Delighted by His Grace
Hey! My name’s MaKayla, I’m 25 years old, and currently married for almost 3 years. I’m a mama to a 5 month old baby boy, 2 crazy fur babies and I’m originally from West Virginia but currently living in North Carolina. This is my story on my struggles, hardships and finding His grace.
I grew up in Princeton, WV with my parents and two older brothers. Growing up on a cattle farm, there was always something to do. Between school, playing, chores and more, we definitely had an adventure waiting everyday.
Every Sunday; however, was spent with my grandparents going to Sunday school and learning about God. On occasion I’d go with an aunt, or even go to Vacation Bible School for a whole week at my aunts church in the summer, but for the most part we always went with our grandparents.
Looking back I remember being baptized a couple of times but was never told exactly what was happening or what it meant. It wasn’t explained to me and it seems like it was more of a time of fun then truly learning about the Word of God. I’ve always known who Jesus is and who God is, but I don’t think I was ever truly taught things from the Bible in a way that I truly understood them. I knew right from wrong and that sex before marriage was a sin, but other than the basics of not to lie, steal, cheat, etc. I don’t believe I was ever given a deep explanation of what it was like to live a Christian life. I’m not blaming that on anyone, I could have picked up a Bible myself or even asked more questions, but looking back I see things so differently now...
When I was 13 I decided to stop going to church. There was no real reason, I just didn’t want to go anymore. So I didn’t. It was just that simple, and even though
I still called myself a Christian, I truly didn’t know what that meant.
When I turned 14 and began high school I started dating my very first actual boyfriend. I’d been kissed before this but nothing else. I knew I wanted to wait for anything else until I was married. That isn’t what happened though. This boy was almost 4 years older than me and he hadn’t waited. Eventually when I was 15 I gave in and started a bad habit of giving in to being a people pleaser. Over the next 5-6 years I would do or be almost anything a guy wanted just to be liked. I never did drugs, drink heavily or anything like that but I was very promiscuous and didn’t respect myself enough to tell a boyfriend no.
During this time I was also self harming off and on which was a habit I had started back when I was 14. I had friends who, at the time, seemed to love and support me. My home life wasn’t bad and neither was my school life, but my relationships with the guys I chose to date just took a lot out of me. So that’s how I coped with what I was doing because I knew it was wrong but I did it anyway...
My junior year of high school I had a couple of “friends” start to spread rumors, and from there things drastically changed for me. I felt like I had no one but one actual friend and going to school seemed like the hardest thing for me to do. I had made an awful reputation for myself and with the new rumors it just got so much harder. Eventually I stopped going to school at all. During this time I could feel myself slowly slipping away. Not wanting to die but not seeing any other option. One night while I was self harming, I blacked out and when I came to I realized just how close I was getting to actually taking my life. I finally convinced my parents to allow me to drop out and in 2013 at 17 years old I received my G.E.D. Things started to look up over time but over the next couple of years I still did the same things with guys and had a lot of hardships pop up. One night stands and more self harming occurred. During this time I was still calling myself a Christian, praying on occasion, but still living life as I always had.
In February 2014 I finally stopped self harming completely. I haven’t relapsed since then.
In October 2016 I met the man who would become my husband. He was broken in his own ways. He had experienced so many bad things in his life and was just looking for someone to talk to after losing someone who was like a brother to suicide. At the time I was still doing my same old Christian routine and he was trying to find his faith in God again. He never truly lost it, he was just struggling through a difficult time with it. At the time I was reading a book called The Reason by Lacey Sturm (if you haven’t read it and her other books I highly recommend them.) My husband, Tristan, always liked to hear me read, no matter what it was, so that night I was reading this book and something happened. I’m not sure what it was but I do know this feeling of complete and total feeling of love washed over me. I was crying so hard with the biggest smile on my face while trying to explain to him that I wasn’t upset. I was filled with joy. Looking back I feel like I had felt the Lord’s presence in that moment, but even then I ran from Him again.
We began dating on December 11, 2016 and still being the way we were, we didn’t wait for marriage before being intimate either.
He proposed to me on April 14, 2018 (his birthday) and just a couple weeks later he left for 13 weeks for Marine Corps boot camp. 13 weeks of no communication except through letters. This was such a hard time for me and I would pray for him through it but I still struggled and would continue to do so for the next few years. My husband graduated boot camp and came home for 10 days in August and during that time we eloped on August 7, 2018. He left less than a week later for 4 1/2 more months. He was able to come home for just under 3 weeks for Christmas that year and just a week after he left, I found out we were expecting our first baby. It was super early but we were so excited and shared the news with all of our friends and family. We were so ready to start a family and even though we were still apart by the time I’d deliver we’d be together in our own home in North Carolina, where he was stationed.
At my first scan they discovered they couldn’t find the baby, and a week later on Valentine’s Day I started to miscarry our little one.
Before this happened I had decided to give my life to God (again) and I told Him I’d take anything He gave me. No matter how hard it was I’d take it willingly and do it happily. So when this happened I automatically blamed Him. I was so angry for months. All I felt was this hollow feeling or anger, and I took that anger out on mainly my husband because God wasn’t physically here for me to take it out on Him. My marriage was falling apart from my own anger and I was so far from God but trying my hardest to have another baby. It wasn’t until my son was born that it all really changed.
I grieved for that baby for so long. When my husband's brother announced he and his wife were expecting I fell apart, when Mother’s Day hit I couldn’t contain my tears. My husband and I tried and tried for months to have another baby but nothing was happening. Eventually I’d had enough and my husband and I talked it out and decided we were done. We looked at each other and realized it just wasn’t working. I still remember looking at him and saying “We can keep trying but I’m not going to stress about it anymore. We’re going to give it God and He’ll decide when it’s time.” And just one month later. 10 months since my miscarriage, and in the same month I conceived the first time, I found out I was pregnant with my son.
My husband literally had to make me take a test because I was so adamant that I wasn’t pregnant. And when that positive response instantly happened I was shocked. I couldn’t believe it happened that fast. But when God works time doesn’t matter. He gives when He knows it’s time.
Being pregnant during the craziness of a pandemic and being a military spouse was stressful. At one point my husband was going to be sent somewhere for months and by the time he got back I would’ve been due to deliver if I hadn’t already. And I remember dropping to my knees night after night begging God not to take him. Remember during this time I wasn’t truly seeking God. Just going through the motions of what I thought I should be doing. I was stressed from those things as well as being terrified of another miscarriage. I’m so thankful to the Lord for sticking by me during that time because with so much stress I’m very lucky to have had a healthy pregnancy and baby.
My husband ended up only leaving for 11 days while I was 6-7 months pregnant. He was there for all of the big moments and he was there when I brought our son into the world.
Childbirth is scary, terrifying and yet so beautiful all at once. That moment is something that is truly such a blessing to go through, and I’m so thankful I was able to experience it. My son Raiden Drew Laramee was born at 3:59 pm on August 28, 2020 after 14 hours of labor, having to be vacuumed out, only half of my epidural working up until right before I started to push, and being 5 days past his due date. He was 9 lbs and 22.75 inches long. The moment he was laid on my chest my whole life changed. Looking at him I saw just how good and awesome our Father is.
While in the hospital I started singing The Blessing by Elevation Worship to calm my son. I still do to this day. It’s the only way I can always call him. I couldn’t figure out why that was the first song that popped into my head, but the Lord knew.
Over the next few months I would develop postpartum rage. Let me be clear, I never ever hurt my son or husband, but I was so quick to anger and frustration again. With all the hormones and adjusting to being a new mom, it was a lot to handle. I would pray but nothing would change. Right before Christmas was the worst moment for me. When I realized just how badly I had gotten. And after talking with my husband I came home from visiting family with a new mindset. I still struggled but I slowly noticed a change happening. It was during this time I decided to give my life to God.
I had prayed the sinner's prayer many times before and nothing ever changed, but this time I was determined to stick it out. I started to look forward to reading my Bible, and I truly started to change myself for the better. I still struggled but I would fight not to go back to old habits. I started praying to God more and over time I started to realize I can talk to Him no matter where or when.During this time my husband and I watched “I Still Believe” which is Jeremy Camp’s story and part of his testimony. I was crying throughout the movie, but right at the end I broke. Please watch if you haven’t already. When the movie was over I went into our guest room alone and I broke. I fell completely apart at the Lord’s feet, and again this presence and feeling of total love and acceptance washed over me. I was at peace, and so happy while falling apart. Now I know that it was the Lord and the Holy Spirit.
I am a daughter of the one true God and no matter what I’ve done He loves and forgives me. He sent Jesus to die for not just me but all of us so that we’d never have to be ashamed to come to him and say I messed up but I am so ready to be right and good. I am so ready to be your child again, just please forgive me and make me new.
I faced so much depression and anxiety during this time. I mean why wouldn’t I? The devil doesn’t want me to go to God so he’ll do everything he can to make sure I stay a sinner. And I felt like I was so unworthy and just filthy. I didn’t deserve to be a daughter of God or even hope to be allowed in His Kingdom or even know Jesus. I was struggling with my past sin and so much more. I know now I was experiencing worldly sorrow, not godly sorrow. ( 2 Corinthians 7:10 ) I found an article about it, and my own husband told me that’s what I was doing. Because of that I was somewhat changed, but still struggling so hard to just make it through the day.
You don’t instantly stop struggling when you accept Jesus in your heart. You just learn a new way to face it.
Through your Bible, prayer, worship you always take it to the Lord, and trust in Him to see you through. So again I fell apart. I realized just how much my sin disgraced my Father. How much I insulted Him by not respecting myself in the way He does. I was so consumed by my shame that I didn’t realize I missed the whole point of my salvation. I can’t accept Jesus and not accept myself. Pastor Steven from Elevation preached a sermon on this and it was truly eye opening. I can’t change what I’ve done, but if the Lord can forgive me and love me anyway, why can’t I do the same for myself? So I took that confidently to Him, I poured out my heart, and grieved for what I’d done. I can’t change what I did, but I can change what I do now. I’m not that person anymore. My chains are broken. I am not a slave to my sin, but I am a daughter of the all powerful reining God.
It was something that I’d struggled with and pursued for YEARS, and could never stick to, but something changed within me once I found out I was expecting again. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the Lord was letting me know “Hey, I see your pain. I watched you ache and cry out in despair for what you lost. I took your anger at me all while I grieved beside you. All you had to do was let go.. Just let go and trust in me because I’ve got you. You’re mine.”
My son started that for me. I look at him and wonder how people can question God when He creates such beautiful innocence. When He creates life and puts it into a woman’s womb, and when He already knows the plans He has for that child. Your child and His. Because we all belong to Him. He loves us so much. I see my son and think of Jesus. Of how Mary and Joseph felt when they looked upon Him for the first time. Knowing who He was and the great things He would do. And trusting in God through it all.
I’m not perfect and I still fall, but the scriptures say that we will do that. Not if, but when. And when you do fall, get back up. He’s always there to help you up, just open up your heart and let Jesus in. Let God in. He’s waiting for you with His arms wide open. Everything He has is yours to inherit. You are deserving. You are worthy. No matter the sin, He can still use you. You have a purpose. He has a plan for your life, and it’s yours to take if you just give your all to Him and let Him lead you. Every moment of everyday, He’s ready to guide you to your journey. You just have to be willing to let Him do it. He grieves when you do, but He has a kingdom full of those who rejoice when you give your life to Him. You have the best supporters you could ever hope for cheering you on through every single moment of your life. Isaiah 43:1 is the first verse I’ve ever actually memorized, and it’s truly words that I live by. Again God is good, and knows just what you need in each season of your life
This year made 2 years since we lost our little one but now I praise the Lord for this baby and this loss. That may sound crazy to some but I truly do thank God for every experience of our lost little one. At the time I didn’t. In fact I ran so far from God that I’m still shocked I found my way back. But now I know it wasn’t His fault or even mine, and that He grieved right along with me. Our Father hurts when we hurt and why wouldn’t He? He loves us so abundantly and it pains Him to watch us fall apart in sadness and despair. I tried for months to control everything around me. I wanted another baby so desperately that I refused to stop and listen to what God was telling me. I refused to give it to Him. Once I did He blessed me so much. I had one of THE best pregnancies and labor/delivery (didn’t feel like it at the time #morningsickness) and my son was so big and healthy when he was born.
God took something so heartbreaking and turned it into the biggest blessing/teaching moment in my life (so far).And I’ve never been the same.
I struggled after Raiden was born (postpartum depression is real and comes in many forms.)
But something started in me in that hospital that I can’t explain and now almost 6 months later, I’m so different than who I was even yesterday. My love for the Lord is indescribable. I’m to the point that I want someone to ask me about Jesus because if you truly knew what He did, and just how loved you are.. you’d never be the same either.
So yes I rejoice in Him for the experience and for the loss. For gifting me with the chance of a baby when so many never get it and then to again bless me in such a way. He is so good and awesome and I really pray more of you give your life to Him. You’ll truly never be the same.
Imagine how He feels when He’s carrying us. When He already knows us and the plans He has for our life. The love I have for my son and those around me? It’s nothing compared to the love the Lord has for him, myself, and all of us. We have the most awesome Father we could ever hope for, and I hope that my story and my testimony helps at least one person. And I hope that you’ll accept Him into your life too. He’s waiting for you. Just reach out and let Him catch you. ♥️
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1