I was born in Beaumont, Texas to a 20-year-old single college student. My mom was at Prairie View University on a track scholarship when she found out she was pregnant with me. Being a young single mother in college was tough for her and eventually she felt like she had no choice but to put college on hold and focus on tending to me. She did the absolute best she could with raising me along with her village, but I always told myself that if I didn’t do anything else in life, I was going to be sure not to have babies out of wedlock.
Growing up, literally all three of my closest girlfriends had both a mother and father in their household. It was tough being the only one who didn’t. I truly desired to start a family with my future husband to ensure that I had a spouse to help me raise my children, so you can imagine the heartbreak, humiliation, and guilt I felt when I saw two lines indicating that I was pregnant by a long-term boyfriend at 23 years of age. Because of this, the enemy had more the enough room to begin attacking me in the area of my worth. He used deception to make me believe that my entire story would be defined by having a baby out of wedlock.
I carried around so much shame during the pregnancy because I didn’t have on a wedding ring. I hated having to refer to my child’s father as “boyfriend” instead of “husband” with a big baby bump. Even once my daughter was born, I felt extremely embarrassed that we didn’t have the same last name. I started to come to the realization that the five year relationship that I had devoted so much time and energy to wasn’t going to work out. I was pressuring my boyfriend for marriage and he simply wasn’t ready– half a decade and a baby later! There were times that I would just cry and ask myself, “How could you, you know this is not what you wanted for yourself or your child.”
That was probably one of the lowest times in my life. I could not see how things would possibly work out for me. It had only been one year since I graduated college with a marketing degree, so I clearly didn’t have the best job in the world. I was living with a roommate in a two bedroom apartment. And to make things worse, when I was 7 months pregnant, I got laid off from my first post college job.
Around that time I visited Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church in Houston, Texas and instantly felt at home. I knew immediately Wheeler was the church home for me. I started to get back into church consistently and focus on making my personal relationship with God stronger. Slowly but surely, I started to believe what the Word said about children of God. I believed that in Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace. I knew I had to cast all my anxiety on Him because He cared for me. I knew that if I put my hope in the Lord, He would renew my strength. I never once felt shamed at Wheeler for being pregnant and unwed. I told myself the baby was on its way, that wasn’t changing, so all I could do was prepare mentally and spiritually for motherhood. I believed God would take care of the rest.
Shortly thereafter, a company ended up hiring me when I was 9 months pregnant and stated that I could start working weeks after I gave birth. Once giving birth to my beautiful baby girl, my life changed forever. I had to grow up overnight and realize it wasn’t about me anymore. I felt a sense of purpose and things that once mattered, no longer mattered to me. Something about motherhood gave me a confidence I’d never had before. I realized how strong women are and that with God, we can literally do anything if we put our minds to it…even if we have to get the job done by ourselves. I was now working, living on my own, paying my own bills, taking care of my daughter, single and loving it.
I started to be open to the idea of being in love again and having the husband and family I always desired, even if it looked a little different than what I originally planned for. Fast forward a few years and my now husband reached out to me through Instagram and the rest is pretty much history. We were married two years later. We built our first home from the ground up. We blended a family– he already had one son and I had a daughter. We were blessed to be able to add another kid to the mix from our union. I started a blog, www.courtneynwilliams.com where I talk about my journey from single motherhood to marriage, blending a family, and so much more. If you told my 23-year-old, unwed, unemployed, and pregnant self that in just 3-4 years from then my life would have made a total 180 degree turn, I probably would’ve said, “yea right.”
Thankfully, I’ve been able to share my testimony with women from all over the world. I hear from so many single mothers telling me how my story has helped them not give up on love and that it has shown them you can still have all your hearts’ desires even if life doesn’t go exactly how you planned it. Women who are dealing with trying to peacefully and genuinely blend a family tell me how my story has shown them it’s possible. Our mistakes can touch other’s lives and give them hope. Let go of any shame you’ve been carrying around and allow God to work in your life. Don’t allow the enemy to deceive you. It’s pure deception. You are worthy! No matter how big of a mistake you feel that you’ve made. I’m in awe of God’s faithfulness and perfect will. He took what I looked at as my greatest mistake and used it for His glory.