“I didn’t realize it, but a lot of things in my life were fractured by a split family and my parents’ divorce when I was a freshman in high school,” said Rebecca Ibarra. “Although I was raised in a Christian church, I didn’t live like I knew Christ. I started looking for approval in relationships and found myself unexpectedly pregnant when I was 18. In one year, I graduated high school, got married, and had a child.
“My husband and I didn’t have the foundation of walking with the Lord daily or pursuing Him. The Lord was consistently pursuing me, but it was not reciprocated. As our marriage started to fall apart, we both were having affairs and decided to get a divorce. From there, my two-year struggle with alcohol and drugs began. I felt like such a failure because I’d seen what divorce did to my family firsthand, and I was doing that to my own child. It was heartbreaking.
“Eleven months after having my daughter, I was pregnant again with my son. It felt like my life was in total chaos, and with another unexpected pregnancy, to say I was overwhelmed is an understatement.
“In desperation, I searched for free clinics online and found Thrive Women’s Clinic. I didn’t know at the time that Thrive was a ministry partner of Watermark. While I was there, they were kind and diligent to ask me about my faith and if I had a church. My boyfriend and I had been occasionally attending Watermark, so the counselor encouraged me to keep going.
“With her encouragement, I felt like God was trying to remind us that He was still growing me. We spent our time learning God’s Word and attending Watermark. I was reminded that I could trust God with my life and all of these labels like adulterer, liar, and drug abuser are true of my actions but not true of my identity. God sees me as redeemed, and regardless of my wavering faithfulness, God is consistently faithful to me.
“After getting married, my husband and I joined a community group, and God really started to shape us and help us be held accountable. We were astounded with how God started to use us and grow us.
“One day while studying the Bible, I read Psalm 139. It distinctly says, ‘For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13).’ My experiences with pregnancy and childbirth felt like they came full circle with this verse. From there, I knew I wanted to help women with unexpected pregnancies and immediately started looking for ways to serve.
“I read about The Life Initiative and knew God could use me to help women who are in the same place I’d been before. I am now able to meet women in one of the most precarious and sensitive times in their lives. Some of these women have husbands or boyfriends that want them to have abortions for multiple reasons. It is such a gift that we can serve them.
“The first woman I mentored let me go with her when she got her first ultrasound. We sat together, watching her 14-week-old baby on the screen for the first time. I still cry about that moment because it was so magical to be there, experiencing that with her and watching her face light up with joy.
“Now, I am a director of teams that serve women with unexpected pregnancies and past abortions. I have also mentored another woman for almost two years. When I first met her, she was 19, pregnant, and brand new to the US. Her only support system in the country was her boyfriend who gave her a relationship ultimatum if she did not abort her baby. When we met, she was gravely depressed and wanted to take her own life. After seeing her options and what her baby looked like inside her womb, she made the decision to walk away from her boyfriend. Her son just turned a year old in December.
“At one point in my life, I was scared and unsure what the future held for me because of an unexpected pregnancy. It really is amazing to see how the Lord has faithfully walked alongside of me so I can turn around and walk faithfully next to a woman in a similar circumstance to point her towards Jesus. I made some choices in my life that have led to big consequences, but God has placed in me a strong passion for the physical and spiritual care of women. When I trusted in Christ, He was able to grow that passion and put it to action as I serve in different ways.”
Learn about The Life Initiative and how the church can be equipped to care for women, men, and the preborn in unexpected pregnancies and abortions at watermark.org/TLI