Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always had huge aspirations. We all have a vision for our future. At 18, my vision centered around an undaunted woman, blazing trails and impacting people on such a deep level that they would surely remember the name “Christan Smith” long after she left the earth. Preferably I would be in New York, shattering the proverbial glass ceiling as an editor of a major fashion publication or on the stage as a Broadway star, or both. I was unstoppable and the world was mine for the taking.
On a cold day in January, my vision changed. I’ll never forget how quickly my head spun as I stared blankly at the two lines that would forever change my life. Those two lines were the box that would store that undaunted trailblazer of a woman in the attic to become stale and dusty, smothering her forever. I couldn’t let that happen.
I never thought that I would find myself calculating the cost of an abortion. I was the girl who attended pro-life rallies, who spoke out against abortion as an option, who went to youth group every Wednesday and church camp every summer. But I had plans. Those plans didn’t include becoming the black-sheep of my church and a disappointment to my family. Not to mention how the father would feel, who at the time, was in Africa on a mission trip and was an influential member of his own church. He didn’t have time for this, either. I was terrified of what would happen if I stayed pregnant, so I decided that it would be a lot more comfortable for everyone involved if I became un-pregnant, and I set out to “fix” my mistake.
I knew how easily I could be talked out of this decision, so I opted not to tell a soul. I would quietly go to the clinic, take care of the problem, and be on my way without anyone ever knowing. God knew, though. He knew that I didn’t have enough money for an abortion and that I would look for a clinic that offered payment plans. He knew that I would seek out a place that offered counseling, because I thought that I would need it. He knew that I would happen upon a place that seemed like the perfect choice and that I would make an appointment to eradicate the life within me.
I walked into the clinic, scared and unsure, but determined. I didn’t want endure the pain that this choice would cause me. I didn’t want to be there. I had made a mistake, though. This was my punishment. I deserved the pain that aborting this baby would cause me, and God would forgive me in the long-run. The counselor’s eyes were kind and warm as she asked me questions and processed my pregnancy test. I thought she would be a great comfort in a time when I so desperately needed it. Then she asked me this question: “Are you religious?” My heart sank.
“Have you always been pro-choice?”
My heart dropped to my knees.
“No… but I guess I get it now,” I said.
“Do you want to have an abortion? If you had help and resources and someone to talk to, would you consider a different choice? Because I can offer those things to you. Having this abortion could be something you will regret for the rest of your life.”
That’s when I realized my mistake and became furious. This was not an abortion clinic, this was a crisis pregnancy center. I hid my decision because I knew how easily I could be dissuaded. I knew that I would be sad, I didn’t need this lady pointing it out. I knew that there were other options, I just didn’t want to have to pick one. And here this woman comes along, ruining my plans, yet again. Making me recall the person I had always been before I had to deal with this first-hand. I welled up with angry tears and sobbed.
I knew in that moment that I couldn’t do it. I knew that I would have to face this thing, tell the father, tell my church, tell my parents. What would they think of me? How would I ever recover from this? Where would I go? I had no money, I had no help, I had no hope. I stormed out of the place like my feet were on fire, back to square one; alone, scared, and hopeless.
Then one day, I was sitting on my front porch and I was crying, wondering how on earth I would be able to take care of a baby at 18. My parents had a bird-feeder that a mother bird had turned into a home for her nestlings that had just hatched. I was watching this bird fly out of the nest, seek out worms, and come back to feed her babies over and over. This is the moment God spoke to me with a gentle voice as clear as day. He said, “My child, if I take care of the birds of the air, how much more will I take care of you, my own daughter?”
I had read that verse countless times, but it never made sense until it was in this context. I realized that I had never been alone. None of this was a coincidence. Mistaking the crisis pregnancy center for an abortion clinic, the man who fathered this child, who didn’t breathe an unsupportive word when I told him I was having his baby and that his plans were ruined. It wasn’t an accident. This was the perfect vision for my life, one that I was unable to see.
In hindsight, I now see that God was with me through it all, sewing a thread of events that would ultimately protect me from myself. He kept covering me with love and grace, even when I tried to hide from Him; when I didn’t think that I deserved to accept it. He knew that I had a choice to make and He perfectly orchestrated every tiny detail to ensure that I would make the right decision.
My vision for my life was thrown away in order for me to step into the plan God has for me. One so much greater than anything I could possibly construct for myself. He gave me a son, and along with that son, a father for him who became my amazing husband. And now, 5 years later, a little baby girl who is the second joy of my life. I almost destroyed the family that God wanted to bless me with. I couldn’t be more grateful for the woman who reminded me that I didn’t have to go through with my plans.
God’s plan for your life is like a connect-the-dots puzzle. You can’t see the big picture until you’ve connected all the dots. You have to walk through it, step-by-step. If you decide to take the easy way, you will finish, but it won’t be the beautiful picture that was intended for you. Sometimes the anticipation is exciting and wonderful, and other times it’s terrifying because you can’t see where you’re going to end up. If you let God lead, you will look back and see how every step you took, be it with trepidation and protest, painted the work of art and majesty that is your life.
Keep calm and walk through the scary stuff. God is leading you to a glorious work of art, even if you can’t see it yet.