On February 1, 2018, those two little pink lines showed up on a pregnancy test from the local Dollar Store. At that moment, I knew my life would be forever changing. All I could keep thinking about was that I am going to be a mom.
Then panic mode set in.
How am I going to tell my parents? What will they think? How am I going to do this without any of my family close by? How am I going to tell the father that I had only known for a few short months? What are people going to think about me? How will I afford taking care of a baby?
The next chapter of my life was going to be different, but little did I know, it would be the best that I could ever have been given.
After having some scary moments and finally seeing that little blur on the ultrasound screen at the doctor’s office, I still did not know what God had in store for me and my baby.
After talking with my church group, I was introduced to Heather and Reliance Center, when I was about 8 weeks pregnant.
At Reliance they started mentoring me immediately and had me enroll in Embrace Grace, a program of support groups.
While being mentored, I was finding my worth and who I was not only as a female but as a strong, single mom.
Heather (the founder of Reliance) was not only my mentor, and a local leader for Embrace Grace, but a very dear friend who talks to you just like another human. We all make mistakes, but one of the best things about it is learning from those mistakes. Heather is one of the most amazing and real people that I know. She is not afraid to tell you about her own mistakes.
Before I got pregnant, I was a hot mess. I did not know how much I was worth and how much God really does love me. I feel like Reliance Center, Heather and Embrace Grace, saved my life and let me know that I am worthy of so many things that God has in store for me and my son.
There were times during my pregnancy and afterward when I thought questioned whether adoption was the best option. Being a single mom with bills and doing it all on my own, I thought there was no way that I would be able to raise a little human on my own and give him everything that he needed. But every time I was struggling, I would visit or call Reliance, and they talked me through things, and I always felt better. During my pregnancy I had a lot of times when paying my bills were very hard. There were several times that I had to reach out to the Reliance Center and ask for resources to help paying for my rent and energy bills, and they were always there for me.
On September 28 at 1:10 a.m., I welcomed my son, Brantlee Lewis, into this big scary world. I always thought new moms were overreacting and over the top when they talked about being a mom - until I held Brantlee in my arms.
He has opened my eyes and my heart like I have never seen or felt anything before.
After having Brantlee and living in my apartment, there were several times where I could not afford to pay for daycare or my electric bill. The Reliance Center has helped Brantlee and me in several ways that I am so grateful for. Other times when I felt overwhelmed or just needed to talk, and I was always met with grace and a place to vent. Without them we would not be where we are today.
I have taken parenting and other classes at Reliance and they have impacted my life so much. Even though Brantlee is only 11 months old, the parenting classes offer a way for me to learn new things and think about how I am going to raise him to the best of my ability.
I would not be the mother I am today without Reliance Center and Heather in my life. She has taught me that God does love me, and He does not judge me for things that I have done in my past.
Not only did Reliance Center help me, they helped my son’s father. He started attending classes in their men’s program and learned so much. Even though he and I are not in a relationship any longer, I can rest a little easier knowing that he has been taught so many great things about how to be a dad. I believe they planted a seed in his heart as well.
I let God into my heart when Brantlee was about three months old. At the same time, he was dedicated. Since Heather and the Reliance Center have helped us so much, it makes my heart happy to know that I am able to give back to them in any way that I can.
Brantlee would not be here and the sweet, kind, big hearted, little boy that he is today without the help of his Auntie Heather and Uncle Rick.
I am so grateful to be able to give back to the Reliance Center and help any of the mommas or ladies that come to the center. It makes me feel so good to be able to speak to people about this amazing opportunity that I have had.