I recognized the girl from across the room even before I was
introduced. She was youngnot more than 16with brown hair and light blue eyes.
The small bulge in her mid-section was hardly noticeable. Instead, it was the
dejected look that caught my attention. Her doleful eyes focused on the ground
as if she wished she could slip between the floor tiles.
manda? I asked, approaching her. She glanced up and a
hint of relief filled her face. With my jeans, cotton shirt and ponytail,
perhaps I wasnt so scary after all.
I motioned to two high-back chairs. Come on, lets sit and talk awhile.
Once we were seated, I tried to act casual yet show my concern. So youre
about five months along, arent you?
She nodded and unconsciously rubbed her stomach.
I imagine its a pretty scary time for you.
Thats an understatement, she said, looking away.
I know how you feel, I said, remembering by own sense of shame and
disbelief. I had my son when I was 17just after graduation.
Amanda looked up at that comment, and I noticed a hint of curiosity. It was
amazing. With that one statement we went from being worlds apart to finding
ou see, not too many years before, I had posed for my
senior pictures in my loosest jeans and baggiest sweater. My boyfriend sat at
my side and smiled into the camera with me, but the happy-couple act was all a
charade. He wanted me to have an abortion and was threatening to break up with
me if I didnt. But I couldnt do it. Only a year before he and I had faced the
same crisis. That time I had listened to his threats and had the abortion, not
knowing the pain and heartache it would cause. Now I was determined not to make
the same mistake twice. A few weeks later, by the time the senior photos were
developed and printed, my boyfriend made good on his promise, leaving the
relationship without so much as a backward glance. Yet I was determined to have
Soon after facing the fact that I was a pregnant teenager, I decided to bail
outon life. I dropped out of school, opting instead for community classes
designed for troubled teens. I had been a cheerleader and an honor student, but
those things were history I just couldnt face my classmates. Although I tried
to stay close to my friends for a while, I was sure that every whispered
comment was focused on my big mistake.
So there I was without a boyfriend and without friends. Raised in church, I
once had experienced a relationship with God, but now He too seemed so very far
The pastors wife came to visit one day, but I didnt want to hear what she
had to say. I just stayed in bed with my back turned to her. And while I didnt
listen to her words at the time, her prayersand the prayers of otherswhere
chipping away at my hardened heart. As the months passed, and as my baby grew
inside me, I knew I had to get right with God.
he day of my reconciliation is one I remember
clearly. Although the sun was high in the sky and golden rays were streaming
through my windows, I was again in bed. The soap operas blared in my room, but
they were no more than talking heads. I imagined my friends sitting in their
classes, anticipating the big game. It was at that moment that I realized I
I flipped off the TV, rolled to my side and pulled the covers over my head.
My arms wrapped around my round stomach, and tears that I had been storing up
for months erupted into a constant flow.
Oh God, I whispered hoarsely. Ive really screwed up my life this time. I
know You can help me do better. If You will have me, Im yours. Within minutes
the tears stopped, and a new sensation filled my chest. For the first time in
months, I felt hope.
Once I gave my life back to God, my life improved. I started attending
church, and I even dared to don a gown and graduate with my class. Three weeks
after that big day, a son was born. And, as I held the beautiful bundle, I
thanked Godnot only for this child, but also for giving me a second chance to
live for Him.
o here I wasyears latervolunteering at a crisis
pregnancy center. As I told Amanda my story, a tear threatened to break free; I
noticed one in her eye too. Without preaching, without condemning, I was able
to tell her, I too made the same mistake, but Jesus is the answer. And then I
think we both felt a little freer.
Id love to say that on that day Amanda got on her knees and dedicated
herself and her child to Christ, but I cantand thats okay too. Because Ive
learned that she left our meeting with a heart more open to the Lords work in
her life. Like Amanda and myself, those who are facing the largest crises are
the ones most desperate for hope. And here are four ways you can give it:
Tell your story. Think of a time in your life when
you faced a crisis (either during your Christian walk or before). Share the
story of Gods transforming power in addition to your own failures. This helps
others to realize that Christ, indeed, loves usand can help usdespite our
Take the first step. Often a pregnant girl feels
like a leper because those who dont know what to do or say now skirt around
her. (I know because I felt that way.) A moment of conversation, a pat on the
back and even a smile, can make a big difference in breaking down walls of
Give the gift of your time. The people that made
the most difference in my life were the ones who stuck with me through the long
haul. In the beginning of a crisis pregnancy, a girl is so overwhelmed with her
changing world that even well-meaning comments can be too much to deal with.
Let her know (often) that youre available, then be there when she is willing to
receive that help.
Show your excitement. Just because a pregnancy is
considered a crisis doesnt mean the child and the mother are any less special.
I clearly remember one woman who presented me with a handmade photo album for
my babys pictures. Also, a group of Christian women hosted a baby shower for
me. Because of these gifts both physical and emotional onesI was able to feel
comfortable in the church body.
Eleven years have passed since I brought my son home from the hospital. Once
scared and pregnant, I now use my pain to reach others I meet at our local
crisis pregnancy center. Indeed, God has given me a crown of beauty instead
of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
Tricia Goyer is a writer living in Columbia Falls, Montana.
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