And Now You Know the Rest of the Story Part 1 of 2

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I had never considered my life to be a story, until I was asked to share my testimony at a fundraiser banquet for Lifeline Pregnancy Center. Lifeline is a local pregnancy help center that offers free and confidential help for women during and after pregnancy and for both men and women who are battling through post-abortion syndrome.  In the Fall of 2008, when I was first asked to speak on behalf of Lifeline Pregnancy Center, I was a little hesitant I knew that there was a reason why God had laid my name on the directo’s heart, but for the life of me, I couldn’t get past my own emotions to be able to share my story.

I appreciated the thought of being considered for the opportunity of being a guest speaker, but I honestly didn’t think that I was worthy of something like that. After all, I was just a single girl with a child. Who would want to hear about that? It’s amazing to me that you can go your whole life not really noticing something and then one day open your eyes and it is all around you.

For me, that unnoticed thing was single parents and unplanned pregnancy. Unplanned. That only means that it wasn’t in our plans, but over the past few years, I have discovered that God’s plans are often completely different than our own plans for ourselves. But, in turn, the end result that he has planned for us is always much grander than what we could have ever pictured for ourselves, as well. Isaiah 25:1 says, “O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvel things, things planned long ago.”

I was raised in a Christian home. Being the oldest of three girls, I was supposed to set the example for my two younger sisters.  I must have done a pretty good job…for the first twelve years. My sisters and I were inseparable. We played for countless hours, making picnic tables into forts with old bath towels and pretending that our four poster canopy bed was a boat being tossed upon the stormy sea.

I was brought up by my parents to love the Lord and pursue His will in all things. I attended church alongside my sisters every Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night. I was present at every Vacation Bible School from the time that I could walk until the time I was old enough to teach. I have now been an active Vacation Bible School member for the past 13 years and have loved every moment of it.

As I grew older, I also grew more rebellious. My teen years were hard on me, but now, over a decade later, I can finally see that they were even harder on my parents. Once I entered high school, things got difficult. I started dating my first real boyfriend and within months, I was hanging out with the wrong crowd, the crowd my parents had always warned me about. Church was no longer considered to be “cool” and not wanting to disappoint my friends; it quickly became a thing of the past. It’s amazing how easily we can complicate things for ourselves.

About midway through my senior year of high school, I woke up one morning and was completely blind in my left eye. After a series of blood tests, x rays and CAT scans, the doctors concluded that the cause of my blindness was unknown and they were unsure if I would lose my sight any further. The doctors prescribed me Prednisone to lessen the swelling in my optic nerve, but the damage was irreversible.My optic nerve had been hollowed out and my vision was left permanently altered. At the time, my Mom told me that this was God trying to get my attention, but I still wasn’t ready to give it to Him. I was having too much fun living my life the way that I wanted. Looking back now, I don’t understand what was so much fun. I spent a majority of my time paranoid about getting caught by the cops and avoiding confrontations with my parents.

By the time that I was twenty, I had started to calm down. I was no longer hanging out with the wrong crowd and I had a steady boyfriend. I still didn’t really get along with my parents, as difference of opinion was a constant. In October 2004, during a routine exam, I found out that I was pregnant. I can vividly remember the night that I told my Mom. She was eerily silent and I couldn’t control my tears. I begged her to speak, but her only words were, “What do you want me to say?” I told her that she would have to be the one to tell Dad, because I just didn’t have the nerve. What a shame that I cheated myself out of being able to joyfully announce that I was going to be a mother. Instead, I had to guiltily admit it.

The next morning, it was just the three of us sitting around the breakfast table. I didn’t know if Mom had told Dad, until he stood up and walked around the table to stand beside me and without saying a word, he put a prenatal vitamin in my mouth. Then he said the five words that I will never forget. “It’s not about you anymore.”

I read in a daily devotional book one time that, “A life lived for Christ is the best inheritance that we can leave for our children.” I believe that to be so very true. It’s amazing how children can change you. Even before they are born, they begin to shape and mold your life into something new and completely different than ever before.

When I was seven months pregnant, my boyfriend came to see me at work one afternoon. He told me that we was moving to find another job. One that would make him more able to support me and our baby. He ended up moving to Phoenix, Arizona the very next day. I called him three weeks later to check up on his progress at finding a job. It was then, that he let me know that he had no intention of ever coming back to North Carolina. His words of comfort to me were, ” Don’t worry, you’ll be a great mom.” That was our last conversation.

The last two months of my pregnancy were the hardest. There are a lot of mistakes that people can make throughout their lives. Sins that can be easily hidden or denied. A pregnancy can neither be hidden nor denied. The looks of awe from seeing my ever growing belly, quickly turned to looks of judgment as their eyes traveled from my belly to my bare ring finger. Being pregnant was an extremely humbling time for me and it was then, that I truly learned to lean on the Lord. As I pursued Him and His will for my life and the life of my unborn child, he filled the gaps of my heart and began to refine me.

On May 18, 2005, my son Gabriel was born. I chose the name Gabriel, because it means “messenger of God.” It’s amazing to me that God always decided to use an unlikely source to send a powerful message straight to the heart of someone. To me, that unlikely source was my son, is my son. Every time I see his face, whether he is sleeping or smiling, I am humbled and know that God is so good. He gave me a beautiful son and with my son,  came a brand new beginning for my life.

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