Dec 03, 2021 1735 Rosanne Pappas, USA

When She Said Yes to Life

I’d never met him before… and yet he said I saved his life…

It was the eve of the 4th of July. Bella, my fifteen-year old daughter and several of her friends were upstairs playing video games. They barreled down the stairs and came into the kitchen where my husband and I were chatting.

“Mom, we are all hungry. Can you make some grilled cheese sandwiches for us?” Bella asked.

“Sure,” I said.

“Randy wants to ask you a question,” Bella said.

Randy walked toward the stove.

“You’ve been here once before, haven’t you?” I said to him as I grabbed a pan and turned on the stove.

“Yes, a month or so ago,” he replied with a huge warm smile.

“That’s right. Where are you from?” I asked.

“Well my family is from Morocco,” he said.

The Trigger

Randy had a sweet, kind presence. I wasn’t sure if he went to high school with Bella or if they had met through social media, football games or a party.

“Wow, how exotic,” I said with a big grin. “So do you go to Bella’s school?”

“No,” he said. “We met this summer on the beach.”

“Oh, okay, what’s your question Randy?”

“Did you talk my mom out of an abortion when she was pregnant with me?”

I was taken completely off-guard. Who is he? Where does he live, I wondered as I stared at him, wracking my brain to recall if I’d had an interaction with his mother long ago.

I was certain it couldn’t have been me until I looked at Bella and Randy standing side by side. Suddenly, I recalled an interaction with a young woman when I was pregnant with Bella.

“What is your mother’s name?” I asked.

“Maryam,” he said.

Chills ran down my spine. How on earth did her son end up in my kitchen …and friends with Bella? I looked him in the face.

“Yes, I did.” I said.

Randy rushed over to me and wrapped his arms around me. He squeezed me tightly.

“You saved my life. You saved my life. Thank you. Thank you,” he kept saying.

We stood in the kitchen locked in a hug for several minutes.

Catch Up

I turned to my husband, “Can you believe this?”

“No, I can’t,” he said, staring in disbelief.

Randy called his mom and filled her in on our conversation. He then handed me the phone.

“I asked God to help me find you again and He did! Can you believe Randy and Bella are friends,” Maryam said as her voice cracked with emotion.

“I can’t believe any of this Maryam. Truly, I’m overwhelmed,” I said.

Before we hung up the phone, we made plans to get together to ‘catch up’ on the last fifteen years of our lives.

My husband kept shaking his head.

“I remember when you came home that night. I told you were crazy because there was no way you would talk her out of an abortion,” he said.

I thought back to that night almost sixteen years ago. It was a Saturday, and I was at dinner with my sisters and some friends. I sat at the head of the table because we were celebrating my fourth pregnancy. Our waitress was a beautiful, elegant dark haired young woman who was also pregnant.

A Treasure Within

After dinner, the waitress handed me my leftovers and then squatted down beside me and whispered, “I wish I could celebrate my pregnancy too, but I can’t. I have an abortion scheduled this coming Wednesday morning.”

I was shocked and saddened.

“Why are you having an abortion?” I asked.

“I am not married, and in my home country my parents will be exiled from their town and lose their business if anyone finds out their daughter is unmarried with a baby.”

“That’s terrible, but how will they know?”

“They will know. You don’t understand,” she said.

“You’re right, I can’t possibly understand, but what I do know is that God wants you to have this baby, or He wouldn’t have given it to you.”

“I am not Christian like you, I am Muslim. I don’t have the same God as you,” she said.

“Yes, you do. There is only one God,” I said.

“My boyfriend and I are struggling; things are very bad between us.”

“I’m sorry you are struggling. I have three other children. When my oldest was diagnosed with a rare and deadly disease early on, we could not imagine that he would still be with us today. And now at 42 I’m pregnant with my fourth child and facing my fourth cesarean section. But despite that, I can tell you that no matter what happens with your boyfriend, and despite your difficult situation, this child will be your treasure, you will see.”

“I have no-one, I can’t do this.”

“You have me. Give me your number and I will call you in the morning.”

I looked at her nametag as she quickly jotted down her cell phone number on my to-go box and we said our goodbyes.

I called Maryam the next morning. She explained her financial situation and shared some of the details of her relationship with her boyfriend. I understood why she thought her only way out was an abortion. I couldn’t imagine being in her predicament. I told her about a local pregnancy center and gave her their phone number.

Against All Odds

The day before her scheduled abortion, I called Maryam again. She shared the amazing news that the pregnancy center was going to help her and that she had cancelled her abortion. We continued to talk off and on throughout our pregnancies, but after our babies were born, we lost contact with each other.

I looked at Randy.

“Your mom was a beautiful young woman who became pregnant and found herself in a hopeless mess. The night we met, she felt alone, lost, and full of shame. All I did was remind her that God doesn’t build houses of shame, people do. He builds houses of grace, and He wanted to give her an unrepeatable treasure in you. Your mom’s courage to have you against all odds was heroic. I’m grateful I was one of the small pieces God brought together through a chance encounter.”

I turned to Bella.

“And you were an important part of it too, because Maryam would never have confided in me if I wasn’t pregnant too.”

Bella’s beautiful almond-shaped eyes opened wide as she smiled with pride.

Loving Maryam and listening to her that night required very little of me. After all, she wasn’t my unmarried, pregnant daughter. I wondered if I would have reacted the same if it had been my daughter? My interaction with Maryam challenges me to be a mom who responds to the mistakes and failings of my children with grace and belief in their goodness rather than shame and judgment. I want to be the person they come to when they are in trouble so I can remind them that they are not their mistakes. I want them to know that I have made many messes in my life through my mistakes, failings and sins, but through them I have experienced the redeeming and transforming love of God, and they can too.


Rosanne Pappas

Rosanne Pappas is an artist, author, and speaker. Pappas inspires others as she shares personal stories of God’s grace in her life. Married for over 35 years, she and her husband live in Florida, and they have four children.

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