My motherhood journey did not start off according to plan. I was not following Jesus when my boyfriend (now husband) and I got pregnant just before I turned 17. I remember being filled with fear as those little pink lines appeared on the test. When everyone found out there was lots of tears and a lot of talking. I felt shame from most people, including my family and my school. I turned to the wrong people for advice and got convinced that I was much too young to ever be a good mom and I needed to think about my future first. Before I knew it, I had an appointment booked to have an abortion. I remember sitting in that waiting room so well. There were so many other women there which actually convinced me even more that this wasn’t a big deal. Right after, I knew I had made the wrong choice. Darkness loomed over me. I was filled with shame, fear and heartache for my baby. This decision hardened my heart and changed so much in my life. My relationship with my parents became bad because they thought that was the best choice. I lied to my grandma, whom I grew up living with, and this caused our relationship to have a downfall. Chris and I ended up breaking up for a couple years because I put blame on him. And I had to switch schools for grade 12. I held so much hurt in my heart that I didn’t know about until 2 years later when Chris and I got pregnant with our son, Kingston. All the emotions from the abortion came up again and it gave me so much strength to stand firm and say that I would keep my baby.
On October 10th, 2010 Kingston arrived, 4 weeks early. The moment he was placed in my arms I fell in love. He was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I remember feeling so joyful and fearful at the same time. As a non-Christian, I didn’t understand how I could feel so much love for this child. All of a sudden he was my world, my everything.
Motherhood came so naturally to me. I loved being a mom, I never wanted to be away from Kingston. He was such an easy baby and slept through the night right away. It was amazing. Chris and I did not have a good relationship and I poured more love into Kingston because of that. When Kingston was 14 months old, Chris admitted to me that for the past 2 years he had been having affairs. It had been eating him alive and he was terrified that I would leave him and take Kingston away from him. I remember the moment so clearly; my first thought was that Kingston deserved to grow up with his mom and dad together, not how me or Chris had to grow up. So I said we would get through it. And we did! We got plugged into Southland right away through Pastor Thom and his wife Tara. We both gave our lives to Jesus and worked through forgiveness and healing. It was an emotional year that brought me to a place of severe anxiety. Parenting became difficult because I was tired all the time and dealing with panic attacks. Having an older mom to go to in this time was so life saving for me. Tara became a rock in my life. She was always able to encourage me and turn me to Jesus. Looking back now I can see that she was helping me build a solid foundation in my life for me to stand on. I learned how to read my Bible and actually get into the Word during that year. I also joined Selah which helped build my confidence as a mom, and I was able to start having friendships with other Christian moms. After getting married, we joined Thom and Tara’s cell. This was so great because I had a safe place to share and ask questions as I was learning to have a relationship with Jesus. In these settings, I always received lots of compliments on how good a mother I was to Kingston but I was never able to accept them because right away my mind would go to the thought of aborting my first baby. I didn’t want to share about my past so I kept that to myself and just tried to shove it down and not think about it.
When our second son, River, was born in 2013, I had all the same emotions I did when Kingston was born and fell in love all over again with this beautiful boy. River was (unofficially) colic and cried non-stop for the first couple months. We stopped going to cell and I stopped doing my devotions regularly. Selah was fantastic for me in this time. I was able to have a break with other moms and be encouraged that I wasn’t the only one that has had a baby that screamed all the time.
Even though I felt like I handled marriage, parenting and ministry really well, I often felt guilty because my devos weren’t consistent and I wasn’t hearing from God like I wanted to, plus I still had the guilt of the abortion that crept up every now and then. I don’t remember exactly how I got the courage, but I finally signed up for a personal ministry appointment and was able to actually confess, repent and accept God’s forgiveness for the abortion. He gave me a wonderful picture of our child with him. I remember really feeling God’s love for me after that. Since then, I have had no problems hearing from God! It was amazing.
Fast forward to today; I now have 3 beautiful boys, Oliver was born in 2015, I am filled with so much love for them and God constantly shows me how this is how He loves me. It is very important to me to lead by example and show my boys the importance of building a solid foundation in Christ. One thing that really help me stay on the rock would be devos. I used to feel like I failed in this area because either my kids would be up at night so I couldn’t get up in the morning, or my kids started waking up at 5:30 and I couldn’t focus on them while they were awake. I had the thought that I HAD to do my devos everyday otherwise God would be upset with me. This set me up for failure and I ended up giving up and not doing them all together for a while. Then I started setting goals for myself. I started with a goal of doing them twice per week, then three, etc. Now I have worked myself up to 6 times a week and I get up at 5 to do them. I am giving myself one sleep in morning a week because then, if I am up with the kids at night, I don’t feel guilty missing my devos for that day.
I still have days where I sometimes feel upset or guilty about my past so I have found it really important to meditate on the truth that God has spoken into me through out these last 6 years of being a Christian. I have struggled with feeling like I don’t deserve to have 3 kids after what I’ve done because some women can’t even get pregnant. One verse that He has given me, which I have appointed to motherhood for me, is 1 Timothy 1:12-17 It reminds me that God is forgiving of my past sins and shows me mercy with my mistakes as a mother now. It says, “12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him, 13 even though I used to blaspheme the name of Christ. In my insolence, I persecuted his people. But God had mercy on me because I did it in ignorance and unbelief. 14 Oh, how generous and gracious our Lord was! He filled me with the faith and love that come from Christ Jesus.15 This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all. 16 But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life. 17 All honor and glory to God forever and ever! He is the eternal King, the unseen one who never dies; he alone is God. Amen.”
My motherhood journey may have not started off how I would have planned it, but looking back now at the growth God has given me, the love He has shown me and how I have been able to use my testimony to encourage others, I can see that it went according to His plan and I give him all the glory!
by Elly Carr