Amazing Grace In Action
by Kirsten Stiltner Rose
In the fall of 1997, I started my freshman year at a Nazarene university on an academic scholarship. Intent on becoming a pediatrician, I was studying pre-med. My goals were high, but not unattainable. I was dating a youth ministries major, and our relationship was progressing nicely.

However, by late spring the relationship was also unfortunately progressing outside of God's standards. Over spring break I started to feel nauseated and began vomiting nonstop. After two weeks of sickness without any relief, I faced my fear head-on. A simple test revealed something that would change my life forever: I was pregnant.

Within days I was back in my hometown-pregnant, abandoned by my boyfriend, devastated, alone. The gravity of my situation set in quickly, and I knew that I would soon have to make a major decision.

The options were obvious, but the answer was unclear-was I going keep my child and somehow, as a teen mom without an education, job, or husband, try to raise him? Or, should I give him up for adoption and hope that someday I would be able to see beauty rise from the ashes of my broken heart?

One evening, after four months of vacillating and trying to come up with an answer on my own, I decided to try something I hadn't done before. I asked God for advice. "Please God! I need to know what the right decision is for this baby. I can't decide on my own." Reaching this place of humility was pivotal for me. Although I was well aware of who God was, before this moment I had never taken responsibility for my own sin and the hurt it caused God.

That evening, I felt God's presence for the first time. His voice was clear and the answer was distinct: I was to give up my son for adoption. Immediately, Jeremiah 29:11-13 came to mind, "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."

Over the next several months I met with an adoption caseworker through a Christian organization and was able to view various profiles and choose a family to adopt my son. After meeting Mike and Patti, I knew without a doubt that they were the right parents for my baby. As much as I wanted to be his mother, I knew that I couldn't fill the role of both a mom and a dad. We decided on an open adoption, in which I would be allowed to visit the child occasionally and exchange phone calls, photos, letters, and gifts.

Through it all, my parents were incredibly supportive. They gave me the space I needed to make my own decision, and prayed that God would guide me to make the best choice for the baby.

As my due date approached, I recognized how much I had bonded with this growing baby inside of me, and how difficult it would be to stick to my decision once I was cradling him in my arms. Although God had spoken to me clearly in His promise for redemption, the fact remained that I was about to endure the most emotionally challenging season I would ever face.

I entered the hospital to give birth and again, God's voice spoke clearly, "Kirsten, I sacrificed my Son so that you do not have to live condemned for sacrificing yours. My grace is enough."

On December 18, 1998, at 3:43 A.M., Andrew ("Drew") Paul was born. He had a head of dark brown hair, slate-colored eyes, healthy lungs, and a perfect beating heart. As I held him for the first time, instantly I knew that it would take a miracle for me to ever let him go. The few days I spent with him in the hospital were both excruciating and sweet. Those memories are forever etched in my heart.

Placing him in Patti's arms was an act of sheer obedience for me. Nothing in me wanted to part with my baby boy. In doing so, I clung to that passage in Jeremiah, and to God's promise to redeem my hurting heart.

I ran out of the hospital empty-handed, my heart aching with devastation and loss. But amazingly, I had peace the entire time. Peace in knowing I was in God's will. Peace that my heart would someday heal. Peace that my little "Drewbug" was going to be okay. And I had absolute peace and confidence that Mike and Patti would raise Drew to be a godly man.

I barely made it through those first few months of nearly unbearable grief. However, redemption was near, and I was blessed to see that unfold very tangibly. A month after Drew's birth, the women of our church, Centralia, Washington, Church of the Nazarene, gave me a "personal shower."

Over 100 women came and showered me with love and gifts. I showed them pictures of my time in the hospital with Drew and shared the photo album Patti had given me of them taking Drew home to meet their extended families. The women expressed interest in my situation; many shared their adoption stories. Together, we laughed and cried. Claiming Jeremiah 29:11-13, everyone gathered around me, prayed for healing, and committed my future to God's purposes.

That evening, healing began as God met me there in my brokenness. Realizing I had a church family that was surrounding me with love and support helped me garner the strength that I needed to press on.

God, through His presence and by working through the community of faith, gave me a treasured gift-grace. Now, years later, it continues to encourage me and press me towards the very face of God.

Kirsten Stiltner Rose is a full-time home school mom who lives in western Washington with her husband, Micah, their children, Caleb and Caitlyn, and their two young foster children.

Holiness Today, September/October 2010.
Discuss Amazing Grace In Action in our forum
Post a Message | Read Messages (0) | Report Abuse