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My Daughter, Emma

Continued from Volume 55, Issue 3

Originally appeared in Imprint, a publication of the Sisters of Life

One day, when I was really struggling, I told the Sisters that it was my dream to get out of the factory. It was physically taxing. The Sisters encouraged me to go back to school, so I applied. I just wanted to see if I would get in; I never thought I’d actually go. It seemed impossible with a baby on the way.

Although I was accepted into the program, I continued working at the factory. When September rolled around, I could no longer stand for a 12-hour shift, and so my doctor qualified me for short-term disability. That freed up the time for me to start school. While waiting for my first disability paycheck, I received a scholarship grant just when I needed it. The timing was amazing. I completed my first semester, and then gave birth during my Christmas break.

I never would have thought in a million years that things would just fall into place for me like that. I had to get the brakes done on my van, and miraculously I got the exact cost sent to me from a government grant. I was worried that I didn’t have enough baby things. But when the Sisters came to visit me, they had the whole room full of gifts for me and the baby. I was bawling when I saw it. The Catholic ladies in my town did a diaper shower. They figured out how many diapers a child would need from birth and gave them all to me. The community here has really stepped up in so many ways. There is a woman who would come over and just hold my baby so I could do my school work.

My friend, the one who reached out to me online, was inspired to send me a Bible passage from Hosea: “I will bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. And there I will give her her vineyards, and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope” (Hos 2:14-15). That same day, I was speaking to Sr. Mary Grace on the phone, and when I read it out loud there was dead silence, and then Sister said, “That is the Scripture I was praying with this morning.”

I always believed God existed, but I never felt His presence until things like this started happening. I was raised going to Church, but I was lukewarm and just did my own thing. So for Him to pour out grace on me ... Why? Why me? There are really good people out there who didn’t mess up! But it’s just nice to know even when you do mess up, He’s still there; He still loves you. I know now that nothing I can do will make Him love me more or less.

If you had asked me last year to write the script of how my year was going to go, I never would have imagined that it would go like this. How does a single woman with three kids at home doing online school recover from a C-section, go to school full-time, and make the Dean’s Honor Roll? I can’t even tell you how! It’s God — that’s it. He’s all-powerful, and He has provided for me. So lately, I have found myself reaching out to other women online who are in the position I was in. I feel privileged to walk beside them.

I don’t know what the future holds for me. I look at my smiling girl, and I can’t imagine life without her. I know that she was meant to be here. God had poured out so many blessings on me because I took that leap of faith. It has inspired me to keep taking leaps of faith.

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