Shaquana is a 35 year old wife and mother of 5 and just so happens to be my older sister. I am elated to interview her in hopes to shed light on women who have engaged in pre-marital sex and birthed a child out of wedlock, while SAVED, actively in the church. She will share with you becoming a mother and the struggles endured through the process.
Sherika: Shaquana, you were saved, filled with the Holy Ghost at a young age. How old were you when you gave your life to Christ?
Shaquana: God blessed me with the precious gift of the Holy Ghost as a teenager; at the tender age of 14 I surrendered my all to Jesus. I didn’t really have a full understanding but I was hungry and thirsty for something more. I had seen a lot as a kid and I just wanted freedom from it.
Sherika: What age were you when you lost your virginity? What do you feel was the deciding factor that allowed you to lose your virginity?, Discuss your desires, temptation etc.
Shaquana: I lost my virginity a day after my 19th birthday. Honestly, I and my husband (Jackie) were being rebellious. We wanted to get married and were told we were too young. I didn’t understand why they thought we were too young. I had my own place, had been working since I was 15 at the same job. I was paying my own bills, had my own car. Very self-sufficient and independent! Doing everything most responsible adults did. I was faithful and committed to the church. I sang in the choir, lead praise and worship sometimes and even taught Sunday-school. I couldn’t shake my leadership saying no about something so important to me. I wasn’t one that had sex on my mind. I was always very much so afraid of sexual things because of things I saw as a kid. Hear me clearly, I’m not saying I’m perfect but I never had a desire to have sex with anyone but my husband. And even with him, I wasn’t sexual towards him. I didn’t want to be like things I saw. I always wanted to be a virgin when I got married and I wanted my husband to be too. I always would set that standard…which is why I didn’t date much. After they knew that and knew I wasn’t playing. The relationship was over. Jackie and I were Best friends more than we dated. Jackie always had a crush on me. I wasn’t very sure of Jackie. Contrary to what most think, I and Jackie were the best of friends. As we got older and I graduated from high school and I started living on my own is when we start talking about a relationship and getting married. We didn’t really have to date because we already knew each other. But I had prayed and asked God who my husband was going to be. I wanted to marry a totally different person but God would always place Jackie In My face each time. I came to the conclusion that he was gonna be my husband. Then began to prepare him and myself. I made him change things that I didn’t like about him like being serious with his relationship with God and not being such a gentle giant. I had my own place a decent job and I was ready to get married! When we were told NO, I felt that I was being told no because they thought we were having sex or just wanted to have sex I lost some respect and wanted to force my leaderships hand. We agreed to force their hand (what a stupid decision). I was struggling with what I knew God had told me and what man was telling me. Now looking back I was too young! I was struggling with not being understood and tired of people thinking I was doing something I wasn’t. I was too focused on man’s no that I lost sight of God’s yes. So after several times of saying ok this is the day that we gonna do this. One crazy night when I let my guard down I made a silly mistake. That changed my life forever. We were just way too caught up with the desires of marriage that we pushed ourselves to a limit that was too far. We started hanging together alone for too long in my apartment. Jackie wouldn’t want to leave my apartment so I start compromising and letting him stay over. Sin never just happens it’s a process. I’ll let you stay over but you can’t live here. You tell yourself all this crazy stuff that leads you right to your own demise. Well, at least that’s how it happened for me. This no-compromise girl compromised her wants and her desires to prove a point that only affected me.
Sherika: When you lost your virginity, how did you feel afterwards? Did you feel you had let yourself down, let God down?
Shaquana: How did I feel (sigh) when I think about it I still feel some type of way. I felt like I let everyone down, myself and God. The one thing I had control over that I was doing for myself was being a virgin. I could not believe that I had made such a foolish decision. We both were virgins so it was literally the quickest thing ever. As soon as it happened it was over. I remember pushing him and telling him to get out. I was mad and disappointed! I grabbed my sheets, put them in the washer and sobbed. The same place That I had made my sanctuary and kneeled laying prostrate many nights and days, the same place where I drew my strengthen, the same place that I would pray calling out the names of my loved ones, praying for my mom and dad to be saved, praying for the sick….that place was dry!!! I didn’t feel the comfort that I always felt. I had turned my sanctuary into pure darkness. I felt my anointing being stripped from. Just thinking about it makes me cry even today. I felt empty, I felt dark. I mourned my virginity like the death of a loved one. I counted it precious! I didn’t take it lightly. So, how did I get to this point? Until I was restored I was in a daze! Here but not here just going through the motions. When you lose something more valuable than anything you possessed….man that’s a hurting feeling. That how I felt about my virginity. So the pain was indescribable. I knew I had let God down big time!!! A bad choice with a hefty price tag!
Sherika: How long after losing your virginity did you find out you were pregnant? Being a Christian you obviously knew that it was unbiblical to be pregnant before marriage. Were you afraid to tell you, family? Church family? Were you sad, embarrassed, depressed-explain?
Shaquana: OOOOOO most certainly I knew it was wrong! I knew it was wrong biblically and I knew in the Apostolic /Pentecostal church….YOU DO NOT HAVE SEX BEFORE MARRIAGE OR GET PREGNANT OUT OF WEDLOCK!!!! I was terrified! However, I made up in my mind that I was so low that I didn’t care anymore. I got very depressed and said to myself just do whatever. Initially, after losing my virginity I went to church and tried to sing on the choir. Now I knew better but I was gonna just try to fake it. Well, I got so sick on the choir stand. I became dizzy and almost passed out. I was taken to the ER. I was so sick with myself I made myself physically sick. I threw up everywhere, was sick for like a week or 2. Of course, the doctors didn’t know what was wrong. I knew! Maybe 2 ½ months later I went out to eat with my dad and Jackie. My dad looked at me and said Quan you pregnant. Have you been having sex? Jackie, you done got my daughter pregnant? I denied it! When I went home I got a test and sure enough, I was pregnant. A part of me was happy because I wanted something to love. My Granny loved me and aunts loved me a ton that’s why they took care of me when my parents couldn’t. Granny and my aunts still had their own lives and family to care for. I was just extra; now let me make it plain they didn’t treat me bad or anything. I had everything my cousins had. But I never had true love from my parents (They were in and out of my life, it was a different love but they did love me). I Knew I would love that baby and would never have to worry about being alone. The other part of me was like you know what you have made a whole fool out of yourself. You will never get to teach another Sunday school lesson, sing another song in the church or even pray aloud. Doing the things that I was called to do by God was now in the past null and void. There was a war within my members. The struggle of good but maybe not so bad. Although I had this war that maybe having a child of my own is not so bad I also knew that I was completely embarrassed to tell anyone. What would they think of me? Man I have ruined my name my testimony. How could I be so foolish! My mind was playing tricks on me. I wasn’t afraid to tell my mom’s side of the family. I knew they would not be over the moon happy about it but at the same time I knew they would show me the ropes and love me and help me and support me. I did feel they would think I was a hypocrite. My aunts and Granny don’t hold back. Whatever they had to say they were going to say it and be done with it afterward and treat me no differently after they speak their peace, I was more so embarrassed. I wasn’t afraid to tell my dad or my mom. My mom was sick (She died 15months after I had my son)I knew she would be happy but maybe confused because it was not something she would expect out of me. My dad basically already knew and he is pretty easy to talk to for the most part. I wasn’t afraid to tell him. I think my family felt like she is an adult she will have to do what adults do when they have kids…handle her responsibilities! I was very nervous to tell my Aunt D. She and I had been each other support system spiritually. I didn’t want to discourage her. Wherever she was I was. We were each other shadow. She was single and I didn’t want to be a bad influence on her. I knew she would be very hurt. Now my Church and my Pastor…..Dear God!!! I would have rather been stoned to death. Matter of fact just forget it! I was leaving the church. I was already down on myself I didn’t need anybody telling me what I did was wrong. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to know that. I just wanted all of this to go away. All I could think is I am going to get publicly humiliated. Maybe that’s what I deserved. I knew better! I made the choice. My life had revolved around the church for so long that I only really cared what the church thought more than I cared about what my family thought. When I closed my eyes at night Then reality would hit and I would cry because out of my church, my family and my whole little world. The biggest disappointment was that I had Let God down.
Sherika: How would you say engaging in pre-marital sex affected your relationship with Christ?
Shaquana: When we decided that we were going to make thing just happen for us I will say I was at a spiritual turning point. God had shown me so much and told me so much maybe I got afraid. I could hear his calling but I was afraid. I didn’t know the full calling but I knew I was a prayer warrior. I had been prepped for my calling. 6 am prayer, Saturday prayer, before every service get there an hour early to pray, had a prayer book that I would write prayers in, my life was prayer. I could feel the movement of God in my life strong! I was on a spiritual high. God had begun to give me boldness! I knew who I was! I say all that to say when you are on a high like that you think you are untouchable. You think that I have come this far nothing silly can turn me around. The devil took something that wasn’t my weakness and presented it before me. DO you hear me!!! Sex was not my weakness!!! I did not desire to have sex (not saying I didn’t have feelings) that wasn’t my thing!!! My thing was love! I loved how Jackie made me feel. I love the respect he had for me. I love that I was the center of his attention. Loved that he could write me long letters expressing his love to me. I wanted LOVE, not SEX! However when I heard that no I stopped listening to God! And the desire to fulfill my hopes and dreams were overshadowed with rebellion. The plan was there I knew who was supposed to be my husband why did I need to get married now!!!??!!! All this stuff was in my mind! So yes my relationship with God was effected deeply! I was too embarrassed to be in the presence of God. I knew I wasn’t worth to be in His sight. He had entrusted me with so much and I threw it away. The love of man became more important than the love of God! I had basically made Jackie my god and because I did that I had the worst fall of my life! Because of my decisions, I am still effected and haunted about how I ruined my relationship with God to this day. It’s my throne in my flesh to keep me humble. It was a hard lesson to learn and one I would never like to experience again in my life. Feeling like you have lost God’s trust is a terrible place to be. Not being able to utter words to him…the person that knew all my secrets! The person that had been there for me through thick and thin. For 8months of my pregnancy, I threw up 1-3 times a day. I was just sick of myself. I couldn’t look in the mirror for months, too ashamed of myself. I didn’t want to see what was looking back at me. Ya, I messed up! It’s taken years for me to recover. Every time something went wrong I blamed it on me getting pregnant and putting man before God. It was a long road to recovery…very long! The devil had sealed my lips! There I stood Pregnant, unmarried, ashamed, and Godless….
Sherika: How did your now husband Jackie feel about getting you pregnant out of wedlock? Did you all have support? Did either of you ever feel judged?
Shaquana: Jackie can care less about people. But he cared what people thought about me. Being the independent person I was, I started trying to cut Jackie off. This was my baby and I was going to take care of it myself. I didn’t need him staying around for my pity party. I knew the routine. Guy gets a girl pregnant, guy leaves, girl raises baby alone. I was ready for that. I almost started to not trust him. We set down one day and talked. He expressed to me that he was sorry for bringing shame upon me. That he wasn’t thinking about the consequences. He was just being selfish. He said “Please marry me. I want you to marry me.” He had already talked to our pastor and told him that I was going to be his wife before and I am still going to be his wife now. I refused to go talk or even walk in the church. My dad saw how down I was and how low I had gotten. Being the dad that he is he set up a meeting to talk with my Pastor and First lady letting them know I was beaten down enough and needed love and restoration. I was so embarrassed that my dad did that. I was like now they gonna think I am a coward (well I was). I got the courage to come to the church. My Pastor and First lady were nothing like what I thought they would be. Disappointed yes but oooo how they loved on me and my husband. We did feel judged by people and to this day I don’t speak to some of those people. The worst thing you can do to a person when they are down is kicking them down further. I lost all respect for anyone that made me feel like that. We had a lot of support. My pastor and first lady I could feel their prayers. That is what was holding me up spiritually. My Dad and Tracy (His wife) they helped me and supported us. I would come to their house get under the covers and just fall asleep. It was my dad and Tracy’s first grandchild so they were always getting on me, Tracy couldn’t get enough of feeling the baby move. My dad would say “Hold your head up Quan its gonna be alright”. My Granny and aunts and cousins man without them I would be lost! Jackie Jr. was the first great-grandchild so I had advice and helping hands everywhere. They were a huge support! My aunt D she kept me going wouldn’t let me hold my head down she kept me laughing and made me feel loved. With all the support and prayer I could feel myself getting stronger.
Sherika: You ended up marrying the same man you lost your virginity to. How did you both get back on track?
Shaquana: We got back on track by walking in that church every time the doors were opened. The more I went the better I felt. Around about 7/8 months of my pregnancy I could look at myself I had forgiven myself and most importantly God had forgiven me. Walking in those doors gave me strength till I could praise and worship Him on my own. The first step was forgiving myself. God had already forgiven me the first time I asked him. I was just too broken to know that. When I was at church I was almost silent but at home, I would rub my belly and pray for my baby and ask God don’t let him be my mistake. I would put worship music on my tummy while I cleaned up or lying down. I would put preaching on sometimes too. I talked to my baby every day and would say you are not my mistake. You will be better than we were, you shall be anointed, you shall be saved at a young age, you shall be separated. You shall stand out from others. You will be different!! Jackie and I became stronger together!! We fought to not just be normal. We vowed that we were in this together and no matter the nay-sayers we will make it. I finally realized it didn’t matter what anyone thought. I knew I sinned and God had forgiven me. I also realized that although we messed up we were 20 years old neither one of us had ever been with anyone else, I had sex out of wedlock but another man has never touched me sexually or even seen me naked besides my husband. I failed at being married and a virgin but I had not failed at only being with my husband. Now that doesn’t excuse my sin but the goal I had set for myself I had achieved. I start to encourage myself! Yes, I messed up but now what? I stopped even worrying about Jackie because I knew once I was ok, he would be ok. Am I gonna just sit here? Nope!! I knew my son would need strong parents so I had to get out of this pit. And we did!! I heard God whisper in my ear one day while at church with my mouth closed. You were born for this! You were born to worship me. With boiling hot tears down my face I went to that altar I remember my aunt Connie (Mother Green) putting her hands on my belly praying for me and I let it go!! That day I dropped it!! After that, I didn’t care who knew I was pregnant. It took a long time for me to be restored because again it was my thorn in my flesh but I didn’t give up!! I had to fight to get to where I am today!! One thing for sure it made me a better spiritual fighter!
Sherika: Now that you are married with 5 beautiful children, what are ways that you instruct them to not follow the same steps that you and their father did?
Shaquana : You know being transparent is everything. We communicate with our kids. There is no question that they can’t ask me. I give it to them straight. I try not to sugar coat anything, especially to my older ones. I ask them questions, I ask their friends questions I try to be present in their life. I let my kids be kids!! I don’t make conversations weird or uncomfortable. We set standards for them. I explain in detail. One thing that I say to my older kids as they have gotten older is that sex is not bad or wrong. Sex is not a sin! The sin comes when you have it with the wrong person. The right person being the person that you are married too. Most people including myself get so hung up on sex being wrong that once we get married we still feel its wrong (You a stiff board). I want to break that with my kids. My older kids know sex is natural! We all gonna have it one day you just have to make the right choices. Sex is not a bad word or a nasty word. Now we don’t go around just saying sex, sex, sex but it’s not a nasty word. We talk about body parts and what our body parts do, we talk about all of that. I don’t want anyone else telling my kids something that doesn’t line up with the word of God and our family values so I make sure to be transparent and answer their questions. We have an open door policy, no question will go unanswered! We read together we look at shows together and I explain everything. Even things we see as we driving. I like to see where their minds are. We go to the homeless shelter and just watch. I want them to know life, and not just see life one sided.
Sherika: Your son, Jackie Jr, does he understand that he was conceived out of wedlock? Has he ever had any questions? Tell us a little bit about Jackie Jrs life. (Discuss how God has kept him)
Shaquana: My boy!! Yes, Jackie knows that we had him when we were not married. He understands how it happened and that we made a huge big mistake but he is not the mistake. The sin was the mistake. He knows that my life was put on hold because of my pregnancy. I regret being pregnant but I don’t regret what came from the pregnancy. Jackie Jr is much like my husband and my dad. I always thought my dad was the strongest man on earth and he could do anything. When I got married I felt the same way about my husband. Man, he is strong! Anything he puts his mind too he can do. Jackie Jr. is so strong and brave! There is nothing he can’t do. I could not have picked a better first born. We laugh together, he’s real chill like his dad but he speaks his mind. He has a sensitive spot! He loves hard like his momma. One day he was in trouble and him and his dad was in the room. Jackie Jr was mad very mad. His dad came out of the room. I went in the room and grabbed my boy. He was in trouble but he needed his momma. I held him tight and the same words I spoke over him when I was pregnant I began to speak over him. He didn’t understand it then. I didn’t understand it then. I began to tell him how I felt when I was pregnant but Knew a great warrior was growing inside of me. My son was changing and he was changing to something I didn’t like. On the floor, we set there and cried together. That summer at 12 years old he received the gift of the Holy Ghost at TM Camp. He had already been baptized. The first time I saw my boy go in, I was tarring with a young lady. Man the joy I felt. God allowed it to happen at a time where I had to make a decision to be selfish or keep going hard for this young lady because her soul was in the balance. I went hard for her. My soul was so happy. I knew that day my boy gonna be alright. What I had prayed for and didn’t see was unfolding before my eyes. He’s gonna have some ups and downs but he’s gonna be alright. I tell him all the time you gotta know Jesus for yourself son! He’s not perfect but he owns up to his mistakes. He is very loyal and a protector like his dad. The one thing me and his dad left with him when we told him our story is son if you love a girl don’t bring shame to her, if she is good enough to sleep with and touch on you better marry her before you shame her. If she ain’t marriage material she ain’t sleeping with material. We taught him to treat her like you would want someone to treat your mother and sister. So far he is very respectful to girls. I’m proud of my son!! I’m grateful for my boy!! He has made me proud! All the worrying I did! He is my pride and joy…I am so hard on him and expect a lot out of him but that because he is built for it!
Sherika: What would you say to other women or men who are tempted to feed their sexual desires? Or young women who are pregnant and unsure of what to do?
Shaquana: We all have struggles no one person’s struggle is smaller than the others. We have to make sure we don’t put ourselves in a compromising situation, make boundaries and stick to them. If that person can’t respect your boundaries then they don’t respect you so let them move on. Don’t settle! Know what you want out of life. Look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself what is more important. Who is gonna win here? And say it out loud. Don’t let sex be the center of your focus. Stop putting yourself in situations that you know will compromise you. Stop taking fire to your body and think it won’t burn you…. sex of any kind should only be done when you are married. Masturbation, anal sex, oral sex is all still sex so if you are doing it then you are having sex in the sight of God. Throw your sex toys away turn the TV to something that doesn’t have sex in it put down the Zane books. If you fill your mind with sex no wonder you’re tempted! Whatever you feed will grow! Feed the spiritual man. Men, you are not gay if you haven’t had sex and you are over the age of 25. Save yourself too. Stop making it a double standard. Women value yourselves. Look at your body like the most expensive item you own. Now, who do you trust with it? You are worth waiting for!! And if you fall if you slip don’t stay there, get up and look in that mirror again. Stay connected to God, He is your lifeline. Young women that may be pregnant, YOU CAN DO THIS! You just can’t do it without God! Focus on God pray, pray, pray and pray someone. Cover your baby in prayer. Get forgiveness and plant yourself in the church. Stay on the altar and stay faithful. Don’t give up on yourself. Your child is going to need a strong mother. Own up to your mistake take the cards you have been dealt and play them! You got this and you can do this!! I speak life into your situation and I rebuke the enemy in your ear!! I speak encouragement in your life!! If you can’t take care of the baby give it to a loving family that can’t have kids. Love yourself!! Make the right choices for you and that child! Don’t be selfish!
Sherika: How would you say the Grace of God has kept through that one mistake? How would you say you’ve overcome?
Shaquana: I am still overcoming every day! When you take a major hit it stings! It never truly leaves you, you just learn how to deal with it and not let it affect you anymore or bring you shame anymore. I have overcome because I didn’t allow the Devil to keep my mouth shut. We overcome by the words of our testimony. Grace has most certainly kept me!! Without the Lord extending me Grace and Mercy, I would be in the crazy house! Grace built me up when I was torn, Grace kept me when I wasn’t worth keeping, Grace loved me when I stopped loving myself and Grace forgave me when I didn’t know how to forgive myself. Grace was my whisper at night that pushed me to believe! Grace!! OOO the Grace of Jesus!! Grace taught me and grace said I was somebody when I felt worthless. His Grace is sufficient to me!!! Thank you Jesus for loving me and showing me your grace when I was yet in my sins! God is so Good!