“You are not the only one engaging in THIS sin, you are just the one that got caught”
I spent a long time trying to figure out what my first post would be about. I thought about how open and transparent would I be willing to be or how much of my heart should I expose and I finally came to the conclusion that what I am about to share with you will provide a piece of me at a time in my life when God was preparing to draw me much deeper into him than I had ever been before. There have been multiple seasons in my life where God has carried me through something to bring me closer to Him but this current journey has been, by far, the most impactful in my life and spiritual growth.
On December 27, 2012, I found out I was pregnant…
So there I am, unmarried (not even in a relationship with the person) and pregnant. It wasn’t until the next day, after I went to the doctor to confirm that I wasn’t dreaming and the test wasn’t faulty, that it hit me. I immediately felt ashamed, disappointed, defeated, helpless, damaged, broken and a vocabulary list full of other words to describe the negative emotions that I was feeling. The depression would come about later. One thing that I have learned over the years, at least about myself, is that sin has a way of convincing us that we can’t tell anyone what we are going through or struggling with. Because of that lie I have a history of disappearing from people, isolating myself, and being overly critical of me as a person.
When I found out I was pregnant, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to isolate myself or hide my sin, and that was the best “downfall” that God could have ever blessed me with. As I slowly shared with people the, soon to be obvious, evidence of my sin (that was my perspective at that moment) I was constantly met with love and God’s grace through the reactions of others (much to my surprise). The grace through words that God constantly sent me was a reminder that a baby is a gift. I was often reminded of the story of Leah and Rachel (Genesis 29) and more specifically that because God is unchanging, he has the same power now as in verse 31 when he decided that Leah would bear children and Rachel would not. The point that was being made was that God chose me to receive this amazing gift.
There are two particular people that I had to tell that were the hardest of all. The first was a friend of mine who is a pastor. I remember calling him shortly after I left the doctor’s office with the official news. With tears in my eyes, and an unrealistic expectation of him condemning me (one of the lies that sin tells us, but we will get to that a little further down), I mustered up the guts to tell him. Although he said a few kind and encouraging things after a very long pause, there was one thing he said that remains with me to this day, “You are not the only one in church who is having sex, you are just the one that got caught.” The second and most difficult person to tell was my dad. As I was struggling to get the words out and trying to disregard the fear that he would disown me and stop talking to me indefinitely, he came over and hugged me and asked me why was I crying. He said, “A baby is a gift from God despite the sin that occurred to conceive it.” And even though I had been told that before, it meant the most coming from my dad. Although the duration of my pregnancy was emotionally bumpy and rough for various reasons, these two statements resonate with me, even in this moment and constantly remind me that even in the midst of my sin, God loves me enough to have given me a gift, and that no one is sinless or blameless, God just chose to make an example out of me. Of course these revelations did not come easily or quickly, which brings me to the title of this post and the lies that sin tells us.
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord – Romans 6:23, KJV
The Lie that Sin Tells
I spent quite a bit of my pregnancy depressed and ashamed with all the should haves, could haves and would haves that I played over and over in my mind. Those thoughts coupled with a relationship that I had no business being in in the first place, a partner that was not willing to be clear about his intentions with me and mounting insecurities about my future, my body and my self worth only aided in the lowering of my self-esteem. In the midst of this depression I managed to convince myself that, as gracious as God was in blessing me with this gift of life in the midst of my disobedience, there had to be some type of “atonement” and I had to at some point be “punished” for what I had done to conceive this gift…and with that thought in mind, the conclusion that my mind came to was that my son would be taken away from me. The inherent sin in my heart at different times would cover my eyes with “guilt tinted” shades and I would bypass the entire chapter 6 of Romans and only see the first part of verse 23 which tells me that sin has to be paid for with death…
As ridiculous as that thought process seems to me now, it was a real and present thought in my mind at the time. When the thought first hit, I was sure that I wasn’t going to make it through the pregnancy…but to add injury to insult, since my sin had been exposed (as I had already began telling the people closest to me that I would soon have a baby bump), my growing “joy” would be snatched away from me. With every doctor’s visit, the report was always that my unborn son was always healthy, growing as planned and there were no health complications, and my irrational thoughts seemed to dissipate. As I neared the end of my pregnancy, picked out a name and prepared for leave from work, this whisper of impending doom made its second round in my mind. How could God let me keep something so wonderful when I did everything to not deserve it? Now the thought became that one of us would not make it home after delivery… Of course I never told anyone this at the time. Even up until I wrote this, I had only expressed the existence of this thought to one person…
The TRUTH in GRACE
Looking back now, I think about every moment that I can remember of those 37 weeks of pregnancy; every tear dropped, every kick felt, every moment of joy and sadness, every potty break that was really just me taking a nap at work, lol. Whenever I remember the moments where I was worried that my son would be stolen from me through death as punishment for the sin that I engaged in to get him, I find my self shaking my head and rolling my eyes at myself. What was eventually brought to my memory is that the God I serve is just, fair, and also gracious. As I was constantly surrounded by my family (blood and church) while trying to figure out how to be a single mother in Christ (its a constant work in progress), I slowly began to finish the verse…BUT the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord (my ESV Bible points out that it is a FREE gift). My son would not have to die for my sin because God already sent his Son to do so, even before my parent’s parents were conceived. So even though the fair and just response to my sin is that I be punished, Romans 8 (in a nutshell) tells me that through Jesus Christ the debt for my sin has already been paid. And although I must repent for my sins to be forgiven, Jesus already accepted the punishment that I should have gotten for the sin I engaged in and instead I received the gift of life…not just for my son but for me. Once God opened my eyes to the reality of His love, I was able to fully enjoy the gift of love that God has given me in the form of my son. Now, two years in, my son is healthy, relatively happy, and keeping me on my toes. He is also a constant reminder that God loves me enough to have given His Son for me so that I can experience His love despite my disobedient and sinful nature because He chose me.
The beauty of this gift I received is that God chose to love us all…there is no shortage of His love; anyone can be filled with it and have plenty to share. God’s love found me in a place I had never been before, a place that I had no idea how to escape from and did not leave me there. And although the path I have been on has not been all rainbows and homemade peach cobbler, it is a love like no other that pursues me constantly even when I stray, and there is nothing that compares to that.
Grace and peace,
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