women. The two women...the two mothers that form the foundation of one baby/young man's life.
This is a true story. I only take credit for "penning" this story, because as you read, you will soon see that someone far greater than I, "Authored" every detail...from beginning to the yet unknown end.
We have no idea sometimes that our decisions...some of our toughest ones...are so pivotol in the fulfilling of every detail of God's plans for our lives, and the lives of countless others.
I know both of these women personally, and love and respect them both for the tough decisions they have made and how they affect our lives today.
Two Mothers? That could be argued, but as I see it, neither would hold the intimate place of Love in his heart, had it not been for the other. So yes the baby has two mothers.
It was 1965 in Perth NB, and a young woman, Ethelda, discovers that she is carrying a child…. Not a child she’d planned for at this time.
There were thoughts and even plans of marrying the father…but time proved that this was not the wisest of decisions. She makes the heart wrenching choice to find this child a home, but not just any home. Although she finds herself unwed, and pregnant, she does love the Lord with all of her heart, and hopes to find a home with two Christian parents, who will raise this child to truly love the Lord.
Ethelda and her mom move to another town during the last months of pregnancy. They stay with a Pastor and his wife, all the while working out the details of a quiet adoption with Hope and George.
Eventually the baby boy is born.
Too soon for one mother, not soon enough for the other; the day comes for the baby to leave the hospital. This place of transition, where he was born from the womb of one mother, Ethelda, and carried to the arms and heart of another…Hope, who will love him and teach him to love the Lord. Hope and George are presented with their new son, Mark Anthony. The Pastor and his wife, who housed and cared for Ethelda, while she carried this baby, are now carrying the newborn to the parents who will become his family.
Mark grows up happy and healthy; over time the story begins to unfold of his adoption.
Mark is now 23 years old and newly married himself. He and his bride, Jen, establish their first home together in an apartment building in Fredericton, NB. They quickly meet and become friends with the weekend superintendents Glen and Lisa. Over the next year, through other sources, Mark begins to discover more and more of the story of his adoption….only to find out that his now good friend Glen was his first cousin by blood!
Mark kind of knew that was God, but after all, Fredericton, and the home of his two moms growing up were not that far apart…and not that big.
The years pass, Mark and Jen move back and forth to Ottawa a few times. Eventually they find themselves in a place they never imagined…marriage crisis.
Mark meets a young man from the church , Steve, who helps with the move, and becomes a close family friend…like family! Eventually Steve marries a dear American girl. Mark is the best man at Steve’s wedding…and within the year Steve and his bride Jen are making plans to move to the US.
A few more years pass, and Steve’s brother Scott becomes a good friend to Mark. They got to know each other through church and eventually Scott moves to Oshawa.
It’s now 2005, and Mark has celebrated his 40’th birthday…he is in close contact with both of his mothers at this point, and has worked through much of the emotion and detail surrounding his adoption.
Hope has not been up for a Christmas in 8 years, though she used to come often. Mark gets the idea to fly her up for Christmas. They have a lovely time, and towards the end of the visit, Hope gives Mark the adoption papers and 3 letters written to her from Ethelda while she was carrying Mark.
Mark and Hope spend the last day of their visit calling around Belleville, looking for a Bill and Myrtle Stapley. They are the Pastor and his wife that cared for Ethelda, and carried Mark to the waiting arms of Hope. Hope had heard that they were in Belleville.
About 7am the next day, Mark says good bye to his mom at the airport in Toronto. As he leaves, He talks to God. He is feeling a little like he has been in the wilderness over the past 40 years, and is looking for a divine moment like some of his mentors. Mark meets his friend Scott for breakfast in Oshawa on the way home. Since Scott grew up in Belleville with the same Church affiliation as the Stapleys, Mark decides to see if he has heard of them. The conversation went something like this.
M: “Have you ever heard of a Pastor Bill Stapley?’
S: “You mean William and Myrtle?”
S: “Why do you want to know about them?”
M: “She carried me from the hospital to my mom”
S: “…. They are my aunt and uncle!”
Scott proceeds to get Myrtle on the phone, unfortunately, William died 2 years prior. Myrtle lives in Oshawa, and was so glad to speak to Mark…she said he’d made her day!
Mark found out later through Jen and Steve, that Myrtle and Bill were at their wedding …when Mark stood as best man.
So maybe Mark had been in a bit of a wilderness, but don’t be fooled into thinking he was wandering…there was a cloud by day and a fire by night, that took him exactly where he was supposed to be at just the right time for every divine appointment that God had planned for him since he was knit together in his mother’s womb! He was being led every step of the way.
When I hear this story, all I can think of is that song…”How can I say there is no God…?”
Only He could have woven together the threads that have become this beautiful tapestry…and that was just the first 40…now comes the Promised Land years!
Most of us never have the privilege of seeing it so vividly tied together, yet God is still weaving a beautiful Tapestry through each one of us. Have you noticed that in the most difficult, even traumatic seasons of Mark’s life…God was orchestrating an incredible outcome?
Have you noticed that in any colorful work of art, it takes the dark colors along side the bright and beautiful colors to create the beauty of contrast…to make the colors come alive?
In my own life, and in Mark’s life, I look back and see things I would never want to relive….
Yet, I can honestly say, I am truly thankful for even these. They are a part of our tapestry…and they make it far more beautiful and alive…