'I realised how much it cost God to extend his arms to us'

Kate’s story | We sin. God redeems.

“2008 was my first Christmas as a mother. Sophie, my eldest, was a newborn and I was so thankful. I didn’t care how many times I got up through the night; it didn’t matter how loud she cried, cuddling her was such a privilege.

She was the best Christmas present I could have asked for, and one I didn’t deserve, because she was born out of wedlock. I’d been married years earlier to my childhood sweetheart, but he became quite destructive and then, in his adultery, he left me. Afterwards, I was devastated, and I clung to God.

A few years later, loneliness crept in. The desire to be wanted and found beautiful caught me by surprise. After a period of great spiritual failure, I found myself pregnant. What was particularly painful about this failure was that God had been so faithful to me, claiming me and restoring me after the worst kind of rejection.

Accepting that I had rejected his everlasting comfort for a fake, quick fix was a new kind of grief. God’s laws were precious to me, and so I had to walk through the ugliness of my sin, which included a public pregnancy, before I could really appreciate the beauty of God’s mercy.

On a whole new level, I realised how much it cost God to leave his arms extended to us, knowing how unfaithful a people we are. I also experienced his delight in taking me back.

Just as God had been my companion before, he now rose as the Father in my home.

My pregnancy also gave me a new appreciation of what Mary might have felt when pregnant. She must have been brave, to face everyone, to risk rumours and judgment and the possibility of being stoned to death. But Mary wasn’t guilty in her pregnancy. I was. In the back of my mind, I wondered if God would even protect the health of my baby when he certainly owed me nothing.

However, my pregnancy did not catch God unawares. Being a single mum was challenging, but just as God had been my companion before, he now rose as the Father in my home. Each Christmas tree Sophie and I put up, I treasured the blessing of grace through Jesus, and our little home was full of lots of love and laughter because of that grace. I made sure Sophie knew that God was her Father, and she would always reserve a place for Jesus at our table. Over time, she also prayed her heart out for a ‘home daddy.’

I used to wonder who would want me, because surely being a single mum would raise questions about my integrity as a Christian. But God had a plan.

As a single dad himself, Rodger was praying for a woman who had been humbled as he had been in his own life. He wanted someone who would understand how the burden of his poor choices had been released thanks to the hope we have in God’s forgiveness. Being able to rejoice in this together was very special. And had I met him before I had Sophie, I would have been too proud to consider this relationship.

Rodg was adopted, so taking on a child that wasn’t his came naturally to him, and my years of being a single mum prepared me to be an Army wife for his later times of absence. God’s fingerprints were everywhere. In 2012, Rodg and I married. We spent our first night together as a family on Christmas Eve.

Instead of rejected, I am chosen.

I know first-hand how God’s plan conquers all. And he just loves reversals. We sin. He redeems. My sin led me to have a baby … but it was because of one very special baby – the Lord Jesus, who died for me – that I can confidently say I am forgiven and loved.

Instead of rejected, I am chosen. Instead of a lost woman, I am a saved woman. At the cross my sin was hurled into the depths of the sea. Shame has no place in my life. Even now, Rodg and I remind each other of this beautiful truth.

God invites us to his Christmas family table. He loves us and he paid the price to draw us back to himself.”

Kate’s faith story is part of Eternity’s Faith Stories series, compiled by Naomi Reed. Click to read more Faith Stories.

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