One of my most life-defining moments came when I was only 18 years old, during my senior year in high school. By this time, I was already a survivor of an aggressive form of breast cancer. Having been diagnosed at the age of 16, many people considered me to be a walking miracle. They marveled at how a girl so young could endure such a horrific disease. They were baffled that a sophomore in high school could overcome a partial mastectomy and grueling radiation treatments, while maintaining an “A” average and working a part time job. Family, friends, and even the local media celebrated my life as a “living inspiration” and “source of hope”. All the while, amongst the public recognition, I was privately suffering from a secretly buried pain. Below is a passage from my new debut book titled “THE FIGHT: Chronicles of a Champion”. While writing this book, I took a glimpse into my past and witnessed one round of a fight that forever changed my life.
“My senior year of high school was truly one of the best of times and the worst of times. It was only weeks before my commencement, amidst a million pre-graduation festivities, including an honor society induction and a surprise appreciation service, given to me by my church, that I learned, I was pregnant. My acceptance letter from the college I chose had arrived, my dorm was secured and my roommate had been selected. The final touches had been made on what should have been a picture perfect ending to a tumultuous and hard-earned year and season of my life. I had the respect of my peers, the admiration of my church family and the high hopes and regard of my family all riding on my shoulders when I took the test that revealed that I was pregnant, and I was the pastor’s granddaughter. I couldn’t believe it. I had seen this scenario play out on an occasional Lifetime movies and even in the lives of a few classmates, but I never imagined this happening to me. After a couple of days of coming to terms with my new situation, I told a few members of my family. The guilt and pressure that I felt in the ensuing days are beyond words. Shortly after, I buckled under the pressure of bringing a reproach upon my family and the church. I agreed to end the pregnancy. I must say, of all the difficult choices that I’ve been forced to make in my life, that one was without question the single most torturous and haunting one. I walked across the stage at my high school graduation as an expecting mom, but days later and for years to come, I would be a grieving one.
The crowd was cheering. “We’re so proud of you, Nikia!” “You are such an inspiration, Nikia!” But inside, I was dying a slow death. In all of my now 36 years of living, the decision to have an abortion was as life defining for me as it comes. Everything I thought I knew about myself came into question. My life was now a myriad of contradictions and battles that I couldn’t even discuss with anyone, let alone work through. I hated myself, and resented the family and life that I always valued because in this case, my family and my life carried with it many expectations and responsibilities. As a preacher’s kid, I found my struggles were often magnified because I was forced to live them in the eyes of so many people. My family and I had created an image and reputation that was hard to live up to and it was a difficult cross to carry.
Have you ever been through a season in life where you experienced public success, yet private failure? It can be one of the most mentally exhausting and confusing experiences, to have to smile on the outside, while crying all the while, on the inside. But what I learned about myself during that time, and what I try to remember about others, is as imperfect as we are, we each share a common greatness and untapped potential on the inside of us. Thank God our lives and futures are not forfeited because of our mistakes. There is a loving and forgiving God who can heal us from all of our brokenness and frailties and restore us to the matchless creation he envisioned us to be.
I will be the first to admit that I have made many mistakes in my life, but probably my biggest mistake has been thinking that I was never supposed to make mistakes at all. ❤
To read more of Nikia’s story, check out her new book “THE FIGHT: Chronicles of a Champion.”
Thank you so much for sharing Nikia! I cannot imagine how hard this was for you to share, but I know this will touch and inspire others. Peace & Blessings!
Nikia Hammonds-Blakely says
Thank YOU Carlie. We are all on a journey to becoming our best selves, and as we allow ourselves room to both error and grow, we give space to others to do the same!
Thanks for sharing your story. I can certainly relate in many ways. It was encouraging for me and maybe some day I too can have the courage to share.
Nikia Hammonds-Blakely says
Thank YOU Trena. It was no easy decision. It has taken me 18 years to share, but I realized that it is a mixture of both my mistakes and accomplishments that have gotten me where I am today, and I would be remiss to acknowledge one without the other! I appreciate your encouragement.
Melissa Barber says
Thank you so much for your testimony. We are overcome by the blood of the lamb and the words of out testimony! Your testimony will be a seed for hope, deliverance, and healing to so many. God bless you and keep you always. Please let me know how to get several autographed copies of your book
Nikia Hammonds-Blakely says
Thank You Melissa! I’m so happy you could identify with my story! We each go through with the help that our journey will help others. I’m happy to hear that in this case, it did!