The doctor looked surprised as the child came out. He glanced at Mr. and Mrs. McFarland as he gave the child to the nurses. The nurses looked at each other awkwardly as they cleaned the child. Mrs. McFarland's heart began to pound with dread.
Mr. McFarland could tell by the doctor's look that something was wrong. Yet, all life was precious to him, especially the lives of his children. They already had 3 beautiful blond haired girls; eight, six and five and one two year old red-headed boy. This was their fifth child.
He looked at his wife's troubled face.
“It's alright,” he said rubbing her hand. “I'll do whatever I have to do to be there for you and the kids. I'm a changed man. Things will be different now. I've got Christ in my heart.”
He glanced across the room. The nurses had finished cleaning and weighing the baby and were eying the couple nervously. Mr. McFarland went and took the baby from them. As the baby girl opened her dark brown eyes and looked at him, his eyes filled with tears. He unwrapped the blanket from around her to get a better look and see if what he was seeing was true. Then he wrapped her back.
Mrs. McFarland saw the tears rolling down her husband's cheeks and covered her face with the blanket. She wished she could disappear. She wished this were all a bad dream. She wanted to get up and run but she was too weak.
He pulled the blanket from over her face and handed her the baby.
“Here's your little girl,” he said as his voice broke into a cry. Then he walked out the room. She looked around the room and noticed all eyes were on her. Even the doctor was at a loss of words. He had delivered all five of her kids so their was no hiding it from him. What was done was obvious.
She hadn't meant for this to happen. It was before Mike McFarland had changed. He was never at home in those days. When he did come home, he was usually drunk and abusive. Never towards his kids, but towards her.
Joe would come over and check on them.
“Don't worry Mrs. McFarland,” He'd say. “Keep praying and one day God will get a hold of Mike. Keep showing him the love of Christ. My Dad was an alcoholic too. He finally changed though. Prayer works.”
He'd take the kids to his house sometimes to give her a brake. He was a widower; in his late forties. He lived three houses down from them. His eight year old daughter was good friends with their oldest daughter.
One night when Mike had been more abusive than usual and had taken the kids and left, she called him crying. He came out of compassion, but he knew he shouldn't have been there. She poured out her heart to him. He tried to comfort her.
Some how one thing led to another. It was all a big mistake. As he left that night, he had said again and again,
“I'm sorry. I don't know what came over me.”
“It's my fault,” she'd said. “Don't feel bad. Let's just pretend it never happened.”
Soon after that she discovered she was pregnant. Being that Joe was a dark-skinned black man, she wondered what would happen if the child was his and not her husband's. She had dreaded the thought and tried to put it aside.
Hurt and broken Mike went to his car and wept. He wondered what to do. He knew if he stayed with his wife and kept the child, she'd be a constant embarrassment to their family. What would he tell his family and friends. How would everyone look at them. How could she do this to him. Then he remembered what Christ had rescued him from.
Two years later Mrs. McFarland looked out the window and saw Mike running with little Ebony on his shoulders. Ebony squealed with joy as her sisters and brother chased her and their dad. Mr. And Mrs. McFarland never imagined that the child who'd brought them so much shame could also bring such delight. Ebony lived with Joe and her older half sister, but she still spent much time with the McFarlands. The neighbors talked, but Mrs. McFarland didn't care anymore. She saw Christ's redemption in the love Mike showed her and Ebony.
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