Elizabeth TylerDawn Rosenquist
I have been given four great gifts in my life, the first being salvation through the blood of Yeshua the Messiah, the second being the rediscovery of Yehovah’s gift to me, the Torah which shows me how to love Him and others, the third is my wonderful husband of over 21 years, and last, but certainly not least, my children.
Sounds picture perfect, and it is perfect — not because things go flawlessly, but because we are living a miracle. A lot of people hear my story and see the negatives — multiple miscarriages, a disabled child…. and a rapist for a birthfather, but they don’t know what it is like to walk in the kind of life most people only read about. I live in the midst of miracles that others would not want because they don’t want the hard times that go with it — they see the hard and therefore miss the miracles. But life is supposed to have hard times, and we as believers are supposed to walk in the miraculous. Find for me one person in the Bible who walked in the midst of signs and wonders who did not also experience tribulation — don’t bother looking, you won’t find one.
I am going to tell you a story about our story, and about Yehovah’s redemptive plan for a teenager, a barren couple, two very “inconvenient” little boys, and I hope someday, a rapist.
I was a new believer when I got pregnant for the first time in April of 1999, and I am grateful I was a believer because if I were not already firmly in the grasp of the One I then called Jesus, my Savior, I may have forever rejected Him out of grief and anger because of what happened over the next nine months. Three pregnancies, three miscarriages. I literally felt like a dead person — a dead person who brought forth nothing but dead children. I hurt in ways I did not know a person could hurt, I grieved alone because miscarriages are not mourned by the world. We live in a world where even those who call themselves by the name of Messiah have learned to not care because they cannot stand to live in a world where the unborn are real — it just makes it hurt too much in the face of the slaughter going on day in and day out these last 40 years. Living in the midst of genocide leaves no one untouched.Those miscarriages changed me. The weeks I spent loving and dreaming about those precious babies are memories I cherish, but at the same time they always sadden me. I was not loving and dreaming about an imaginary child, I was loving the very real, very wanted babies that we so desperately wanted to welcome into the world. As Jeremiah was called from the womb (1:5), my children were all loved from the womb. As I mourned, abortion became a profanity to me. So many people, wanting children, so many babies being slaughtered. One thing I knew with all my being — there are no unwanted babies, just unwanted pregnancies.
My pain was unbearable, and one day in January 2000, after our third loss, I laid on the nursery floor and poured out my soul, like Hannah (I Sam 1:13-15). I sobbed and I did something radical, I offered up the greatest desire of my heart,
“Father, I want to be a mother more than anything else in the world, but if it is not Your will, I will accept that. But I need to know because I am dying.”
I felt a strong wind sweep through my body, from head to toe, a cool presence swept through me and removed my anguish. I knew at that moment that I would be a mother, but that my children would not be from my own womb. My husband was not quite as easily convinced, until he had a word come to him in July — that we would not be biological parents and it was time to adopt. We also conceived our fourth baby that day, and a few weeks later we were a bit confused that I was due in April. But at that point we were already registered with an online service.
Something else happened on that day in July. A troubled young woman was sexually assaulted by her ex-boyfriend, against whom she had a restraining order, and she conceived twins. It was as though that flash of life resounded in my husband’s heart and Yehovah said, “It’s time, your children are on the way.”
Fast forward to the end of August, this young woman’s attacker is in jail, she is 6 weeks pregnant, and I have just suffered our fourth loss. She is 18 and has been involved in a life of partying and rebellion, she is registered for college and she knows that a baby would mess things up for her, and she certainly doesn’t want his baby. She had an appointment with the abortion clinic coming up, but she started severely cramping and was scared that she was having an ectopic pregnancy — which she believed might kill her if she had an abortion. So she went with her aunt to have an ultrasound in order to get the “green light” to have an abortion. Her ultrasound tech did not know that, when he scanned her and turned the screen towards her and announced, “Don’t worry, it isn’t a tubal pregnancy, you are having twins.” Then he left her with that screen facing her so she could clean up.And now her life was decidedly less certain, she was struck with the two lives she saw on that screen. They were real, she knew it down to her core. She started thinking about how unfair it was — that some people couldn’t have children and here she was with two, with no husband, no way to support them.
And then Yehovah broke His silence. He told her that things would be okay if she just followed Him, that He had a plan and a family already chosen and He gave her a love for adoption. She gave her life to Messiah right there on the ultrasound table, and then her Aunt, who was waiting outside, spoke to her. You see, her Aunt had found a small cross on the floor outside the room. That was all the confirmation she needed. To say her life was turned 180 degrees would be a gross understatement, she became a new creation. A few weeks later, she and multiple family members and friends all independently chose us as the adoptive couple, out of thousands online.
Fast forward to my husband’s birthday, the morning that everything went wrong and they gave his plane seat away even though he was 20 minutes early, leaving him stuck at home instead of on his business trip. That was the day she called and gave us the gift of hope, “Hello, my name is Stephanie, and I think, no — I know that you are the family God has chosen for my babies.”
“Babies?” I could hardly believe it, talk about going from famine to feast in an instant, but that is how Yehovah works. And it wasn’t like the other calls, I knew she was the one, and she knew we were the ones. I almost forgot to add this — her due date was the same as mine, April 10 — we had conceived on the same day and with it being twins, it was as if my baby was being returned to me plus the gift of another! Three weeks later, I wrote her a letter telling her we would never abandon her, even if her rapist made trouble (which he did) and even if the babies had disabilities. And the very next day, I was to make good on that promise. Her AFP test came out abnormal, and we were told that in ten days we would find out if one or both of the babies had something called Spina Bifida, Hydrocephalus or, unthinkably, Anencephaly. Those were the longest days of my life. These were my children all but legally, my heart did not care that they were four states away in the womb of another. My children were in trouble, and I couldn’t do anything about it.
The ultrasound day came, and Stephanie sat sobbing as the doctors told her that Baby B had spina bifida and hydrocephalus, that he would never walk without braces, and that he would be incontinent for life. Then came the words that snapped her out of her tears, “Of course, you can always abort that one.”
“HIS MOTHER WOULD NEVER AGREE TO THAT!” she replied angrily.
But walking back to the car, she was not so sure, and she was scared. She called, and we cried together, and I told her I loved them and her so much, that this was no different than if they were inside me. I would not abort my own children, nor would I reject the children she was carrying, MY children she was carrying. But those at my church, some of them urged me to back out of it. I asked them angrily if they would tell me to get an abortion and they said, “That’s different.” I said, “No it isn’t, and if you think so then you really need to ask yourself what a mother is!”
Fast forward, March 22, 2001 — Stephanie gave birth to two beautiful sons and gave them to us. Andrew’s prognosis had been quite conservative, they could not see the extent of the damage, nor the clubbed feet, nor the outwardly turned hips. He had a forehead like a brick wall, but just like when he was inside Stephanie, when he would hear me speak he would stop everything and listen, even from day 1. This was my child. These were our children. My husband cared for Matthew while I remained with Andrew in NICU over the next two weeks, through two neurosurgeries.
These were two beautiful, perfect, precious children. Two lives that the world would have eliminated without a backwards glance. I was so happy to be their mother, my husband cried as he held and fed Matthew for the first time. We didn’t see rape, we saw our children. Anyone who looks at a child and sees the crimes of the Father, does not have the heart after God’s own. Anyone who looks at my children and would scornfully think “rape babies” has some severe issues. And if you think I spend a moment considering them in that light, think again. You want to know when I think of the rape? When I think of Stephanie and thank God that she didn’t choose the easy way out, that she took something horrible and made it beautiful. Let me make this clear — I am not happy that she was raped, but she was raped, that is reality — the only thing we can do is deal with reality.
My children are not the product of rape, they are beauty from ashes, proof that Yehovah can take even the vilest act and bring about good.
Pregnancy isn’t the curse of rape. Pregnancy is the ability of a woman to take violation and bring forth life. Giving birth to a child conceived in rape is a woman’s ultimate act of power.You can take a woman’s body for a while, you can hurt her, you can violate her, but you have no power to force her to victimize anyone else. Giving birth to a baby conceived in rape is a woman’s way of saying, “You don’t own my soul, you can’t make me be like you! I will not punish a child when it is you who should pay the death penalty. I have the power to bring forth good, and I choose today to do something amazing with my life. You have not defeated me! GOD WINS OUT. LOVE TRIUMPHS!”
What happened to Stephanie? Was her life destroyed? She went to college, she married the man of her dreams, and has a beautiful little girl. All because she obeyed, she drew a line in the sand and refused to cross it. And oh, how I thank God for her!
What happened to Andrew? He walks, and runs, skips and jumps without braces, his hips were miraculously healed overnight when he was 2, and early this summer, his spinal cord healed and for the first time in his life he was able to pee standing up like a normal boy. So don’t worry about him, God has him covered!
Life isn’t about how we walk when times are easy, it’s about how we walk when times are hard.