(Read Part 1)
I had chosen life for my daughter but it felt like I had chosen death for myself. How would I tell my parents that I was pregnant? What would they say? What would they do? And how could I ever show my face in church again?
I was scared. Scared of what people would think. I had lived my life pining after the praise of people and the approval of God. I worked so hard to look perfect on the outside while inside I was wasting away. A growing belly was not something I could hide. The masquerade would soon be over. The world would now know that I was not what I claimed to be.
Who could I tell? Who would walk with me through this mess of a life I had made for myself? My parents would surely disown me, for they were the perfect church couple. My pregnancy would disgrace them. My friends would continue on with their single lives, not bound by the restrictions of caring for a child. And then there was my church. They would never allow me through their doors again. How could they? I was full of sin and they were full of righteousness. How can filth mingle with the saints?
My sister, would I dare to tell her? We acted more like enemies than friends. But then who else did I have to turn to?
I remember that moment so well; the moment I opened the door to my sister’s room. The moment I spoke these words, “Joleene, I know we don’t get along but there is something I need to tell you.” I don’t know if it was the look on my face or the tone of my voice but my sister did not beg me to leave her room that night. These two words spilled from my lips, “I’m pregnant.”
She embraced me. She cried with me. She loved me. And the relationship that had been broken for so long was finally restored. God granted me a glimpse of hope in the hours we lay snuggled together under her covers awaiting my father’s return home. Someone would stand beside me. Someone would love me despite my sin.
I had never been so nervous in all my life. It was time to tell my mother the news. I feared how she would react. My sister came with me as I exposed my dark secret. My outward perfection had been stripped away as I sat there vulnerable and ashamed awaiting my mother’s reply. But what happened next was not what I had expected. My mother loved me. She opened up her arms to me and loved me; sinful, pregnant me. I had lived so much of my life trying to make her proud and now, in my shame, I realized she loved me no matter what I did. And so did my father. I sensed their disappointment but their unconditional love was so much stronger.
I did not realize the depth of their love at that time. I could not understand how they could accept me with all my faults. I could not fathom how their love was a testimony to the love my Heavenly Father had for me.
It would take time for me to realize the truth that God loved me before I was born.
He loved me while I was living in sin.
He loved me enough to send his Son to die for wretched, filthy me.
God, the Creator of the universe, loved me enough to call me His child.
I was loved… but could I ever be accepted within the church?
“But God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
Read Part 3
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