The teen, scared and confused, is told she’s a slut and that she’s brought shame on the family. Her mother and grandmother repeatedly try at-home methods to abort the baby, but the pregnancy persists.
So at 16, the girl is forced to marry a boy she’s dated that the family has accused of being the father. That’s how my “family” got started.
I grew up hearing my father say, “I don’t even know that she’s mine!” And my mother would say, “You know, if abortion had been legal, you wouldn’t be here.”
Layer upon layer of unwantedness built up in my heart. I felt guilty for even having been born, for having ruined so many lives. I was rejected by my mother, hated and beaten by the only father I knew. I was broken. But I never knew why my father rejected me until as an adult, when the questions surrounding my paternity, long the subject of family gossip, was dangled in my face by a “concerned” cousin.
So at 38, a paternity test concluded that the gossip was true, and I found out the shocking truth of how I was brought into this world. What a crushing blow.
But now the beatings, the verbal abuse, the feeling of not fitting in, it somehow made sense. And I sunk even lower. I suffered from a deep ache, from feeling utterly unloveable because after all, how could anyone love someone as broken, dirty, horrible, bad, ugly, fat and disgusting as me? I felt unworthy of love.
But one day, God spoke to me and His words changed my heart forever.
He said, “They didn’t want you here, but I did! I knew you and the plans I had for you before you were born. I love you!”
I wondered how this could be. Surely God knew I wasn’t loveable. Surely He knew I was worthless.
But God spoke again. “Let me be your Daddy. Let me be the One you run to and call out to. Let me hold you when you cry, for I need to catch your tears! Let me show you what real love is. Let me be your rock and your fortress. Let me save you from yourself. I love you and want more for you than anyone ever has. I love you!”
“But Lord,” I answered, “I am dirty!”
He said, “Let me make you clean.”
“But Lord!” I argued. “I am not worthy!”
He said, “You are in my eyes.”
“But Lord! I protested once again. “I am fat and ugly!”
He said, “You, my daughter, are beautiful to me. I have created you and formed you to be a beautiful woman filled with grace and mercy and kindness. And did you see those knockout eyes I gave you? My daughter, you are a treasure to behold!”
“But Lord,” I said. “So many have cast me away because I am so faulty and full of sin.”
He said, “My daughter, I died for your sins, remember? I would not have done that if I did not love you? You see, My love for you is deeper than anyone can perceive. I know people have cast you away. They cast Me away and when you love Me, sadly, it will happen to you, too. But remember this my daughter: I wanted you before you were born. I loved you before you were born. I knew everything about you and what I want for you and what I have for you. Let me love you! Let me be your All! I am not One who lies or fails. I will not falter and I will never leave you. You are mine. You are my treasure, my gem, my love.”
I listened. I heard. I took this all into my heart. I received it, and now… I am transformed.
I am beautiful. I am loved by a love that knows no limits. I am accepted.
That is who I am.