This photo was taken 28 years ago this weekend, when church friends threw me a baby shower and I went into labor on Halloween night and gave birth to twin girls the next morning. Those babies were God’s grace to me. I suspect most mother’s would say their kids are God’s grace to them, but I really know. You see, I wasn’t living a life that honored God when I got pregnant, but the second I found out I was pregnant, God got my heart back.
The second I found out.
There I was, single and pregnant, now wanting to go back to church. Hmmm, how would that go? It didn’t go perfectly. I got some notes that were tough to read. I felt stares. But tucked into the the swirl of awkward experiences,
Two very special sentences were spoken to me:
1. The first special sentence was spoken by a pastor.
My boyfriend and I met with a pastor of a small church to explain our situation in advance so as not to catch him by surprise. Do you want to know what he said?
I don’t know if my congregation is going to accept you, but if they don’t, I will walk out with you.
Thankfully, that church embraced us, but I will never forget what our pastor said.
2. The second special sentence was spoken by my father.
My boyfriend and I met with my parents on their patio to let them know we were pregnant and wanted to get married. I told my parents that I wanted to get married in the local church I grew up in, but would understand if they were too embarrassed for me to be seen by their friends. If so, we would get married elsewhere.
My father got up from his chair, walked around the table with arms outstretched to hug each of us, and said,
I will never be embarrassed by my grandchildren.
What treasured memories those two sentences are. Balm to my soul. I think the church needs to be careful about how we treat women who get pregnant in less than preferable circumstances.
Each baby is a gift.
The arrival of babies does not depend on whether someone’s life is in shambles or not. There are people living reckless sex lives but no baby arrives because measures are taken, or simply because one is never conceived. No one is staring at such individuals on Sunday mornings. Isn’t that interesting? As well, there are plenty of people living well and doing things “right” and a baby doesn’t arrive. Heartbreaking. And we all know of instances where a couple isn’t even thinking about babies any longer, then “surprise!”
What my personal experience taught me is that I can never trust what I see. Just because something looks messy in someone’s life doesn’t mean God isn’t in the middle of it, luring each person’s heart toward Himself. As I better comprehend the relentless efforts of God to teach us the vastness of His love, I have become less prone to panic, and more apt to give God the space to keep chasing after that person’s heart. Trust, not panic.
Because when life stays the same, things don’t change.
God is in the process of growing us up into maturity, and only He knows the best way to do that. For me, He used babies as part of my maturity process: Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. (1Peter 2:2-3)
Little did I know when I found out I was pregnant, there were two. Little did I know that as a woman who struggled to feel loved, these young ones would start to teach me how to love. Little did I know the delights they would become. From the moment I found out, I am so grateful I made the decision to NEVER be embarrassed by them, but to only treat them as the gifts from God they are.
My dad modeled that for me.
Picture Explanation: My beauties were born early in the morning on November 1. The brown-haired beauty arrived first with a lusty cry. The one in red almost didn’t make it home, another reminder that life is always a gift. One of the most significant 17 minutes of my life.
P.S. – My mom was also very supportive. She just didn’t say the sentence!
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