God’s Merciful Love and My Teenage Pregnancy
Letter from Cait Winters
(Click on the letters to enlarge)
Dear Precious Sisters,
We were teenagers. We got in over our heads. He told me he loved me and I believed him.
When I got pregnant he told me that he would be there for me, marry me, and we would be a family. A family that would stay together unlike the ones we grew up in. That we would build a home that wouldn't be broken. I had believed him. I had tried to fix what was out of my scope of repair and paid the price. There I was, battered, cheated, used, and alone. The dream of a family that I had been promised was dead. My life felt absolutely over.
Not only was I a teenage mother but now a single teenage mother.
Instead of beating the odds like I imagined I was just another statistic. I had hesitated to leave a bad situation because it meant I had failed again. What would it mean of me if we broke up for good? What would my future hold? I was broken and had too much baggage. I had lost the chance to give my daughter the type of life I desired for her. The family that she deserved.
Fast forward some years later. I had started writing notes to God. Casual prayers that I would fold into footballs and put in a small floral gift box. One particularly lonely day to humor myself, I wrote a sarcastic letter asking God to send me a good guy. One that would show me what it felt like to be loved.
A couple of months later I was dating someone new (my husband!) and we were growing closer. He was the most amazing man I had ever met. He was so kind, funny and hard working. He was tall and handsome. He adored me and my daughter and showed me the way that I should expect to be treated. He called, took me out, visited, got to know my family. Not to mention that I was falling head over heels faster than an acrobat. He ticked so many check marks that I was excited and terrified all at once.
I felt a little jaded before meeting him but he was stirring feelings up in me that I couldn't ignore. I was skeptical. I had believed in the fairy-tale before. It didn't happen. It wasn't real. The pain I felt of a family crumbling in my hands at such a young age made me resolve not to let myself be that naive ever again. I didn't think that it could happen for me anymore, that my sin had cost my daughter and myself everything, that I would be a slave to the consequences of my past mistakes for the rest of my life.
I was a cradle Catholic but had obviously strayed far from God. At that point I was just getting to know the Lord again. He was taking hold and transforming me but, I was unsure that he could restore the deep part of my heart that was so badly hurt. One night in my apartment I was thinking deeply while considering this blossoming relationship. I was venting my fears and frustration aloud, walking and talking to God as if he was sitting in the room with me. As I turned to pace the floor another time, something caught my eye. It was a rose on the floral gift box I kept on my desk. My heart leapt as I remembered the prayer note I wrote. I opened it up and read the half-joking, half-hearted words with tears gathering in my eyes.
Though I was still full of doubt, I decided to stop fighting.
I went with my heart and the urging of my soul. I placed all of my hope not into the man of my husband, but into the Lord for my future and embraced the joy that God was gifting to me through this new beginning. Little did I know that he had more and better in store for me than I ever could have imagined for myself.
I wasn't sure he could restore my purity, and he did through the sacrament of marriage. I wasn't sure I could heal from my past, and he gave me peace. I wasn't sure he could help me love again, and he opened my heart. I wasn't sure he could resurrect my dream of a family, and he gave me a good man that raised my daughter as his own and two more beautiful children. I am certain now, however that all of these things are nothing less than blessings and gifts from him. With my faith being the greatest blessing of all.
Ladies, I was shattered when things didn't go as I had planned. I didn't see the bigger picture but God does.
Looking back, I can see his fingerprints all over my life.
Though the circumstances weren't ideal I needed to have my sweet baby first if I was ever to begin to know our Father's heart. Through having a girl of my own I was better able to understand the type of deep and unconditional love God has for us, his children and the high value he places on us, his daughters.
I learned that putting our trust in God is never a gamble. It is never too late. You are never too far gone that God can't reach you. He waits for us to turn to him. If only we would grab his outstretched hand. I could have doubted my husband's goodness and passed up true love but, God had other plans. The Lord was so faithful through my unfaithfulness and so worthy of my confidence in Him. When I surrendered to Jesus he not only showed me mercy but blessed me beyond my wildest expectations. That leap of faith into my husband's arms changed the course of all our lives. I still have that folded note I wrote so many years ago. I keep it in that old gift box to remind myself of how far we all have come.
God in his infinite kindness took pity on me, a teenage mother and allows me to live the fairy tale I thought was lost forever. Trust in him sisters. He is so worthy.
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Get to know Cait
Full name: Caitlin Sara Winters
Age: 30 years young
State-in-life, Occupation: Full-time wife and mother of 3, part-time personal care attendant, blogger and intermittent crafter.
Location: Freetown, Massachusetts, a historic settlement town south of Boston.
Educational background: After graduating high school I attended a secondary tech school and had a career as a Medical Assistant. I also took prerequisites for nursing but shifted my focus to my growing family once I was married.
How does your Catholic faith affect the way you live your day-to-day life?
I think in every way but most notably, the hope that faith in Christ brings. Having hope has changed my perspective on the challenges I face. I struggle with anxiety and staying hopeful has allowed me to exchange so much of my anxieties for blessed assurance.
Has there been a particular teaching of the Church that has intimately transformed the way you see yourself and others? If so, please describe.
I would say the real presence of Christ in the eucharist. My priest explained it so well saying that like we eat plants, a lesser being, and they become a part of us energetically so it is when we receive Christ in the eucharist but because he is an infinitely greater being we become a part of him, one body of Christ in holy communion.
What aspect of your life right now do you find the most beautiful? The most challenging?
Motherhood 100%! It is both the most beautiful and challenging aspect of my life all at once. Though I have been a mother for a while having two 2 and under is a new experience for me. God is always using my kids to teach me something.
What’s your favorite way to spend a Saturday off?
I love just chilling with my family. The simplest of things become an adventure with us. On my husbands day off we like to go shopping together and we spend the majority of our time in the grocery store fooling around and cracking each other up.
Fill in the blank
My morning routine consists of: lots of coffee, prayer, diaper changes, waffles and dishes.
I’m currently obsessed with: discovering new podcasts! I love having something of substance to listen to when I’m doing chores or working out.
I feel most inspired when: when I am in the Word and prayerful.
My favorite part about my life right now is: my young family, how my life has all come full circle.
The advice I would give to the millennial Catholic woman is: be proud of your faith and proclaim it!