Written By Bree Rostic, USA
There was a time I believed that I had it all together.
In my mind, I was the epitome of cool. On top of being an academic all-star—I had just been accepted into several amazing colleges at the time—I was a popular cheerleader and was dating a college athlete. At that moment, nothing could stop me from taking the world by storm and creating the change I wanted to see.
The only problem was, the only change I really wanted to see was me. I wanted to be thinner, prettier, smarter and more popular—like all the celebrities on television. My plan was to pursue a career in the entertainment industry after college. And although some may have thought I already had a life worth leading, I wanted more. I wanted to be better. Like the girls around me who wanted to be thinner, taller, or more beautiful, I fell into the trap.
But everything in my life changed when I started college. Instead of growing smaller, I grew larger. Instead of feeling prettier, I felt uglier. I got tired easily, and that caused my social life and relationships to suffer and my academic results to slip. I just couldn’t seem to get my footing. What was going on with me? I had no idea, and I continued to struggle for months.
It turned out that I was pregnant . . . how could this be? Well, I knew how—but I never really thought it would actually happen to me. I never thought that such a huge fall from grace was possible. I was a role model for young women, coaching cheerleaders, volunteering in youth ministry . . . and now, pregnant three weeks shy of turning 18.
Suddenly, everything I planned on accomplishing had to shift. What would I do, what would my family think, how would my boyfriend respond? And my mom? I had given abstinence and purity a high value, always saying “a no now is a greater yes later”. Now I had to tell her that I had failed her. Not only did I feel like I failed her, but I failed God. My mind began to throb at the magnitude of what pregnancy meant, let alone raising a child.
For the first time in my life, I realized I didn’t have it all together. Every time I thought about the needs of my-soon-to-be-child, I found myself thinking: But what about me? That’s when I realized how selfish I was and how obsessed I had become about my appearance and the things of the world.
One Sunday while attending church with my mom, I felt convicted of my sins. In fact, just being in the building itself made me feel condemned. There were many people there, but I felt alone. I knew I couldn’t do this on my own. I needed God. But I didn’t think that God would have anything to do with my sin—with me.
But something happened that evening. The Holy Spirit ministered to me and comforted me, and I gave Him my all. I dedicated my life as well as my child’s life to God. I asked Him to never leave me, to guide me in this process. That night, I laid all my burdens at His feet and began to truly follow Him.
I didn’t see a drastic change in my life immediately after that, but there were small changes. I began to read my Bible and pray. My thoughts started to shift as well: they were no longer centered on myself; they were focused on my son, on my boyfriend-turned-fiancé, and on God.
Today, my son is eight. He has been attending church and learning and growing in a community of believers with my husband and me. I serve on multiple ministry teams at church and work in full-time ministry helping others understand the life-changing wisdom of the Bible. I’ve had opportunities to speak, teach, and minister to God’s people.
Through this journey, I have learned this: God knows that we will make mistakes, but He loves us so much that He sent Jesus to redeem and restore us. His Holy Spirit instructs, teaches and guides us in love; all we have to do is follow. It took a while for me to realize that my pregnancy did not just birth a child—it also birthed new possibilities in my life.
God used it to intervene in my life and draw me back to Him. So now, instead of chasing after material things and superficial happiness, I chase after God, serving Him and loving His people. Instead of dancing in the hopes that I could one day appear in a music video, I dance as an act of worship. Instead of spending countless hours worrying about my external beauty, I spend time working on the beauty of my soul.
I won’t say that my journey hasn’t been bumpy or without challenges. The transition from a selfish teen to a selfless woman has been grueling. I have lost friendships and opportunities. Being a teen mom, going to college, getting married, working full-time, joining ministry and building a new social life has been hard. But I wouldn’t change anything.
I believe God sometimes allows us to make mistakes when He wants to get our attention. But He doesn’t leave us there. Instead, He strengthens us in moments of weakness and adds joy to our sorrows. We can rest assured that “all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). Mistakes can be used to bring us closer to God and make us more Christ-like if we surrender them to Him. God took my mistakes and used them to show me my purpose of serving and loving His people.
As I look back on my life now, I can say I didn’t get the changes I wanted but I certainly got the changes I needed. I’m glad God got the final say.