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I Choose Life Over Convenience

[The Back Drop]

Tuesday, Sept. 8, 1998. I was a sophomore in college with a vocal scholarship, an active youth leader in my church, and a pastor’s kid with a growing music ministry. Kathy and I had been close friends for nearly four years and were dating for almost one. My future looked promising. My ministry was on track, I had the respect of my church, and, to top it all off, I had the girl of my dreams. Could life get any better?

I remember leaving one of my mid-morning classes on my way out to the car when I noticed a note on my windshield. She did it again, I smiled and thought to myself. Another love note! Reaching for it, I realized that it wasn’t just a love note. Just a simple piece of paper with a simple message that read, “Marcos, we need to talk. I’m at the church. Always, Kathy.” I thought of every horrible thing that the average boyfriend thinks about after reading a strange note like that: Is she mad at me? She’s going to break up with me! But why would she do that?

After arriving at the church, we went to a nearby park to talk. Not much was said on the way there, but a million thoughts ran through my head. I wasn’t sure what to expect. When we finally parked the car, we sat for a moment and looked at each other. With much anxiety, I asked, “What? What is it?”

She looked at me and said, “Marcos, I’m pregnant.” My world froze. I was cold. I was hot. I wanted to say something, but I couldn’t. I was in denial of the very reality around me. For a moment, I thought I was dreaming. Surely this wouldn’t happen to us, would it? In my self-centered reaction, I certainly was not about to let anyone know about this. What would they say? What about the pastor, the kids in youth group, my parents, her parents? What would all of those people think? No, they couldn’t find out. So the word came into my head: ABORTION.

Yes, that’s the way out. After all, I should be allowed to live in my seasons of sin and not have to face any consequences … right? Without much of a plan, we left the park. I was scared and confused and didn’t know what to do.

Later that week, Kathy came over so that we could talk. Somehow, I managed to convince her that an abortion was the way to go, even though it wasn’t what she wanted. But I wasn’t thinking about her or the child. I was thinking about me—just me. I looked in the phone book and called a clinic. I clearly remember the woman explaining the different procedures available as if she was selling options on a new car. I felt rotten, but I set the appointment for that next Thursday.

Moments later as I sat in selfish disbelief, Kathy, in her still, heart-broken voice, muttered, “Your problems will be over after Thursday.” She walked out the door, and I knew that she didn’t want to go through with this. When she left, I stood up and suddenly the weight of 10,000 bricks hit my shoulders. I fell to my face and wept for almost one hour, crying out to God.

Sunday morning Kathy and I were singing in the choir. I tried worshipping God, but it was no use. I could hardly sing. I looked at Kathy and noticed the same struggle in her. I suddenly realized that this was only the beginning. We hadn’t even gone through with the abortion yet and this emotional and spiritual turmoil was already eating us up! We walked off the platform and after hanging our choir robes, I asked her to follow me into one of the classrooms in the church. We sat down on two desks, and I looked at her and saw the deep wounds she was dealing with. I told her that I didn’t know what we were going to do, but no matter what, this child had to live. It was time for me to put my money where my mouth was. I said I loved her. I told her those words almost everyday.

Nevertheless, my actions were going to speak louder than my words. It was time take responsibility for our actions. We began to cry. I must have said sorry a thousand times for almost making her do this. She said she began to hate me for this. Hate? Wow. I didn’t expect that. It was the first time I saw the “mother” in her come through. I couldn’t believe what I was going to make her do. We knew the road ahead wasn’t going to be easy, but we knew that in His grace and mercy, God’s hand was over us.

[3.5 Years Later]

I held and played with my two boys today. I’m happily married to the same woman of my dreams. They make me feel like a king. I’m a businessman by day and their superhero by night. Marc-Anthony will be 3 next month; Julian will be 10 months next week. And, Nov. 20 will mark four years of marriage for Kathy and me.

By the way, I’m 22. I guess people will give me a hard time about my age until I can grow a full goatee. I just can’t seem to get my moustache connected to my chin beard. But, I’ve been told I’ve got it together more than some 45-year-old men. Go figure. Don’t misunderstand me. By no means have I arrived. I’ve got a lot to learn yet. My wife keeps me straight and brings out the best in me. She’s the one who makes me look good. Raising a family has and will be a challenge, but it’s worth every minute of it.

I’ve learned a lot in the last three years. The most important lesson? Actions speak louder than words. I’ve almost learned what it means to be a husband and a father. I’ll admit, I’m still rough around the edges (my wife can attest), but I’ve learned some things in my journey to establish a household. I’ve learned how to change a diaper (fun!). I’ve learned how much my wife loves it when I sing classical music to her. I’ve even learned how to show my love to her through little things like bringing her flowers for no reason (yes, there are men out there who do that).

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I’ve realized what I am without God … absolutely nothing. You see, the day I set that appointment to kill Marc-Anthony was the day I felt farther from God than ever. The day I fell to my face in my living room was the day I truly realized my need for Him. All was stripped away. I am as filthy rags; it is because of Him that I am who I am. Sometimes I find myself playing with Marc-Anthony then suddenly realizing how different one decision could have made things. All I know is I couldn’t kill my son. I can’t picture my life without my boys and Kathy, the love of my life. I don’t want to picture my life without them.

One of the greatest feelings in the world is to come home and see the glow on the face of a 2 year old running at you screaming, “Daddy! Daddy!” with the cutest, fast-paced crawling 23 pounds of baby right behind him leaving a trail of drool behind saying, “da…da…da.”

I chose life over convenience. I’m eternally grateful I did. The rewards have turned out to be great, despite the challenges. Maybe you are in a similar situation as I was three years ago. Maybe not, but you know someone who is. Whatever your situation, realize that God gave you the freedom of choice.

With that freedom, comes responsibility. The choices that you make create the path that you move in. They make up who you are. Your destiny is shaped by the choices you make. Remember that. Your choices can end life … and save it.

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