The evening ended in another fight. Brianna was tired of fighting. She summoned her courage and told her boyfriend they were done. It was the right thing to do. At least that’s what she thought at the time of the break-up. A short time later, Brianna learned she was pregnant.
Life Felt Dark
At that time, Brianna was 17 years old. The moment she found out that she was pregnant, she knew she would keep the baby. She never questioned that decision. But, her vision of a family included a dad. She didn’t want to raise the baby by herself, but the father was someone who’d hurt her in that past, and she knew the relationship wasn’t healthy.
She needed to figure this out, but she didn’t know how. Eventually, she went back to her boyfriend to tell him they were going to have a baby.
Brianna says, “I was so ready to leave the relationship, but I couldn’t. I had this vision for the family I wanted. And when you’re pregnant and don’t know what to do, it can get you stuck in a situation that feels dark and isn’t good for you. My boyfriend and I got back together to try and raise our child. I stayed in this very unhealthy relationship until my baby, Dempsey, turned six months old. Finally, after so many months of crying, depression, anxiety, and calling out to God, I ended the hurtful relationship. I was scared and confused.”
Brianna knew that ending the relationship meant she’d be raising Dempsey by herself. “I’d spent so many hours crying. I’d cry in the shower. I’d cry when Dempsey slept. I’d pray and pray because I really didn’t want a broken family. I didn’t want to be in this situation. I was confused with God because I didn’t understand why all of this was happening to me. I didn’t think it was fair to my son. I felt like God wasn’t listening to me. I felt alone, and I didn’t know how I was going to make this work.
“I remember thinking that, as a single mom, I was going to prove to everyone that I could do this. My life wasn’t the way I wanted it to be, but I was determined to prove that I could make this work. But after I ended my relationship, I realized that I did what I did, and I needed God’s help. I couldn’t do it alone. I couldn’t do it myself.
“That’s when things began to change. I surrendered myself and my situation to God. I finally put my eyes on him. I told God that I was giving it all to him. I finally asked him, really asked him to help me, and I knew he would help me. I needed his love in my life. I was feeling terrible and unworthy. I had been praying to God all along but feeling like he wasn’t listening. My biological father often told me that God talked to him. I did not understand what he meant by that. It didn’t make sense to me. But I really needed to hear from God.
“Little by little, I began to realize I was hearing from God. He began sending people to help me because that’s what I needed. He also began speaking to me through answered prayers. I didn’t realize it at first because I wasn’t paying attention. I wasn’t looking for God. When you’re down and in bad condition, and you pray, you want it to happen right away. But it all comes down to your decisions and choices.
God’s People Invest
“I had a friend who invited me to Embrace. She said it would be good and fun. But I said its church and didn’t want to go. She told me it wasn’t like that. She said it was supportive. So, I went. That night they played a video of a girl who said she’d surrendered to God and asked God to talk to her. I thought that it was just like me a few days ago. There was so much love in the room. It was great to see the other moms there, too.
“I kept attending the Embrace meetings on Wednesday evenings. Each time we meet, they ask for prayer requests. I needed a furnace. We prayed. I got a furnace! Then, I need a car. I prayed, and one popped up on Facebook for the exact amount of money that I had. It was being sold by a single woman. Even though I hadn’t made up my mind about it yet, she turned down other offers and waited for me. I ended up getting the car.
“By now, I was attending Grace on Sundays. The first time I attended, I went with an amazing woman named Catt Dill. She helped me get Dempsey settled into Grace Kids and then sat with me. I got to see her worship. When I looked at Catt, she was so happy. I could see it in the room — God’s light. I wanted to feel like that every week. I like how I felt at Grace. It was nice. I wanted to be at Grace more often. I came as often as possible before I got my car. Now that I have my car, I come every Sunday.
Change in Me
“My life is so different now. Since I surrendered to God, I have such a sense of peace. God has brought so many people to help me and invest in my life through Grace. The Embrace ministry is amazing. I have friends who support me. We talk and read the Bible together. Christina and Kirsten, who run Embrace, are like second mothers to me. I feel so loved by them and others.
“Dempsey is two years old now and making church friends that he’ll have his whole life. That’s important to me. The love I have for Dempsey is overwhelming! It’s so wonderful to have people helping me give him a good life. I also have a mentor, Lisa. We usually meet before Embrace meetings. She loves both me and Dempsey! She’s so wonderful and always brings little gifts for Dempsey. It’s nice to have a non-family member to talk to who is wise and supportive.
“Also, a team of people came to my house through Big Serve to help me. They painted and worked on the trim. We laughed and joked during the day. They stayed far longer than they were supposed to because they wanted to help me get things done in my home that I couldn’t do for myself. They gave to me from their hearts. They gave to me because they love giving. They gave because they love.
“I used to think that God wasn’t listening to me, but I realized that’s not true. Even before I fully surrendered to God, he was bringing people into my life to care for me. I was born and raised in Minnesota, but my biological father was arrested for dealing drugs and sent back to Mexico. He was in prison for 13 years. During that time, my mom prayed for a new man to come into her life. God sent my wonderful stepdad who helped me so much during those years. God took care of us through my stepdad. Then God took care of my biological father, too. My biological father became a Christian while in prison. Now he’s a pastor at a small church in Mexico.
Living and Sharing The Light
“All these people have poured so much into Dempsey and me. I’m happy, loved, and blessed. I want others to see the love of Jesus in me. I may not be able to fix my friends' and families’ problems, but I know who can!
My sister comes to church with me on Sunday now. I’ve brought my uncle, too. Recently, my whole family attended Grace with me. My mom said that she can see a light in me now that she thought was gone forever. She believes that light is from God. I do, too. God and others have invested in me, and I want to share that light with others. It’s a change that is forever. It’s an eternal change that will never go away.
“Whoever loves his brother abides in the light and in him there is no cause for stumbling.” I John 2:10