When Maggie was growing up, God permeated her entire life; that was all she knew. She was surrounded in her family and Christian school by people who loved God. When she was a junior in high school, she began attending public school, where she had her first taste of a very different life. She soon found herself drinking, partying, and hanging out with boys, doing everything she could to be like her new friends.

Over the following two years, Maggie completely lost sight of any sort of relationship with God. She hit the lowest point she had ever experienced, feeling like God was no longer with her and only darkness remained.

“I understood what people meant when they said they felt empty. That's the only way I can describe it. Utter hopelessness and emptiness. You want to go back to God but you feel like you've been away for so long and done so many horrible things that there’s no way He wants you back.”

A few months after her high school graduation, at the age of eighteen, Maggie found out she was pregnant. She made the incredibly difficult decision to give her baby up for adoption. At the urging of her mother, she moved from Moscow, Idaho - where she had lived since she was eleven years old - to Denver to live in a maternity home. Her mother thought that by keeping her away from the baby’s father, Maggie would be more likely to go through with the adoption, but with very little support in Denver, she just found herself lonely and afraid.

Maggie chose a family to take her baby, who agreed to an open adoption. However, as time progressed toward the delivery, the family became increasingly strict in their demands, severely limiting Maggie’s ability to see her baby after the child was born. She delivered her baby girl, and after spending the one day she was allowed with her daughter and realizing her discomfort with the adoption agreement, Maggie no longer felt she could give her up. At the same time, the idea of being a single mother at the age of nineteen was something that terrified her.

She prayed and prayed and prayed to God for the first time in years, asking Him what to do and begging for forgiveness. She felt an overwhelming sense that with God’s help, she could realign her life and be a good mother.

Maggie decided to keep her baby and named her Daisy. Making this decision was truly the hardest thing she had ever done, as she was alone and had no support from her family. She was simply trusting God in the unknown for both her own life and for Daisy's. She told God that if He helped her take care of Daisy, she would give her child back to Him. All she wanted was for her daughter to know God like she had come to know Him through her trials. 

In the past four years, Maggie has learned what it means to be both a mother and a child of God again. As she came back to knowing the God of her childhood, she discovered that He is not a  “judgemental, angry being in the sky who punishes those who do wrong,” but a God who loves her more than she has the ability to understand. She has learned that no amount of sin is too great to keep her from Him. Although she grew up hearing what Jesus had done for her, she never understood the implications His sacrifice had for her own life. Head knowledge turned to heart knowledge as she struggled to forgive herself for all of her sin, finally realizing that He forgave her the second she repented. Jesus was the only way to uproot shame and lies and finally find healing.

Since then, God has answered Maggie’s prayers in a way she never thought possible. After she decided to keep Daisy, what she saw ahead of her was a future as a struggling single mom, unable to provide for her daughter. Instead, He provided her a job when she moved back to Moscow, without her even looking. This job was at a daycare, where she gets to see Daisy while she is at work. On top of that, she and her daughter are both surrounded by Christian women who love them. God has also opened Maggie's heart to community, where she and Daisy have been fully embraced by the people they've met, who represent a very different God than the one she encountered through past damaging experiences with church.

With all that she has been undeservedly given, Maggie sees no other option than to give back to women whose present mirrors her own past. When she has asked God to put her in situations where she can help other moms, opportunities have arisen almost immediately. This spring she has felt overwhelmingly blessed to be able to help a young mom find housing and to support a scared pregnant girl that reminds Maggie of herself. Every time she volunteers at the maternity home she is involved in, she is overjoyed to be at a point where she can help other young moms and use her story to share the grace and love that Jesus offers us so freely.

Maggie is still overwhelmed by the vast love and forgiveness that is found through Jesus, and it shows every time she talks about what has been done for her. She is slowly realizing that God wants to be near us, wants to redeem us, and wants to answer the prayers we don’t dare pray because they are so undeserved.

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