling this way. I felt worthless, stupid, and I felt like God had forgotten about me. I am so thankful that my daughter was young enough at the time to not even realize I was crumbling.
I can remember the night I felt my lowest like it was yesterday. I remember contemplating on if it was worth it or not, was this life I had worth living? I prayed that night for the first time in a long time, and I prayed hard. I begged God to help me. I wanted to pull myself out of this hole, but I didn’t know if I could. It was in that moment, that I swear it’s almost like I heard it loud and clear, ‘I gave you the person who needed you the most.’ I still get chills thinking about it, but my daughter walked into my bedroom and said, ‘Can I sleep with you tonight mommy?’ I cried my eyes out. I could not believe I had let myself get to the point that I thought the people who loved me the most would be better off without me. My daughter needed me, her dad wasn’t around, she didn’t need to be without her mom too. My parents would have lost a daughter, my sister would be an only child, I don’t even want to think about what I would have put my grandparents through…but, most importantly, my little girl. How could I ever think she didn’t need me?
The days/months/years following were a struggle. I struggled to maintain a positive outlook, but I did it. I ran into an old friend one day and we made small talk and then continued about our day. That night, I had a text come through and it read, ‘Hey AP, its Coco, it was really good seeing you today. I just wanted to remind you that I’m still always here for you even though we haven’t talked much lately. You looked a little down in the dumps and I just wanted to make sure you were really doing okay.’ I knew then I had to let someone know how badly I had been struggling, so I did. He made sure to check on me every so often to make sure I knew how much I meant to people. I know he knows how much I appreciated him, I made sure to make that very clear. I am so thankful for being able to reconnect with him in those moments. He was such a good friend to me. I know without a shadow of a doubt, that God did give me my little girl because he knew how badly I would need her in those dark moments. I know that he put necessary people in places in my life at the right times. I know that was his way of showing me that he had not forgotten, and he wasn’t done with me yet.
I haven’t had any thoughts like that in over two and a half years. I have completely moved on from that part in my life. I have apologized to those who deserve an apology, I have thanked those who deserve a thank you. I no longer question God’s existence because I know what he did for me. I am happy. I live a good, simple life. I do still occasionally struggle with self-image, but it is nowhere near as bad as it once was. I am proud of how far I have come, and I can’t wait to see just how far I will go.
I hope this message helps someone else who is struggling. If anyone is looking for a ‘WHY NOT’ reason, please reach out to me or someone you trust, and we can help you find more than one. I promise there are so many more ‘why nots.’ Talk to someone. Pray about it. Write it out. Don’t give up, keep fighting. Your life matters and you CAN overcome whatever storm you’re standing in.
If you suspect someone you know is struggling, reach out! You never know when your message could be their ‘why not.’
To Cody: Thank you for always seeing the best in me even when I couldn’t. You were the best friend I could have ever asked for. I am so sorry that I can’t call you and tell you this in person. I wish Heaven had a phone. You changed my life. You are the reason I will always try to search for the good in someone/something. You are forever missed.
To my husband: Thank you for allowing me to be an open book and share my struggles. I’m so thankful I did not give into it. I would have missed out on so much. I tell you all the time that you are an answered prayer. I love you.
To my girls: You two will never know how much you mean to me. I prayed God would show me a miracle and he did with y’all. I love you both so very much. My saving graces.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Amanda Byram, 29, of Georgia. You can follow her journey on Instagram here. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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