The summer after my sophomore year of college, I was stunned to see two pink lines appear on the pregnancy test I had nervously taken.

You would think that at just 20 years old and unmarried, this would be devastating news. Honestly, after I saw it, I mostly just felt excitement and relief.

It was a gracious intervention.

I had spent the first two years of college actively ignoring and running from God. I had been interested in my own agenda: I was desperately striving for approval, acceptance, and attention. I was self-centered and life was all about me.

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I drank, partied, and did many things I’m not proud of. I remember having a deep, guilty feeling about all the things I was doing, but I tried to justify it and work my way around it.

But I always felt this nagging feeling: This isn’t who you are. You’re a child of God.

And now, looking at this pregnancy test, it was like . . . OK, the jig is up.

No more running.

You’ve got to come home.

Because you desperately need Him.

So like a prodigal, I came running back home. And like the father of the prodigal son, God the Father demonstrated His compassion and welcomed me back with open arms, lavishing His love and grace on me.

“Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and He will have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:7).

My unplanned pregnancy was one of the biggest blessings of my life.

It forced me to turn back to God in desperation and helped me abandon my sinful lifestyle. It wasn’t instantaneous, but it was the start of a major life transformation. I still had a lot of room to grow, still do, but each pregnancy has brought me closer and closer to God and living a faithful life.

“Now return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness” (Joel 2:13).

My unplanned pregnancy was such an act of grace. Rather than punishing me for all the wrong I had been doing, God blessed me with a beautiful baby boy. In fact, the birth of my son seems to mark the beginning of a series of blessings that God graciously has poured out on me . . . 

I married my son’s dad. I think his story is similar to mine. God was calling Him back into His loving arms.

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I was able to graduate college on time with two degrees and honors.

I obtained my dream job shortly after college.

I’ve been blessed with three more children since.

I now get to homeschool, write, and teach (three of my favorite things).

It has been the best season of my life so far.

We absolutely experienced humbling hardships that come from young, unwed parenthood.

At first, we had to live in his parent’s basement, use WIC and Medicaid, and work hard to juggle finishing school, having jobs, and taking care of a new baby. But I’d argue this experience was a blessing in and of itself. We are stronger for it.

“For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace” (1 John 1:16).

An unexpected pregnancy doesn’t have to be the end of your life. In fact, it may be just the beginning. Maybe it’s God calling your name in a way you can no longer ignore. It was for me. And I’m grateful.

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

“Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him“ (Psalms 127:3).

Originally published on the author’s blog

Ashlee Bowman

Ashlee Bowman is an educator, blogger, book lover, runner, wife, and mother of four who is passionate about empowering moms with Biblical truth and connecting them with The Truth: Jesus!