When we first saw Koko it was on a stage. She came out in bright lights before a crowded audience. They would applaud her even more after hearing her speak; in fact, after she delivered her testimony there would not be a dry eye in the house. We were having dinner at a fundraiser for the Pregnancy Resource Center. Koko was a dynamic and engaging speaker, incredibly vibrant, beautiful and composed. She was a young twenty something with big eyes that reflected wonder at what she was about to share, perhaps because she knew it was by the very hand of God that she was standing there and telling us her story. I confess that we were taken off guard because Koko did not appear to be pregnant. We were moved by what she shared that night and wanted to know more. Over the next few months we would spend time interviewing Koko and hear the rest of her story.
She grew up as a believer with loving parents in a Christian home, even went to a Christian college. Her parents did not just talk about their faith; they walked it out, right in front of her. For many years the family opened their home and their hearts to provide a loving environment for a number of foster kids, seeing each one as a child of God. Back then, her relationship with God was everything.
Giving her testimony Koko began to describe a series of events that take place in the lives of many young people. She had been living on her own and making choices that would deeply affect her life. Thinking she knew it all she made decisions that would lead her into a string of unhealthy relationships with people who were not the best influences.
The First Kiss
"The first time you kiss a boy it feels so amazing, so special. And after that it just begins to feel normal. It seemed that way with sex, too. At first you can't even comprehend it. The idea of having sex sounded like a weird thing to do. And then, after the first time you get used to it and, besides, ...everyone else is doing it. It made more sense to have one steady boyfriend rather than always meeting someone new and hooking up with different guys. It was like, ...well, it's okay because we love each other.
I was dating a boy in college that said he wanted to be in full- time ministry and we became sexually active. I felt like this was a relationship I could trust. Then he ended up sleeping with my girlfriend and marrying her instead. After this rejection I bounced back into the arms of another Christian guy. With a Christian boyfriend it was easy to rationalize having sex if I believed we would eventually get married. I thought to myself, "Was there any difference being involved with Christian guys or non- Christian guys?" Everyone was sexually active.
Where Does This Go?
Fast forward a few years. Koko was now dating a young man and working in a high-paced environment for a successful real estate company. Between work and boyfriend, this lifestyle consumed all of her time, thoughts and energy. He showered her with love and attention. They had good times doing fun and exciting things. Every weekend was a party as he lavished gifts and attention on her. He made her feel special. On the outside everything seemed glamorous, but on the inside she began to struggle.
Koko was worried and felt anxious. Something was happening to her physically that was affecting her emotions. She began to have doubts and concerns about her future. Based on her past she wondered, "Where will this relationship go?" knowing she had missed her period.
A Year of Change
"January 2009 I said this is going to be my year! And on January 6th I found out I was pregnant." I said, "Oh wow! New Year's Resolution? This is not what I was planning! My immediate thought was to make this disappear."
Her mind raced as she tried to figure out what to do. At this point she believed keeping things a secret was best.
"I knew my family would be super supportive, but I didn't want to disappoint them." I did not want my friends to find out that I was pregnant, and with no ring on my finger." This was hard enough for her to deal with; she could not imagine how things would be if this situation were brought to light. It was not a good time for a baby. She was young and her relationship with her boyfriend was anything but secure. Hoping that things would go away with a simple phone call, she made an appointment for an abortion and waited anxiously as the date was set for weeks away.
"The abortion clinic was booked and, so for two weeks I agonized over my decision, living daily with the secret. It just started to consume me as each day went by it became more of a torment. I'm not sure I can do this. I don't think this is the right answer." The façade of keeping it all together broke over lunch with friends when Koko discovered that everyone at work knew she was pregnant. At that moment, knowing she could not walk through this alone, she decided to call her parents. The scripture tells us that if we train up a child in the way that they should go, when they are old they will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6
"I phoned my family in tears and my dad came and picked me up. At home, we talked about my circumstances. My mom remembered hearing about the Pregnancy Resource Center at church, just the Sunday before. My little sister brought home a baby bottle that had the PRC info inside. It was to be used to collect coins for donation to the Center. It would prove to be more than just a message in a bottle. Koko's mother, Susie, wasted no time making the call. Her thoughts were racing as she wondered what Koko would do. She prayed that they would be able to give Koko some wise counsel. It was about 3:45 in the afternoon and the Center closed at 4:00.
The Divine Appointment
The founder, Jane Wahl, just happened to be the very person answering the phone that day. "Is there any way we can come in right now and talk to someone?" Koko's mom asked her. Jane must have heard the desperation in her voice because, although the office was closing for the day, she decided to stay open and took the appointment immediately.
They sat in the office as Koko told Jane the whole story. Jane listened with compassion and gently informed Koko that only two choices had to be considered today! Give the baby life, or not. The power of life and death was in Koko's hands. Would she keep her appointment for the abortion or not?
It was the very thought that had been all-consuming to Koko. Many tears were shed and her heart was broken as she realized that the time scheduled for the abortion was just days away. No matter how much she had wanted this problem to disappear, she knew the difference between right and wrong. Between all her tears she could finally see the truth clearly for the very first time.
"At that moment I perceived that God had a much bigger and better plan for me and my baby." God tells us in His Word that He has plans for hope and a future, and this option of abortion would not be in my future. It was a miracle that the life of this child was saved only three days away from death.
Today is a new day and a different picture emerges. All things have become new. The baby, a beautiful little daughter with red hair like her mother's and her grandmother's, was born on September 7th at 5:15 in the morning. Koko is proud of the decision she made to give life.
Filled with joy she holds her newborn baby in her arms and gazes lovingly upon the small child's face. "She is the apple of my eye and I love her so much."
It is not easy being a single mom and raising the baby without a dad in the home. Like any good parent I want to give my daughter every advantage in life. She deserves to be raised in the same kind of loving home that was given to me.
Learning to walk by faith and not by sight, Koko has said to God, "Okay, Lord, I'm ready to face whatever you have for me and I am grateful for the love and support of my family.
"Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be
self controlled; set your hope fully on grace to be given you when Jesus Christ
is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had
when you lived in ignorance, but just as He who called you is holy, be holy
because I am holy. 1 Peter 1:13-16.
Koko's testimony can be found on page 128 in TESTIFY the book.
Happy New Year!