My daughter saved my soul.
I was raised to know and love God from an early age. Faith was a huge part of my family’s life. We never missed church and everyone in my family was seemingly a “picturesque” Christian. I was involved in school ministries, Christian retreats, and led small groups during college.
I really loved God and I really thought that I had a relationship with him. Looking back, I don’t doubt that I had a relationship, but my experience has taken me to a new level of understanding about the love Jesus has for us and what it really means to be in communion with Him.
In college, I began down a path I am not proud of. I thought I was somehow better than my peers because I wasn’t “as” hypocritical or wasn’t “as” sinful. I was so blinded to my own hypocrisy. I thought I was different because I was still remorseful when I messed up. I began to chip away at once strong-held beliefs about purity that eventually led to sexual relationships.
I wish I could say at the most trying and worst points in my life that I didn’t know God, but I did. The difference was that I just didn’t let him take over every aspect of my life. I compartmentalized, and there was a lack of trust. As hard as it is for me to admit, I found myself becoming a professional pretender.
Rock bottom for me was when I found out I was pregnant last summer, after college, before I started my graduate school program.
When I first found out, I was up north with my family. I was actually training to run a marathon and had run 10 miles that morning. Post run, I really did not feel well. I found an excuse to take the car, saying that I needed to treat myself to a coke after running 10 miles and went to a gas station.
There my worst “nightmare” was revealed to me when two little lines changed my world forever. Alone, terrified, and curled up on the wet, dirty floor of a gas station bathroom I cried out to God to make this go away. I remember lying in the fetal position in the shower when I got home for about an hour trying to wipe the tears from my face.
I legitimately thought my life was over. Fear encompassed my being. Not the type of fear where you are scared of the dark – it was the type of fear that takes away your every breath, freezes your thoughts, and overwhelms your soul.
I prayed for a miscarriage for the next couple weeks. It pains me to say this, knowing the immense heartache so many mamas struggle with because of this loss. When I didn’t miscarry naturally, my thoughts turned toward abortion.
I have always been the most “pro-life” person you could think of. However, when I was in this situation, I felt backed into a corner with nowhere to turn. I honestly didn’t think I had any other option. How could I “ruin” my family’s life? What would everyone think of me? What would happen with school? The military? What will those at church say to me? I thought I would never be able to hold my head high again.
I flew to Colorado where the baby’s father was located, got money from the bank, and scheduled the abortion for 10:40 am on a Wednesday morning. The grueling time leading up to that day was not pretty – it involved “battles” with God, tears, screaming to no one, and nightmares to name a few.
I remember going on a walk the morning before my scheduled abortion and begging God to do something dramatic and stop me from doing this.
Through my tears, I drove to pick up my baby’s father from work to go to the abortion clinic. In a moment of sheer desperation, I decided to text my mom and ask about “a friend” who had gotten pregnant and was considering abortion. She said, “Sarah, go to that girl! You can save her baby’s life. She needs you right now.” I told her that the girl was very ashamed, and my mom said, “There is nothing to be ashamed of. She is a warrior!” Tears were flowing when I received texts from my sister saying she was praying for baby “Falcon” (as they had named the baby).
I later found out that countless other people were praying for my baby as my mom began to spread the word about “my friend”. This was a pivotal moment in saving my daughter’s life, but I still didn’t tell my baby’s father about it.
When we were about to make the turn into the abortion clinic, he looked over at me and asked if we could stop by one of the churches we went to frequently before our appointment. I immediately started to panic, asking, “Well should we cancel? What about the appointment? Shouldn’t I call them?” He just said we would worry about that later, but for now let’s stop by the church (which happened to be right by the clinic).
The only pastor available to talk to us was a 40-year-old man of God who unabashedly shared his testimony that he had gotten a girl pregnant when they were 19 years old and they had an abortion. He told us how it haunts him to this day, even though he has a beautiful family of six with his wife now, and about the immense burden this is for many people to carry throughout their lives.
From that moment on, we decided that we were going to do this – we were going to have this baby. While I walked out of there unsure of how my life would unfold, frightened of the future, and fearful of how my family would react, I now had the strength to save my baby’s life.
I wish I would say days were great after this, but they simply weren’t.
I didn’t tell friends and family for a long time because I was so ashamed. A proud pregnancy was not something I had the pleasure of experiencing. Every time I left the house, I felt this all-encompassing guilt and embarrassment. It would be a huge understatement to say that I was overwhelmed by the weight of this pregnancy. My mistake was plastered all over my forehead – well really my stomach.
But this is where I really think my life began. From the ashes of my sin, darkness, shame, and guilt, a new life was born. Over time, I began to heal, be made whole, and Christ taught me to hold my head high.
Some days shame begins to creep back in, but now, seven months after having my daughter, I am humbled to say I share my story with excitement at what God did to change my life with this beautiful soul.
During the beginning of my pregnancy, I thought over and over that my life was a wreck. What Christ did for me through this situation was wreck any preconceived notion I had of Him. He completely transformed what I thought was a good relationship with Him and showed me how to actually have a friendship with Him. He showed me that I had to surrender, daily, to His plan.
I have learned so much through this, but I want to elaborate on three of the biggest:
1. Jesus came for the sinner, and forgiveness is real.
He didn’t come for the righteous. He came for the sinner. He came for me, and He came for you.
When I look at the worst mistakes of my life I wonder how I have a God that can love me – but then when I look into my daughter’s big brown eyes peering at me from her crib with such innocence and awe, I can lift my eyes to heaven in gratitude, marveling at the fact that He gave me her so that I could KNOW Him.
He used all my yuckiness and self-proclaimed “unworthiness” so that I could finally know and accept my worth.
2. Purity is hard.
I was always a fairly confident girl growing up. I knew that I wanted to wait until I was married to have sex, but I began an unhealthy habit of finding a lot of satisfaction in things other than God.
I never did this consciously, and it has taken me a long time to admit it, but I found a lot of my worth in my relationship with others – especially guys. As humans, we are all made to love and be loved so it does feel good when that happens. However, it begins to be a problem when we seek satisfaction from them rather than from the Lord.
3. You are worthy.
No matter where you’ve been in the past, choices you made, insecurities, doubts, fears, and anxieties about the future – I am here to tell you that you are worthy. I know it is much easier said than done, but you can walk around faithful and proud of who you are (including how your past has molded you, your scars have shaped you, and how your choices have affected you) because you are worthy of God’s love.
Whatever is in your past – whether you had a baby outside of wedlock, whether you have had an abortion, whether you’ve “messed up” with guys in the past, whether you’ve cheated on a boyfriend, whether you struggle with slander, cheating, gossip, sexting, pornography, masturbation, judgement, or lying – it doesn’t matter now. You can begin again. You aren’t made to be a victim of your poor choices – you were made to be a victorious child of God.
No matter how you became a mama, know that a baby is always a blessing. After all, ain’t no hood quite like m o t h e r h o o d.