Am I a Bad Person If I Have an Unplanned Pregnancy?
I grew up in a Southern Baptist church. If the doors were open, it seemed we were there. My dad grew up as a preacher’s kid and my mom had a pretty religious background as well. When I was a sixth-grader I remember hearing about abstinence for the first time. I did not understand much of anything from the little seminar they had us attend in the lecture hall, but I did know that I wasn’t where some of the other girls were yet. I hadn’t started shaving my legs, wearing bras, or having a period. I once again felt like the odd one out. I had a hard time fitting in and with this news, I knew that I didn’t fit in once again. My identity issues and lack of worth reared their ugly heads quite often from fifth grade on, really to where today, at 32, I do not remember much about those days, but I know that they were hard for me. I got picked on a lot and had a hard time making friends. One thing I did not struggle with though, was finding friendship (and more) in boys.
It had all started with Josh. He was my elementary school crush. We were found hiding behind a door kissing by chaperones (ha, my parents) during my fifth-grade school dance. He saw the real me, despite what I did, and always seemed to give me unconditional grace and acceptance. He was the beginning of the boy-craze trend for the next 15 years. Once I felt the warmth of the acceptance and the rush of the flirtatious crush, I was hooked. Josh and I didn’t last, he moved to another school and I didn’t see him for years. But I began diving deeper and deeper into a web of lust and letting men (boys back then) define my worth. Since I did not easily make friends with other women, it was easy for me to cling to the attention I got from boys. I prioritized them over everything and my moods were highly dependent on how the latest flavor of the week was going. When I got to high school that is where I began to really fall in with the wrong crowd. Despite my close-knit circle of friends, who were honestly some of the best friends I ever had, I was intoxicated with the idea of boys, especially the bad boys. It wasn’t long before I found myself in the scenario where I was told, “If you love me, you will have sex with me.” I lost my virginity to a boy who did not care about me, but he told me he’d love me if I did. He broke up with me moments after he got his way and left me to crumble in shame.
The True Love Waits movement was popular during my youth. There was a speaker who came to my church to talk to the youth group once and he began an illustration that stuck with me forever. The man had a cup of water and he asked a kid to volunteer to come up. He then asked that kid to spit in the cup of water and to go sit back down. Then another came up and spat in the water and then another. He then had a kid come up and he said, “Drink the water”. Disgusted, the kid said “no” and walked off. The man then explained that when we have sex outside of marriage, we become like that cup. Let alone did it make the answer to the question “Am I a bad person if I have an unplanned pregnancy?” seem like a resounding, “yes.” You know what I heard in that illustration and every other purity talk I heard? That if you have sex outside of marriage, you are disgusting, tainted, impure, and bad. THat bore a seed of shame deep inside of me before I ever lost my virginity to that jerk.
Once the deed was done, I honestly began to believe that I was already ruined and while that boy didn’t keep me around, maybe someone will after that. So I kept flirting and putting myself in poor situations. It was no surprise that I ended up pregnant at 18. It was more surprising that it had taken three years to get there. I was incredibly rebellious and had run away plenty of times. Am I a bad person if I have an unplanned pregnancy? I was doing bad things, and hanging around bad people. The first time I ever saw my dad cry was when my parents discovered I had lost my virginity and to make it even more painful, they had me go tell my youth pastor what I had done. (Side note, absolutely think that they were doing what they thought was best for me. Bringing this up is not to place blame on anyone, but rather to acknowledge that this was a traumatic moment for me.) I had been living in shame for years.
Eventually, I believed I deserved to be treated poorly by men and put myself in even worse situations. So, to then be the Christian girl, who was pregnant out of wedlock, was the icing on the cake. I again wondered, am I a bad person if I have an unplanned pregnancy? I ended up trying to parent my child and even got married to, no surprise, another, jerk. He was abusive, so eventually, I kicked him to the curb and divorced him. But then, I was a divorced, teenage parent, who had a sinful track record. There were so many things that continued to feed into the lies that the enemy was thrilled to distract me with. I eventually realized I could not parent how my baby deserved and my parents adopted my son. A couple of years later after homelessness, toxic relationships, and numbing emotions with alcohol, I became pregnant again. I quickly chose adoption when I found out because I knew it was best at that time. This is when God started waking me up. I placed my child for adoption and then fell into denial of grief, which at no surprise, I numbed with men and sex. It’s like I forgot how I got to parts A and B of my story, but I was hurting and logic did not catch my attention at that time. Slowly, with a lot of praying from my prayer warrior mama and a lot of other people, God began to break through the noise. I started to slow down and when I finally was still enough, God showed me that I was not living. I was existing.
I tell you all of this because if you are anything like me, you can relate to the shame, brokenness, and vicious cycle of sin that I walked through. This brokenness reminds me of my favorite story in The Bible, the story of Gomer and Hosea. Friends, I am Gomer. I completely relate to the brokenness, the story of sexual bondage, and always running back to what she felt was her place. Because she believed, just like I did, that she was bad. Tainted. Worthless. If you don’t know Gomer’s story, let me set the scene. Gomer was married to Hosea because God told him: “Go and marry a promiscuous wife and have children of promiscuity, for the land is committing blatant acts of promiscuity by abandoning the Lord. “ Hosea 1:2
Gomer then gives birth to three children and God tells Hosea what to name them: Jezreel, No Compassion, and Not My People. Weird names, right? Well, God was using these names to make a point about Israel. Israel was getting lit. They were rolling in rebellion and worshiping idols. But while they were getting the attention of the Lord (not in a good way, y’all), God came in with mercy. But the illustration in Hosea and Gomer’s story doesn’t stop with just their children’s names. Gomer and Hosea quickly burn through the honeymoon phase of their marriage. Gomer sees the love that Hosea offers, but she wants more. So she goes right back to the bondage of lust and promiscuity. It would be so easy for Hosea to be done with their marriage and to throw in the towel as Gomer sabotaged it. However, when we are in the deep of sin and running fast away from Christ, He is in hot pursuit of us. He knows that regardless of what we did, what we are going to do, we are worthy of his grace and righteousness. So God tells Hosea
“’Go again; show love to a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, just as the Lord loves the Israelites though they turn to other gods and love raisin cakes.’ So I bought her for 15 shekels of silver and five bushels of barley. I said to her ‘you must live with me many days. Don’t be promiscuous or belong to any man, and I will act the same way towards you.’” Hosea 3:1-3
A couple of things here:
- Hosea paid a price for Gomer even though he could not afford it
- Gomer already belonged to Hosea, so the price was symbolic of his sacrificial love for her (and overall, God’s sacrificial love for us in Jesus dying on the cross for us)
- The fact that Hosea went after her at all, says a lot about his obedience to Christ and his understanding of Agape (unconditional love), best exhibited by God towards us
I don’t know about you, but if I was in Hosea’s position, it would be hard to go after someone who betrayed me like that and then to even pay to bring her back home would take a lot of grace. But you see, this is why I love this story so much. God always believes that you are worthy of that pursuit. Ok, I know you might be thinking, “Sure, I believe that The Bible says I am worthy of God’s love and mercy, but I struggle with believing my worth after all that I have done.” I cannot tell you how often, even today, I struggle with walking in my identity as a Child of God. I get how difficult it is to believe that we are whom He says:
“For God so LOVED the world that he gave his only son.” John 3:16
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
“In fact, even the hairs on your head are all numbered. Do not be afraid; you are more valuable than many sparrows.” Luke 12:7
Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14
“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.” Ephesians 1:4
Created in His Image
“Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of Heaven.” Genesis 1:28
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:26
Don’t let that last bit pass you by without really sitting in that truth for a minute. You are created, down to every last freckle on your body, in the image of God. And He knows how many hairs are on your head, how many times you will be weak and mess up, how many times you will not believe your worth, and how broken you may feel. He knows everything about us, flaws and all, and still says “That is my child, whom I love.” So you ask “Am I a bad person if I have an unplanned pregnancy?” My answer is no. You simply are a human in a broken world who made a decision that impacted your life greatly. However, your past does not define you and most certainly does not make you bad or less worthy of the relentless love of God.