I’m not sure why I feel compelled to write about this tonight as I have spent so many years trying to hide my past and feel “normal” like everyone else, but I am ready. Complete transparency seems to be what people want and really what’s the point in being fake? There’s too much of that in the world.
I had my oldest son before I was married. Okay, okay so a lot of people have kids while they’re not married. I was 25 and although unstable I was capable of being a mom. But here’s what I never get a chance to say. It wasn’t just a one night stand. I was dating his father on and off for three years before we got pregnant. I loved him the best way I knew how to love someone. I was young and immature, and flying the world, and living the life of the party, but I loved him. I was on birth control and I guess I just expected it to work. It didn’t. Where I grew up, if you got pregnant you got married and then everyone just pretended like it happened after you said the vows. I also are up where nearly everyone is catholic and very pro life. So because of my paradigm and the fact that I loved him- I couldn’t have prepared myself for what really happened. I was already terrified. But I thought once I told him we’d figure it out. Well, when I told him he yelled at me. This man that I was so in love with told me that I needed to get an abortion. He told me that if I didn’t he’d leave me. I didn’t really know God at that point in my life but I knew I wasn’t getting an abortion.
The pregnancy was a whirlwind of emotions. I was living in Arizona at the time and I lost my job and had to move back to Michigan with my parents. That alone was humiliating. I had no money. I started waitressing in that little town and those wonderful pro-life “christians” were the first to judge me. I could feel the glares from my left hand to my belly and back again. I was dealing with a lot but what I was dealing with mostly was Jesus. I found him during that pregnancy and I began to read the Bible and go to church and Bible study. I was so angry because of what happened. I was completely alone. God began dealing with me about that. Forgiveness is one of the first things I learned about as a new christian. I learned that I needed to forgive more for myself than for him. That being resentful was like drinking poison and expecting the other person to suffer. I realized that he wasn’t even thinking about me. I needed to let it go so that I could move on. It took a couple years but during the 9 months of the pregnancy (well, 8 since he was a premie) – I prayed for my son’s father every single day. Eventually, the feelings of resentment and hate and bitterness turned to feelings of gratitude and love (Christ’s love).
What is forgiveness? Wikipedia says “Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, lets go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, with an increased ability to wish the offender well.” Jesus says we must forgive to be forgiven. He who is without sin must cast the first stone. Mother Theresa said “If we really want to love we must first learn to forgive.” Mahatma Gandhi said, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” Martin Luther King Jr. preached, “Let no man pull you low enough to hate him.” I realize forgiveness does not mean you just let a person continue to hurt you or just fail to recognize the wrong. I am always so inspired when I read about ultimate stories of forgiveness like the Amish community in Lancaster who actually attended the shooter’s funeral and continued to demonstrate love to that family. Read that story here. There’s Mary Johnson who forgave her son’s murderer. You can see that story here but there are just endless stories like this. One I read was about a young girl who got pregnant as a result of rape. She ended up visiting the rapist in jail and befriending him and leading him to Christ. These accounts truly inspire me. I think because I know this is how Jesus loved us. I want to be that strong.
That opportunity presented itself recently. My son’s father has reached out and asked for an opportunity to know his son. Our son is now 9 years old. Everyone around me says things like “he doesn’t deserve it”, “there’s no way in hell!”, “this will cause divorce with your husband”, “he’s not a good example anyway” and on and on and on. I agree. He doesn’t deserve it. But my son does. He deserves to know his father. He wants to know his father so badly. He talks about him and asks about him constantly. So for all of those around me who think I’m being stupid, throwing my marriage away, making a poor choice, I ask you what about my baby? Have you ever seen statistics on fatherless children in America? This is not just an opinion. According to Children-our investment.org, homes without fathers ultimately affect children in numerous tragic ways:
* 63 percent of youth suicides are from fatherless homes
* 90 percent of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes
* 85 percent of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes
* 80 percent of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes
* 71 percent of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes
* 75 percent of all adolescent patients in chemical-abuse centers come from fatherless homes
* 85 percent of all youths in prison come from fatherless homes
Maybe this doesn’t apply to my boys because of my husband who has filled the role of father for my kids the past couple of years. They also have amazing uncles and a grandfather that are male role models to be admired. And God is alive and well in my home and will be a father to the fatherless. But the fact remains that there’s still going to be a void from not knowing where he comes from. His biological father is wanting to be in the picture and I want to give him that chance. What’s the worse that could happen? God says love is seeing the best in every person. I know where I came from. I know how God has changed me and so I know other people are capable of changing too. Forgiveness and love- not being in love, but love as Jesus loved- the principle is so simple yet it’s just so hard.
I would absolutely appreciate any input into this especially if you have faced grown up without a father or can relate to any of my story. Should I allow this relationship the chance to flourish? Or should I say sorry you screwed up and lost your chance? Please, please comment!