It wasn’t supposed to happen. Not to someone like me. I was a good girl – I’d grown up in the church, I was a university student and I thought I was untouchable. But the stick I held in my shaking hand showed that my life had just changed irrevocably. There were two lines. I checked again just to make sure. Yup.. 2 lines.

Pregnant. Me? I couldn’t think straight. It was all I could do to actually walk down the stairs to my friend’s kitchen, clutching the evidence. I felt lightheaded, dizzy. I didn’t know what I was feeling — terrified, thrilled, excited and apprehensive plus a few million others were all mixed in to the jumble.

That’s how I began my journey into this mess called motherhood. I was 19, and I had just come home from my first year of university with what I thought was a touch of flu. Turns out the nausea I thought was stress related was in reality an indicator of something else.

The guy I’d been .. seeing.. if I can call it that, was several hundred kilometers away, and not exactly someone I knew or cared really about. He was fun, but not long-term-relationship material. Yet, we were now going to be linked for life.

Life, wow. Life being created in me. I remember touching my stomach and marveling that inside me was a new little being, being created in me. I remember being almost hysterical with joy and fear, feeling almost drunk on it.

I wonder if Mary felt similar upon discovering her pregnancy with Jesus. Of course an angel telling you you’re pregnant is a much more spectacular pregnancy test than a stick with lines on it.

Single parenthood is bittersweet. Sweet in that we can be selfish with our children. We can keep all the hugs and kisses for ourselves. But bitter in that there is no one to share the special moments with, the firsts, the accomplishments. Sweet is the ease of parenting in making decisions and not having someone misunderstand your discipline or competing for your attention. Bitter is the times of frustration and sleepless nights with no backup to step in and take over.

God knows all of this. After all, Jesus was born into a blended family, with a stepfather and a “real” father and a mother. God knows all about the bittersweetness of single parenthood. Who was He to share with when His Son took His first steps, or when Jesus said His first word? Who could He shout to or celebrate with as His Son started school or brought home His first project from the woodworking shop?

9 months after that moment that rocked my world, my world shifted again, when my daughter was born. Giving birth is the hardest, most painful yet most miraculous and incredible experience I’ve ever had. And looking into those baby eyes, meeting that little person for the very first time, I felt heaven and earth move, and something shifted inside me forever.

Looking into her eyes, I promised her to be the best mother I knew how, that in spite of my mistakes, she was NOT a mistake, and that I would thank God for her every day.

She solemnly blinked at me, in unquestioning trust.

God used a young girl named Mary, to carry His Son out of wedlock, for an incredible purpose. Mary had to suffer the shame and stigma of being pregnant single, just like me. But she accepted her lot, welcomed it even, knowing that bearing this child was the greatest thing she could do, because this child was a miracle.

I know motherhood has made me a better person. Having been single when it began helped me to improve faster. I know I’ve made mistakes. Choosing to disregard God’s best for me created a world of pain that impacts not just me, but those closest to me. In spite of it all, God chose me to bear this child, to have this miracle. God has used my single parenthood to draw me closer to Him. He derailed my self-indulgence and self-importance, taught me a few lessons in humility and asking for help, and then has given me my heart’s desire, even if I didn’t know what that was. God chose me for this time and this purpose.

God chose you for this time and this purpose. He chose you to be this child’s parent. And just as God was there for me along the way, and brought incredible good out of what seemed like such a horrible mistake, I know He will for you too. God bless you as you begin your parenting journey. Welcome to the club!