The hall was empty as people began to enter quietly and gaze at the Bosendorfer piano, the only instrument on the simple stage. The richness of the walnut wood on the walls and platform gave the whole room special warmth. The lights came up in the west doorway, and a beautiful young lady in a ball gown entered and bowed. As the crisp, melodic phrases of Mozart danced off of her fingertips, my heart swelled with pride and a sense of the presence of an awesome God who created this child, choosing her as his own before the foundations of the world and giving her life in my womb.

I remember finding out that I was going to be a mother for the very first time. Just finishing my student teaching at a Christian college and being unmarried, I felt alone, helpless, embarrassed, and terribly frightened. Clay and I hoped to one day marry, but this certainly wasn’t part of the plan we had for ourselves at the time.

As the weeks went by, I began to consider all my options. I had no money, no job, no health insurance, and no church family in which to confide. My best friends didn’t even know the lifestyle I had chosen to live and I thought they would never understand. Worst of all, I dreaded telling my parents, who were also Christians, knowing it would break their hearts. I remember thinking that no one had to know; I could end the pregnancy and start my life all over again. In desperation, I called the local hospital to ask the cost of an abortion. I spent many hours crying, holding my tummy, and both loving and hating that little one inside of me.

Finally, I called a pastor who’d led a Bible study I had attended one summer and asked if I could speak with him. I poured out my story; the tears of repentance began to flow as he very gently talked to me about God’s forgiveness and the fact that this child was a gift from Him. I left his office, knowing there was a plan for both of our lives.

As the early days of December went by, the desire to mother this child, a tiny little person I had already pictured as a daughter, began to take over. Secretly, I called her “Mollie” and pictured her as having dark brown hair like her father and freckles like me. I saw myself dressing her in pink and walking her in a buggy to the park near where I lived. Clay and I began to plan a simple wedding, hoping and believing that things would all work out for the best.

Christmas came and went with me going home, not having the courage to face my mom and dad in person. I finally called them and they were wonderful, encouraging me and telling me how much they loved me. But Clay faced another sort of response. While some in his family were supportive, there were those who absolutely insisted that we abort our child. After endless hours of talking with them and wanting them to support our decision, we finally decided that we had to do the right thing, trusting that they would one day understand. And of course, all it took was one look at an adorable baby a few months later to change their hearts!

Sometimes I am in complete awe of all that the Lord has done in our lives, at the grace he has poured out to us. I remember once standing along the Pacific Ocean and imagining how much water there was. That is how I see God’s grace….infinite, beyond measure, something that cannot be contained or even held briefly in my hand. In the thirty-seven years since my daughter was born, God has so graciously given me the love and companionship of a wonderful man, my best friend and confident, my brother in Christ and my lover. He has given me the gift of being a homeschooling mom to six of the most amazing children. He has blessed me with the precious treasure of fourteen grandchildren who are also homeschooled! And he has given me the precious friendship of an incredibly gifted and beloved daughter who is the delight of my life! He has lavished me with all of this, in spite of my rebellion. But the greatest gift he has given to me has been the gift of eternal life, the promise that while I am yet a sinner, Christ loved me and gave himself for me.