“For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your Book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.” Psalm 139:13-16
I always knew I was adopted. I remember my parents sitting me down and explaining it to me. I remember crying myself to sleep thinking, You aren’t my real mom and dad. I remember the rejection and hurt I felt.
They loved me so much and wanted to help me deal with this flood of emotions, but they didn’t know how it felt. They couldn’t. They knew where they came from. I didn’t.
Photo: Augusto Serna / Flickr
This internal struggle continued for years. Little did I know that I only knew part of the story. I was a senior in high school when I found out: my birth mother had been raped.
I have imagined the scenario over and over again in my mind—how my birthday almost didn’t happen. A young woman is picked up for a date and night on the town. Her boyfriend is charming, persuasive. The night was going well, and then things took a turn for the worse. They called it date rape.
Nine months later, here I was. Born to a woman who didn’t want me—didn’t even want to know if I was a girl or boy. Unloved, unwanted, yet saved from the unthinkable violence of abortion, which is somehow totally accepted in our society.
I remember staring out my mother’s car window thinking, You’re a product of evil; you were never meant to be. How the enemy has a way with words.
For years, I lived with those nagging feelings, those hating thoughts—feeling like I was somehow predestined for something horrible because that’s how my life began. I was pathetic, or at least that’s what I kept telling myself.
Photo: Aftab Uzzaman / Flickr
I’d have good days, weeks, months… but it always came creeping back. Thinking back on that day, I can vividly remember what my mom so casually stated and how Satan was turning truth into lies. I wasn’t telling myself that I wasn’t meant to be, the enemy was telling me You weren’t meant to be—anything to bring me down and question my life’s purpose.
Who can imagine being raped and then finding out she is pregnant with the rapist’s child?
I remember as a high schooler, justifying how an abortion would be somehow acceptable in the case of rape—I mean, how could you expect a woman to carry a child that was conceived under such horrible and evil means? Oh wait, that could’ve been me… I was questioning everything: my self-worth, even my existence.
Thoughts of suicide came and went. I never acted on it and always shrugged off the thought of doing so. It wasn’t until I sought God’s voice in my life that those thoughts began to disappear.
Little did I know God was calling me to Him. He wanted me? It couldn’t be—He doesn’t know about me, where I came from… “Yes, Ashley, I want you,” I opened my Bible to Jeremiah 1:5: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”
He knows me, He created me, He loves me. You see, I wasn’t a mistake. God knew what was going to happen the day I was conceived, and He had a plan greater than anyone could see. At a more fundamental level than even my adopted parents could imagine, my Father revealed the significance and purpose He imprinted on my life.
God takes bad situations and makes something beautiful. I am a child of God! His adoption is beautiful, secure and astonishing in its glorious design. I am here to share God’s good news and plan for your life and mine. I am alive—not by mistake, but by His grace.
We must all remember that God has a plan for our lives. We may not see it or even understand what it is. All we can do is daily seek His face and His will. We must not get discouraged when we feel like the world has turned its back on us, it has!
But God hasn’t turned His back on us. God was, and still is, in control. Because of the circumstances surrounding my conception and birth, I have had the amazing opportunity to minister to others by speaking out against abortion and sharing the love of Christ to those who are recovering from it.
I am daily reminded that God’s plan is perfect. I am blessed to write and speak of what He has done in and through me! Praise God for His heart revealed in Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
Ashley Lawton is a writer, photographer and Christian speaker who loves to shares her pro-life testimony. She and her husband, Asbury, raise their two lovely children in Greenville, South Carolina.