Two stripes. How could it be two stripes?
They’d only been together three times. That wasn’t even possible, was it?
What would they all say? What would it be like at school? Would they stare at her? Talk about her? Call her a hypocrite?
Hypocrite. At the thought of the word she felt her stomach clench and began splashing cold water in her face. She was, wasn’t she? She spent years working on her reputation and inviting people to church. All those people who had been trying to catch her doing wrong would have a field day.
She couldn’t even begin to think of what God thought.
What would her parents say? This one was hard to think about. She knew they would be disappointed. She could already see the look in their eyes. She had let them down, blown off their teachings and their example and just ignored everything from them.
And the church…what would that be like? Would they talk about her also? Kick her out? Let her stay but make her a social leper? Visions of herself began to flood her sight – forced to sit, alone, on the back pew with her face shrouded by a black veil.
And him, what would he say? Would he leave her? Abandon her to take on all responsibility alone? Would he want to marry her? Marriage? She was only 16. She couldn’t get married! She’s still got school and sports and traveling to Europe to visit the Eifel Tower and try one of those little cafes where you have the best coffee of your life. She still had life.
Nobody knew yet. Maybe nobody had to know. Even as her mind frantically grasped at whatever it could, she knew that wasn’t a possibility. She would know. More than that, she knew that no matter what she had done, the life inside her was innocent. Her baby had done no wrong.
Baby. For the first time, she allowed herself to think the word. She had a baby inside of her. She knew her life was going to change and she was still terrified. But she also knew she would do whatever she needed in order to protect her unborn child. Hit with the full weight of how much her life would soon be changing, she placed one hand over her stomach and fell to her knees as she began to pray.
Five years later…
“One, two, three…”
He was in the closet. Or under the bed. Definitely one of the two. Granted, their apartment was pretty small and there weren’t too many options, so he did the best he could with the options he had.
She had fared better than most. He stayed by her side the entire time and they ended up getting married. Not for a long time. They finished high school first, and made sure they were ready and willing, not trapped. It wasn’t always easy. They were still young and had so much to learn. But they both made the decision to become dedicated to God and their shared faith got them through the difficult times.
It had been hard though. In so many ways. There had been whispered comments. Comments that weren’t whispered. It had been hard to give up on college. Not forever, but they couldn’t afford to both attend so she volunteered to work part time and take care of their child while he got his degree. He was working too, but they still lived month to month. So she would wait.
She got through it. She shouldn’t have. Looking back, it was hard to imagine that girl she once was. While she now had a son that she loved and wouldn’t trade for anything, this isn’t the life she would have chosen. Those weren’t mistakes…sins…that she would repeat. But she made it through. Her parents, while disappointed, had been wonderful. The same for her church family. She couldn’t have imagined the support they would offer.
More than that, she had God. During the darkest, most difficult times, she leaned on Him and He carried her through. For a time she had been drowning in guilt and shame, but she finally learned to accept His forgiveness. Once she realized that she didn’t have to carry that mark on her forever, things changed. It didn’t mean life was perfect, or simple, or anything less than overwhelming at times. It didn’t mean that the result of her actions didn’t include lifelong responsibility. But it did mean that she was forgiven. And that meant she could live a life working toward a future, instead of being judged only for her past.
There are nearly 750,000 unplanned pregnancies for girls between the ages of 15 and 19 every year, over a quarter of which end in abortion (Guttmacher Institute). If you or someone you know might be pregnant and are scared and confused, talk to a friend, parent, or Christian that you respect – somebody that you know cares about you. Contact us at admin@katharosNOW.com. You do have choices and you don’thave to be alone.