Being a mom is hard. Going to college is hard. Going to law school with an infant at home? Not something I have the determination to attempt, that’s for SURE! So when I heard the story of recent law school graduate Melonie Wright, I was totally inspired—and inspired to share it. In a candid interview with The Root, Wright explained that though she’s been through some very difficult circumstances, she never used them as an excuse to keep her down. Her first challenged started at age 4, when her preschool teachers told her parents she was developmentally delayed.
Photo: Melonie Wright
“The teachers said I never talked in class, and did not respond the way the other 4-year-olds did at the time. I was too quiet and did not socialize,” Wright told The Root. “I do remember the day I was moved down to the developmentally delayed preschool classroom. My dad used to walk me to preschool every day, and that day was no different. We went towards a hallway, one that was not where my true classroom was. I asked him, ‘Daddy, where we going?’ He said, ‘To a different classroom.’”
After regaining her spot in the regular classroom over the years, Wright excelled in school, but she says, NOT in making good relationship choices.
“I dealt with insecurities throughout my childhood, which ultimately influenced me to make very poor choices in high school and college related to relationships,” she says. :I ran track in college but eventually stopped running my spring semester of my junior year. A month later, I was pregnant with my daughter.”
Despite her pregnancy, Wright carried on with her education goals, taking the LSAT to get into law school at 8 months pregnant.
Though she found academic success, however, her personal life was in turmoil. Her relationship with her daughter’s father turned violent, and after ending it, she and her baby were homeless.
“I experienced instances of domestic violence, with the relationship with her father ending in a terrible and violent way. Following that incident, I had a two-week period where my daughter and I did not have anywhere to stay and we ended up in a motel,” she says. And people soon began to discourage her from her academic pursuits as well. “I also dealt with people saying and doing things that were not particularly encouraging. They questioned my decision to attend law school with an infant; they questioned my decision to remain in college, period,” she adds.
Again, Wright pushed on toward her goals, getting housing and continuing on with school.
She chose to put aside the negative voices and instead gave her life to God. She says giving her life to Christ didn’t automatically solve all her problems, but gave her faith that God WOULD provide. “While in law school, I had literally cents in my account, sometimes a negative balance. I had to spend money meant for books on my daughter’s medical bills when we were denied Medicaid. The summer after my first year, my car was deemed unsafe by the mechanic. I had to ride the bus, but I didn’t have enough money to ride the bus at times. I would literally wake up in the morning and believe that God would meet my needs for the day, and I took Matthew 6:34 to heart. All the while, I was struggling to understand my law courses and to heal from my past.”
She goes on to say, however, that those challenges were just “the tip of the iceberg,” but that God was faithful. “God has shown himself to be faithful and trustworthy. He took a broken woman and made me whole. He redeemed my life and assured me that he still has a beautiful plan for my daughter and I, even though I’ve made poor decisions in my life. He carried me through all my obstacles and used them to grow my faith in him. God has given me grace to be a mother, law student and, one day, lawyer.”
Photo: Melonie Wright
Wright’s hard work and trust in God paid off and she is now a law school graduate from Emory University, moving on and carving out a life for her and her daughter based on a firm foundation.
Her advice for others who are facing hard times?
“I would say give your life to Christ. He will mend your broken heart and give you peace even in the ugliest of situations. Accepting him means you believe his plans are much better than yours…God has shown me that in spite of everything, he still wanted me. He still values me. He just wanted me to come back to him. So if you have kids and you’re alone, life is not over. Get up and go after God. He still has a plan for you and he will use your story! ”
Congratulations, Melonie! I can’t wait to see what else God has in store for you! Thanks for sharing your inspiring testimony!