Single Parenting - Positively Changed
by Charis Justice
“Your intuition was right,” my friend Sarah said. “Your test is positive – you’re pregnant.” I jolted from the myriad of emotions that swirled within me. In that moment, my world changed forever.
Questions flooded my mind: Would I be able to graduate from college in two months? How would the baby’s father respond? What would I do to support a child and myself? Where would I live? However, the most heart-wrenching question was how would I tell my parents? I thought about how hurt and disappointed they would be, and I wanted to crawl into a hole and vanish. How did this happen to someone raised as a pastor’s daughter?
My mind wandered to the moment I first met the baby’s father. I was struck by his charisma, and he seemed to possess many of the qualities I had wished for in a man. He was athletic and attractive, loved history, and was from a strong and loving Christian home.
The friendship started out so innocently. He was going through a difficult time. I listened and offered advice. Before long, we talked about many things and got to know each other. I could hardly wait to get out of class to see if I had a text message or a missed call from him.
Because I was emotionally connected to him, it was easy to allow the relationship to move to another level. I was lonely since returning to college after taking a year off; many of my old friends had graduated and moved on. He fulfilled my need to feel accepted and wanted. He listened to me and communicated his care.
Driven by My Own Desires
Earlier that school year, I had built relationships that led me further from Christ instead of drawing me to Him. As I look back, I wanted friends more than I wanted God. During that time, I failed to heed the voice of the Lord and instead became comfortable choosing my own way. And it was so easy to allow myself the luxury of this new “friendship” because I knew he came from a loving Christian family.
I rationalized that I could say “no” to temptation, even though I willingly placed myself right in the midst of it. However, the longer I played with fire, the harder it was not to be burned. Instead of finding my value in Christ, I chose to find it in the physical affections of another person.
I have been asked what was going through my head as I allowed myself to sleep with my baby’s father. The answer is quite simple – I didn’t allow myself to think about anything. To do that would have been giving the Holy Spirit access to my soul, and I was driven by my own desires, failing to estimate how dramatically one little choice would affect my life as well as the lives of those I cared about.
I had such grand plans for myself. I was going to stay in the city after graduation, find a good job, rent an apartment with friends, decide on a career, and travel Europe in the summer. Now all those carefully made plans were impossible.
Reconciled to God’s Plan
I knew I had done wrong; the consequences were the results of my own sin and selfishness. For me, contrition before God happened almost immediately. I sought out my brother, who was attending the same college, to confess my sin to him and my concern that I might be pregnant. He assured me that, with the Lord's help and a repentant spirit, I could overcome any obstacle. I asked him to pray for me and keep me accountable.
I knew I had no right to feel sorry for myself, but would have to make the best of my situation. The next few weeks were a blur as I sought to make amends. I confessed my sinful action to my parents, the church’s elder board, and trusted friends. I was amazed at the love, understanding, and forgiveness extended to me. Many became prayer warriors on my behalf; their support provided refreshment in the darkest days. Dear friends let me stay in their home while I took time to pray about my plans.
A small group committed to praying for me weekly. Many of those women sent me emails full of godly advice and concern for the baby and me. Every week I received a note in the mail or a phone call from someone saying, “I’m thinking of you.” Others offered financial support and gave me secondhand maternity and baby clothes, lavishing my baby and me with gifts far exceeding what we needed.
I struggled with the vast array of decisions I would need to make as a single mother. I struggled with bitterness that my life had changed so dramatically while it seemed as if the father’s life continued as though nothing had happened. I had given up my dreams, goals, freedom, a close friendship, and even my body as I knew it.
I grieved when I thought that because I chose to ignore God’s perfect plan, my daughter would feel the affects of my sin and grow up without the stability of a two-parent home. Watching happy young couples with their newborns often brought me to the point of tears. I wanted to share the joy of a new baby with a husband. I was sad the baby’s father would miss much of the child’s life. I was disappointed that even as Christians, there were some complicated issues between us.
In the midst of my guilt and loneliness, the Lord displayed His love for me by reminding me through His Word that He will never leave me. I found solace in the Psalms and am struck by how many times David expressed to God his willingness to wait to see the Lord work in his circumstances and hear his prayers. Because of David’s testimony, I have been able to reconcile myself to my Heavenly Father’s plans. The Lord showed me that I need to yield longings to Him and wait patiently to see His perfect will accomplished.
Knowing my tendency to become bitter with the frustration of feeling mistreated, I must take every precaution to guard my heart. I have sought to understand my baby’s father, and forgive him as the Lord had graciously done for me. In doing so, I have learned about the issues in my own heart. The Lord showed me how weak I was to my fleshly desires, how quickly I reacted when angry, and how often I allowed fears of the unknown to control me. Jesus did indeed begin to change me.
The Process Continues
Some days I struggle with anger and frustration that my life is so complicated. Other times, I am envious of my friends who are finishing school, getting married, going to new places, and starting their families, knowing that things are out of order in my life. There are moments when guilt seems to crush me with its weight, keeping me in bondage to my past mistakes and regrets.
However, at those moments, God reminds me that this arduous time in my life is only for a season. Though I wait in the bleakness of winter, spring will come. Every time I look into my daughter’s tiny face, I have a new and even brighter hope for the future. I deeply desire for her to see Christ in me. I take joy in the realization that I serve a gracious God, who in the midst of my sin, chose to bless my daughter and me. For that, I will continually thank Him. The words “it’s positive” not only changed my world, but more significantly, they changed my heart.
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If you would like to contact Charis or Linda for prayer or support, they can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.