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Tell Me Your Story—An Unplanned Pregnancy and God’s Grace

Readers, would you give some quick feedback? Do you wish me to continue publishing the magazine (as listed in the editor’s letter) which features articles from various authors? (This does not include Ruth’s Blog or the Tell Me Your Story column.) VOTE by simply sending me an email stating YES at ruthywood@gmail.com. I will base my decision on the amount of YES replies received.

DSC_3703_2Dear Readers,

Linda Dillow in Calm My Anxious Heart quotes Myrna Alexander, “There is the crooked that God causes and the crooked that we create for ourselves and God allows. We make mistakes, blunders, messes. We can create disorder, chaos, sadness, and suffering by breaking God’s instructions concerning how life is to be lived. Yet He who is in control over all things says, concerning the seemingly crooked that He has made or the crooked we have caused, “All things work together for good to them that love God…”

I like the above quote because it lifts us to a beautiful place of hope. In January, the Tell Me Your Story column was titled Three Abortions and God’s Grace. This month’s interview is titled “An Unplanned Pregnancy and God’s Grace.” I titled both stories in a parallel manner to highlight that God is bigger than our choices. Out of the riches of His kindness and grace, He used three abortions and an out-of-wedlock child to draw two searching women to Himself.

Ruth Wood is the columnist for Tell Me Your Story. Do you have a dramatic or unique story that would encourage others in their walk with the Lord? Send an email to Ruth with subject line “query” and include a paragraph summarizing your story to ruthywood@gmail.com.

An Unplanned Pregnancy and God’s Grace

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Thank you so much for your willingness to share a painful chapter from your life, yet one that God used for good. You were sixteen and unmarried when you found yourself pregnant with your daughter. Did you ever consider abortion?

No. I was raised Catholic, and I guess some of that got through to me that God was the giver of life—I had no right to take that which He had given. I came from a dysfunctional home that lacked love, so I did ask the question: “Would I have enough love for this baby?” I felt deficient because my family was filled with strife, jealousy, anger and resentment, modeled by my parents. I was afraid that I would parent the way they parented me.

You chose not to marry the baby’s father for various reasons. What kind of support did you have from friends and family to raise your daughter alone? How long were you a single mom before you married?

Choosing to keep my baby did not immediately change the environment in my home with my parents. My mother was humiliated and ashamed of me as at that time it was considered a shameful thing to have sex outside of marriage, or at least to be caught by getting pregnant. My Papa was deeply hurt, but he stood beside me whereas my mother refused to be seen with me. But once my daughter was born their grandparent instincts took over, and they loved their first granddaughter immeasurably! I was a single parent for a year and a half.

Did you know the Lord at the time of your pregnancy?

After being caught up in the “Jesus movement,” I backslid to my hippie lifestyle, returning to old friends and boyfriend.

How did the Lord use your circumstances to draw you to Himself?

Many friends had heard about my pregnancy—such gossip spreads like wildfire in a small town—and were asking me what I was going to do. I was four months pregnant when I attended my high school prom. That night I gave a friend a ride home in my Papa’s pick up. They lived out in the country, and I drove back, a huge harvest moon hung on the horizon. It spoke to me as if God were saying “I am here; come home. I will love you and give you the love you will need, only trust Me.” I started crying and asked God’s forgiveness for my rebellion, my sin and my poor choices. I promised to live for Him instead of myself. I questioned if I would have the love it would take for this baby, but now I knew someone who did! Jesus was His Name!

What did the Lord teach you about His forgiveness through having a baby out of wedlock?

I was amazed and so grateful that He forgave me and took me back! He not only took me back but provided miraculously. The doctor I had was a kind Christian man who was so compassionate and kind to me when I was in labor. He did not judge me, instead, he treated me with tenderness as if I were his daughter. My friends gave me a baby shower and there was not one thing I was lacking or needed to buy. I was actually blessed with more provisions than when I got married and had a baby with my husband to support me.

God is rich and full of mercy. I did not deserve his mercy—I was rebellious and had turned my back on Him and really was without hope. I was so grateful that Jesus opened his arms to me, forgave me and brought me back to Himself again.

What were some of the challenges you faced, and what was most difficult about being a teen mom?

I think the hardest thing was being so young and not knowing how to raise a child and do it right. I had to fight the way I had been raised. I wanted a better way, a way of love and not strife. Earning a living was the second most difficult thing, doing any job that would pay for my doctor bill. I felt it was my responsibility, not my parents’ duty, to pay my bills. I had taken on adult choices, and now I had to bear the consequences of those choices.

I worked right up until the a couple of weeks before I gave birth to my daughter. I went to night school to make sure I graduated with my class. I had to grow up fast, leaving carefree days behind. My parents were kind enough to allow me to live with them, and I choose to pay them rent even though they did not require it. I bought a Goodwill bike and rode it everywhere, even after my daughter was born—I just put her on my back. I took her everywhere with me.

What did the Lord teach you about Himself in connection with parenting?

God is a good parent. When I look at my daughter I don’t see her flaws, I only know how much I love her. My heart is to see her blessed and happy, and whether her choices agree with my beliefs or not, I never cease to love her. This is how God sees me. He wants the very best for me, just as I want the very best for my daughter, only more so because His love is perfect.

Your daughter is now grown. As you reflect on your choice to go through with the unintended pregnancy and on the years of mothering since, what’s your advice to young women identifying with your challenges?

First and foremost is to establish a relationship with Jesus. I had to overcome my own guilt, I had to forgive myself for my poor choices. Accepting Jesus’ forgiveness brought me the comfort, strength, love and stability to raise my daughter.

If you have a child, who you marry is very important. I recommend you find out who you are, know what your dreams are, and think about the kind of home you want. Then pick a man who will best match who you are and will be a great father, a man who loves Jesus and has the ability to see you. Ask yourself, “What do I want for my child?” Be smart. Make sure he is a man who knows how to love, exercises discipline and self-control, and that he is honest, kind, hardworking, trustworthy, and free of addictions. Make it a priority to observe whether his actions match his words, that he walks the talk, for Jesus said, “If you love Me you will obey Me.” Determine in your heart not to make excuses if you observe bad behavior in a potential mate. Ask God to pick the father of your children…sometimes our “picker” is broken!

I would encourage you if you find yourself pregnant and you want to be this baby’s mother, turn your life over to the Giver of Life and Love, seek His wisdom and He will provide for you and your child. Stay true to Him, keep His words, and love Him with all your heart.

I look at my daughter today and see her smiling face in my mind. She has enriched not only my life, but I know that she has touched many others. I think about the relationship she had with her grandpa, my father, when I returned to school for the couple of classes I needed to graduate. My Papa was unemployed at the time, so he cared for her while I was at school. She stole his heart and he hers—they had such a powerful connection all of his life. She was the only one he allowed in the room when he passed from this earth into eternity. And that is just one life that was enriched beyond measure because she was born.