By Erin Bishop

Last week, I shared some tips for talking to our daughters about sex. I shared that my husband and I have been married for fourteen years and that I have a seventeen-year-old daughter. Yes, there’s a story there.

Today I’m sharing some of that story. This is just a snapshot of a chapter in my life. Though it was a very difficult time in my life, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I named my eight pound ten ounce baby girl Grace Elizabeth. Little did I know, her name would become so symbolic in the years to come.

I got pregnant with Grace when I was 21. I was not married. But, getting married seemed like the right thing to do, so I did. I knew right away I had made a horrible mistake. Once I discovered I was married to an abusive, alcoholic, drug addicted, con man, and feared for my and my daughter’s safety, I left. The marriage lasted seven months.

A few months after we separated, the local blood bank sent a letter addressed to my ex to my parent’s house (he was using their address to try and stick me with his debt). The letter stated that his recent blood donation would not be accepted and to contact them for more information.

I called the blood bank, hoping to find out what was going on. They wouldn’t tell me.

My mind went to the worst possible scenario. I had AIDS, my daughter had AIDS, and we were both going to die. I cried as I thought of my imminent death. I couldn’t leave my baby girl to face the world without me, and I was afraid her “father” would somehow get custody of her.

I made an appointment to get my blood work done. Most embarrassing and scariest phone call, ever.

The nurse took my blood and told me it would take a few days for the results. It was early in the week, so I should have the results by the weekend. Friday came and went, and the results were still not back. Longest weekend ever. I finally got the call the next week. I held my breath while the nurse spoke.

“Your blood tests were negative for all sexually transmitted diseases.”

I was beyond relieved.

A few years later I met and married Roger, who has been the only father Grace has ever known. We also have a son, Luke.

I wouldn’t change anything from my past, but at the same time, I wouldn’t wish what I went through on anyone. God has blessed me tremendously, and these experiences have shaped me into who I am today, and have become the platform for my ministry.

My heart’s desire is that young women would take this away: when we do things God’s way, there is no need to lie, be sneaky, feel guilt, shame, condemnation or go through negative consequences. God really does know best.

Reflection Questions:

  • Have you had a life-changing situation shape you into the person you are today? If so, what?
  • How has God used you and your story to influence and bless others?

God’s Truth to Stand On:

  • “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 
  • “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28


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