My senior year of high school, I found out that my boyfriend and I were expecting a baby. As you can imagine, I was terrified. The selfish individual in me immediately thought about how this was going to affect ME. I had planned to go to Lee University, play basketball, go to Medical School and be this successful college athlete/student. I suddenly realized that I had a decision to make. I could either make the selfish decision to abort my unborn baby in secret, and live with the hidden guilt while going to college and playing ball, or I could do the latter and choose the SELFLESS act and have the baby. Having the baby meant sacrificing a lot of things. For starters, I would be sacrificing my body. I had heard and seen pictures of what babies do to women's bodies and I was not willing to give up my flat tummy, trim waist, and cellulite-less thighs. Secondly, I would be sacrificing my future. I would have had to forgo my athletic and academic goals that I was aiming for at Lee and instead, stay in Chattanooga and go to UTC for my undergrad. I also knew I would be sacrificing my social life. I didn't know from experience at the time, but I knew from being an outsider looking in on girls my age having babies and I knew right away that I did not want my social life to be affected. I am sure you are wondering what it was that made me decide to keep Sawyer. It was the day that I found out about my pregnancy, and I was riding in the car with my Mom and my youngest brother, Peyton. Peyton asked what was wrong and my mom told him, "Peyton, I know this may be hard to believe, but Chauncey is pregnant." As mentioned, I did not have a good relationship with any of my siblings, Peyton included. But Peyton showed me the biggest act of selfless love by the way he responded to what my mother told him. He put his hand on my shoulder and said, "It's going to be okay, Chaunc. It's going to be okay." This was followed by, "Wow, I am going to be an Uncle!" Anyone who knows Peyton can attest to how selfless and kind hearted he is. But he had every right to feel angry and upset with me that I was pregnant and instead, he showed me undeserved and unconditional love- the kind Jesus showed us when he died on the Cross. This was the moment I realized I needed to have this baby. I realized that if my brother, who I had treated so poorly could love me that much for no reason at all, and be there for me when I didn't deserve it, then I could show the same selfless love to this baby. I also immediately realized that Jesus died for me and went through all of that pain on the Cross when there is no way I deserved that either. He performed the quintessiential act of selfless love for me, and I figured if he could do that for me, then I was going to do that for my unborn baby. After all, Sawyer had absolutely no choice or say in my decision with my pregnancy. He was completely helpless and will continue to need me to be that source of selfless love again and again for the rest of his life, just as we need that same love from Christ.
Once Sawyer came into my life, the things I anticipated that would need to be sacrificed were indeed sacrificed. My body will never be the same as the one I had before I had Sawyer. I didn't go to Lee University and play sports and I am definitely not going to Medical School. My social life has also diminished, as I barely have time to take a shower, much less go have drinks with my girlfriends every Friday night. But that stuff doesn't really matter to me anymore. Sawyer has blessed me in so many more ways than anyone can possibly imagine. Through this experience, my Mother and I have gotten closer than ever. I would consider her to be one of my best friends. I have absolutely no reservations in telling her things that in the past, I may have been scared to tell her. I go to her for advice and I go to her just to talk or have a shoulder to lean on. I will tell you that once you get married and have children, there will be no friend like your Mother because she is one of the very few, if not the only one who can identify what you are going through in life. My relationship with my siblings is better, also. Ashley and I are extremely close- in fact, I have never felt closer to her than I do now. She and I tell each other everything, borrow each others' clothes, and vent to each other about things needing venting about. My relationship with Ash is the kind of relationship I had always dreamed of having with her, but I was too self absorbed in the past to realize how incredible of a person she is. I feel like Peyton and I will always have a certain bond because of how he reacted to hearing the news about my pregnancy. His kindness and love for life is something I admire and hope to fully embody one day. My relationship with Beau is the one relationship that was truly affected and some would say, "damaged," by my pregnancy. Beau was hurt, and he probably even felt betrayed when he found out I was pregnant. He had every right to be mad at me. I know he has forgiven me, and I know he loves Sawyer. I think that mine and his relationship gets better as each day goes by. Mine and his relationship is the hardest one to mend because he and I were so close as kids. But he knows how much I love him and I believe he sees the change that God has made in me through this whole experience. My relationship with God has improved, but is still a work in progress. I am thankful for the changes he has made in me, as well as the blessings that he has instilled in my life since my pregnancy.
I share this incredibly personal and emotional story with you for 2 reasons. One- is that you will realize that people are capable of change. God has the power to change people's hearts in ways not even I can fathom. Before Sawyer, I was cold-hearted and as mentioned, extremely selfish. Yet, through a not so convenient or ideal experience at the time, the Lord softened my heart and allowed me to realize that there are bigger and more important things in this world than myself. The second reason I share my story with you is to show you that selfless love can be shown in many forms. Peyton exemplified selfless love when he comforted me and loved me when I didn't deserve it. I showed selfless love to my unborn baby by choosing to have and raise him, instead of opting for an abortion. But above all- Jesus is the greatest example of what selfless love is. It is by his blood that we have any hope of a greater life in heaven after this one and it is my prayer that you realize that we are all in need of God's selfless love, as well as others'.