I am blessed and thankful to know some amazing people– below is a testimony about two of them. Erin is a new friend of mine, and her daughter, Olivia, is in the children’s Bible study group that I help lead on Tuesdays. Erin and Olivia look exactly alike — only Erin is the version that is twentyish years older. They have the same beautiful smile, and the same enthusiasm for loving God. You will be blessed beyond words to know their story.
I don’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t know about God. I grew up going to church and had some amazing people in my life that truly made me want to know Jesus Christ. Looking back I can see the Lord in every moment of my life, but I clearly remember the first time I cried out to God.
I met John when I was sixteen years old. We worked together at a bookstore and I was mesmerized by his intelligence. He was the smartest person I had ever met. We fell in love and moved in together our first year in college. Our parents were not happy with the situation, but since we were both doing well in school, and from all outward appearances living up to their expectations, they pretty much ignored it. Of course, that all changed rather abruptly when I found out I was pregnant.
I remember taking the pregnancy test and throwing it in the closet as if then it would just go away. I told John and we both braced ourselves for our unknown future together. We were terrified to say the least. Here we were two pretty average kids from nice Christian families who were suddenly faced with our private sins becoming very public. You can’t exactly hide a baby.
We told John’s parents first and that didn’t go very well. His father was completely livid. His dreams for his sons future were fading before his eyes. John was in graduate school at Carnegie Mellon University at the time and up until that moment had exceeded his parents expectations in every way. He had finished his undergraduate degree in only three years and was promptly accepted into an amazing and exclusive Master’s program. Only, now he was going to be tied to me, trapped by a baby, and unable to live up to his full potential, at least that’s what I remember the gist of the conversation being. He was cut off financially at that point and pretty much left to lie in the mess he created. They wanted me to have an abortion and offered to pay, but we had already decided in our hearts that we were going to keep this baby no matter what the consequences were. In the Bible it often talks about the heart, and this baby was already loved in our hearts.
I was in a predicament because I did not have insurance anymore. Once I got pregnant my insurance would not cover that so I was struck with the reality of needing medical care and no means to get it. I looked in the phone book and found Catholic Charities and made an appointment. They confirmed my pregnancy and told me how to go get medicaid and which doctors would help me. I had to take a bus to the welfare office. It was a humbling experience and one I hope to never find myself in again, but I’m so thankful I had the option! I remember sitting in the cold, gloomy office with peeling paint and grotesque green vinyl chairs and thinking I have nothing. I’m here to beg so that I can have this baby that no one wants me to have.
I gave birth at the teaching hospital in April. I had no baby shower and almost nothing for the baby once she was born, but somehow I had hope. I knew the world wanted me to have an abortion, to keep up appearances and wait until the time was right to have a baby, but I also knew that was not what God wanted. I knew in the depths of my soul that God wanted me to have her, and for the first time in my life I obeyed God.
I was terrified. My water broke at our apartment and we took a cab to the hospital. Olivia Tesla Miller was born 8 hours later and was the best thing that had ever happened to me. I loved her more than myself and in the sudden quiet of that hospital room John and I prayed. We gave Olivia over to the Lord. She was the most precious thing we had ever had and we gave her over to Him. I wanted her to always be loved and wanted and to know that God had a special plan for her life. In the stillness of those late nights just me and my baby I cried out to the Lord over and over again and asked him to help me.
It’s amazing how trusting God in that moment in my life changed everything. I’m happy to say there has been great reconciliation in our families. John and I have been married for nine years and are the very proud parents of three wonderful children, all of whom are great blessings.