Listen to Jennifer's broadcast A Mother's Heart Redeemed by God.
My story is filled with pain, but it is also a story of God’s redemption.
I was abused as a child, molested by four young men when I was 12, and date-raped at 15. I tried to hide from all the pain I’d endured and ended up making some unwise lifestyle choices. At age 16, I discovered that I was pregnant.
I was pressured into having an abortion. I didn’t want the abortion and resisted the idea for several months, but finally I felt like there was no other choice and did the unthinkable. It was horrible; I cried the whole time. I knew that killing my baby was wrong and I felt tremendous guilt afterward. I even considered taking my own life, but I backed out at the very last minute because I didn’t want to put my parents through that pain.
I wondered if having the abortion had ruined my soul.
The Lord Heard My Cries
Instead of running to God, I turned away from Him and led a very promiscuous lifestyle for many years. I went from one bad relationship to the next, always searching for something that I never found. I got married and divorced, then quickly moved on to the next guy. I was competing in fitness contests, and my boyfriend at the time convinced me to work at a gentlemen’s club. I was so deep in sin and so far away from God that I no longer cared what I did or happened to me.
One night after work, I drove home drunk. That evening, I broke down in my bedroom. I wept and asked God to bring me a good Christian man. I made a list of about 10 things that I wanted in my spouse, and the very next week I met my future husband, Dan. God had heard my prayers!
Dan and I got married the following year, but it wasn’t easy. We both carried a lot of emotional baggage from our pasts. We fought all the time and even talked about divorce. We attended counseling many times over the years, but we still kept struggling.
Then, in 2004, I found out that I was pregnant. I was never so scared in my life! All of the memories from my childhood came flooding back. How could I be a good mother to this baby growing inside of me? I had killed my first baby and I never wanted to have a child – or so I thought. I didn’t know what to do, so I called out to God.
One night after a fight with Dan, I retreated to my bedroom where I cried and cried. That’s when Jesus became real to me. I recognized that He had a plan for me and the baby growing inside of me. That was the moment when I truly gave my life to Christ.
A Ministry of Prayer
I started praying every day for my baby. I learned how his tiny body was developing each week, and I asked God to protect him from evil and harm. I started keeping a journal. I asked God to bless my baby and to help me
to become the mom that He wanted me to be.
When my son was born, I realized that all those prayers I had prayed … well, God had listened to me. He actually heard me and answered my prayers! That first year with my son, Micah, was truly the best year of my life.
Soon I was pregnant with our sweet daughter, Malia. When Malia was just a few months old, God inspired me to write a book encouraging parents to pray throughout their pregnancy. That’s how Pray For Your Baby Ministries was born.
For more than a decade now, I have had the honor of praying for and supporting expectant parents. And in all those years, one story in particular stands out as an example of what happens when we say a courageous “yes” to life.
Looking for a Family
On Dec. 19, 2017, I received an unexpected email from a girl across the country who was going through an unplanned pregnancy. Her friend had mentioned my ministry to her, so she wrote to me asking for prayer.
This amazing young woman shared that she was 36 weeks pregnant with a baby boy, but she had no family to support her. Amazingly, God had twice provided a way out from abortion. Now she was considering placing the child for adoption, but had not yet found the right family.
While her email was simply meant to thank me for the encouragement of my weekly prayers, I wondered if God had another plan. I stayed up all night praying about how to respond to this woman. I thought of my niece and her husband, who had been trying to get pregnant for more than seven years. What I didn’t know was that just one week earlier, Aaron and Mischa had decided to begin the lengthy adoption process, knowing it could take many years before they were finally chosen as parents.
What happened over the next month can only be described as a miracle. When I first told my family in Hawaii about the email I’d received, we all started praying that maybe this young mother would choose Mischa and Aaron. I come from a big family, so there were a lot of people praying! And then we waited. And waited.
Finally, after 18 days of prayer, I received an email from the birth mom saying that she would like to speak to my niece and her husband. We were all thrilled! Joy flowed through our family that day and after they talked for more than an hour via Skype. Aaron and Mischa didn’t know if it was even possible to initiate an adoption only eight days before the mother’s due date, but that is what they did.
Working Against the Clock
Even though time was running out, the surprises kept pouring in. My niece and her husband were approved for their home study in less than a week – a process that often takes at least 90 days. They quickly raised the money they needed for the adoption, and the background checks they were told would never come back in time were approved in just four business days!
Even as these details that were falling into place, we knew that nothing was for sure yet. Aaron and Mischa had heard from the adoption agency that the expectant mom could still change her mind at any point. They were advised to not to get their hopes up and to slow down the process. And we were all committed to supporting the birth mother no matter what, including if she decided to raise the baby by herself.
By the morning of Jan. 18, 2018, Aaron felt sure that the Lord was urging them to proceed. Aaron told this to Mischa, who tearfully asked God for direction because the agency had been telling them not to come. Aaron decided to call the director of the agency, who responded: “Well, the mom just went into labor and she confirmed that if she decides to place him for adoption, she is definitely choosing you.”
They both hopped on a plane to New York that night, and young Theo was born the very day of their arrival, Jan. 19, 2018 – the same day as the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C.
Ten days after Theo was born, I attended the most beautiful adoption ceremony I could ever have imagined. With tears in my eyes, I watched the birth mom place Theo into Mischa’s arms and say, “Congratulations, Mom and Dad!”
Words cannot express how grateful I am that she chose life for Theo. He is truly a wonderful addition to our family.
And this sweet young woman who chose life is now like a member of our family and my sister in Christ. Isn’t that just how God works? After all, he took my ugly mess, all of my sin and shame, and He redeemed my heart. He brings beauty from ashes like it says in Isaiah 61:1-3, and He gives us a new life. He forgives our sins and buries them in the deepest part of the ocean (Micah 7:19).
God has rewritten my story and has used my past difficulties to bring hope and joy to others. And He can do the same for you. All you need to do is to ask Jesus to forgive your sins and give your life to Him.
When you choose to say yes to Christ, He will redeem your heart and do things that you could never have imagined.