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Defined and Redeemed by Christ

Defined and Redeemed by Christ Hero Image Defined and Redeemed by Christ Hero Image

“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.

“In the following years, 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.

“My husband and I joined a community group after getting married and God really started to shape us and help us be held accountable. We were really 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. Serving as an unexpected pregnancy mentor, 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 are able to serve them.

“I was paired with a woman who was referred to TLI from the Watermark Urgent Care clinic. There was a language barrier, but we were able to find ways to communicate through technology. She had so many stressors in her life as an unexpectedly pregnant single woman new to the US without a present father for her baby.

“As her mentor, I was able to 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. A smile broke across her mouth and her face lit up with joy. I still cry about that moment because it was so magical to be there, experiencing that with her.

“At one point in my life, I was that same woman; 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