“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
I prayed a prayer the other day for a stranger I may never meet.
The only evidence of this stranger’s existence was on the edge of a toilet paper dispenser in the bathroom of a local restaurant in the guise of a plastic wrapper—a pregnancy test wrapper.
My heart was burdened as I thought of the young woman or girl who laid it there. Questions arose wondering the outcome of the test. Did she leave the bathroom elated or desperate? Was this a happy occasion or one that caused her despair as she wrung her hands at the possibilities that laid before her? It’s just plastic—but it represents a life of a person and her heart in that moment.
This encounter with plastic set in motion a memory which seems surreal as if it were a stranger’s story.
In life there are moments like pinpoints on a timeline signifying something significant happened here. These memories are imprinted in bold while some moments drift away to be forever forgotten. It is a mysterious phenomenon. The memory this pregnancy test invoked is one in bold never to be forgotten.
It was the end of my freshman year of college. I had been dating a boy for about a month. Life was full of promise as summer approached. However, there were symptoms that perhaps I could be pregnant. Anxiety swept in bringing with it a myriad of questions and what ifs. We bought a test—a pregnancy test. Did the thing you do and waited in the other room. Minutes seemed like eternity. Both of us did not want to look but we knew we needed to look. Together we faced the results. There it was—red and bold—a plus sign. It may have been small, but in my mind, it was large, starring at me, hauntingly mocking me. My world was forever about to be changed.
In my mind, a baby was out of the question. I was only nineteen, a freshman in college, not ready to be a mom. What about my future? What about my dreams. Couldn’t everything go back to “normal”, the way it was before the red plus sign? Can I have a “do over” please?
In my mind abortion was the “do over” button. What I didn’t know was abortion is not an easy fix but more like a red nuclear button with tremendous fallout. No one wins. Nothing would ever be the same again.
The short version of this story is I chose abortion. The long version of this story is long and well, more complicated than that. Most stories are more complicated than the short version.
The long version involves my parents finding out about the red plus sign, a wedding planned, a wedding canceled, all my family and friends knowing about the pregnancy and the abortion, a date rape, depression, a breakup, and self-destructive behaviors…until Jesus. Like I said, much more complicated than the short version.
When I saw the pregnancy test wrapper lying in the bathroom that day, I couldn’t help but think, “What is her story? What is her complicated story?” Was this lady also considering abortion, feeling hopeless and alone? Or had she been trying for months or years to get pregnant? Did she leave there rejoicing or anxious with what ifs? Did she leave with disappointment for once again seeing a negative sign or relief?
I said a prayer for her that day, whoever she is. I wish I knew her story. If she was like me at nineteen full of anxious thoughts at seeing that plus sign, I would hold her and tell her:
It’s going to be ok, you can do this. Be strong and courageous. Life is a gift, embrace the gift. A baby may not have been in the plan, but all life is God-given. God has a design and destiny for this life, this baby and He chose you, beautiful you to be this person’s mother. God doesn’t make mistakes, He chose you and this baby is not a mistake. With the Lord Jesus, this is possible. You can do this. Choose life. I didn’t and I can never go back and choose again. With abortion no one wins. You are stronger and more able than you know. This crisis is but one moment on the timeline of life. The crisis will pass and will either symbolize a beautiful gift to love and cherish or empty arms and a heart broken with regret and sorrow.
Would you join me in praying for all facing a plus sign to see life in the womb for the beautiful miracle that it is, fully God ordained and full of destiny and purpose. And would you pray for the hearts of those hoping and waiting for God’s perfect plan.
Father, I pray for every person taking a pregnancy test today. Lord, would you infuse them with hope and courage. Lord, I pray that someone considering abortion would read this today and choose life. May your truth be louder than fear. And for those once again disappointed, hoping and waiting for a child, would you encourage them as well and bring peace to their hearts as they wait on your perfect plan to unfold. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.