I was the Christian girl who got pregnant before I was married. There. I said it. It’s hard to say that and feel that it doesn’t define who I am. But while it doesn’t define me, what it does define, is who God has called me to serve.
When I got pregnant, I prayed that God would use my process and my pain and my grief and my guilt, and send me the girls who felt the same way I did, if they were walking the same road. No matter how long it took. Girls who love Jesus, who want to live a life earmarked and stamped with His fingerprints, who want to have a life that radiates Jesus and yet, have made mistakes which they feel make them unworthy of that. They feel unworthy of His love, His grace, His compassion, His forgiveness. They think they are defined by the consequence they carry in plain sight for all to see.
I can tell you that being involved heavily in church, carrying a baby and starting to show is the heaviest your ring finger can feel, with nothing placed on it.
I know. I felt it all.
This year, God answered that prayer. He sent her to me. It took nine years and a move across the world and she rang my doorbell. I thought in my heart and mind that I had dealt with my pre-marriage pregnancy. God and I had packaged that up and tucked it neatly away, tied with a bow. And then my doorbell rang. A prayer answered. I was always proud of my scars – I shared about them without hesitation. But now they weren’t scars any more. They were open wounds and God and I had business to do.
Quite literally, redemption came knocking.
I had the immense privilege of walking redemption’s road with her. She was beginning her journey; I was nearly ten years into mine. Her journey had an eternal impact on how I processed mine. Our two broken roads converged and God met us there. I will never forget how we both wept together, me feeling so much of what she did when I had faced what she was facing.
There is comfort in this: No matter what I do, no matter what mistakes I make, no matter where my fickle humanity leads me astray, He never gives up on me. Or her. Or you. His mercy, compassion and grace are never ending. As Eugene Peterson said:
God loves you.
God is on your side. (what a thought!)
He is coming after you.
He is relentless.
He is relentless in His pursuit of me. His pursuit doesn’t stop when I stumble, when I make mistakes, when I decide my way is better. He gave His life for me because no matter what, I’m worth it.
So my friend and I, girls who became mothers before we became wives, we’re worth it to Him. Some days I’ll be honest, I don’t feel like I am. On those days, when I don’t feel it, I have to be courageous enough to choose to believe it. Why? Because one of the greatest truths I can preach to myself is sung in a children’s song: JESUS LOVES ME THIS I KNOW, FOR THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO. No matter what I believe about myself, the Bible tells me about how Jesus feels about me and the authority of Scripture in my life should supersede my emotions. Easier said than done? Absolutely. But either I’m going to take Jesus at His word, or I’m not. It’s as simple as that.
Redemption means to be saved. The very thing that God uses to shape me, the trial that He walks me through will always produce something that will bring glory to Him and work for my good. It gave me my Redemption Child – a child God sent me who literally saved my life. (Not only my life, but my dad’s life too but that’s another story for another day) He changed everything.
The peace bringer (my son’s name means that) is nearly ten and this week, my friends held their Redemption Child for the first time, a little boy whose name means protector.
Two unplanned pregnancies but two little boys who were anything but a surprise to Him, whose first breaths God orchestrated for exactly the moments they took them, before the dawn of time.
To my friend: you are a tangible answer to a prayer that I prayed nearly ten years ago. You’re the first one God sent me. A miracle in my life. I’m praying Jesus sends me another one. I’m praying Jesus guides me to who He wants me to help, to demonstrate just how intentional our God is in redeeming our broken pasts and granting us something we never dreamed we would need: a redemption child.
To my fellow Redemption Child moms: I pray that as you hold your redemption children every night or await their arrival, you realize just how incredibly unending God’s love is for you – so much so, that He took the time to fashion and form those perfect babies, who made you mothers. I want you to know this: All the dreams and hopes and prayers you have for those precious lives are not contingent on how or when they were conceived. They are beloved by the Author of life, treasured in His sight. And just like our two redemption children, they were given life for such a time as this. And so were you. I pray that resonates from your head to your heart every. moment. of. every. single. day. And on the days you don’t feel it, be courageous enough to still believe it.
To my fellow sojourners on Redemption’s Road: Most times, redemption is not a single act – a one stop shop and all is done and dusted. Most times, it takes years, God using multiple people and numerous circumstances to bend and shape and create in us a heart that is ready to receive it. This path you’re on? He might quite literally use it to save your life. Don’t ever underestimate how integrally and intimately He is involved in ALL of life – the joyous, the painful, the terrifying, the absolutely heartbreaking, the disappointment, the triumphs, the tears.
I know I did.
And God knew I needed the constant reminder so He sent me my son.
My Redemption Child.
God is not done with me yet. I’ll see you out on the road.
Photo credit: Once Upon A Photo by Dani Howard