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How God Redeemed My Teen Pregnancy (Part 2 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
December 16, 2020 5:00 am

How God Redeemed My Teen Pregnancy (Part 2 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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December 16, 2020 5:00 am

Lindsay Pepin Ophus, her mother, Scarlet, and her aunt Bethany share their inspiring story of how God brought about redemption in their family when Lindsay became pregnant as a teenager. (Part 2 of 2) (Original air date: Feb. 20, 2020)

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Betrayal was the biggest, I think, feeling at that moment.

And just, you know, this belief that that could be going on in my home and in my marriage. When Jenny discovered her husband's emotional affair, she was devastated. Thankfully, she found resources at our website to heal her marriage. I think Focus on the Family has been almost like a conduit to kind of pull together two lives that's been broken. It pulls them together through brokenness, through hurt and heartache.

I'm Jim Daly. Working together, we can rescue more hurting marriages like Jenny's and give families hope. Please join our marriage restoration team by calling 800 the letter A in the word family or donate at slash hope and your gift will be doubled. And I remember being at church and praying to God and saying, I place my baby in your strong arms, bring peace to my soul. And God said back to me, you know, I understand because I had to give up my baby, too.

And when the God of the universe can come down and meet you right where you are and say, I understand your pain. I get it because I had to give up my baby, too. And I gave up my baby for you.

How do you at that point, you just have to trust and you just know that he will work it out, that your baby is going to be safe and in the right home because he gets it. That's Lindsay Pepin Ophiss talking about the decision to give up her baby for adoption. She's back with us today, and we're also joined by her mom, Scarlett Pepin, and her aunt, Bethany Pepin, to tell the rest of this incredible story. I'm John Fuller and your host is Focus President and author, Jim Daly. Hey, John, last time we heard an incredible story, as you said, from Lindsay and from her mother, Scarlett.

And I think if you missed the program, first of all, get the download, go get the phone app, whatever you need to do. It was one of the boldest, most transparent conversations about parenting in this modern culture that I think I've had here at Focus. It's that good. And the reason is, is that Lindsay was so transparent as a teenager and ending up her senior year becoming pregnant and how she was living this double life and trying to please mom and dad, a good Christian home, winning all the stickers for her high performance, yet having this secret that she and her boyfriend were physically intimate during that period of time as well. And she ended up pregnant. It's a good gripping story of how to manage these things well. And I said throughout the program last time, if you have an experience, you might.

This is the kind of instruction that you're going to need. And they're in a much better place now. We heard that in their relationship last time. But today we're going to continue the discussion because last time we didn't get to the decision. What are we going to do now with this baby? And this is the most critical point. And as a pro-life organization, we wanted to make sure we covered this most important aspect of the story. And that is, frankly, life is the better choice. And we referred last time to the book that Lindsay has written along with Scarlett and Bethany called Joy Will Come, Exchange Shame for Redemption.

And we have that and a lot of helpful resources as well, including our counseling team. If you need to talk to somebody about life situation, all of that detail in the episode notes. Scarlett, let's pick up last time. I've had a little while to think about what we discussed. And I'm thinking back to the day. You said it was that Saturday morning. And Lindsay, you knew from the previous Wednesday that you were pregnant. You just hadn't told your parents yet that loneliness, that grief, that guilt. You couldn't sleep at night.

You were having night terrors those few nights. And the Saturday morning, you came down and told your parents and it all exploded. Dad was pounding the table saying, who was it?

Who did this? Scarlett, you were no, no, no, and left the room. I appreciate that. That's how most of us will react if we go through something like this.

I want to go back to that night, that Saturday night. So that initial blow has come. You've done your best to comfort Lindsay yet to try to figure out what we're going to do. What was that discussion like in the bedroom between you and your husband, Brad?

This is actually the first time we had been alone that day, he and I. And we're laying there in silence, just hearing the clicking of the fan above us. And you're speechless. You're just, like I said, just like you've been punched in the gut.

What do you say? How did we get here? And yes, we felt like it was we.

How did we get here? And I looked over and I saw my husband laying there on his pillow and a tear was trickling down his square jaw as it hit his pillow. With his lip quivering, he said, the formula, it doesn't work. And I knew exactly what he meant. But I decided to be quiet and let him go ahead and talk it through.

And he said, you feel like you do it just the right way. I mean, we did the programs. We took her to church. I did the father daughter dances.

We had a purity ring. It doesn't work. The formula doesn't work. And at that point, when you're only 24 hours into it, there's no solving it. There's no trying to patch it up real quickly. You just have raw emotions laying there. Lindsay, and I'm sure Scarlett, you had to be feeling like, okay, the question to answer is what now? And we don't have to go into all those details. But at the rock bottom place, I mean, you did go to Planned Parenthood. So abortion must have been something that you maybe thought of.

Describe that place where you were at at that point. Was that one of the options you were considering? Abortion wasn't necessarily from the get go one of the options.

When we did go to Planned Parenthood, I found out later that they did present us with that as an option. They provided us material. They gave us the information and asked us for a decision right then when I stated before I was in complete and utter shock to where I couldn't even hear her.

So to be asked to make a decision right from the get go, it was we just need to leave, you know, we need to leave. And I not to say that it never crossed my mind because there was a really dark day where I did think about I could have fixed this. I could have made this all go away. I could have removed all of this. I could have not told my parents. I knew from the beginning.

And it's crazy how you feel this way. I immediately loved that baby on the third day that I knew I was pregnant. And I remember reading that the baby was the size of a sprinkle. And so I went to Walmart and I found the biggest sprinkle I could find because I wanted the baby to be big. And I remember thinking, Oh, my goodness, my baby's a sprinkle.

So you were connected? Yes, I just I mean, it's something that you can never explain as a mother's love. And it was from the moment I knew that I had to go see well, what does my baby look like I have to go see a sprinkle.

And it was I definitely had those thoughts and definitely thought about the negative side of things. But I just know for myself that I loved that baby so much. I knew I wanted to be the best mother I could be for that baby already. And I knew that baby was alive. And I knew that life had already started.

And I knew that there was a baby in me. You know, this is one of the observations that has hit me in especially in the last year, you know, with all the activity at the government level state level to either increase or decrease abortion. Of course, again, we're pro life organization. So we applaud all those efforts to really reduce or eliminate abortion altogether.

We support that. The thing that that I've observed, though, think of Planned Parenthood and other abortion organizations that have been able to convince a woman. Yeah, to rob her of that natural instinct. Yeah, of a mother what you just described. I believe every woman actually has definitely that instinct for protection and for nurture. And it's a powerful thing to think they have been able to separate women from that God given natural instinct. Yeah. Does that make sense?

Definitely. And especially when that conversation starts, when you're in complete and utter shock, and you have no idea, you know, even where to find the door to get out of the room, because you're in so much shock that those conversations are already starting. And thankfully, I had a solid base in the way that I grew up, you know, that, you know, I knew that regardless of the situation that we could, my parents would be upset, but we would figure it out. And I knew, regardless that, you know, I had already been trained that life started in the womb. So I already knew that there was availability.

And I knew there was already options. And I think sometimes women don't think that there's any other option. They don't know. They feel trapped.

They don't know they don't have family. Well, that's the other aspect of this part of your story in today's program, that obviously, there's multiple options for a woman in this environment where Roe v. Wade, it's legal to have an abortion. Adoption is definitely an option. And keeping the child is an option. And one thing that I'm told by Robin Chambers, who heads up our option ultrasound project, which is where we place machines in pregnancy resource clinics, and we work with these clinics, and they're in most communities. And we love these grassroots efforts to try to reach a teen girl like you, to inform her, to show her an ultrasound of her baby so that she can make a better decision, which obviously we're hoping it's for life. But there is a stigma in our culture about adoption. You know, women would unfortunately choose to simply get the abortion, not have to deal with this, rather than have a baby, have their baby adopted by others. And we need to turn that around as a culture, because that's a far better solution than terminating the life of that child.

All right, that's all the commercial I want to say there. But the point of this is, what decision are you making? How did that decision come about? When did you know we're going to put this baby up for adoption? There were months and months and months of not knowing.

Okay, so your baby's growing inside you, Lindsay, you're not sure, other than you will have the baby, but you're not sure what the next step is for months. And there was months of counseling. I mean, I went to a counselor a weekend. And that's one nice thing about having perfect parents is they can find you a perfect counselor.

And let's say free counseling, too, because I want listeners to know that there's counseling out there for free, Christian counseling. I'm telling you, we heard from a couple who sat in to listen. And four years ago, their family went through something similar. And they told me that they called Focus. And our counselors helped them. So that's exactly what happened. And that was free, too. So we're here for you. And John will give those details. But okay, so you got the counseling.

Yep. And we went through an organization called Crisis Pregnancy Outreach in Tulsa. And through there, we attended free counseling. I attended support groups, adoption support groups for women who were going to place their babies for adoption, as well as women who were going to parent at a young age.

So they provided those resources. And it's funny, it's easy when you're not in this situation to say what you would do. And whenever I before I was in this scenario, I would always see girls at high school and be like, they should place that baby for adoption. That's the best thing for that baby. They should place that baby for adoption. But when it's your baby, and you have to think through, I'm going to give this baby to somebody else. And this baby is going to call somebody else, mom, this baby is going to go home to somebody else and tell them about their first bad day.

This baby on their wedding day is going to have some other woman zipping up their dress. And you think it's so easy to say, you should place your baby for adoption. But when you're in this situation, it has to be something that God tells you to do that God walks you through that you see the right people, you get the right counseling. Because ultimately, when you compare what you're going to go through, it's going to be tough, but it's going to be so much worth it than the option of killing your baby where you'll never know you'll have the what if you'll have even the physical pain of what you go through of a boarding a baby versus the adoption process, you get to see your baby afterwards, which is very good.

And ultimately, choosing life is the goal there. Bethany, I want to turn to you now. You are Scarlet's sister in law and Lindsay's aunt, you and your husband, Jeff, you're heroes in this story.

I'm so grateful to have you. Your part of this story was amazing to me as I read it. Tell us about what happened when you were 13.

And how did that play into this situation? One of the many ways that God spoke to me even as a child was that I would have dreams or pictures or I would see things. And when I was very young, so even before 13, I would have this same dream of this little girl. And she sat on the second pew of a church. And I was standing on the stage and I would look at this little girl with this beautiful brown hair flowing over her shoulders and this big bow on top of her head. And I saw this same dream over and over and over again. And I just remember in my very first journal entry at 13 years old, I wrote down, I saw the little girl again. I said, I don't know who she is, but I know one day I'll get to help her. Okay. This is beautiful because God is weaving this story in all of your hearts.

So you choose for open adoption. Jeff, brother of bread, comes home and says, guess what? And what did he say? Well, I had gotten up very early on a Saturday morning to nurse our nine month old who never slept ever, ever slept. And he crawled on the floor next to me. He had gotten home late from being with his brothers the night before.

He crawled on the floor at 6 AM. I knew something was wrong. And he said, Lindsay's pregnant.

And I couldn't quite process that. I was like, there's not a Lindsay that could be pregnant. And then I was like, wait, wait, Lindsay, senior in high school, Lindsay, she's pregnant?

And so much happened in the next hour that I'm not even sure how to even start explaining it. I had always wanted to adopt. My whole life, I felt so, so, so strongly. And I just felt over the last five years leading up to that, God would say, plant the seeds in Jeff. And Jeff and I would talk about it. And he would not really be, that was just not something that...

He didn't respond. I get that as a guy. And so, but in that moment, those years of those seeds that had been planted, we decided in one hour to offer to adopt that baby. That's amazing. And also though, it connected to the dream.

Oh, 100%. I didn't realize it at the time. When did that happen? When did you go, wow, she's the girl? I just remember I was praying, I was driving somewhere and all of a sudden I saw the little girl again. Like it just the memory popped in my mind and I just started weeping and I was like, I have to find the journal. Where's the journal? I need the journal. So I ran home as fast as I could. And I opened up my very first journal in that scribbly little kid handwriting. 13 year old handwriting.

I love it. And it said, I don't know who she is, but I know one day I'll get to help her. And I just started weeping on the floor of my closet, which is where I had always spent my time with the Lord growing up. So I had obviously written that on the floor of my childhood home on my closet. I found there and I sat there in my closet and cried.

Wow. Because I knew in that moment that this was my little girl and that God had told me, God had prepared me from childhood to be her mom, from childhood. God is preparing all of us for the things that he has called us to do long before we ever even know that they're going to be a part of our lives.

That is a wow story. I mean, that's like the book of Acts, you know, that God is giving you this passion for this person all those years earlier. And then, Lindsay, I mean, I'm hearing, you know, Bethany with that mom's voice and I'm looking at your face because this is really unique. I mean, she's talking about your daughter. I know. I know. And how do you feel in that regard?

I mean, my heart goes out to you a little bit because if you're just a little bit older and in a different position and maybe married that boyfriend, it would be different. But are you okay? Yeah.

I mean, as I tear up. Yeah, because at the end of the day, God works all things out for the good. God knew from the moment that Kenlee was conceived that Bethany was supposed to be her mom. God knew 20 years before Kenlee was conceived.

How about at the formation of the universe? Yes, that's who Kenlee's mom was supposed to be. And God, through multiple confirmations and multiple discussions, shared that with me and brought me into that. And at the end of the day, I had to be the best mother I could, and that was to not be Kenlee's mom because I knew that the correct mother was Bethany. And being the best mother I could do was releasing my child and choosing the best life for her. And I remember being at church and praying to God and saying, I place my baby in your strong arms, bring peace to my soul. And God said back to me, you know, I understand because I had to give up my baby, too. And when the God of the universe can come down and meet you right where you are and say, I understand your pain, I get it because I had to give up my baby, too, and I gave up my baby for you.

How do you, at that point, you just have to trust and you just know that he will work it out, that your baby is going to be safe and in the right home because he gets it? The God of the universe got my pain. The first, out of all that time, no one understood me. No one got me.

Nobody understood me, but the God of the universe did. Wow. Well, this is Focus on the Family with Jim Daly, and what a conversation we're having with our guest today. It's one of those tissue days. It is, and that's okay.

It's connecting with hearts, I know. Lindsay Pepin-Ophus and her mom Scarlett Pepin and her aunt Bethany Pepin talking about some very difficult things. It may be that, as Jim has said before, that you are struggling. You've got this kind of a situation, and you don't know where to turn. We're here for you. Focus on the Family is a phone call away, and we have caring Christian counselors. It would be a privilege for us to talk with you. 800, the letter A in the word family.

800-232-6459. Lindsay and Bethany, let me direct this to you because there is that moment where the handoff occurs. You know, you've just given birth. I'm sure there's many things running through your mind, through your heart. Bethany, you're about to embrace this child that you've dreamt about, that you've journaled about as a 13-year-old.

Describe it for me from both of your perspectives. I thought that the hospital was going to be really sad. I was preparing myself for a very sad couple of days.

Kind of what the book is based off, the verse it's based off is, Sorrow may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning. I labored all night, and it was very painful. It was very sad and very emotional. When she came and she started crying, I mean, it was the happiest day of my entire life. It was such a joyful moment. I thought, oh, I'm going to need time alone. I'm going to need to hold her and grieve. It was, no, let's have a party. Look what the Lord did.

Everyone come in. Come see her. I was so proud of her. I was so ecstatic. I was so happy.

The hospital experience was so, so joyful. I had some great moments with her where I got to just hold her and memorize her face and look at every little detail of what God had created and what He had done. Then the next day, it was time for her to go home. She got to go home before I got to go home, which felt a little weird. I will never forget the image of her in the carrier. She's facing backwards as they left the hospital room.

I saw her little cute face. That's when it was another, okay, we're going into a new season of grief. It's time to now go through new challenges of now, how do you walk through losing the most precious thing you own and you have? How do you walk through that?

How did you walk through that? With a lot of Jesus, a lot of my mom, a lot of counseling, a lot of tears, even a point where I was on antidepressants and had to get some medical help. But at the end of the day, the one thing that never changed was Jesus never left my side. My peace on my decision, I never wavered on my decision because I knew that I knew that I had heard the Lord and I knew that I knew that I was doing the best thing for my baby. And so that never wavered. So the physical and the emotions definitely happened, but my spirit was at rest. My spirit was at peace. And I mean, the God of the universe never left my side. He embraced me, wrapped me in his arms, was there as I would ball on my floor. He never left my side once and kept his promises throughout it all. And the first year was the hardest year, but I mean, it's just, there's still tough times.

As you can tell, I still cry about it. And that's completely normal. Yeah. But I mean, at the end of the day, I have the most healthy, happy, beautiful daughter.

And she has the best life I could have ever dreamt for her. Wow. That says a lot about you and Jeff, Bethany. I mean, that you've been able to do this.

What was your feeling of the handoff, so to speak? I was so torn. I didn't understand how somebody else's brokenness could lead to my miracle. I mean, to try and wrap my head around the fact that I got to take this perfect, amazing baby girl home.

And while I understand that I could never understand what Lindsey was walking through, the dichotomy of that in my mind, I still can't wrap my head around it. You guys call me a hero, which is wonderful and all that. But since the very beginning, Lindsey has always been the hero. Yeah. That's true. That was never a question.

Lindsey was always the hero. God told me before we even adopted Kinley, he said that you're not doing anybody's any favors. He said, this is my gift to you. And so we went home and this is just crazy. We went home and my daughter was supposed to have, my oldest daughter, Reese, was supposed to have a birthday party the day that Kinley was born.

So, of course, we just postponed it 24 hours. And Kinley came a little early. She came a little early, but we brought home a 24 hour old baby to a house full of 60 people, literally three hours after she got home. So the party happened.

Yes. The party happened. And as we moved out of that house where the party happened seven years later, an image is forever burned in my mind of Lindsey having just given birth, sitting on my couch. She came to this birthday party and she sat there holding Kinley, her one day old baby that she had handed off to us.

She came from the hospital and sat on this couch and held this baby. And I said, that is what a mother is. That is what a mother sacrifices. That is the true essence of a mother, whether she ever calls her mom or not. That is what a mother is.

And that's the last thing that I sat there and cried over as we moved out of that house was the image of this mom sitting on this couch holding her baby. Yeah. Yeah. You got me.

I had never heard that before. Thank you. That is so sweet. OK.

The close. Oh, my goodness. You know, you have all demonstrated an amazing heart and the amazing heart of God.

Mom and dad. Lindsey, the courage you just heard described by Bethany. Awesome. You can take that for the rest of your life. That's a good thing. And you got your whole life in front of you. And for you, Bethany and Jeff, raising that gift that God's given you.

This is also good. Let's turn it to those that are listening that, you know, again, are either just going through this or will go through it. And to those who might, you know, support abortion. Right. Because it's a tough moment. Let's do what we need to do to convince that person to rethink about where they're at.

Yeah. No, I mean, the shock and the pain is real and you're validated in your shock and your pain. And that's so real. But there's joy that will come after that. There's a child in the balance and that God works all things out for the good.

He turns with the enemy meant for harm and works it for the good and take some time. Exhale. Let the shock wear off before you make decisions. Think it all through. Go hear all your options, everything that's available.

Have that ultrasound. See your baby and just know that regardless of if you decide to parent or place your child for adoption, that God has your baby. And he'll never leave you and he will never leave your baby. Wow. That's good.

Bethany, the adoptive mom. I just tell people all the time, put your yes on the table. Sometimes God asks us to do crazy things. But look at what can come out of our obedience. And that's how we wrapped up this two part best of 2020 episode of Focus on the Family. And Jim, I think all of us here in the studio had tears in our eyes as we finished out that conversation.

Well, we did, John. And I hope the people who support our option ultrasound program are listening. It's young women like Lindsay and babies like Kinley that you are saving from the heartbreak of abortion.

Bethany mentioned a dream she had about adopting a little brown haired girl. And I want women with unplanned pregnancies to know that if they're willing to choose life, their baby girl or boy can be the fulfillment of another person's dreams. If you want to get on board with what we're doing here at Focus and help not just hurting women with unplanned pregnancies, but thousands of families who need hope after such a challenging year, please join our support team today. And when you donate today, we'll say thank you for joining the support team by sending a copy of that book, Joy Will Come, Exchange Shame for Redemption. And our number is 800, the letter A in the word family, or you can donate and get the book.

We'll have the link in the episode notes. On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family. I'm John Fuller inviting you back as we once more help you and your family thrive in Christ. Life was fragile in the Old West, a trust in God, reliance on prayer and a love of family were necessities for a perilous journey.

And that's still true today. Artist Morgan Weisling captures these timeless themes in his new special edition sign, She Clay from Focus on the Family. Morgan calls it a prayer for new life, a reminder of the sanctity of life in the harsh environments of this world. It will find a special place in your home for a limited time. You can get this special edition print at Focus on the Family dot com slash prayer for life.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-14 15:10:39 / 2024-01-14 15:22:30 / 12

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