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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Beyond the Scarlet Letter {A Single Mom's Testimony}

She was raised in the church. Saved and baptized at 6 years old. She had been to church camp, youth meetings, sang in the choir and taught Sunday school; yet, she was not exempt. She knew better, but the heart and flesh are weak. She wasn't a child; but an adult, fully aware of the potential consequences of her actions - consequences that would change her life forever. She was pregnant...Single...Alone...

The year was 1977. Although women were more liberated, pregnancy outside of marriage was still frowned upon by the general public and condemned in most Christian circles. She had a choice to make - keep the baby and face the shame, judgement, rejection and embarrassment; give the baby up for adoption; or have an abortion and forget this ever happened. She agonized over the decision. The baby's father made it clear that he was not ready to settle down and be a husband or daddy. If she did this, she would be on her own. She continued to struggle with the choice she had made and the choice she now needed to make. She was already three months along when she became aware of the life growing inside her. Abortion wasn't an option because (1) it was illegal at that state of gestation and (2) she felt in her heart that "two wrongs don't make a right". A family member offered to adopt the baby, but she declined. That left only one other option - she was going to be a mom!

The struggles didn't end on July 22, 1978 when she gave birth to a healthy baby girl. In fact, they were just getting started. Over the next year, she would loose her job due to being an unwed mother (yes, that was legal back then) and have to relocate. For years, she endured all the shame, guilt, rejection, embarrassment and judgement she has anticipated. She worked tirelessly to provide for this precious gift God had given to her. She taught high school, attended every school activity her daughter participated in and then came home to care for her own ailing mother. She rarely took a sick day, and when she did, it was to care for her daughter or mother. She never went on a date or married. She never complained about her circumstances or made her daughter feel like a mistake. She sacrificed her own life, for her daughter. She willingly gave up her "what-might-have-beens" to help her daughter discover her "what-I-want-to-bes".

All the while, she never walked away from her faith. Her Heavenly Father was with her every step of the way. When she wore a scarlet letter to church for years, He was there, walking beside her. When she wasn't sure about finances, He provided. When she needed acceptance, love, friendship and support, He brought a loving family into her life that welcomed her and her daughter into their lives. When she didn't have the answers about a man her daughter desperately wanted to know, He gave her the wisdom to pour scripture and truth into that little heart instead of bitterness and anger. When she was afraid, worried, lonely, angry, scared, and too exhausted to pray, He picked her up and carried her.

Words can not express the amount of love and gratitude in my heart for this woman - my mom! She has been my life-long cheerleader, defender, protector. As an adult, she is my friend, mentor and sister in Christ. It is a joy to watch her be Grammy to her grandchildren and pour the same love she has for me into our two little ones. She is an amazing example of God's love and self sacrifice. She didn't allow a scarlet letter define her future. She allowed God to forgive and restore her, giving her a testimony that is able to speak into the hearts of other single moms. I am blessed to be her daughter. ♥


Molly Huggins said... [Reply to comment]


Ashley Ditto said... [Reply to comment]

This is such a beautiful post to your mother. Tears are flowing!

Chelle said... [Reply to comment]

The power of a mother's love is extraordinary.  The consistency of your mother's faith even more so.  What a beautiful testimony.
Happy Mother's Day.
Peace and good,

Torrie said... [Reply to comment]

Thank you for your comments! It warms my heart to see her testimony blessing others. Wishing you all a very happy Mother's Day! ♥

JulieAbel said... [Reply to comment]

Torrie this post is a beautiful tribute. Thanks so much for sharing it. What a way to honor your mom. I'm sure this makes Jesus smile. 

Ellynn-Marie said... [Reply to comment]

This is beyond beautiful!  It is so touching.  I hope it gets published so everyone can read it.  It made me cry and YOU KNOW how I hate to cry!!  It's more than just beautiful because it's an awesome testimony of your mom but it also shows the tenderness of your heart, Torrie.  I LOVE IT!!

Tanya said... [Reply to comment]

So precious, Torrie! God is good. Bless your heart and your beautiful mother's heart always. Love, Tanya xo

Lisaknight66 said... [Reply to comment]

Hi Torrie,
Just reading your story made the tears flow. You see, I became pregnant at the age of 16.  Instead of deserting me, my boyfriend and I got married, but I still suffered the jeers and laughter of people. I was called names, too, and deserted by many of my friends who were ashamed to be around me. And I, like you, have a wonderful ending to the story: my hubby and I will celebrate 30 years of wedded bliss this July.  :) Thanks for sharing your story. And may the Lord richly bless your sweet Mama for her efforts in raising a godly daughter. :) What a wonderful testimony of the Lord's goodness in your lives!
I am your newest faithful follower/subscriber and look forward to getting to know you better. I would love to have you stop by and "visit" me sometime.
Many blessings!

Torrie said... [Reply to comment]

Thanks Ellynn-Marie. I love reading the comments left here and how God is using BBM to touch the hearts of others.  I'm thankful that I've had the opportunity to share her testimony with so many. Praying that it will be used to shine God's light and truth into someone else's life. 

Carol said... [Reply to comment]

This is a wonderful tribute to your mother. I was glad to read about her life of faith-- perhaps we (the church) can learn and grow in ways of loving and coming alongside single moms.

Torrie said... [Reply to comment]

Hi Lisa,
Welcome and thank you for your encouraging comment. It made me cry to see how similar your testimonies are. God is good and is always faithful!! Please leave a link so I can stop by and visit you too.  ♥

Torrie said... [Reply to comment]

Thanks for your comment. That is my prayer, Carol. It's been over 30 years, yet many Christians/churches still are not open and welcoming to those who are truly hurting and broken (not just single moms, but those with addictions, scared pasts and more). It breaks my heart! We need to remember that it starts with just one - one smile, one "welcome, we're glad you're here", one person willing to step out of their comfort zone and love as Jesus did. 
~Blessings ♥

Kelli Woodford said... [Reply to comment]

Your mother was a brave lady.

This blessed me especially, since I have worn that same letter.

The way you honored who she was over the long haul, not getting stuck on one decision in the past really ministered to me.  In some pretty tender places.

Thank you.

Torrie said... [Reply to comment]

Thank you Kelli for your comment. Each time I read how God is using this post to speak into hearts blesses me too. As a word of encouragement about those "tender places" please know that those didn't heal quickly. In fact a lot of pain was burried for 18 years. That's when I met my dad for the 1st time and all those wounds reopened. It was a very painful time for her (of which I will probably never fully understand). It was during this time that she finally dealt with all the emotions that had been pushed aside for so long. And it was then, that God was finally able to fully heal and restore her. Praying for those tender places in your heart. Be Blessed ♥

Lisaknight66 said... [Reply to comment]

Ooops, sorry I forgot to leave my link.   ;) It's
Hope you have a blessed day!

Crystal @ Serving Joyfully said... [Reply to comment]

Wow!  This brought tears to my eyes...what a wonderful legacy your mother has left in you!

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Thanks for taking a few minutes to stop by BBM. It's my prayer that this blog has been used by God to bless you today. I'd love to hear from you. This is a safe place to learn, grow and support each other. All I ask is that all comments are respectful. Blessings

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