Ashley’s Story

by Ashley Lawton

King David says in Psalm 139:13-16 “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.” 

Everyone has a birthday. We have one every year; the day we were born; our birth date. For most this day, our birth day, was anticipated, celebrated, and met with great joy. For me, this simply wasn’t the case.

I have imagined the scenario over and over again in my mind. It’s February, probably around Valentine’s Day. A young woman is picked up for a date; a night on the town. Her boyfriend is handsome, charming, persuasive. The night was going well, but then things took a turn for the worse. They called it date rape. And nine months later, here I was. Born to a woman who didn’t want me, didn’t plan me, didn’t want to know if I was a girl or boy. Unplanned, unwanted, and yet saved from the unthinkable, yet socially acceptable—an abortion. 

I’ve always known I was adopted. I remember my parents sitting me down and explaining it to me. I remember the rejection I felt, the hurt. 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. This internal struggle continued for years. Little did I know that I only knew part of the story…

I was in high school when I found out my birth mother was raped. My mother and I were driving down Haywood Rd, probably headed to the mall for one thing or another. I can’t remember what led us to talk about it, but I can remember my mom looking at me and plainly stating, “Well Ashley, your birth mother was raped.” I remember staring out the car window thinking, “You’re a product of evil; you were never meant to be.” The enemy sure has a way with words. I lived with those nagging feelings, those hating thoughts for years. Feeling like I was somehow predestined for something horrible because, well, that’s how my life began, right? I was pathetic, or at least that’s what I kept telling myself. 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. I can’t imagine being raped and then finding out I was pregnant with my rapist’s child. I remember 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? Couldn’t be. You don’t know about me, where I came from… Yes Ashley, God, wants you. HE knows you—HE created you—HE loves you.

 Galatians 1:15-16 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles…. 

You see, I wasn’t a mistake. 

The profit Jeremiah says, “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” (Jer. 1:5).

God knew what was going to happen the day I was conceived, and He had a plan for my life.

I entered high school and met the man I would later marry in choir. We became best friends instantly. Later, another friend of mine, Sara Cziraky, introduced me to The Lord, and I was saved at a youth function, but like so many young people, I didn’t do anything with it. I was a stagnant Christian.

My husband and I dated for many years before we were married in 2003. We joined a church and I began to grow in my faith. In 2008, we decided we wanted to grow our family. You can imagine our joy when we found out we were pregnant after the second month of trying! It was July 4th when we told our friends and family that we were pregnant. One week later we would be in the ER, mourning the loss of that baby. Again, I began to tell myself that I was worthless. How can I be any good, I can’t even carry a child? I began to think back to how I was conceived. Those hateful nagging thoughts returned with a vengeance. You’re a product of evil. You were never meant to be. Why would YOU be allowed to have a child. But this time I was prepared. I knew God loved me. I knew who HE was and who I was in Him. I called on The Lord like I never had before! I wept to My God asking Him to hold me and carry me because I couldn’t do it alone. I can honestly say that on that Saturday morning, curled up on my couch, hot tears streaming down my face, that The Lord wrapped His arms around me and I could feel it. I could literally feel His arms holding me. I grew closer to Him than ever before. I fully relied on Him to get me through that time in my life. I surrendered. One month later we were surprised to find out that we were again pregnant. This time, we would be blessed with an almost 9-pound healthy baby boy! Four years later we again wanted to grow our family. We began praying. We, again, became pregnant fairly quickly. We would face 5 diagnosed miscarriages, a surgery, the death of my father, and the moving in of my disabled mother, not to mention 2 moves before The Lord blessed us with an over 9-pound baby girl! Through every trial, every hard time The Lord was there. He never left me. When I was angry, when I was hurt, when I didn’t think I could take another step, HE was there-taking those steps for me, carrying me through it all! When I was ready to give up, He breathed new life into me. HE was my sustainer and my rock. My Lord was always there.

I don’t always understand, in the midst of the storm, why The Lord does things the way He does. But looking back I can always see His hand in it. I have learned over my life to trust in Him and His plan. That no matter what we are going through, it’s a part of His plan. And His plan is always perfect. You see, God takes bad situations and makes something beautiful!  

I am a child of God, and made in His image.

Romans 8:14-17: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.”

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.  I could have easily been aborted and tossed aside. It is by God’s Grace and God’s plan that I am here today, speaking to you!

The profit Jeremiah wrote, “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” (Jer. 29:11).

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. 

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

I was conceived in rape. It was a horrible, evil act upon my birth mother. She was physically and emotionally violated. But I didn’t deserve the death penalty. I was an innocent life. I thank God that My birth mother valued life enough to choose life. Today, there are so many that aren’t that fortunate. 

An article on abortionfacts.com says it best…

“A child conceived in rape is just as precious as a child conceived in love, because a child is a child. The violence of abortion is no solution to the violence of rape. The killing of the innocent by abortion is no solution to the hurting of the innocent by rape. Abortion is an act of violence that kills a living human being. The circumstances surrounding the conception do not change this simple reality. Rape and abortion share this in common. They are both acts of violent assault against as innocent victim. Aborting a child conceived through rape simply extends this pattern of violence and victimhood. It does not ’un-rape’ the woman, but it will almost certainly increase her regret and misery.”

I ask you to remember my story. Remember me when you are given the chance to stand up for those who don’t have a voice. Remember that I am that “exception” so many in the political world are ok with aborting. 

I will leave you with this last thought…

What did I do to deserve to die? What made my life any less valuable than any other? 

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