‘I Chose Life and God Changed Mine’: Finding Joy After a Crisis Pregnancy

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Photo of a pregnant woman relaxing in nature on a beautiful sunny day

When the unexpected happened to this young woman, she made the right decision — guided by her Christian faith

By Jay Hobbs, LifeZette, 26 Sep 2017

Seven years ago this fall, Lauren Urrea felt her world crashing into a million pieces as she faced the undeniable reality that she was pregnant.

For the first time in her life, she found herself questioning — even if for a brief moment — her most foundational beliefs about God, family, career — and most importantly, life itself.

A pre-med student on the verge of graduating from Virginia Tech and heading off to medical school, she had been set on giving herself to medical missions in Latin America. Her reputation as a Christian — inside and outside the church — had been spotless. But staring at a positive pregnancy test during her Thanksgiving break at her parents’ house in Roanoke, Virginia, Lauren Urrea realized her life would never be the same.

“That was certainly not on my list of things to ‘accomplish’ that year,” she said. “My dreams were far too big for something like that. Suddenly, I was filled with overwhelming fear, guilt, shame and anger at myself for allowing this to happen. I knew better. My parents raised me better.”

Love, not abortion, covers a multitude of sins. Feeling crushed and in a state of disbelief, this young woman and her boyfriend, Mateo, struggled to process the fact that she was pregnant. As they wrestled with their new reality, Lauren remembered a radio ad for Blue Ridge Women’s Center she’d heard a year before.

When she had first heard the ad, it struck her just how afraid she would feel if she were in a situation in which she’d need to call the number for the center. Now, however — it was her turn. Within just a couple hours, she and Mateo were sitting across the table from a volunteer at the center.

Even the fact that the volunteer was able to meet with them on such short notice was a miracle, Lauren said later. The woman had been out of the office following the death of her husband and had stopped by to pick up some mail when she was told this young couple were on their way in — and desperately needed to talk to someone.

“They told her they had this hysterical — because I was — hysterical girl on the end of the line that needed to see someone, and she agreed to see me,” Lauren Urrea said. “She shared the truth about my pregnancy with Mateo and me, and shared with us God’s love for me and the already growing baby inside of me. She was ultimately the first voice of reason to silence my very small, but existent, thoughts of abortion.”

Raised in a Christian home and actively involved in her high school youth group and Campus Crusade for Christ (now “Cru”) as an undergraduate, Lauren had long considered herself pro-life. But the immense pressure she was facing seemed to change the equation, even if momentarily.

For the first time, abortion’s promise to cover for past mistakes was going up against the biblical promise that love — not abortion — “covers a multitude of sins.”

With 54 percent of women who resort to abortion identifying themselves as Christians, according to the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, Lauren found herself fighting an all-too-common battle between the redemptive promises of love and abortion. But unlike many women in her situation, she discovered early — and was reassured often — that she wasn’t alone in her unexpected pregnancy.

In addition to the support she received at Blue Ridge, Mateo immediately stepped up to take responsibility (he was pricing baby cribs an hour after their visit to the center). A roommate from Virginia Tech offered to sit with Lauren while she told her parents that they would now be grandparents.

“As Christians, we work so hard to maintain this image of Christ-like faith, that when our innate sinful nature pushes through, it’s easy to be tempted to go to extreme measures to cover it up,” Lauren said. “I thought I had ruined things for myself, including my relationship with my family. I thought it would never be the same.”

From hysterical client to eager volunteer. Back home in Roanoke with just one semester of her undergraduate program left to complete, Lauren was relieved her family immediately stepped in to help her financially and emotionally. Others, including Mateo and the local church community, did their part to stand with Lauren as she gave birth to a daughter, Adrianna Grace, in the summer of 2011.

Lauren and Mateo married when their daughter was a two-year-old — and they are now expecting their third child in the spring of 2018. The semester after she and Mateo were married, Lauren began training as a physician assistant, finishing the program in December of 2015 — just before giving birth to the couple’s son, Lucas.

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Today, seven years after she felt like her world was unraveling, Lauren is the picture of what she’d always hoped she’d become, as a mother, a wife and a full-time physician assistant. As if that weren’t enough, Lauren spends her lunch breaks walking from her Elkin, North Carolina, clinic next door to Life Line Pregnancy Help Center, where she volunteers as an sonographer, giving each young woman facing a situation like hers a chance to meet her baby for the first time via ultrasound.

“With each ultrasound I perform, I am reminded of God’s unconditional love, grace and faithfulness in my own life,” Lauren said. “I’ve been able to relate to other girls, and to encourage them that I got through it and it made me a better person. It made my life better.”

“God is always using our trials to mold and strengthen our faith with a plan that only He knows.”

During her pregnancy, Lauren started a blog, which she called, “I chose life and God changed mine.” Though she started it as a private journaling idea, she eventually took the site public to try to inspire others to not only choose life, but to embrace their God-given journey to motherhood.

In addition to the dreams she thought she’d never be able to fulfill, Lauren Urrea is now exploring the idea of publishing an autobiography — tracking her voyage from unexpected pregnancy to unexpected joy. “My hope is that my testimony would not only shine light on God’s incredible grace and forgiveness, but that it would be an encouragement to anyone who is suffering grief and trials of their own,” Lauren said. “God is always using our trials to mold and strengthen our faith with a plan that only He knows, but He promises to bring us joy.

“The joy I have now is a result of my life’s greatest struggle so far.”

Jay Hobbs, based in Columbus, Ohio, is director of communications and marketing for Heartbeat International, the world’s largest network of pro-life pregnancy help centers, and editor of PregnancyHelpNews.com.