I was running late for class. It was July 2007, right in the middle of my Summer session at UNT. I was taking what amounted to Poetry 101 and it was my day to be “workshopped.” I had printed enough copies of my poem for each member of the class and was expected to distribute them and have everyone critique my words. I was nervous. It was Texas Summer hot outside. I was suddenly overcome with nausea. Breakfast became a memory. I looked at my freshly washed face in the dank restroom at the University’s ancient Auditorium Building, blew out a long breath, and climbed the stairs to the third floor. Why was I so sick?
After the grueling 90-minute poetry workshop where my writing was called mediocre, at best, I made my way to the on-campus medical clinic.
I gave blood, endured the necessary pee-in-this-cup moment, laid down on the paper-covered table, and waited.
I must have fallen asleep because the Nurse Practitioner shook my shoulder.
I figured out what’s wrong.
I almost fell off the table.
My mind raced to an awful night four months before. I looked at her calendar and pointed to the date.
Yes – I remember. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. It was just one lonely moment during March Madness. Just one.
I pulled into my driveway 15 minutes later and spied my Mom on the porch swing reading to my 6-year-old. Her auburn pigtails wobbled as she flew into my arms. My 11-year-old was inside getting ready for the water park trip I’d promised them that afternoon.
My heart felt sick. How do I explain this to my girls? How in the world was I going to make ends meet with another kiddo on the way?
I sent the kids to their bedroom to finish getting ready for the waterpark and began to weep, uncontrollably. My parents noticed.
I’d been living with them as a single mom while I went to college.
All I could think was – my folks are gonna kill me. They are pastors at a local church. How do you tell your Dad, who is also your pastor, that you’re unmarried and pregnant?
What happened next changed my whole life.
Now this is what the Lord says—
the One who created you, Jacob,
and the One who formed you, Israel—
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name; you are Mine.
The truth escaped my mouth with finality. I repeated it to myself. Wow.
Mom started to ask several questions all at once, but Dad quieted the room.
He looked at me, right into my heart, and he slowly and deliberately spoke these words:
You are my daughter, and I love you.
I have no idea what happened next. We hugged. We prayed. We took the girls to the waterpark. That December, on an icy day, I delivered a beautiful, wonderful baby boy – and brought him home in a Christmas stocking. He’s 10 now – and I have no clue what I ever did without him. He is truly a joy.
But I want you to catch something here. Back up a paragraph.
Ladies, gentlemen, single parents, every soul on the planet – hear what the Lord says to you: “You are my daughter (my son), and I love you.”
Can you take that in for a moment? Just let your heart grasp that.
“You are my daughter (my son), and I love you.”
Here’s what changed my whole life:
- God spoke to my identity. “You are my daughter…”
I am HIS. Flaws, shortcomings, lonely moments and all. I am His daughter.
As I mentioned in a previous blog, nothing can separate me from His love.
(See Neither Debt Nor Diagnosis)
- He spoke to HIS identity. “…and I love you.”
Love is who God IS.
Love is a gift that we don’t deserve, but He gives it anyway.
He lavishes me with His love.
When I mentor single moms, I tell them this. Nothing can separate you from the love of your Creator. Whatever you’ve done or not done, hear Him say:
You are my daughter, and I love you.
You are my son, and I love you.
…I just wanted you to know.