Grandma At 36

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My husband and I with our 7 children, Summer of 2016.

People often ask, ‘How can you be a grandma? You look too young”. Yes, I am a young grandma. I do not mind the question and I would love to tell you how it came to be that I became a grandma at the age of 36.

I grew up in a very loving, stable home with two parents and one sister. I had an almost perfect childhood; the only dark time I remembered was when my mom had a miscarriage when I was 9 years old. Every night for weeks after the miscarriage, she would silently cry while washing the dinner dishes. Although we were a moral, law-abiding family, we hardly ever went to church, prayed, or even talked about God. We considered ourselves to be Christian, but now that I look back, I know we were far from having a personal relationship with Jesus.

I met my husband, Mike, when I was 13. His dad was the new pastor at the Baptist church in town. Mike and his brothers invited me to church or youth group on several occasions, but I was not interested.

When I was 14 years old, I became very rebellious. I started hanging out with a really wild crowd and began dating a man 8 years older than myself much to my parent’s dismay. When my parents pressured me to break up with him, I threatened to run away to Mexico, so they felt they had no choice but to let me see him. I seemed to have purposely chosen the man with the worst reputation in town, well-known for supplying alcohol for all of the underage kids, a man with a temper and promiscuous background, a man whose home had drug raids. Within a short time, I completely lost my identity as a person. I lived in fear of my boyfriend’s temper.

There were many times I was placed in dangerous situations where I could have died, one of them being the time my boyfriend showed up at my house on a motorcycle, completely drunk. He wanted to take me to the rodeo. His eyes could not even focus properly because of how drunk he was, but I could not say no to him. I got on the back of a motorcycle with this drunk man, no helmet, and clung to him for dear life, going over 120 mph, weaving in and out of traffic on blind corners. Somehow we made it to the rodeo unharmed. I know God was watching out for me even then.

Halfway through my Sophomore year in high school, I found out I was pregnant. My doctor showed me on the ultrasound that the baby was a little boy. Even though I was almost in the 2nd trimester of my pregnancy, my doctor recommended I have an abortion. She could secretly set it up at the Planned Parenthood in Santa Barbara without my parent’s knowledge. She stressed that I could not live a normal life if I had a baby at my young age. I thought she was right. I told my doctor that I wanted to get my parent’s permission before proceeding with the abortion. This desire to ask my parent’s permission to abort their first grandchild marked the beginning of a turning point for me. I knew in my heart that it was my parents I could trust.

I am so thankful that both of my parents supported my unborn baby and me. In their minds God gave me this baby for a reason. I started thinking about my life, coming to grips with the fact that I did not want to raise my baby in a dysfunctional atmosphere. And I knew I would have to break up with my boyfriend. And that is exactly what I did within 2 weeks of finding out I was pregnant. He threatened suicide. He came to my window drunk in the middle of the night on so many occasions I lost count. 911 became a frequently used phone number in my house and visits from the Sheriff were also common. We had to get a restraining order– but that did not seem to deter my ex-boyfriend from breaking the law.

When I was 5 months along in my pregnancy, I was able to see my baby moving around and kicking through an ultrasound again. I was so excited that I had chosen life for this baby. Still, my doctor asked me yet again to consider having an abortion since I was so young. When I told her I planned on continuing with my pregnancy, I could see the look of disgust on her face. But her disgust did not damper my excitement for this new life– New life growing inside of me, but I also sensed a new life spiritually growing within me. I made a decision to follow Jesus Christ. Being able to cry out to Jesus, my Comforter, brought me healing. The feeling of forgiveness and the burden of sin was removed and I allowed myself to be accepted into His arms as His daughter.

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Andrew at 6 months old while visiting Mike (with his “cool” surfer hair) and me at school for a Science Fair. Feb 1993.

One month after I turned 16, I gave birth to a baby boy, Andrew. I was able to go back to school when Andrew was 2 weeks old with the help of my mom who kept Andrew with her at her home day care. Being a junior in high school with a baby at home and no friends at school was not my ideal situation, but Mike, my pastor’s son, became a good friend to me almost immediately upon my return to school. He came over to my house after school and cared for Andrew while I was busy with homework or counseling session. By the time Andrew was 4 months old, Mike and I knew we were meant to be a family. Mike, at the age of 18, naturally took on the role of Daddy to my son.

During this same time, Andrew’s biological father went off the deep end. He did not like the fact that I had moved on with my life. He ended up spending several months in jail for statutory rape and breaking the restraining order at least half a dozen different times. Mike was not scared by the threats that Andrew’s biological father made. He stood by me, unlike my fair-weather friends. Mike was my protector, my defender, and Andrew’s, too.

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Andrew at 1 year old, August 1993.

One of the blessings of enduring a crisis pregnancy was not only the fact that the Lord used that painful situation to draw me into a genuine relationship with Him, but both of my parents dedicated their lives to the Lord. When Andrew was 3 months old, my mom began taking classes to become a crisis pregnancy counselor. Upon returning home on the first night of her training, she was an emotional wreck. I asked her why she had been crying and she told me that she had learned about abortions at the different stages of fetal development. I went into my room where Andrew was sleeping, sat on my bed and that is when the Holy Spirit spoke to me: “Remember the miscarriage your mom had when you were 9? It wasn’t a miscarriage. It was an abortion.” And in my spirit, I knew it was true. I went to my mom’s room, sat next to her and asked her if the miscarriage was really an abortion. Still crying, she shook her head, “Yes.” My mom had been raped by a trusted friend which caused a pregnancy that was not supposed to be. My unborn sister never had a chance at life.

The blood of my sister was shed in the clinic of Santa Barbara’s Planned Parenthood in 1985; the same Planned Parenthood that almost took the life of my son. Seven years of hidden depression and guilt were heaped onto my mom’s shoulders. In 1992, when I asked permission to go back to that same place to abort her grandson, there was a spiritual battle going on. Light versus dark. Satan did not win. My mom became a counselor and has counseled hundreds of post-abortive women who battled depression on how to find healing and forgiveness through Jesus.

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My mom and dad with my oldest daughter, Tiffany, and her husband, Thomas on their wedding day, April 16, 2016.

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Andrew and Kristal with my grandchildren, Alonzo and Celine

I married Mike when I was 18, he was 20 and Andrew was 2. We have been blessed with 6 more children in our marriage. As of this writing (March 2017): Andrew is 24. He served 4 years in the Navy and is now in the National Guard and has been married to my beautiful daughter-in-law, Kristal for 5 years. I have a grandson born April 2012 and a granddaughter born October 2014. And being such a young grandma is one of the best blessings in life that I could have asked for.

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My whole family!

I have a peaceful closure on the events in my life and complete forgiveness towards my son’s father. Truly, God has made all things new and has given me beauty from ashes, redeeming my life from a pit.

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17 Responses to Grandma At 36

  1. Johanna F. says:

    Bless you! What a beautiful family and a beautiful testimony. You know you have nothing to feel awkward about. And, hey, you’re young enough to not just dote on but also get down on the floor and crawl around with your grandchildren!

  2. Your story is incredible. I am in awe. Continue spreading the glory of God!!!

  3. Ms Lisa says:

    Thanks for sharing your story. I admit I was a little judgmental when I began reading, but by the time I was finished, I was ashamed of my initial reaction. God has been teaching me to be slow to judge and anger, and this post was exactly what I needed today. Please keep writing – you have a true talent for heartfelt words. May god bless you and your wonderfully large family! 🙂

  4. Jenn says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I just recently learned I will be a grandmom at 36 and I’m still processing that. It’s encouraging to read your words. I think my biggest fear are the judgemental attitudes that I experienced when I had my daughter at 17.
    It’s a new, different world journey that we’re entering.
    Thank you againZ

    • Hi Jenn, I understand exactly where you’re coming from. Those judgmental attitudes hit so close to home. Just stay focused on the rewards of early grandmotherhood- the blessing of that precious grandchild. Keep your eyes on the Lord and everything will fall into place in your new family situation.

    • Ray ray says:

      Jenn,

      I’m currently at this exact same moment you experienced in a year ago at the exact same age of 36. Found out yesterday my son at age 18 will be a dad this August. Because it’s been a year since your post, how did things work out for you?

    • Hi Jenn,
      I wanted to check in with you to see how you’re doing on this journey of getting ready to be a grandmom. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
      Blessings,
      Brenda

  5. Ray ray says:

    Wow. All I can say is thank you for writing this amazing blog piece. I was just told last night that I’m going to be a grandmother at the age of 36. My son who is 18, almost 19, will be having a baby end of August 2017.
    It’s very comforting to know their are other women out there who had their children as a teenager and became grandparents young along with it. It comforts my soul and spirit.
    I found out I was pregnant in my last few months of high school senior year at age 17. I started college in August after graduating, had my son October, then returned next semester. I always told my son to please be careful and be smart about being in a relationship in high school. Told him, yes I did it and survived as a teen mom and raised you and your siblings right (I hope) but it wasn’t always like it is now; comfortable, financially alright, own a home, im remarried to an amazing man who was more a father to them than their own father.
    And just like you Brenda, I too learned to adjust to life’s many pot holes that were put in my way. I told my son that it will be alright and to trust god. The “mom” aka girlfriend (age 18) will be an obstacle with the baby and my son not too long after the birth. I fear this because my mom instincts kicked in and that’s what I’m being told by it. But god has a plan and reasons for my son to become a teen parent just as I was. I told him those reasons won’t be clear to you for quite some time but eventually you’ll get the answer.
    Again, thank you Brenda for making my day a little less scary as I take the first step on this new journey. I really needed to read something like this and god knew that and your blog writing was the first to catch my eye.

    • Thank-you for sharing your heart about the current situation with your son. I’m sure you’re still numb from the initial news, but it sounds like you’re able to calmly realize that God has a purpose in this. This baby will be a blessing to your family even if it seems that it’s not the best timing. What your son, the girlfriend and your unborn grandbaby need most of all is your love and support. There may be more bumps in the road as time goes by, but if you continue on with the positive attitude you have, your faith in the Lord and His goodness will be strengthened. Feel free to reach out to me anytime if you need someone to talk to! 🙂

    • Hi Ray ray,
      It’s been one month since you replied to this post. I wanted to check in with you to see how things are going for your family? I’ve been thinking of you and praying for you.
      Blessings,
      Brenda

  6. Carol Verge says:

    Brenda, I have always been in awe of how you fully let God direct your steps, but now that I have read your story, I am blessed to know you. You have such a sweet disposition and a beautiful smile. Thank you for sharing what has happened in your life. It shows just how God can move in our lives if we let Him into our lives. God has preserved you for a special purpose and now you are fulfilling it. God bless you, my sweet sister. I am honored to know you. Praise God for His indescribable gift.

    • Carol, thank-you for such sweet words. It is true, as you said, that God can move in our lives if we let Him. He truly has brought beauty from ashes in my life with the blessing of my family. I am thankful you were touched by my testimony- and I will continue to share with others about His love and grace as long as I have breath. I am honored to know you, too, and am honored to have you as a sister in Christ.

  7. Tracy Campbell says:

    Brenda, I’m looking forward to meeting you this week! Your transparency and description of your family made me shed quite a few tears… THIS is the true Christian walk – not the one from Bob Jones’ textbooks.. one of trust, faith, and perseverance, all which lead to joy!

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