By Heather Tabers
I have often been envious of Christians who have amazing stories of how God rescued them from a life of drugs, alcohol, abuse, or poverty. To be brought out of a life of despair and into a life of hope is a beautiful testimony of God’s saving grace. My story is nothing like that and, to be perfectly honest, for a while I felt like my story had less value. Growing up in the church and in a Christian home, I was saved at the age of 9 on a Sunday evening. Sure, I had felt convicted of my sins- but at that point in my life, the worst thing I had ever done was stealing a sticker out of my best friend’s sticker book. That didn’t feel like much to need to be rescued from. As I got older and heard countless Christians tell of their dramatic salvation and rescue stories, I was disappointed that I would never have such a powerful story to share. I could not have been more wrong.
While I grew up loving Jesus, my faith was not tested much as a child. I always knew that Jesus was there but I didn’t feel like I needed him very often. That all changed when I was 21 years old. Having been diagnosed with Mixed Connective Tissue Disease during my senior year of high school, my doctors told me when I got married at the tender age of 20 that if I wanted to have a baby I should start trying early as they were not certain that my body would be able to bare children. After our first year of marriage we decided to try and within three months I was pregnant. When I called my rheumatologist to tell her the good news, she had devastating news to share with me. The results of my routine pulmonary labs had come back showing that I had pulmonary hypertension and that I was most likely going to die.
The worst news I have ever received became the defining moment in my faith. My rheumatologist immediately sent me to one of the best perinatologists in the country who immediately urged me to abort my unborn child. She showed me case studies and read me the statistics- I only had a 50% chance of surviving the pregnancy, if I aborted the baby. If I refused, they did not expect me or the baby to survive. Against my doctor’s wishes, I chose to keep my baby. My doctor continued to pressure me with horror stories of how I would die hooked up to a ventilator in the hospital, suffocating to death, leaving my husband a widower to possibly have to raise our potentially premature, sickly baby alone. My faith was tested but it did not waiver. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that the same God who rescued alcoholics, prostitutes, and drug abusers from a life of pain and shame was big enough to rescue me. I trusted His sovereignty and His will for my life and I placed both my life and my baby’s into His capable, loving hands.