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. ♥