His Way is Better

My life is not at all what I thought it would be, and nowhere close to what I “hoped” it would be when I was growing up. I don’t say that regretfully. The Lord has shown me so many times that my thoughts are not His thoughts and His ways are not my ways. Praise the Lord for that! Sometimes in life, we end up being most grateful for the things in life that at that time we hated the most.

I look back over my life and see fingerprints of God all over it. Places I lived, people I have met, His timing has been impeccable through it all. I grew up an Army brat. After being born in Germany, we moved stateside when I was three and from then on we moved every couple of years.

In my 10th grade year of High School in Washington State, I met a boy. What started out as nothing at first, quickly turned into something very serious. Soon after my 16th birthday we were officially going out and I was in love… my fairy tale imagination in full swing. One day, my dad let us know that he made a mistake at work and he was let go. We didn’t have family there and with no job prospect for dad, he and mom decided that we were moving to Arkansas where his sister and only family lived. I was devastated. I didn’t want to move, to leave the one I loved. My boyfriend and I, unknowingly to each other, made an intentional choice… I would get pregnant.

I decided to go ahead and tell my parents I was pregnant even though I didn’t have proof yet so that I could make sure I would be able to stay in Washington. I had it all figured out. I was totally 20 years ahead of Taylor Swift’s fairy tale romance songs. I would stay with friends if my boyfriend’s mom wouldn’t let me stay with him. We would get good jobs — at McDonald’s — and finish school. We would be together. We would get married. It was the perfect plan.

So, I did just that. The only problem was that my dad decided not to just take my word for it…he went and got a pregnancy test. While that pregnancy test came out negative, my parents weren’t naïve enough to think another one might not show up positive in a couple of weeks and they were not about to leave me behind in Washington.

Sure enough, one week after we arrived in Arkansas the test showed positive. My parents called my boyfriend’s parents to talk about what needed to be done. My boyfriend’s mom didn’t think the baby was his and I knew things wouldn’t end up they way I’d planned. My fairytale was now a nightmare and I had no idea what I would do.

My parents, scared for me, jobless at the time, and unaware of any other options suggested I needed to have an abortion. I quickly let them know, with my 16 year old know it all attitude, that I was the one who made a mistake and I wasn’t going to make a baby pay for it. After a few days, my older sister came in the house and said, “I have an answer! I know what you can do!” She had been reading through the classifieds in the paper while looking for a job and came across a notice about a couple that wanted to adopt. The next day I called the 1-800 number. I was nervous when I left a message explaining that I was 16 and recently found out I was pregnant but I was not sure that I was going to go this route. I got a call back the next day from a couple named Kathy and Mark from New Jersey.

Kathy was so kind and easy to talk to. At the time, I had no idea that this was the beginning of one of my most precious relationships. It was an emotional nine months, I didn’t want to give my son to someone else, but I came to the realization that I needed to for his sake. I wasn’t ready to take care of or raise a baby and I knew he deserved more than I could give him. I knew no one would love him more than me, but I also knew he needed more than just love and I wanted him to have every possible advantage. It is still the most difficult decision I have ever made. There were many nights during that time and since when I was up alone, thinking, crying, and praying… every holiday or milestone.

Even though I would talk about Jon and get updates and pictures, sometimes even phone calls from Kathy and Mark, I wasn’t dealing with my emotions about all of it. I didn’t know how to process it and found myself looking for ways to stay distracted. At my high school graduation I made it in the top 10% of my class. I had stayed busy and distracted, but then summer came and the activities slowed down.

I became depressed. My friends began to change. I began to drink. I bounced from one boyfriend to another, became involved with drugs, and eventually found myself right back where I had started… pregnant for the second time and alone, at 18 years old.

My mom figured out what was going on and asked me what I was going to do. I told her that the only option I felt like I really had was an abortion. As much as I knew that I made the right decision for my son, I knew I wouldn’t be able to choose adoption again. I also didn’t know how I could explain to Jon years down the line how I placed him for adoption but kept another baby less than two years later. I thought I had no choice… so I called a clinic in Little Rock, AR and made an appointment.

The night before, I couldn’t sleep. My mom went with me to the clinic. I filled out the paperwork, put my gown on, went in for the ultrasound (which they wouldn’t let me see) and met with the counselor for a few moments. She let me know they would be ready for me in five minutes and left the room. I never looked at her.

I have a mom who I am very thankful for, but never more thankful for her than I am for that day and the question she asked me twice. Once the counselor left, mom asked me what was wrong. I kept my head down and just shook it. She asked a second time and I looked her in the eyes and said, “I can’t do this.” My mom, who was so scared for me two years earlier and felt like abortion was the answer then, was equally scared for me now… but she said, “Get dressed and let’s go!” And we did.

That was the turning point in my life. That day and that choice forever changed my future. It was that choice that led me to other choices…to make and have different friends, go back to school, stop dating the types of guys I was dating, and deal with my emotions instead of running away from them. I knew I was not going to put my child through the lifestyle I was living.

It wasn’t an easy road but everything started changing. I met Butch, my husband, when my baby girl was three months old. We were married and moved from place to place… together building a family of six. We ended up attending a church called Bethany Baptist Church near Hope, AR where we were living at the time. After becoming fully involved at Bethany, it seemed like I constantly heard messages about church members who thought they are saved but they never could remember a time when they trusted in Christ as their Savior.

One evening we had a guest speaker, a man who had been a deacon and a leader of his church, just like his dad. As he shared his story of how he finally came to the realization that he never trusted in Christ as his personal Lord and Savior, reality hit me full force. I was the epitome of the saying “white knuckling the pew” in front of me during the invitation. Praise God that He didn’t allow me to stay there like that! I felt myself let go and walk down front to talk to our preacher and I spilled my guts. I needed Jesus!

Mind you, I already was at a point in my life where I “looked” like a Christian. I “smelled” like a Christian. Everyone thought I was a Christian… but I wasn’t and the Lord knew it. He pursued me until I finally recognized it for myself. Throughout my entire life, the Lord gave me friends and pointed me to Him. I would glance His way and smile, and then keep doing my own thing. He was patient and kind with me and provided things I didn’t even know I needed, always at the perfect time.

I never stopped thinking about Jon, praying for him, for his family… I prayed one day he would want to meet me. Then, after six years without contact from Kathy and Mark, Jon’s adoptive parents, my phone rang.

Jon wasn’t home when Kathy first called me. We talked for over an hour by the time he got home. For the first time ever, I spoke to my son on the phone. He wanted to meet me. That next month was one of the most difficult months to wait through, but it was so needed to prepare for and process through everything I was feeling.

This was going to change our family forever. I was as scared as I was excited. My family was so supportive and the kids were super excited. We were able to get to know Jon some through emails, phone calls, and text messages before they came. When they came, he stayed at our house! That first night he and I got to stay up late and I asked him question after question. I got to know his favorite color, favorite memory, most difficult time, what he liked/didn’t like. When they were going home, they asked for us to come back with them. I was able to go to New Jersey to the very house Jon grew up in, see his room, meet his friends, and become a real part of his life.

There have been many changes in life since then. God continues to have thoughts and ways bigger and better than mine. Life has been and continues to be difficult and wonderful, things unexpectedly happen and God continues to show Himself true and real. His timing has always been perfect. I am grateful that God is real and that He loves me and that he saw fit not to let my life be what I thought it should be. I am grateful for the tough times I have had and for the seasons He has carried me through. I am so thankful that His thoughts are not my thoughts and His ways are not my ways. His ways are so much better!

tells us, “But as it is written, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love him.”

I am thankful to truly know Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior!

 

Kathy “Spring” Hill