"For He who is mighty has done great things for me, And holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him. . " (From the Song of Mary, Luke 1:49-50)
During my pregnancy I continued to attend my church in San Diego. I vowed that once I started to "show", I would stop going. It would just be way too embarassing and way too many questions to answer. You see, the father of my baby was one of the pastor's son- and his family would just as soon forget that I had ever dated their son, and, oops, oh know, gotten herself pregnant. My boyfriend broke up with me soon after we knew the abortion didn't work. It's a harsh reality of life that we as believers have a hard time accepting- we all run like the prodigal son at some point in our lives. Whether you sit in the pew or preach from the pulpit, sin can sometimes be too real and too ugly for us. We forget the God of mercy and light desires to free us from our ugly chains and make all those desolate places beautiful again.
I remember in the early days after the abortion, attending church, singing along with the worship music, wanting so badly to be healed, forgiven and restored to His fellowship. The choir began to sing that familiar song. . .
"Oh Lord, you're beautiful
Your grace is all I see
And when Your eyes are on this child
Your grace abounds to me. . ."
I wept and rushed to the altar to kneel and soak in the waves of forgiveness and freedom that I felt in that instant. Whatever happened, I knew that my Savior had made me new, and like the unborn child in my womb, I had a beginning at life that was unexpected and undeserved, yet gladly received and celebrated.
And so, I started to blossom, both in my heart and in my belly. At this time, the college pastor's wife, Danice, took me under her wing. She too, was pregnant with their first child and we became pregnancy buddies. I found my place among the college and career kids, even though I was only 16. Danice loved me with no judgment or condemnation, instead she made my pregnancy joyful and unashamed. I grew bigger and bigger, and so did my circle of supporters at church. I was in love with Jesus and in love with Danice and in love with all these wonderful "grown-ups" who became the hands and feet of Jesus.
At this time I had taken off from my first semester of my senior year- I had been a total nerd all through high school and had enough credits to take off a semester and still graduate with my class. I hung out with my new friends, volunteered to feed the homeless and fell more in love with the new life inside me.
One week I spent volunteering at a camp for foster kids who had been returned to their parents. The week was a chance for the kids to learn about Jesus, and it gave their parents a little break. The kids all arrived completely lice-ridden. They were clingy, disobedient and out of control. I fell in love with all of them instantly. I totally related to how they felt! (Later in life, God would bring two very special foster kids into my life to love again. There are no coincidences with Him, and very often He sows seed that blossoms right on time, 15 years later!)
The camp was sponsored by a prominent San Diego family who owned among other things, the "Jack in the Box" chain. The wife, Mary Goodall, was at the camp all week, digging in and helping out as much as the rest of teenagers. One morning it was my turn to clean toilets, so I waddled on down to do my part. I arrived to find sweet Mrs. Goodall, on her hands and feet scrubbing the toilets. She insisted that I not scrub any toilets- that I needed to rest and grow my baby. I was shocked. Here was this extremely wealthy woman who could've given her money to sponsor the camp and everyone would applaud her generosity. But she went one step further, and volunteered to love on these kids. Then, she scrubbed toilets for one freshly-redeemed, pregnant 16-year old girl.
I was loving where God had brought me, but reality soon came crashing down on me. This baby was growing, and my mom knew it was time to have the hard conversation about "what next". I was adament that I was going to raise this child. My mom reminded me of my current situation- no boyfriend/husband, no job, no high school diploma. Also, she made it clear that this was my baby to raise, and my parents would only help as grandparents. She was being tough because she had to- I needed to look at my future and make a good decision for my baby. I agreed to talk to an adoption counselor and consider it as an option.
That was one of the best decisions I ever made in my life.
Death to life, orphaned to adopted, broken to restored, curses to blessings. . . this is the story of our life in Christ.