I Had an Unplanned Pregnancy and I Gave My Baby Away

I was 18 years old and had a brief crisis of faith. I’d been raised in church and had served God faithfully the majority of my life. Life is still “life” and sometimes hits us with curve balls we don’t expect. It just so happened for me that all those curve balls knocked me flat. I found myself suffering from a broken heart and things just weren’t working out as I’d planned. I vividly remember the day I told The Lord “I’ve served you my whole life and done everything right and look where it’s gotten me. From now on, I’m doing the opposite.” I’d decided to go the other way and try to find happiness on my own. It wasn’t my finest moment.

A couple of months later, I’d lost my virginity to a man I barely knew and found myself staring at a line on a stick. My friend and I examined it again and again.

“I think that’s a line.”

“Do you see a line?”

“It’s very faint does that mean anything?”

“Maybe it’s a mistake.”

“Surely my period will come any day.”

It didn’t.

A couple of weeks past, and I took another test, and it was DEFINITELY a line. I was pregnant.

Timing could not have been worse! I’d been kicked out of my parents house and was living with friends. Actually, I slept on the floor in my best friend’s bedroom. I’d planned on going to a Christian college to study music but seriously doubted they’d accept me now that I was an unwed mother. I worked at Wal-Mart and didn’t exactly have a grand salary. The “father” didn’t want anything to do with being involved. He already had a child for whom he was paying child support and he made it clear that he had no intention of paying for another child.

I had never known fear and hopelessness like I did then. There was no way I could tell my parents. So I hid it. Only my closest friends and my boyfriend knew what was going on. So I decided to run.

What I saw as an opportunity presented itself in another state so I moved. My best friend moved with me and we kept the secret to ourselves. I broke up with the boyfriend and didn’t even tell him where I was going. I would have nightmares of him coming after me, showing up in the middle of the night to take care of the problem and get rid of both me and my baby. The only thing I knew was that I needed to make a good life for my child.

I ended up working at Wendy’s making $4.75 per hour. When I told my boss about the pregnancy, she cut my hours. Things went from bad to worse, until one night I found myself in a puddle on the living room floor of my apartment crying out to God. I decided to come back home. I was 8 months pregnant, and I moved back in with mommy. Something I swore I’d never do.

My mother was a godly woman and she showed me grace instead of condemnation. She welcomed me home like the prodigal, arms open and willing to help. Not everyone was so supportive. I received a lot of negative reactions as well from people who were supposed to love me and that was heartbreaking. It’s funny how some sins are looked at differently than others. People who had admittedly had promiscuous pasts looked down on me as if I were a leper. It drastically changed my perspective on how to love others and I strive to show others unconditional love now regardless of the messes they find themselves in, but I digress.

God took my ashes and made beauty. I looked into the eyes of my daughter for the first time that summer. I found a love I never knew existed. She was my world. Raising her alone would be hard. I worked hard! I enrolled in college and took on a full-time class load while working full-time and mothering full-time. It wasn’t easy but it was SO worth it. The truth is that God is faithful. He knew exactly what my wayward, aching heart needed to draw me back to him. He gave me exactly what was best for me, my precious girl. She changed me in more ways than I can list. I have never regretted having her. I’ve never thought I messed up my life. Sure it changed my plans a bit but ultimately, it just brought me new plans.

A few weeks ago, I walked my girl down the aisle in my backyard on her wedding day and gave her away to a wonderful man. She was brightness embodied, the most beautiful bride I’d ever seen. She has grown to become everything I could have hoped for and more. A high school graduate, now a wife and a college student, she’s beginning her own life. She’s serving the Lord.

I know firsthand the fear and confusion surrounding an unplanned pregnancy. I know the anxiousness of wondering how on earth you could ever provide for a child when you can barely provide for yourself. I know aloneness and what it’s like to be in a bad relationship or be carrying a child whose other parent wants nothing to do with you. I lived it. I’m not here to pass judgment on “choices”. But I want to offer this, often what we feel is the end is really the beginning. Sometimes the “bad” things we go through are really God’s perfect plan to bring us to something better and propel us towards his purpose.

I hear so many debates these days about abortion. I am fundamentally opposed to abortion but I understand the emotions that would draw someone to a place of such desperation. It breaks my heart. Some rant about “rights” as though they are talking about getting highlights or changing dentists. We spout overpopulation arguments or talk about how no one should bring a child into a situation where the parent can’t provide for it. That would be unloving so elimination is a somehow more humane decision. We could be advocating to prevent unwanted pregnancy in the first place rather than using abortion as a means of birth control, but somehow such arguments are deemed hateful and unrealistic. I’m often appalled by the callousness of the human heart when it comes to this topic.

So rather than argue about those things, I offer you this, my experience. I chose to have my baby and it was the best decision I ever made. What felt at the time to be overwhelming and impossible turned out to be such amazing grace! God knows what we need better than we do. He proves it all the time. My girl was the best gift he could have given me. I want to encourage you to look beyond your circumstance whatever it may be and find the hope that is hiding in it. It’s there somewhere even when you have to dig for it. And when it comes to abortion, don’t forget that you’re talking about more than ideology. You’re talking babies and mothers and fear, hopelessness, desperation, anxiousness, and the desire to do the right thing for everyone in the face of the most monumental situation. Don’t forget to be kind! But never negate the possibility that there is a purpose for that child and that it might just be the miracle you’ve been hoping for.

I chose life and I got to give away beauty to the world. You’re welcome!


Image by Kaitey Brawley Photography

Image by Kaity Brawley Photography

Does Modesty Matter?

Photo by the Associated Press

Photo by the Associated Press

What does it mean to be modest? The dictionary defines it as “behavior, manner, or appearance intended to avoid impropriety or indecency.” Churches have defined it based on 1 Timothy 2:9-10, “in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.” We’ve argued the topic at length. I remember being told as a young girl that I should beware not to cause a man to lust. I couldn’t, as a young girl, understand this statement. My parents were even asked to leave a church they pastored as a result of my mom being caught red-‘legged’ in a pair of shorts in her own home when an elder stopped by un-announced. So believe me, I understand the abuse of women who were pounded with shame and legalism using the mallet of modesty.

That being said, I think we do a disservice to women and men alike by refusing to have the conversation about modest apparel or by stating that modest dress, being a subjective concept to begin with, is irrelevant to our present culture and should be abandoned in light of freedom of expression. I stumbled across  this article  this morning. For those of you who won’t take the time to read it, it is a response by Rachel Held Evans to a recent presentation by Jessica Rey regarding the evolution of the swimsuit and her new line of modest swimwear. I highly recommend watching Ms. Rey’s presentation here. Ms. Evans seemingly contends that since the church has used the issue of modesty to shame women into the notion that they are responsible for a man’s lust toward them and since most biblical passages relating to modesty are aimed more specifically at materialism, woman should be free to wear whatever they want without regard to how their clothing and appearance will affect the men (and women) around them.

It’s not the only area in scripture where we’ve used similar premises either, I might add. I’ve heard many women say they’d prefer to remove the scriptural concept of submission in marriage as well. The problem isn’t so much that submission or modesty are restrictive, it’s that they have been misused and abused. It’s no secret that the church has used concepts pertaining to godly living to condemn and even abuse people. Oftentimes, this is done to justify one’s own sinful tendencies. Christian men may use modesty as an excuse, “If she didn’t dress that way, I wouldn’t lust.” The truth is that lust is a heart condition as Jesus stated in Matthew 5:29, “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” It is never acceptable to shift the blame for one’s sinfulness onto another. Jesus clearly puts the onus on the individual when he continues saying that if your eye offends you, pluck it out.

I remember this concept confusing me when I was a teenager and being told not to cause a man to lust. I didn’t understand it. I thought, “why doesn’t he just not look?” And there is some truth there. Men and women are responsible for their own actions and their own sins. If something is causing you to stumble, look away, or like Joseph when Potiphar’s wife got naked and tried to seduce him, RUN!!! FLEE!!! Get the heck out of there. You are responsible! Period!

Still, Paul also speaks about not eating meat sacrificed to idols if it offends your neighbor. As in just about everything, there is a balance. While women are certainly entitled to looking fashionable and pretty. They need to examine their motivations when it comes to issues of modesty.

It’s true that the conflicting voices are growing louder in our culture. The over-sexualization and objectification of women is everywhere you turn. Somehow, this is being sold to us as not only acceptable but as empowering to woman. The notion that to show off our bodies gives us freedom and power is inaccurate, however. My very astute daughter noticed recently that certain entertainers who call themselves feminists are most known for their ability to dance provocatively (while singing) wearing very little clothing. They brandish their sexuality calling it empowerment while, in actuality, they further the exploitative notion that women are objects to be used for sexual pleasure and entertainment. A true feminist should be touting the truth that women are so much more than showpieces, they are people with enormous capability, complex beauty and sensitivity. Women are masters at relationships, interpersonal connectivity and managing the demands of life with grace and dignity. Women are purposed for greatness that far exceeds their bodies and sexuality.

That being said, a woman’s sexuality and beauty is also a wonderful thing. When a woman is confident in herself, clothing herself in dignity and strength and faithfully following The Lord, she radiates beauty. She doesn’t need to hide from it. She doesn’t need to flaunt it. She carries it with her, inherent to who she is. There is no need for a woman to stop being interested in fashion or wear frumpy outfits to hide her from the world. We are a light and we should shine brightly.

So how do we strike a balance between the two voices? I think perhaps it begins right where the conversation began, with the heart. As women, we need to understand how our clothing (or lack thereof) may have an effect on the opposite gender. If we know the way we dress is causing an issue for another person, is it loving and Godly to continue dressing that way?

We need to begin having an honest inner dialog with ourselves. Why do we feel compelled to show a little more skin? Is it really a question of our being comfortable that way? I think for many women it’s more a matter of competition if we’re being honest. We feel like if we don’t look a certain way, we won’t be noticed anymore or we won’t be considered beautiful. We may even feel like it’s the only way to keep our husbands looking our way and not toward the gal in the grocery store who isn’t afraid to flaunt it. (side-note: my ex-husband was a sex addict and I can assure you, this tactic doesn’t work. Lust is a heart issue and he will always look elsewhere if it’s in his heart to do so. It has nothing to do with you no matter what the enemy of your soul screams in your ear…but that’s another blog post.)

Is it loving to wear clothing that makes it necessary for every Christian man to “run” and look away to maintain his integrity? Is it loving to wear clothing that makes other women feel uncomfortable being around you because they either feel it necessary to compete with you or protect their husbands and sons from you? It may seem like a good and honorable notion to dress for oneself but it’s not biblical. We are instructed biblically to put the needs of others before our own. (Matthew 22:36-40). 1 Cor. 8:13 “Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.” Col. 3:17, “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus” It seems to me that if we are going to take a position here, wouldn’t the best one be to err on the side of love and respect for the needs of others rather than a desire to do whatever we want and not be restricted?

We have a responsibility to teach our daughters a little more than the do’s and don’ts. We should be comfortable broaching the subjects of lust, sexuality and attraction with our children. They will hear many messages from the world. Shouldn’t we be sure that they know the beauty of God’s design for sex? Instead of talking merely about the negatives of an issue, we should discuss the positives. There is something wonderful about knowing that certain things are for my husband’s eyes only. There is something wonderful in trusting in one another’s commitment to honor a marriage as well. We need to start talking about integrity, self-respect and dignity instead of shame and condemnation. I find that people tend to follow vision. Give your kids a clear vision of why it’s good to maintain modest dress and purity and they are more apt to go for it. Give them a no-no list and they won’t be quite as enthusiastic.

I know it isn’t always easy making a stand for something that isn’t necessarily in keeping with the tides of culture. Still, I firmly believe that one can look fashionable and beautiful without compromising modest standards and dignity. I firmly believe that removing biblical standards on the basis of culture is a dangerous proposition. I firmly believe that women are worth more than the what they look like in micro-mini skirts and halter tops. I firmly believe that a hedonistic culture focused on self and individual happiness would be impacted most by a remnant of believers determined to serve and love others more than themselves. I firmly believe that true freedom comes from the knowledge that we are loved immensely by God and His standards are there to protect and guide us rather than to inhibit us. Modesty is important and relevant even now in this generation and we need to continue to have conversations about it.

Why I’m Choosing not to Teach my Children “Tolerance”


The collective voice of our cultural paradigm can be heard from sea to shining sea. We are reminded that hate is never the answer, that bullying is prevalent and tragic and that our differences should be celebrated rather than used for purposes of division or judgement. The most well-known passage of scripture at one time was John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life”. Now it is, “Judge not lest ye be judged”. I would list the reference, but let’s be honest, the majority of those who quote this scripture often, don’t know where to find it in the Bible, just that it’s in there somewhere. 

I read a story this week that impacted me. You can read it here: http://specialneedsparenting.net/darkness-theater/.  A mother brought her autistic son to see a movie knowing that he doesn’t handle the previews perfectly, but does just fine during the feature. Unfortunately, they never got to the feature because after he spoke a couple of times during the previews, they were met with jeers from the other patrons requesting they leave. When the mother relented and rose to leave, they were met with cheers, taunts and even someone yelling that her son was “a retard”. Ah, how tolerant we are of those different from us…

Tolerance as defined by Mr. Webster is: “willingness to accept feelings, habits, or beliefs that are different from your own  : the ability to accept, experience, or survive something harmful or unpleasant”. This doesn’t make me feel warm and fuzzy.

Perhaps tolerance at its core is selfish. We really desire others to tolerate us regardless of whether we afford others the same courtesy. We fight for tolerance in certain areas, but don’t want to think about it in other areas that don’t matter to us. But the word “tolerance” inherently has that connotation. “I don’t like you but I have to tolerate you so just do your thing as far away from me as possible.” Why thank you dear world. I feel the love now.

I’ve made a decision that I will not teach my children “tolerance”. Instead, I will teach them to love. Love isn’t restricted by agreeing with another. Love isn’t impacted by differences, disabilities or lifestyles.

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”  I Corinthians 13: 4-8

Jesus never asked us to tolerate our brother but he commanded us to love one another.

In love, we assist those with disabilities rather than worrying whether they will ruin our time at the movies. In love, we reach across religious lines and offer friendship and respect to those who believe differently than us. Rather than putting up with those around us, maybe we should try giving of ourselves.

I choose to teach my children to love others even when they seem unloveable. After all, isn’t that what Jesus did for us?

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8