Senior year of college is the time when many young adults are taking on internships, cramming for finals and doing those last-minute classes that ensure they end up with the major they hope can land them a decent paying job in the future. But for Amanda, her senior year was a little different. While her friends and classmates were contemplating the future with hope, Amanda was filled with despair. She was pregnant.

“I was terrified about how I had gotten my life to this point,” Amanda said. “I was dealing with a lot of shame and guilt and felt like I was a huge disappointment to God; I felt so guilty for trying to bring a child into the world the way that I did.”

Although the pregnancy test was positive, she didn’t really want to believe it. Denial was a much easier state to live in, and many other women do the same. The brief relationship with the father lasted only a couple of weeks. The idea of trying to raise a baby alone seemed daunting to say the least, especially as the daughter of a pastor, so she decided to go to the one place where she could get her pregnancy confirmed without anyone noticing. A local Planned Parenthood clinic.

“While I was at Planned Parenthood,” Amanda said. “I was just overwhelmed with fear and it was very dark and heavy. I knew that I was not supposed to be there. All I went for was the blood test, and the temptation to have an abortion was dangled right in front of me and I knew that it would be so easy to avoid the mess of bringing shame to my family and of ruining my dad’s ministry. I felt like I could easily take care of it.”

Amanda’s not alone in that thought. The media constantly portrays abortion as an easy decision for women, and many believe it. They aren’t often told that the choice can have a lifelong impact. Despite the temptation to have an abortion, Amanda knew that an abortion wasn’t an option for her.

“I knew I needed to get out of there as fast as I could.” Amanda said. “I got my blood drawn and left quickly. Sure enough, I was pregnant. Thank goodness I was already a believer—God’s voice was louder that the enemy’s. I stayed far away from that Planned Parenthood center.”

Amanda told her parents about her pregnancy and they embraced her with love and grace, but they weren’t sure where to go from there. As a pastor’s family, they were used to ministering to others, but in that moment, they were the ones who needed someone to minister to them. That’s where Hope Pregnancy Center came in.

When they first walked through the door, Amanda and her parents felt immense love. The staff members continually pray for the women before they even walk through the doors, and Amanda felt that the atmosphere was truly judgement free.

“It was so nice to have somebody that I could spill out my heart to because I was so hurting and so lost,” Amanda said. “I had no idea how to move forward and handle this unplanned pregnancy. Getting a plan together and being a single mom. The women were a huge blessing.” 

But perhaps the pivotal point occurred when Amanda and her parents got to hear the heartbeat during an ultrasound. Hearing that sound changed everything and gave the family hope.

“I heard God saying, ‘This is a life that I’ve created,’” Amanda said. “Even though it wasn’t my plan, and yes there have been some mistakes. I felt God say, ‘I created this life and I love you and this baby.’ Just hearing that heartbeat and seeing that baby move is a testimony of the Lord’s redemption and hope that we can have through Jesus in any situation.”

Their lives might look drastically different in the future, but Amanda made the decision to become a single mother to Kinsley with the help of her family.

“We have a special bond—she is my mini me,” Amanda said of her seven-year-old daughter. “She is so full of spunk and life. I cannot wait until she can get to the age where she can help me tell this story. For her to one day fully understand what God did in my heart, and how God used her in my life to be part of my testimony and for her to have her own testimony.”

Amanda’s story isn’t over yet. Before her daughter was even a year old, she met her husband Jason at her job in 2012. They became friends first before a developing a romantic relationship, and they eventually married in 2016. He has adopted Kinsley as his own and he and Amanda now have two children of their own, although their second child was a bit of a surprise. 

There is nothing done that cannot be forgiven by God. While Amanda chose life and her story is such an encouragement in this pro-abortion culture, unfortunately many others do not. That’s why Amanda’s story resonates so well; it is so familiar and yet so different. That’s why places like Hope Pregnancy Center and other pro-life pregnancy resource centers are so important. Life can be unpredictable, and sometimes all that people need are the resources to make a decision for life.

Don’t forget to join Focus on the Family May 4th for Alive from New York. You can livestream the event here.