I grew up in a religious family. Famous last words of the girl who gets knocked up as a teenager, right? (Let’s be honest, I had no idea I was pregnant until a few days after my 20th birthday.) My family wasn’t the crazy religious type—we dressed normal, ate normal food, watched the occasional questionable TV show, and really enjoyed things like Dr Pepper and traveling on Sundays.

I knew that a lot of people who claimed the same faith as us didn’t always view the world the same. I give my mother a lot of credit for making me understand the importance of loving and accepting everyone, regardless of religion, for who they were as human beings. My mother was a convert to our church. She did not grow up in the culture that seems to swallow the area in which we live, and as a result I was given a broader outlook on the world.

My mother also instilled in me a firm belief in a loving and gracious Heavenly Father, and in His son Jesus Christ. I grew up believing that Christ was my Savior, he died for my sins, and that it was because He gave His life that I had any chance at grace.

I either forgot or lost my belief sometime as a teenager. Spiritual truths seemed so unimportant compared to my social life.

When my world was rocked and I found myself a single, messed-up, pregnant young woman, I learned quickly that I could either run from the idea of something bigger than me, or run to it. Thanks, again, to my mother and to my new step-father I ran to it. Well, I stumbled toward it . . . in a zig-zag line.

It took me months of prayer and soul-searching to find what I was looking for. I was looking for peace and unconditional love, and after finally opening up my heart to God, I found it. I felt it. It was real, and it was unending. The Lord knew my heart, and He would help carry me through my consequences and painful decisions.

I came across a passage of scripture one day that completely pierced my soul. It read:

And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. 

And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.

Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me.

Now I say unto you that ye must repent, and be born again; for the Spirit saith if ye are not born again ye cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore come and be baptized unto repentance, that ye may be washed from your sins, that ye may have faith on the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world, who is mighty to save and to cleanse from all unrighteousness. 

I had always known that Jesus Christ had died for my sins and knew what the pain from those sins felt like. I had never before understood that He also knew every single pain I had felt that were not directly related to mistakes I had made. He had felt the pain of realizing I needed to place my baby. He knew the pain of signing those papers. He knew the pain of placing that sweet baby into the arms of another. He knew the pain of feeling empty and alone. He knew the pain of losing my step-father soon after placement. He knew the pain of ending a relationship that I knew would never work out.

All of the times that I believed nobody could possibly understand what I was going through, I was wrong. Christ knew. Christ was the one who could truly feel compassion for my aching heart.

Christ not only suffered for my sins, He atoned for every pain I would ever feel on this Earth. All I had to do to gain freedom was accept that atonement and turn to Him. His grace is sufficient to heal my heart, and it has already begun to do so.