If I told you my story
You would hear hope that wouldn’t let go.
And if I told you my story
You would hear love that never gave up.
—“My Story” by Big Daddy Weave
Words like “redeemed,” “mercy” and “grace” before God got ahold of my life were very difficult for me to feel. I understood their definition, but I’d seen people weep over those words—I knew I was missing what those words meant when they are attached to the way God uses them in our lives. They would come to life for me when He was saving mine.
My story of going through an unplanned pregnancy is the most beautifully orchestrated crisis I have ever witnessed. On Aug. 15, 2011, my boyfriend, Devin, and I had just broken up. Hours later, I found out I was pregnant. I grew up knowing that life began in the womb, and I knew what abortion did, yet I still contemplated having one. It seemed like all I could see was the struggle. I was overwhelmed by the thoughts of repeating broken families, my child having an absent father in her life and myself failing as a parent. I found myself driving to an abortion facility to weigh my options.
I was half-heartedly greeted by the receptionist at the window and nonchalantly told that I could come back the following Tuesday for an abortion. I don’t think she even looked up from her busy desk calendar as she told me the day my baby’s life would end. Something massive switched in my heart right then. I began to remember all the things my mom had told me over the years about Alternatives Women’s Center, where she works as a nurse, and the support they provide ladies in my exact situation. She had been working there for years, and little did I know that I would find myself being one of their patients! I left Planned Parenthood and went straight to Alternatives, where I was welcomed in with a strong message of hope, given physical, emotional and spiritual care, and tangible help.
That day Jesus gave me a word from Hebrews 11:1, “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.” This is dear to my heart for many reasons, but to put it simply, it would be the first of what I now know would be a lifetime of ways Jesus continually captivates my heart. I was so used to the chaos and never standing for anything that, boy, did it feel good off-loading what seemed like the weight of the world on my shoulders and surrendering to Him!
During those next few months there was so much emphasis put on saving the life of the baby and preparing for her arrival, but what I look back and see now is that He had a plan to redeem it all in a way that far exceeded our wildest dreams. The heartbeat I saw that day at Alternatives sent me running back to my Heavenly Father’s arms, and soon after Hartleigh was born, Devin, too, would be saved. Over the next two years, Devin and I would go on to get engaged. I would move out of our apartment so that we could each work on our personal relationships with Christ and also plan a wedding. Romans 8:37 says, “… we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” I pray I will never forget how far away I once felt from Him but how close He was as soon as I uttered His name.
A prayer for each of you fearfully and wonderfully made women: May God give you a sense of what He is up to in you life. May you see glimpses of the breakthrough that is just up ahead. May you—with all your heart—believe that trusting Him over what your eyes see is totally worth it. May you shift your weight off of your logical reasoning and onto the weightiness of His powerful promises to you.
Smile with joy and walk by faith. He has you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Erin Tanner, 28, lives in Carlsbad, Calif., with her husband and two daughters. “I love being a stay-at-home mom and having my own home-based business with a nutrition and cellular cleansing company,” she says. “I still have a great relationship with Alternatives Womens Center and participate in their events and vision for our community and beyond. My family enjoys being active, so whether that’s gym dates with my husband, running HIIT workouts with TFH ladies on Friday mornings or watching Hartleigh in her CrossFit classes, you can bet I’m excited to be there! The Father’s House has been a complete blessing to our family and as the weeks go by and turn into years, we are all the more joyful that God led us here.”