Last weekend I took my boys to see the Max Lucado movie, A Christmas Candle and was taken off guard by an early scene during which a young woman finds herself pregnant and alone.
The movie portrays a reverend dishing out soup to the needy and switches to the scene of a the woman, no more than a girl really, being kicked out of what appears to be a boarding house. The girl begs the woman not to do this, but the woman scornfully replies something along the lines of, “Next time you’ll learn to keep your affections to yourself,” as she throws the girl’s possessions over the banister into the street below.
It was not until the girl picks up the few items she owns that I realized she was pregnant and alone. My heart broke for the girl crying quietly in the streets, and I again thought of how lucky I am, how lucky so many women who find themselves pregnant and alone in America are today.
The Christmas Candle did a good job of showing its viewers that, without the help of the young reverend (Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause ~ Isaiah 1:17), the girl and her baby would be destitute, surviving on the streets, if they survived at all. I found myself sitting in my seat thanking God I had never really faced that possibility.
I also found myself quietly crying over the girl’s loss, the loss, which cannot be adequately portrayed on film. The devastating emotional consequences of being left pregnant and alone are almost overwhelming.
While much of society still blames the woman (many believe she “should keep her affections to herself” while “boys will be boys” or that divorce is caused, at least in part, by the woman and things she has done), few really dig in to what happens to the human soul when one spouse is suddenly abandoned, even less so when the abandoned spouse is left alone and pregnant.
There may be a few women who have a one-night stand and get pregnant when they should have been more discerning. They are a separate case also requiring prayers, but for the majority of women who find themselves pregnant and alone, things are not that way. Even those women who are not married usually cared enough about the baby’s father to lay down with him and share intimacy, hoping he would be “the one.”
Often this hope of this man being “the one” reflects the woman’s desire to be in that sacred marital relationship, to be loved, honored, and cherished. Sometimes the woman has a dark past and prematurely gives a piece of herself away hoping that by doing so, a man will value her. Sometimes the woman has been abused, physically, mentally, emotionally and either jumps to another man hoping for rescue or does not know what a healthy relationship looks like and therefore does not recognize tat she is not in one. Whatever the beginning, the ends of these relationships are always devastating beyond what most people care to imagine.
But I didn’t need to imagine.
I knew that toll.
I knew her agony.
I still do.
I always will.
It is not something one ever forgets.
And it goes beyond the material poverty.
The evil of abandonment reaches to the very soul.
The evil threatens to destroy the soul.
And it will win in too many cases.
My breath caught in my throat and I felt tears well in my eyes. Although it has been four and a half years since the man I loved so much suddenly left me pregnant and alone, this scene from the Christmas Candle took me off guard and filled me with memories, that pit in my stomach, those burning tears, the shortness of breath, an unnamable yuck at more core once again.
I don’t know that I will ever forget the pain of those days. In truth now, I do not want to forget it, but I am no longer holding on to it either. That pain has made me enjoy life so much more. I thought I was a happy person before, but I appreciate happiness so much more now. I thought I knew what it was to help others before, but I now know what it is to be helped by others and how empowering it can be to allow others to do for me. I thought I loved before, but I know now that I can love even in pain and even when there are no guarantees. I thought I had lived a Godly life before, but I was doing things the way I wanted them done too often.
I thought a lot of things… Now, I think I know almost nothing.
And that is okay. Because one thing I do know is that there is a very large all powerful all knowing God out there and every time I turn to Him, He chooses to fill me up with more of what He wants me to appreciate, to know, to love, and to live. And the funny thing is is that every time I get a little more filled up by God’s treasures, I realize I have an infinite capacity, an unending thirst to receive more from Him.
And that that capacity and that thirst, as unquenchable as it is, always has plenty to give away to others, to be their Christmas candle in the darkness, to allow others pregnant and alone to know the glowing warmth of One Man’s Love. I can let the Lord use my experience to give me the courage to be His Light.
And for that reason alone, while I will never think it was good to be abandoned pregnant and alone, I will say that I thank you Lord and look forward to the day I can live in total peace that comes from relying entirely on you.