At 35 years old, after 11 years of marriage I divorced. I had two small children ages 6 and 8 months old. For one year after this, it was extremely difficult in every way. My whole life changed and I was terrified. I did my very best to care for my children. I couldn't get any kind of financial assistance and still to this day I do not understand why I couldn't at least get food stamps, but I was always denied. The children's father was good about paying child support, but it simply wasn't enough. The children and I were left with the home and the mortgage. And when my husband left, he left us with the mortgage already 3 months behind. I couldn't catch up. I couldn't maintain it. I did not know of the help that was probably out there to assist me at the time. I then had to do something that broke my heart. I had to go back to their father and ask him if he would please take care of the children until I could get on my feet. I'll never forget their faces pressed up to the window screaming as I drove away.
Something died in me that night. I was never the same. You might say I am exaggerating but that is how I felt. My children were my world. I always thought of myself as a good mother. I was known to do whatever it took for my children. There was no such thing as sacrifice for me..I would just do whatever it took. I worked the first 5 years of my eldest son's life on the night shift so that he didn't have to go to daycare. I became physically ill many times from lack of sleep, but it didn't matter to me because I was doing it for him. I know now I have failed. That is how I saw it. And I honestly did not know how I was going to make it.
I had never been on my own. I had been married for so long and that's all I knew. This was terrifying for me. And the worst thing? I was a Christian. But the church I had been attending believed that if you say the right thing, then good things will happen to you. That if you had enough faith, then you could expect all of these blessings. Well it wasn't happening for me. The total opposite was happening.
So I could no longer speak to them and I stopped attending. This began a journey for me...a journey of faith and the Lord Himself teaching me. Up until this time, the Lord had been blessing me beyond measure. So I was totally confused and full of despair. I felt I had failed God and that was why my world was falling apart.
My family was so ashamed and embarrassed because I was the only one in the family that had ever divorced. They couldn't get passed that. So they weren't there to support in any way. They literally turned me away.
I was totally alone. That aloneness is the worst feeling in the world. I felt cut off from God. I had really loved the Lord and I simply did not understand what was happening. I still tried to put things back together and hold on to our home, but I ended up losing it. I managed to still work but now I had nowhere to live. I didn't have any friends to call. I only knew the friends from work, who really weren't close enough friends to ask if I could live with them. So in desperation, I broke back into my home and slept on the floor. I microwaved meals at 7-11 to eat for dinner. I started slipping into despair and began to think there was no hope at all. I couldn't hear God, where was He?
I determined He was angry with me and I then began to give up. Because I knew there was no kind of life for me out there without God. But in my mind, if God didn't want me, my family didn't want me, there was no more hope for me.
I then began to drink...every night after work. And all weekend long. I went to work drunk or hung over many times. I drank myself into oblivion. It was really kind of like a slow death for me.
But one night, I ended up being with a man I didn't even know. I only learned his first name. I slept with him. I never saw him again after that. But I continued the drinking for a few more months until I started noticing I was gaining weight. I was normally a thin girl, and there was only one reason why I would ever gain weight. For a moment I thought of pregnancy being possible, but the thought struck horror in my heart. Soon after I had missed periods and I knew in my gut. I did one of the home pregnancy tests and I can't tell you the feelings I had because they were so diverse, all at the same time.
It was shock, horror, disbelief and then deep sorrow and grief. There was no way I could have a baby. I couldn't even get my other babies back. I think I cried for days...unable to eat and the only little bit of sense I had left was to at least know that I couldn't drink anymore knowing that I was pregnant now. So I stopped it.
So my mindset was even worse now. I was now plunging into utter hopelessness. I knew reality was, that I could not have a baby. But I couldn't have an abortion because I knew it was murder. I was 36 years old and had already had two children. But do you know? That my mind actually started entertaining the abortion idea? That I found myself actually trying to convince myself that it was probably best for everyone, including the baby?
This tormented me like nothing else ever has. I cannot describe the overpowering oppression that comes on an individual in this circumstance. There was a battle raging in my mind like nothing I have ever experienced.
I decided I should at least go tell the man who was the father. That was a nightmare. He immediately said to get an abortion. became so enraged, he literally picked me up and threw me into his front yard.
I confided in a girl I had gone drinking with in the bars before and her reaction? "Get rid of the thing". She drove me to the abortion clinic in Melbourne, Florida.
There were two older ladies across the street on the sidewalk. I could hear them calling me as I went in. I didn't know a whole lot about Pro Life people back then, but I knew enough to know who they were and what they wanted.
My thought? My own family turned me away just for being divorced...I couldn't even get help with my other children...no one cared...and now they are going to tell me this is wrong..but what are they going to do to help me? Nothing.
I will never forget the feeling and atmosphere inside of that abortion clinic. It felt like death. And the looks on the workers faces were not ones of joy that's for sure. They looked hollow...empty. No one was friendly either.
I talked with someone and it was very matter of fact. It was mainly about money. They never tried to tell me the baby was a piece of tissue or a blob..I guess because of my age. But they kept referring to "baby". And every time they said the word baby it was like a knife in my heart. They even told me not to bother with pain medication because it doesn't kill the pain anyway. I suppose they told me this because I only had enough money for the abortion and not the pain medication...that was extra.
They scheduled the abortion on my birthday and I left. When I went outside, the two ladies started softly calling to me...very sweetly and that made it worse. If they had yelled at me or condemned me it would have made ignoring them so much easier.
I felt myself going over there, but I didn't know why I was. They were very sweet. I then broke down...sobbing. I told them my story and one lady said, I will take care of your baby.
I thought that was horrible. How could a mother give her baby away? But then, how could a mother murder her baby? They gave me info and their phone numbers and I left. That night I was so tormented. Tormented for even stepping foot in that abortion clinic...for ever considering it. Tormented...that's the only word to describe it. I was no longer the good mother I had always been. What kind of woman would want to kill her baby? What kind of mother would hire an assassin? Because that is what I had done.
I then called one of those ladies, Susan Rule. I told her I was going to kill myself. By now I am half out of my mind. She convinced me to meet her. We sat in a parking lot at a ice cream place. She prayed and basically listened.
But then something amazing happened. As I sat with her talking....I saw the Lord. I saw the Lord on the Cross. And He said to me, in my spirit, I died for you, are you willing to die for me?
All that I thought I had known of the Lord...and this was something different...more profound. After all I had been through and He seemed so far away and now here He is. When I was the ugliest and a total failure and so full of sin...He now comes to me.
That night He reminded me of how joyful I was at the news of being pregnant with my other children and yet I see this one as garbage, unworthy of love or even living. As hard as that was to hear, that was the real truth hidden in my heart.
You see, I couldn't have children. I had my eldest at 28 years old. He was a miracle, an answer to prayer. In fact, my son Matthew was the result of the first prayer I ever prayed and the Lord gave Him to me two weeks after I asked. Yet now? Now I don't want this one.
That night, I conveyed all of this to Susan and I decided that night to keep this child. And the Lord showed me something else. He said that I would have to be willing to die to myself, die to my reputation, because I would lose it. And if I would be willing to die, then I would find my life again and then I would get my other children back. He did convey to me, that if I had the abortion, I would lose my soul.
The Lord knows us individually. And the Lord knew me. He knew that I was already in a tormented, desperate condition in my soul, already suicidal and if I would have taken that next step it would have done me in, I am convinced of it.
So the Lord didn't make me any frilly promises that night, unlike the church I had been attending for years. He challenged me and asked for my obedience and even let me know what I would suffer if I obeyed Him.
So this began another journey. I found myself surrounded by many pro life people. They saw how I was living in this home, with no food, no furniture, nothing. They helped me get into an affordable apartment. And I also got my other children back.
But other doors seemed to be slamming in my face. Children and families had told me, that even if I had a 3rd child, I would still not qualify for food stamps or WIC or anything. No one could understand this. It just didn't make any sense. Every where I went I was denied. I didn't make that much money at all. But my new friends did what they could to sustain me though.
A pro life friend took me back to the church I used to go to. We sat through the service and went to talk to the Pastor. When he looked down at my stomach...he did an about face and started talking to someone else. I recall that being one of the most humiliating experiences I've ever had. So we knew this church was not going to support me.
But now I started to have dreams. I would dream of a girl in her late teens perhaps and she looked like me, but younger. In the dream, she couldn't hear me when I spoke to her. But I would watch her from afar.
Then the word "adoption" started coming to my mind. No one had even mentioned that as an option to me. And I'm telling you, that word disturbed me. I still couldn't get the thought out of my mind that it was unthinkable for a mother to give up her child. But the Lord would come right back at me every time I thought like that and say, "but it's unthinkable for a mother to murder her child".
Gradually I started to think of how I was adopted..all Christians are adopted into the family of God...and how? By Jesus dying on the Cross. The Lord showed me...once again, I was to die to myself..that if I kept this child it wouldn't be what was best and I would only be keeping her out of pride.
The Lord had other plans for my baby. It was His baby. I had to let go and let the Lord do what He willed. I told the Lord, if this is what He wanted, I had one request. That I would be able to pick the family and be able to watch her grow up.
So the next thing was my friends worked out an open adoption for me. They had 3 families for me to choose from. I was their first adoption case. One family didn't want anything to do with me after I gave them my baby. So I said no. It was then a toss up between two families. One family already had 8 children. The other family had one child and wanted a sibling for her. I prayed and the Lord directed me as to who to choose.
Now this family was wonderful...Mary is the adoptive mother's name as well. She went to all of my visits...and was very involved with me. I couldn't ask for any better. But unless you go through this, you wouldn't understnd the emotions involved. It was not easy. But the Lord carried me step by step...all the way. I had to stay very close to Him in order to do this or else I don't think I would have been able to follow through.
Close to the pregnancy, I made a scrapbook for the baby, pictures of me and the boys. I bought little presents and wrote letters for them to give to her at different milestones in it's life. Mary said they had a hope chest for the baby and they'd keep every thing I gave it in there.
I keep saying baby and it, because I had chosen not to know what the sex was until the baby was born. Again, any woman who has had a child knows how you bond with your child during pregnancy. And the closer I got to delivery, the more gut wrenching it was becoming. But despite my maternal instincts, I had promised God and I promised this family.
My labor was easy and the nurses said that was the nicest adoption they had ever witnessed. And that day I found out that I had a baby girl. A girl. I had always wanted a girl. She was beautiful too. Everyone was with me in the room and everyone was crying, even the nurses. I saw Mary longing to hold her...and for a moment I didn't want to give her to Mary...but I did. I even changed hospital policy that day in Melbourne, Florida. The common practice was, after birth, the attorney for the adoptive family was supposed to come and take the baby from me and give it to them. The hospital rules were, that the birth mother was not allowed to take the child off of the floor. I will tell you, comments like that were like daggers in my heart. Even when it came time for the birth certificate. Unfeeling and insensitive, the person in charge of that said they didn't need information from me, when I offered, because I was no longer the mother. But, over and over, I had to keep looking to the Lord, or I would have found reasons all over the place to get upset and just keep the baby. So I told the lawyer and the administrator no, that was too cold and impersonal and if they wanted me to do this, it would have to be done in a way that I could live with.
So in 30 minutes, my friends convinced the hospital administrator to allow me to have a service in the chapel downstairs. And as they were wheeling me and my baby downstairs...it felt like I was on my way to the electric chair...death row...one Mary was rejoicing over my baby...this Mary was dying in her heart. I felt like my heart was being ripped out. I felt like I was on the way to the cross.
When I got there I cried. There were all kinds of people there. And they even decorated it for me, with music and flowers. And me and my baby walked down the aisle to the altar and the atty was waiting at the altar with the papers. I signed them and turned to Mary and her husband standing their waiting, crying. I whispered to my baby girl, please come back to mama....I love you. When I handed her to them, you could hear a pin drop and Mary said, I wanted you to know that we name her Grace Mary...Grace because of God's grace and Mary, after her mother.
I still see her. She is going to be 12 years old on July 29th. She looks exactly like I did as a child. She knows she has two mommies and it is natural to her. We agreed to gradually tell her so it wouldn't be a shock. I only wanted them to do one thing and that was to always tell her that I loved her and didn't throw her away.
Pictures of me and when i was in the 1st grade.
Since that day, I have never been the same. In my utter failure, is where I found the Lord and He taught me what Grace was and restoration for the believer. Too many Christians fall and fail, thinking they cannot go back to God....they need to know His arms are big enough...His heart is big enough and there's nothing so bad that He can't forgive.