His Life: December 2007-January 2008
Living Legacy: Honoring a child of The King
The story: (editor’s note, story submitted by Kei’s mother)
August, 2007: my child would be six years old this year…if he had been born.How can I tell the story of a child that I lost because of my own decision? I can because I know he rests in the arms of my Savior, and I know I will meet him again someday. I want to tell you because, though the process of healing doesn’t stop, it also didn’t begin until I shared my story with other women in my life. I hope my story will encourage you to share your own with others because God created us to share, to cry, to love, to grow, and to hope with one another. This is my story and, ultimately, the story of God’s never-ending healing.
I was in my sophomore year in college, exploding with energy and joining any opportunity that came my way. I attended a Christian liberal arts school to pursue a degree in journalism and art. I played soccer, traveled abroad, led in my church: I was good at living the busy life, but busy was all I was. I didn’t slow down to process the flurry of my life; instead, I hopped to the next best thing as soon as I saw the opportunity. That strategy worked for me until men entered the picture.
Don’t get me wrong: most of the guys I had dated were marriage-quality. But I used them to fill the hole in my heart only God could. By my senior year in high school, I lost my virginity, and I went to college with the determination to forget about that side of me – staying busy worked for a time.
I met “Dave” at the end of my sophomore year. He was the perfect picture of tall, dark, and handsome. We fell for each other quickly, even talking about getting married just a few months after we met. As perfect as Dave seemed to be for me, I started to make him the focus of my life. I skipped class to be with him, started to party with his friends, and slept at his house to see him more. My life became a façade: drinking almost every weekend while maintaining the image of the perfect college athlete student during the week.
By November, I was all but living with Dave. I was hiding and unhappy, but continually thinking Dave was fulfilling me. That month, I found out I was pregnant. Fear instantly overcame me. I had two years of school left, and I knew my parents would disown me for having sex before marriage. I fast realized that my life from that point on would be focused around my child and not my dreams for college and a career. Still, the more it sank in, the more I believed I could be a mom, the more I knew I wanted this child! The moment I told Dave, though, I knew he had different thoughts than me: he did not want to keep the baby.
A week later, I made the hardest decision of my life. It was my choice; yet, it was influenced by wanting Dave to keep loving me, and I felt sure that if I kept our child, Dave would leave me. So in January of 2007, I had an abortion. Afterwards, the everyday seemed to go back to normal. Deeper down, however, I was struggling. Dave never wanted to talk about what happened, so I slowly slipped into myself, into depression and guilt. I finished my junior year in a haze with little memory of anything.
Dave and I broke up that summer. It was the most devastating end to a relationship I’ve ever had. He would’ve been the father of my child, and now that he was gone, it was like two people left me at once.
I buried everything that had happened to me. That summer, I attended Lost Valley Ranch. For me, this would become a place of healing and discovery, a place where I felt God tugging at my heart to lean towards him and where healing would come in the form of learning to share my story. Once I realized I could be heard without judgment or condemnation, I felt a huge burden lift from me. I finally felt free from my bondage of guilt. The second step to my healing was sharing by giving what I’d received: God’s love teaches you that He accepts and loves you no matter what you have done – you only have to ask for forgiveness. I let go of being bitter towards Dave and finally accepted the truth that it was my decision alone. And, by sharing my story over and again, I was able to help women with their own pasts, too. I started to feel that God was showing me why I went through that difficult time. Yes, I had the past I did, but now he was telling me to use it for good to support other women who felt the same.
He Knows Your Name Role
When Linda Znachko came to speak at the ranch, she shared about her ministry and how many women had found deeper healing by naming their child. I realized that I had not done that; I’d never given my baby that honor. I decided it was time. I never knew my baby’s gender, but I felt pulled towards boy names. Having grown up in Hawaii, I wanted his name to reflect my childhood there. I prayed about a lot of names, but one shone through: Kei. In Hawaiian, Kei means “dignified” or “one’s pride and glory”.
When I think about the decision I made almost seven years ago and the journey I have been on since, I know that naming Kei was what brought the most dignity to my aborted child. The decision I made back then was not for His glory, that’s true. But the journey I am taking, the story I am telling, and the reason behind it is. Kei didn’t do anything wrong: he is still my child and, most importantly, a child of the King. And, while my journey in healing is not over, I am thankful for the painful memories because they remind me of where I am now and of how much God HAS healed me. Today, I carry a silver coin necklace Linda gave me with Kei’s name imprinted on it. It is a constant reminder that He is with me, as is Kei…always.
Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…”