by Maya Gaines
When I was a young girl my grandmother Anna Delores Freeman would often take time to talk to me about life. My grandma was a very sweet woman who believed in pointing out the good in everyone. She was the type of woman who would not only give her last to help others but would also borrow from what ever you had just to make sure that a need didn’t go unmet. Her generosity was inspired by her love for Jesus Christ. Her talks were so powerful and profound that even someone with the lowest self-esteem could walk away from a conversation with Mother Freeman feeling like the most valuable person in the room. Seeing her example inspired me to want to be the best person that I could be.
She had this way of encouraging and disciplining me all at the same time. She would say to me “Stay sweet in your soul baby. Stay sweet in your soul.” Most times when I heard these words it was because my conversation and actions were not in line with what I was being taught. I didn’t realize it then, but she was like a Shepherd taking her staff and guiding me her little lost sheep safely back to green pastures.
At the age of fifteen I became pregnant with my oldest son. At that time there was a lot of fear and concern that I would end up quitting school if I were to go through with the pregnancy. I was a freshman in high school with at least a 3.0 G.PA and was taking all college prep classes. My mother was devastated she couldn’t imagine her youngest baby having a baby. I was terrified I couldn’t bear the thought of taking the life of another human being. I came up with this plan I would go to my grandma because I knew that she would never approve of this decision to end the life of an unborn child.
To my surprise she didn’t respond quite the way I thought she didn’t start a war with my parents and come to my defense. Instead she upheld her beliefs with a spirit of peace. She corrected me in a way that she hadn’t before. She said may we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly Not she said God forbid it. In that moment she taught me that you don’t cover sin with more sin. She held me accountable for my actions and covered me with an unconditional love while restoring me through prayer.
Although my grandma had made it very clear that abortion wasn’t nor should it had ever been an option. She still didn’t have the final say. I will never forget the instructions I was given at the clinic. They said make sure that you do not eat anything after midnight if you do you could die during the procedure. An appointment was scheduled for me to come back first thing the next morning. I didn’t sleep at all that night. Around 6am I ate me some breakfast and then went back to my room and laid down.
I told myself that if my mother wouldn’t allow me to have my child then she would also know what it was like to lose a child. I grabbed my stomach and told my unborn child that I wasn’t going to let him leave here alone. I almost didn’t have my son and if it weren’t for what I now believe to have been an angel I probably wouldn’t be here today. While I was lying on the table saying what I thought would be my last prayer. The nurse looked at me and said why are you here. I believe I started crying that’s when she told me to get up and get dressed. She escorted me back to my mother and we left. This wasn’t the first time I had attempted to end my life, but after that day I knew that surely God had to have a purpose and plan for me.
There were a lot of things from my childhood that I was warned not to talk about when I was growing up. What I couldn’t say I wrote down in diaries and in poems. Although I knew that I didn’t have the power to go back and change the past I thought that maybe I would be able to write me a better future. Life for me became much like a script being acted out by a bunch of characters. Growing up I wasn’t very good at handling sad situations. I found them to be awkward because I never knew the write words to say, so I would write letters to express my thoughts with the hope that something I wrote would make someone feel better.
It was in high school that I really begin to see how my passion for writing was helping others. I would have friends come to me after reading something that I had written and ask me how I knew what they were thinking or how they were feeling. The truth is I didn’t know I was just writing what was in my heart at that time. I didn’t realize at the time that I was already being used by God as an instrument of healing for many of my hurting peers.
I know what it’s like to feel pain that can’t always be expressed out loud. I know what it is to want to cry out but for the sake of not wanting to be judged, misunderstood or even worse blamed you remain silent, trapped by your own opinion of how others may react. Because of the example of my parents who supported and stood by me I also know firsthand what God’s grace and mercy looks like. I write because writing for me is freedom. It’s that powerful voice that speaks for us when we have no words to say.