It originally starts on Thanksgiving night of 1988. My mom, standing outside an LA abortion clinic during an Operation Rescue movement, pleaded with woman to choose life for the babies growing inside of them. Police on horses tore through the people brutally arresting many that boldly stood for those with no voice.
My birth mother, pregnant with me, just happened to be at the same movement praying for those getting arrested.
Heartsick that this recent offense of an arrest on the record might prevent my parents from getting chosen to adopt a baby, my mom asked their adoption attorney if it was still a future possibility. His response was that iit had been a decision lead by God, and her obedience would bring blessings.
Months later, as my birthmother read the stories of six waiting couples, it was the fact that my mom had been arrested for taking a stand against abortion that finalized who she was going to choose. On April 25th, 1989 at 10:21 am, I was born to my dad and mom, who had earnestly been praying for six years to have a child to love.
Three years later, my sister was welcomed into the family from another birthmother. We grew up not only loved, but utterly treasured by our parents.
Being homeschooled, we were given a life of community, culture, and protection. Our life was saturated with God, literature, field trips, sports, and the arts. Mom was a stay at home mom, teacher and chauffer, and dad worked two jobs to provide the life any child would dream of.
As I began to grow into my individuality, and was now extensively involved in classical ballet training, I fell into a detrimental cycle of self consciously critiquing every part of myself. Weight had became an issue at the age of 15.
On my 16th birthday, we moved to Northern Idaho. I had gradually become more rebellious to the conservative rules my parents had established and craved freedom. By 17, I had reached my parents wits end. I was drinking, smoking, and experimenting with drugs, befriending anyone, I made sneaking out my weekly mission. Not only was it an adrenaline rush, but my curiosity of what I had been so avidly sheltered from got the best of me.
Ever since a little girl, I was captivated with God. From a young age, He spoke to my heart. I found the bible fascinating, and never stopped being hungry to learn more of His word, even in the darkest of days. I accepted Jesus into my heart at 4, but it wasn’t until a specific night I experienced at an Idaho youth group that my faith had become real. I remember weeping through the powerful words of the worship songs and not what is was about that night, but everyone in that room was moved, and to this day, has been burned vividly into my memory reel.
We were asked to pin our most shameful details to a cross on the stage. I was so overtaken by the emotions and conviction welling up within me that I had moved to sit against a wall and sobbed with head hanging down. I felt a hand press against the top my head and instantly was flooded with amazement by the words the youth pastor started to pray over me and my future.
Even after such a powerful night of conviction, I continued to live the double life of a believer that just can’t let go of the world. I again fell into fulfilling what I thought was right and wanted to do and ended up pregnant 3 months after graduating with honors from a public charter school in Idaho.
Five months later, I married the father. Two months after that, we made the move back to California. After delivering Noah on July 5th, 2008, I realized I had made a horrible mistake jumping into a marriage that was not God centered.
Being raised with the morals that you should be married when you have baby, I thought, by making this choice in trying to do the right thing and giving our baby the chance to have a mom and a dad, God would bless the marriage. With Noah only being months old, a web of lies, resentment and hurt overflowed into my life. Nights were spent crying myself to sleep next to a husband that not only had no interest in me, but repeatedly told me he was only there for Noah’s sake.
Two years later, after a final attempt to rid the marriage of lies, a devastating phone call from a family member shared news of something that had been going on for months and I was done. I was done with the stories, the excuses, the possessiveness, and the empty words. Prayer and counseling just was not working anymore, and the actions that had spoken for themselves sealed the deal.
I admit that was not the most honorable reaction, but shortly after the separation, I filed for divorce.
With him thinking it was all smoke and meer, I adimately made it a point to show him how separated we really were. I hated that our marriage had failed and the hurt that built within caused me to fall into a reckless cycle. I ssought the attention and love he did not give me in our marriage in other men. To provide, I worked at a medical marijuana clinic, and smoked my worries, regrets and pain away. Shortly after, my parents, discouraged by my choice of work, asked me to move out of their house.
There were about three years where I felt I was fighting to simply survive. I had speeding tickets up the ying yang, got to be with Noah everyday while his dad was at work, but never felt comfortable to take him to where I lived due to the roommates I had chosen. I had no car, was buying my groceries on food stamps, barely paying the rent with a handful of minimum wage jobs, and clung tightly to my positive attitude but in all honesty, had no hope for the future.
All the while, the ex had buddied up to my parents and made it a point in the community to share how horrible of a person I had become. Feeling completely alone, the support and defense the church, my parents and our mutual friends had given him, continued to set me off in a downward spiral.
As painful as it is to think back upon those lost days, I never ignored reading the word of God. Though the majority of the time, my actions were led by hurt and anger, I knew if I continued to do the right thing in the long run, God would expose the truth and heal what had been broken.
It was around the beginning of 2012 that life started to ease up. My mind and heart had matured drastically, and just the right opportunities started to fall into my lap. I was climbing the ladder as a bartender and working an opposite schedule to the ex helped in giving me even more time with my sweet little Noah man. I was off food stamps, had gotten back my high school car, and just moved into a beautiful apartment across the street from my work. I began to proceed yet again to finalize the divorce and take a step to move forward with my life.
In the summer of 2014, I enrolled to become a yoga trainer and was actively involved in a climbing gym where I received my level 1 routesetter certification. I had become confidently proud of what I had accomplished since the separation. I continued to enjoy my life as a single momma, dating was not only a waste of time but uninteresting in every manner. I was solely focused on moving up in the world. I lived two lives, momma life and Caitlin life. My social life had began to have a leading role. My priority, besides Noah, was to live for the moment, and I carried myself with a distinct cockiness that had developed into an attitude of “having it all together.”
About a month after, a change started to occur in my heart. My mind was bored with the bartending world and I craved to set a better example to Noah. Yoga had made me become obsessed with meditating and what I ate, thought and did. A new level of consciousness was now filtering my words and actions, but the void I kept feeling was suppressed with a nightly Jack and water, a few cigs, and my sleeping aide, the lovely mary jane.
On one of my daily trips to a health food store for a juice, I was abruptly stopped by a young lady who asked if I did yoga. I answered yes, and without a moment’s notice, in the middle of the store, she grabbed my hands, started crying and passionately began to pray over me. She begged that the strongholds would be lifted, that I would stop practicing yoga, discover the truth, and ended with almost verbatim of what the Idaho youth pastor had said. She then shared her story of being a renown yoga instructor who had traveled the world but became deathly sick. She shared that it was God who had lead her out of the culture of yoga, and into a life of healing and ministry. Stunned, I left the store bewildered to why this had happened to only discover a few day later, during a session of my yoga school class an alarming reality. As I was laid in Shavasana (star fish on your back), my brain was bombarded with one gut wrenching question, If I was emptying my brain, soul and spirit, what was filling it while I unconsciously fell into a “peaceful” yoga spell?
Mortified, I left the class, and never went back. In later research, I discovered that everything that young lady had shared with me was right. Yoga was never meant for exercise, but originated for the sole purpose of worship to more than three million Hindu gods and opened the body to prana, the life force energy that really shouldn’t be messed with.
On my knees, palms faced up, I sat in the middle of my living room with tears of conviction flowing down my cheeks. I had gotten it all wrong, everything. A still, small voice whispered to let it all go. I choked on my words begging God to let me keep all that I had worked for, all that I had achieved, fought for.
What will people think? I’ll loose my life if I do this.
Those doubts didn’t stop my prayers that proceeded to ask for restoration physically, mentally, and spiritually. Again, the voice stated calmly to let it all go. Quit your job by the end of the year became the recurring answer to my prayers.
I felt the presence of Jesus holding my hands in that moment. A wave of comfort flooded my being. I knew with everything in me, I had to do it. I had tried it my way for 25 years. I wanted more, and God had been waiting to give it to me.
The letter with my two weeks notice was written in October of 2014, and on New Year’s Eve night, after a shift of making almost a thousand dollars in tips, I handed my letter in. I moved out of my apartment, got rid of all my goods, moved back into my parents, and waited on the Lord. The more I released, the more I was given.
It was not easy, but the doors to an amazing adoption story, the start of college, a job with the school district, and having the same schedule as Noah would have never become part of my life if I had remained where I was.
Through rebellion, divorce, vices, selfishness, anger, pride and shame I allowed the world’s standard to shape me, but it was not until the day I laid down my life that found the life I was created for.
“See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” Colossians 2:8