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Sep
23

A Life Altered: a conversation between two women

Behold, children are a blessing from the Lord.  The fruit of the womb is a reward.  Like armies in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth.    -Psalm 127:3

Elizabeth Marchman Logan“What am I going to do?” you whisper. “I am pregnant.”

I nod.

I smile.

I want to tell you, “Be joyful.”

But how can I, when fear is choking the breathe right out of you?

And because I have wrestled that same fear, instead I tell you, when I was nineteen and in my first year of college, I was faced with a decision that, no matter what I chose, the outcome would alter the rest of my life. In high school, I was the good girl voted most likely not to be promiscuous by all her previous boyfriends and, as word spread, I was avoided by potential future boyfriends because, well, there seemed to be only one end goal on a Friday night while we sat by the lake. Quickly, I decided being a good girl only earned you no boyfriends. And even though I did not create a plan to seek out anyone in particular, I certainly spent ample time thinking about how much fun some of my other girlfriends were having.

As my first year of college came to a close, I let myself be charmed by a slick talking city boy who knew all the right words to say. And for the first time ever, I had my pants charmed right off of me.

IMG_0288After three months, Slick decided fatherhood was not for him.

You nod.

And he left.

You smile.

Just. Like. That.

Your eyes brim with tears and we both sit, bound by a same situation, two decades apart.

So I drop out of college, take a job at a grocery store and a second at a temp service, and work toward my new future as a single mother instead of my dream of being a  photojournalist for National Geographic.

Then I pause because, what possible wisdom do I have to offer you?

I can’t sit here and tell you every moment was filled with being over joyed in my circumstance.

I can’t tell you that I did not mourn some of the sacrifices motherhood required I make.

I can’t tell you I never envied the fact that my friends went on to finish their college days while I sometimes worked two jobs and was up all night taking care of a infant.

I can’t tell you that financially I never struggled.

I can’t paint a picture for you that it was easy or without fear or that all my friends clamored about me in support.

I can’t tell you I was never tired. Or inconvenienced. Or irritated.

I can’t even tell you that I was not counseled by some of those closest to me to have an abortion.

IMG_0289So instead, I tell you these things because being a mother has changed my life in the most unimaginable ways and if abortion had been my choice, I would be a completely different person sitting before you now. And so would the people around me because our choices have a way of rippling out for good or for bad.

When I heard the heartbeat at my first doctor’s visit, it was the most thrilling thing I had ever heard in my life.

The first purchase I made was a small teddy bear and a white bib with a clown embroidered on it and it was the most exciting $15 purchase I ever made.

Those early morning snuggles and beautiful blue eyes undid me every time in the most glorious of ways.

Sacrifice and love are the epitome of being a parent and in them are joy unexplainable.

Firsts. First smile. First tooth. First step. First word. Those firsts never stop their whole life. And those firsts will bring you happiness your whole life.

My mother was there in the delivery room and saw her first grandchild born. I remember my father holding my son for the first time, after first saying no he was covered in construction dust and a nurse laughing,telling him that is why they installed sinks and to wash up because there were no excuses worthy for not holding that child right now.

My grandparents refinished the family crib for their great grandchild that held my mother when she was a baby, all of us kids and too many cousins to count and what a blessing for my child to sleep in a bed steeped in so much love and prayer.

The friends that fell away? Not missed one of them in the last twenty-four years.

And my brother? He was more than willing to heed the call and drive the car at ungodly speeds, the whole seven miles to the hospital, when the doctor said, “Go now.”

A week of missed lunches due to lack of funds because you are pulling down barely more than minimum wage at $5.25 an hour with no benefits and your son has a pediatrician visit, will make you the most frugal person there is and THAT is a life skill we all need.

My child had more thrift store clothes than new clothes and I learned that everything did not have to be brand sparkling new. So with my next two children, I searched out second hand clothes before I bought one stinking thing new.

snapshot memories of happy

snapshot memories of happy

But here is what I believed then and what I still believe now: we were old enough to consent to and engage in sex, so we are old enough to take responsibility for the potential outcome of pregnancy. And whatever sacrifices we must make are ours, and ours alone, to bear.  I never expected a handout, but was grateful for the love and guidance and help that came my way. And I assure you, it will come your way too.

You see the news.  I see it too. They rage about women’s rights and Planned Parenthood and whether abortion is right or wrong, when is a baby a really a baby. Videos surface and horrors are revealed, and angry people shout hate speech like heathens instead of God-fearing, human- loving Christians.

But I am grateful, I tell you.  I am grateful I did not waver. I am grateful I stood my ground. I am grateful I was not swayed by opinions of how inconvenient it would be to be a mother or how I was too young or the sacrifices too great. I am grateful that my parents taught me to be responsible for my decisions and never, not once, let me get away with shirking the consequences.

Mostly, I am grateful God gave me the strength and the courage and fortitude to press on and that, standing on His truth, I was able to view the preciousness and the sanctity of the life He created and gifted to me as exactly what it was. Holy.

No matter how it came about.

No matter how it changed my future.

No matter what it cost me.

IMG_7927Because here is the thing I do not want you to miss:  when you take the convenient way out, you will never be able to walk through the toughest situations you will face going forward. You will never know the joy of victory over your circumstances. You will never walk through the unknowns of life and know the beauty of trusting God. You will never experience the strength of God in your weakness and your fear. Because once you take the easy road, your fortitude and tenacity evaporate. Your excited “what if I dos?” becomes apathetic “why bothers?” and you will miss the greatest blessings of your life. You may think this is the toughest circumstance, but I assure you it is not and more are sure to come. And I want you to know the feeling of gratitude and the joy of motherhood. I want so desperately for you to know the beauty of God working miracles out of what seems the wildest uncertainty and the darkest despair and the deepest pits we can dig for ourselves.

And between me and you, can I tell you this? Sometimes things harder than unplanned pregnancy come along. Sometimes tragedy rears up and steals two children right away from you in the quick blink of an eye and you look back and see the one left is the one you chose not to abort, but to keep and to cherish and to love.  I assure you, it is then the magnitude of God’s omnipotence is apparent and His divine plan clear. And unending gratitude you will possess for eternity for the wisdom and strength to have made just one right choice. Because every right choice gives you strength and wisdom for every new circumstance you find yourself in.

Life is not easy. Never has been. Never will be. If someone sold you that lie, demand a refund.

God allows hard choices because it is…Not. About. Us. It is about Him. It is about the path we are meant to follow and following Him is a life long pursuit. And this world will tell you to live with a ME mentality that will crush the life right out of you when something goes awry in the little lives we make for ourselves.

But know this:

Every single situation has a purpose. Every single LIFE has a purpose.

And when Jesus Christ is our focus, clarity reigns and the decisions of right and wrong are replaced with trust of the only Omnipotent Being. The One who has thought it all through. The One who has planned it all out. The One who knows what is not only right, but what is best.

And that is true, no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in.

He alone, has given you this gift of life. Right now, it might seem more a burden than a gift. But I will ask you to do one thing.

Come with me.IMG_4234

Let’s go listen to this heart beat wild with life.

Then, we can thank God for the most precious gift He has to give and that He has chosen to give it to you.

Being a mom is tough, but it is the best hardest thing you will ever do your whole life. And not having an abortion, I promise, will be a choice you will never need worry about regretting.

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