I hurried through the drug store, glancing furtively around, terrified that I would bump into someone I knew who would see me in the aisle where they keep the home pregnancy tests. Avoiding eye contact with the cashier, I made my purchase, stuffed the package deep in my purse, and raced home.
I had missed my period that month and I felt scared.
With shaking hands and thumping heart, I administered the test. In a few minutes the pink line on the tester confirmed my worst fear. Panic, guilt and shame rocked my world.
This was not supposed to happen.
Somewhere back when I was growing up, I absorbed a belief that the worst thing that could happen to a girl would be to get pregnant without being married. Only bad girls got pregnant. This forgotten fear suddenly surfaced in my life.
Now I was not only bad, but stupid too. I was forty–two years old and single.
I had been married before and already had a son. I knew better. What could I have been thinking. Obviously, nothing!
Here was I pregnant by a new boyfriend, a man I hardly knew. And now everyone would know I had been sleeping around. Christians weren’t supposed to do that. I went to church. I had served the Lord in missionary work.
Now everyone would know I was not the fine Christian I pretended to be. I felt trapped. Desperate, I even called an abortion clinic.
And how could I face my parents? They had strong opinions about moral behavior. They lived overseas, so they would never need to know unless I told them. They were used to my independent spirit, but I knew they would be deeply disappointed.
At a time when a girl needs her mother, I had to hide this momentous news. It would be six more months before I could bring myself to tell them.
At first my boyfriend was shocked, but later he asked me to move in with him, and because I couldn’t face bringing up a child alone, I did.
In the following months I slowly accepted the hard realities of my life. Living with a man I did not really love, it seemed the best I could do to give my baby the home he deserved. My boyfriend proved to be a decent man, and provided a sense of stability and security we needed.
Eventually I gave birth to my son. I took him to church and slowly renewed my relationship with God. As much as possible I kept quiet about my marital state.
Two years later, I sat on the edge of my bed and told my boyfriend that I was pregnant again.
What? Again? Now I felt doubly stupid. Me, the woman who had never wished for children in my entire life.
One month after I turned forty-five, my daughter was born. It was another seven years before I finally married.
Nowadays our kids are both in College with athletic scholarships. I hope they make better choices than I did. Twenty –two years ago I could not believe I had stooped so low, fallen so far, made such stupid choices. Huh! How could I have done that?
Today, I quickly accept responsibility for my sins, and depend on God’s constant mercy and forgiveness. While I may have sinned, my children are the beautiful gift God gave me to teach me how His love works, a lesson I obviously needed to learn. I look at my kids with pride in my heart. They are beautiful young adults, wonderful human beings.
God forgives our lapses in judgment, selfish choices, and downright rebellion. I know that what seemed to be evil to me, God has turned it around for good. My pain and disappointment in myself has taught me to understand the lonely, lost and desperate. My children teach me that God redeems all my mistakes, forgives all my sins, and rewards me with love.
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