Click here to read Part 1 from yesterday….
My fear was becoming a reality. My heart was in my throat. John 8:3-5 NCV says “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery. They forced her to stand before the people. They said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught having sexual relations with a man who is not her husband. The law of Moses commands that we stone to death every woman who does this….””
“I cannot speak for the rest of the church,
That is what Dr. Anthony said to the pastor, from his seat in the pew, in front of the whole church! And what did the rest of the church do? They applauded!!
A family was visiting for the first time that morning. Imagine! The mom looked at Laurie and said “Do you know her? I have to talk to her.” “Of course I know Genia.” Standing outside at the base of the steps after church was finished, Laurie introduced me to Theresa. This first time visitor stood holding the shoulders of her pre-teen daughter while two pre-schoolers played on the sidewalk behind her. She looked me fiercely in the eye and said
Two different families asked me out to lunch. I went with one family that day, and the other a couple days later. These were beautiful, perfect, mommy/daddy, two/or/three/kids and a dog kind of families. Pillars of the church. At EACH lunch meeting, the momma sat across the table from me crying and confessing “I was in your shoes. I chose the other option. I live with that regret EVERY SINGLE DAY.”
While I was perched on the stool at Java, Jeans, at Jesus, my “Blessing” was a pre-schooler playing down the hall in the nursery. I looked out at the coffee drinkers and asked
Lynette and Carl had just made their way fromNew Orleans that night. They were Hurricane Katrina refugees. Our church had remodeled what used to be the church office into a little apartment and the couple was going to start life again there. After the service, Lynette came to me saying “We were really worried about being the only black people here. But if they can love you, then I know they will love us. InNew Orleans I know plenty of churches that would have nothing to do with an unwed pregnant woman.”
My Blessing is now a teenager.
We had a funny church schedule where we attended one church on Sunday mornings and a different church on Wednesday nights. One Sunday morning, we happened to be at the Wednesday night church. My Blessing was sitting on the opposite side of the church with some friends. A couple had come to the pastor asking for prayer because their daughter was pregnant and not married, but planning to get married. This momma, who was going to be a grandmother before she was a mother-in-law, was crying. Ashamed. And sitting right behind my child. After the service, I rushed over, grabbed my child by the shoulders, shared a bit of my story and said to this woman with tears in my eyes “What you have is a blessing. THIS is my blessing.”
Youth Sunday was wonderful. Tiny church of about 75 people. My Blessing had written a song that was sung by the praise team and she shared her testimony. The youth pastor’s sermon was from Hosea and the crux of the message is that God bought you with a price- even though he knew all of your dirt. I had worked with the youth on making little wooden blocks with the word “Bought” burned in them. The blocks were a reminder of the auction block where Hosea rescued his love, Gomer, and to symbolize the auction block of the world where God rescues us. There were two baskets of blocks, and 4 youth planned to hand out the blocks during the altar call. I told my story at the end of the sermon, and then the pastor gave the altar call. Two youth with a basket over there, but only one youth with the basket over here. Where did the other kid go? I stayed up front to help hand out blocks and hold the basket- I thought. As people lined up to take a block, they shared their stories with me. One sweet momma shared through her tears that she “had been in my shoes and chose the other option.” A daddy, a rock in this church, took a block and said with a smile, “My Blessing’s name is Ashley.” Another momma, with the beautiful perfect family, stood sobbing and we were hugging as she was talking. All I know is that the words were pouring out with the tears. It’s alright that I couldn’t understand her story- God does. Six people- four women and two men- in that tiny church shared with me. Seven if you count the old man on his walker who looked at me as he took a block and said “It’s alright. You’re still purdy to me.”
As I was driving to work the week after youth Sunday, my friend called. He heard on the radio that Susan Moore was killed in a car accident- could it be our mutual friend? I told him I had seen a post from her mom on Facebook that morning, so surely it was someone different. Our families have been friends for over 25 years, beginning when Susan was not much more than one. I used to drive her to school when I was in college and she was an elementary student. She was a favorite of my daddy. And now we worked at the same school. So I made a point to visit Susan that morning, because knowing is different than KNOWING. It just so happened that her students were gone to art, so I sat down to chat. She said she was glad I stopped by – she had been thinking of me recently. I told her about the youth Sunday experience and she began asking questions- How did I tell the principal? How did I face the people in my life? What did I tell the students? She confessed that the reason I was on her mind is because she was in the same situation- a grown up, a teacher, INVOLVED in church, pregnant, and not planning a wedding. At that time only her parents knew. The baby is not yet born. People know, and most everyone has shown her the love of Jesus. I am glad to be holding my friend’s hand. Glad that she can look at my Blessing and know that things will be alright. Glad that she knows my story and knows God will use her story too. Glad that I am able to tell her what she has is a Blessing.
At Java, Jeans, and Jesus we sang one of my favorite choruses. The basis of the chorus is in Psalm 51- after David’s affair with Bathsheba. David asks for a clean heart to be created in him, and promises to teach others about his sin. Led by an acoustic guitar we sang “Create in me a clean heart O God, that I might be renewed, Create in me a clean heart O God, that I might serve you.”
Getting pregnant outside of marriage is not something I suggest. Understand that sex outside of marriage is the sin, not the pregnancy- the world gets that confused sometimes. Know that God will shape you through your mistakes if you allow Him. He will use your story if you hand it over to Him. If you would like to add a chapter to my story, or use my story as a chapter in yours, just let me know. He uses all things for His purpose.
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VIDEO: I was a pastor when I nearly died by suicide.
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