Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Mothering Their Legacies

I had the blessing of being one of the contributors of the book, New Life Within <--- click on link to find out more about it and to purchase your own copy! I want to share here what I wrote in the book about my motherhood journey thus far.


Mothering Their Legacies

Ever since I was a little girl, I always knew I was meant to be a mother. The desire was embedded deep within my heart. As a child, I literally remember having dreams about finding abandoned babies in random places such as grocery stores and me rescuing them and taking them home to forever love and care for.

I knew that being a mother was part of the calling God had on my life, though I never could have imagined just how it would unfold. I never imagined that one day I truly would be fighting to rescue babies.

For me, motherhood looks a bit different than it looks for others. It does not consist of diaper changes, story time, and rocking with lullabies before sleep. Rather than holding my children in my arms, I hold them in my heart. I mother their legacies. But that does not make me any less of a mother simply because you cannot see them here. The forever impact they’ve made on my life and how they’ve changed me are proof enough that I’m a mother. Their mother.

This is my motherhood journey thus far…

In February 2009, I found myself alone in a bathroom, staring at the two blue lines that would forever change my life. I was 19, unmarried and completely terrified to discover I was pregnant. Yes, I always knew I wanted to be a mother, but not yet. Not now. Not like this…

Though I had grown up in a Christian, pro-life home, I never imagined this would happen to me. After all, I had planned on remaining a virgin until marriage. Yet, somehow along the way, the world had seduced me.

Feelings of panic and fear immediately gripped my heart and that dreadful word captured my thoughts… abortion. The culture told me it was my choice to decide whether or not I was ready to be a mother.

My mind was consumed with thoughts of the shame and humiliation that would come with telling those I knew and loved that I was a pregnant and unwed teen. I didn’t want people to discover the lifestyle I was leading. I didn’t want to face the pain sure to come with choosing parenting or adoption. I didn’t want my body to change from pregnancy. I didn’t want permanent ties to the baby’s father. I didn’t want my entire future as I thought it should be to be forever altered. I could be a mother when I was ready, but it wasn’t then. I convinced myself that having an abortion was my only option and the only solution.

Because I was only 6 weeks gestation and it was a pill I would be taking and not a surgical procedure, I convinced myself that it wasn’t really an abortion. Because I couldn’t feel any movement yet, never heard the fast thump, thump, thump of the baby’s heart beating, and my belly was not yet round with child, I thought it wasn’t a big deal. I could push thoughts of this new life within out of my mind and heart.

I wish I could tell you that I did not take that little pill that I thought would solve all my problems… but I did… on February 6th, 2009, a day that will be etched into my memory forever. If only I had known that even though I was ending my pregnancy, I would never again not be a mother.

Immediately after the abortion, relief washed over me, and I was ready to get back to my normal life and forget the nightmare ever happened. However, the pain quickly began catching up with me. I drowned my inexpressible sorrow in things like partying, drinking, and dating a new guy. I so desperately wanted to fill that empty, gaping wound in my heart.

Just a few short months later, I found myself once again sitting in a bathroom, alone with my thoughts and another positive pregnancy test. Yet again I had the same choice to make. How could this be my life? How had I gotten so far from what I had been taught and what I believed about abstinence, purity, and the sanctity of life? I was digging myself deeper and deeper into a pit of destruction and despair and I was too broken and weak to pull myself out. I cannot even put into words the agony my spirit was in during these months.

I was sick of things as they were and felt ready to “get my life together.” I just needed to have this one last abortion and then my life could move on. I reasoned that I had already had one abortion, so what’s another? My life appeared to be a hopeless, helpless mess and it was too late for me to have the beautiful God-scripted story that I had longed for. Little did I know that my Heavenly Father was not surprised by my choices and He still had a plan… far beyond anything I could imagine or comprehend.

The appointment was set at Planned Parenthood for August 15th, 2009, just three days after my 20th birthday and a half a year after my first abortion. After August 15th, I would get my life together. After August 15th, I could move on and have a fresh start.

The day of my scheduled abortion came and went and my baby was still safely growing in my womb. God was fighting for my life just as He was fighting for the life of the one who grew within me.

The Lord made it abundantly clear that I had come to a fork in the road in my life and had a very big decision to make. He whispered to my heart that if I chose to have another abortion, I couldn’t imagine the pain and darkness that would follow. But, if I chose LIFE, I couldn’t imagine the beauty that He would bring.

On a lovely August evening around dusk, I was alone with my thoughts, watching the pink clouds dance across the sky. It was in that moment that the decision suddenly became clear to me. I knew what I had to do. I had to obey Him… and choose life. Although I didn’t know what would happen next or where He would lead me, having answers to my questions no longer mattered because He was with me. He promises to give us just what we need the moment we need it. There must have been rejoicing in Heaven on that summer evening in August when my child’s life was saved.

The choice was no longer between abortion, adoption, and parenting, but now only between adoption and parenting, both of which ended with my child having life. For a time, I truly believed I was going to choose adoption. After wrestling with the decision for weeks, however, God showed me that His plan for my life was parenting.

Early in my pregnancy, the Lord revealed to me that I was carrying a little girl named Lily, which means “purity and innocence.” Lily was to be a symbol of my renewed purity and redemption in Jesus Christ. I selected Katherine to be her middle name, not realizing at the time that Katherine also means “purity.” In Christ, I am washed white as snow.

My God was with me when I chose life for my daughter and through all the months I carried her, He sustained me. He was with me when I told my family the news that there would be someone joining the family. He was with them when He supplied the love and grace needed to accept me back home. He provided every penny needed when I didn’t know how I would pay for doctor and hospital bills without insurance.

Seven months later, He was with me when I arrived at the hospital to deliver my daughter, two days past my due date, after a healthy and normal pregnancy. He was with me on that dark, stormy day, March 16th, 2010, when that little monitor was put up to my swollen belly and those dreadful words filled my ears, “I’m so sorry… her heart is no longer beating.” He was with me in the quiet, early-morning stillness, as I waited to deliver the body of my daughter who was already waiting for me in Heaven. He was with me when I held the body of my precious flower, Lily Katherine, who whispered goodbye before I had the chance to say hello. He was with me when the silence threatened to suffocate me.

He was with me through the loneliest night of my life as I cried from the very depths of my soul, lying in my hospital bed with the body of my lifeless daughter beside me. He was with me during those few precious, sacred moments I spent alone with her, giving her the hugs and kisses that would have to last a lifetime. He was with me the next afternoon as a blanket was placed over her tiny body and she was pushed down the hallway away from me, never to be held by her mommy again. He was with me when leaving the hospital with empty arms, a broken heart, and shattered dreams. Left with many questions, He was with me when no answers could explain why she was taken so soon. He was with me as I watched her tiny casket, placed inside her cozy Moses basket, be lowered into the opened earth and become showered with tears, rose and lily petals, and dirt.

Lily Katherine’s name took on a whole new meaning… she will forever be pure and innocent. I struggled with wondering why God would let me carry Lily for all those months and love her so much, only to take her from me. But, I have peace in knowing I made the choice to let God be God, to let God give and God take away. I can rest assured that I did the right thing by obeying Him. My daughter died with dignity.

How can I possibly capture in just a few paragraphs all that Lily’s life means to me… God saved her from abortion and used her life to save mine. He used her to bring me back to Himself. He used her to bring healing from my abortion. He used her to restore family relationships and friendships.

I have given my first child the dignity of having a name, as an acknowledgement that he existed. I believe the Lord has revealed to me that my first baby was a boy. I’ve named him Luke Shiloh, meaning “light and peace,” because God has brought light in the midst of the deepest darkness and peace to my wounded, aching heart.

If you choose life, no matter the outcome, you’ll have no regrets. These aren’t empty words from someone who doesn’t understand and has never walked this road. I can say ‘I get it’ because I truly do. I’ve walked the road twice and I’ve chosen both ways, and I will forever regret my abortion, but I will never, ever regret choosing life… even if I had known from the beginning that Lily would go Home to Jesus before drawing her first breath. God has a wonderful, beautiful plan and purpose for each life created in His image.

My story is full of brokenness and heart-wrenching pain, yes, but please don’t allow that to be what you take away from reading this. It is my hope and prayer that the lasting legacies of Luke and Lily will make an imprint on your heart. And that my story will point your eyes to redeeming, merciful Jesus, who brings beauty from ashes and makes whole what was once broken. He truly works all things together for our good and His glory.

The Lord used both my two babies who never spoke a word or took a single breath to forever change my life and future. For me, motherhood is keeping my promise to Lily and Luke to always be their voice, to share their lives and legacies as long as there is breath in my body, to speak out about the beauty and sanctity of each irreplaceable, individual life. I now write regularly on my blog and on other websites and speak all over the country, sharing my story of darkness to light. At one point I never wanted anyone to know about Lily and Luke, but now I want the world to know they are my children and I am their mother.

This is but a glimpse into my mother heart… to some, it may appear that I have no children. But, I can assure you… I do. They may not be alive on Earth, but they are more alive than you and I will ever be here, dancing eternally with Jesus on streets of gold. There is so much more to my bittersweet journey of motherhood and I believe there will be more pages the Lord will script in days to come. This is where He’s brought me thus far. This is how He’s given me a passion and a purpose to rescue precious babies… the dream I had as a little girl has come true.

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This post left me:

4 comments:

  1. You have a story for all to know on Lifetime or Hallmark. Seriously! How many girls & women are making this decision everyday?
    I believe with all I am that God's plan for you is glorious!:

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  2. Oh, Hannah, no matter how many times I read your story. Even though I know the end, it always makes me cry. And it always makes me smile at the end. I really want to talk to my director about you speaking at our next banquet. Maybe you can do their memorial that weekend if they will fly you down for it?

    I just posted the other day about how we can be bitter about losing a baby (to abortion or still birth) or we can rejoice in the fact that they were ever here. It is true. How do we mother their legacies if we can't rejoice the fact that they were here?

    I can't wait to see what God has in store for you through your motherhood. You have always known in your heart that you would be saving babies and I believe that you are right. You have more children coming to you in the future. How amazing-that when you were young you always wanted to save babies and now you are. You are *figuratively* finding those babies and their mothers when they feel like they are in a dark alley and you are helping to pull them out. I Love It!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for your sweet comment... I would LOVE to speak at your banquet sometime. It would be an honor (and would be wonderful to see you of course!) :-)

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