Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Learning to Value Life, Day 1

Leslie: Here's Fausto Gonzales.

Fausto Gonzales: I remember always making this inner vow, "I will never be like my father." I remember when Sarah was born. And when you find yourself playing the part you see that you didn't go through rehearsals.

Leslie: This is the Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth for Wednesday, January 13, 2016.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: I'm so thankful that God has given to the staff here at Revive Our Hearts their own life messages. Their own experiences of how the Word and the ways of God have worked in their own lives and how they've put God's Word into practice.

I remember a number of years ago when Laura Gonzales, who heads up Aviva Nuestros Corazones, the Spanish language version of Revive Our Hearts, wrote to me an email and shared how years ago before she knew Jesus, she had had an abortion. She shared with me how she had subsequently come to know Jesus and had come to a point of deep repentance over the taking of the life of that child.

I'm so glad that Laura has been willing to be open about her journey so that God could use her story in other's lives to help them experience freedom and fullness and fruitfulness in Christ. So this week as we prepare to observe Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, we're going to hear from Laura along with her husband, Fausto, as they share how they have experienced God's grace in this area of their lives.

Laura Gonzales: I thought I knew God, but I knew Him like everybody thinks they know God. My family was very traditional. I grew up going to church every Sunday. I remember my mother lighting candles to the different saints. So it was very religious. Our family was religious, but I had no relationship with Christ.

I mean, I knew that there was a God. I believed there was a God, but I did not have any communion with God or know anything about the God of the Bible. Fausto was exactly the same. In Cuba there's a lot of Spiritism.

Fausto: My parents were not into religion at all. They were what we call in Spanish Santería y vudúthat African/Caribbean/Catholicism. They mix up Catholicism with African names of idols, and so that's what they would do. They would light candles to these saints and gods of sorts.

Laura: We had no idea that you could have a relationship with God. We just knew that there was a god.

Fausto: Thinking there was something. There was some being and but never really recognizing or even talking. I wouldn't even like the conversations. If a conversation would take a turn toward religious, I would move away. I would change the subject. I really did.

However, as a young man and then as a grown up, if I would get in a plane, I would go, "Oh, God, let this plane land safely." (laughter)

Laura: Around that same time, I didn't even think about abortion. It didn't cross my mind.

Fausto: I wasn't aware of abortion probably until I was in late middle school, high school. That's when I probably heard the word or at least paid attention to what it was, what it meant.

Laura: I know some people talked about it or did it, but it never crossed my mind that I would have an abortion—not because I wouldn't do it but because I wouldn't think there would be that need. So it wasn't something that I thought about a lot.

Fausto: It wasn't important to me. That was not something that concerned me very much.

Laura: But I didn't judge those people that had it done. I thought they had their reasons to do it.

Fausto: I thought a woman had a right. And if they didn't want to have the baby for whatever reason, was in a very early stage, so that's the time to just get rid of that.

As an adult, I learned later that my mother had an abortion. I'm her first born then my sister and then the third pregnancy she aborted because my father told her he didn't want it. She told me that when I was in my thirties.

I was an unbeliever then, so it didn't shock me. I thought, Wow. It shocked me more that she hadn't told me before. But then I thought, Why would she? Why would she tell me something like that?

Laura: I was looking for a good guy to get married to—someone that would have a career that would be able to have a good job. And that was it. I wasn't looking for anything more than a good husband. I knew that if it didn't work, there was always divorce. I did not understand the sanctity of marriage or that it was covenant. I just knew that I wanted somebody that I loved that I would get to love and raise a family with.

We met in 1977 in Patricia de Saladin's house. We both belonged to the same group of friends. We went out for several years. Fausto never proposed or told me that he liked me, but we went out. We dated for several years. Then we stopped dating; then we went back to dating. We were on and off, on and off until I think it was 1984. In 1982 we finally started a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship that lasted for I think two years. And then we completely stopped. We stopped. We didn't see each other for four years. Eventually we got together again, and we went back together, and we married in three months' time after that.

My family was very moral, so both of us came from moral families. We knew that we wanted to get married. Living together was not an option for us. That doesn't mean we were pure while we were having our boyfriend-girlfriend relationship. But we knew that we needed to get married in order to leave our homes. We were married in February 1987, and we went to live in Florida immediately after we got married.

Fausto: Making money, having an easy comfortable life, getting as much as I could without working too much, traveling, getting the things I wanted to get—those were my goals, I'm sorry to say.

Laura: Fausto was not into children.

Fausto: I didn't have a good relationship with my father. I was his only son, and he had an older daughter, a first born that was from a first marriage. Then me and my younger sister from his second marriage to my mother. He was never a father. He was a provider. He was out of the house most of the time, and we never had a relationship.

Maybe I took this from him because he would say, "I don't like children in front of us." He would say, "Esora," that was my mother's name, "Take them away. Take them somewhere. I'm watching TV, or I want to listen to this. Take them away."

So we grew up feeling that lack of love towards us even though with my younger sister he would be a little bit more caring. He would put her in his lap and stuff like that. But it really wasn't loving.

So I grew up number one, not wanting children because I saw them as an inconvenience. It would be like tie you down. You can't do stuff because you have to be there for them. And I also thought I would never be a good parent.

I remember being in college and thinking, I shouldn't have children because most likely I won't be able to be a good father since I didn't have one. I knew enough even as an unbeliever that how can I be a good something if no one trained me, if I didn't see any good example.

Laura: We didn't think that marriage was to have children necessarily, even though we wanted a family. So we thought we would have one child.

Fausto: I knew we had to have children because I never told her we're not going to have any. So I knew at some point she was going to say . . .

Laura: Okay, it's time to try to have our first child.

Fausto: And I'm going to have to say, "Okay." But I would have delayed that as long as I could have because I didn't want them.

Into our second year she got a little restless because on her father's side of the family, his dad had five or six brothers and two sisters. And the two sisters never had babies. They both married but never could have kids. So we talked several times. She said, "What if I'm like Aunt this or that and I can't have children?" So that got her a little restless about that.

Laura: And we tried.

Fausto: We tried for months.

Laura: We tried.

Fausto: One, two, four, six, seven.

Laura: And I didn't get pregnant.

Fausto: So we went to the doctors.

Laura: I went for tests. Fausto went for tests. Everything seemed to be fine.

Fausto: And they said, "Just keep trying." And we did. I was very happy. I thought, Yes!, because I didn't want to be the bad guy that wouldn't want to have children. It didn't look good. I knew that would bring a fight, a problem with Laura. So every month that she wasn't pregnant, I was like, Wow! Great! That's how it was.

Laura: And we kept trying and eventually . . .

Fausto: It happened, and she finally got pregnant. And you know, you try to make the best out of it. I didn't want to be being a little superstitious, I guess . . . You don't want to say, "Things can go wrong." But really, I didn't want children. But now that she was pregnant, okay. Well, let's do what people do. We'll set up the nursery and buy baby clothes. And she was happy.

Laura: That was my first pregnancy. It went wonderful. I loved being pregnant.

Fausto: I wanted to be a normal husband and father, so I played the part. But I can't say that I was ever excited that I was going to have a baby. No. No. As the pregnancy advanced, progressed and the baby was about to come and all that, then yes. There's the excitement of what is this going to feel like and how is this going to look? How's the baby going to be? So yes. You kind of get into that.

Laura: We had our first daughter, Sarah. She was born in 1989.

Fausto: I remember when Sarah was born and seeing her be born and holding her and all that I enjoyed. I can't say I didn't enjoy it. But it was always that apprehension that ,How am I going to do this? Am I going to be good? So that was always in the back of my mind.

I always thought, Well, this is Laura's thing. She'll deal with this. I'll work, and I'll help her out with whatever I need to help. And I think the first couple of years I was helpful. I would help her with the baby and do the things that I had to do and video tape the baby and all the things, the first steps and all of that. But I never cared to read books or listen to a class or program. I guess I always thought the main thing falls on Laura's hands. I'm just providing and am there in case of an emergency.

I remember always, even before I got married, I always remember making this inner vow, "I will never be like my father. I will never be that kind of father." You're going to try hard. You're going to try hard and be the best you can. Show love. Be with them all the time. Do everything opposite to what he did."

Interviewer: Thinking back, did you do that?

Fausto: No. No. (tears) No. When you find yourself playing the part you see that you didn't go to the rehearsals. No one showed you because what you saw is the opposite you want to do. So where is the right model? They never showed you the good way. You know the bad way. You know that's not what you want to do. But when you turn to look for how to, I couldn't.

So you just become paralyzed. You don't know what to do, and you're just playing it by ear and escaping situations all the time. You're being there but turning your head around so you didn't see that and trying not to face the fact that even though you want to do it good you can't. No one showed you.

Laura: At that time we were not Christians. We were nominal in a church in Orlando.

Fausto: God was not in my life. I mean, from my standpoint of where I was standing, I never thought of going to Him for help. I didn't even see myself as desperate. I just thought, Just cover it up. Do this. Do that. Change the diapers and then give it to Laura. So I didn't feel like I was in trouble. I just thought, Okay. You're not trained for this. But this is what you have to do. At the end of the day, okay! Another day! Next!

I was self-sufficient. I was independent. If I did something wrong, I would minimize it as not important. But deep down I knew, You know what? You don't have what it takes to be the good father you never had, and you wish you could be.

So you're already in this train and it's moving and you can't get out of it, so you're just there sitting, seeing things pass you by. One day, one week, one year, three years, and hoping she'll grow up and then whew! Okay! It's over.

Laura: I thought years after, I thought it would be good to have another child. I kept talking to Fausto about it. Fausto was more, "I don't know if I want another child."

Fausto: I didn't want that. But again, it's not like I ever said it out in the open like that: "I don't want children. No."

Laura: But he said, "Okay, let's try."

Fausto: I guess Laura knew that one maybe two but no more than that.

Laura: But I didn't get pregnant. I didn't get pregnant easily. Then one day on a specific week . . .

Fausto: I remember, June or July of '91, Sarah was already a year-and-a-half.

Laura: We traveled to the Dominican Republic. And there Sarah got the chicken pox. I took care of her. She stayed in the Dominican Republic for the real bad part of the chicken pox. I took care of her, then we flew back to Orlando.

About two weeks after we got back to Orlando, I got chicken pox. I got it really bad. Then two or three weeks after that, I started getting dizzy and weak. I thought it was just the effects of the chicken pox, so I went to my family doctor. The first thing he did was a pregnancy test. And I said, "Oh no, I'm not pregnant." But yes, I was.

Fausto: It was unexpected. We weren't looking . . .

Laura: When he starts doing the history, he realizes that probably that pregnancy occurred while the chicken pox was being incubated. And he said, "You need to see a specialist—a neonatologist I think it was or a special pediatrician." I don't remember exactly the doctor that he wanted me to see. But he said, "There are many cases of birth defects when children are conceived in that part of your chicken pox. So you need to see other doctors."

Fausto: That was shocking. I remember immediately the thought came to me of our next door neighbor growing up. We had a dentist living next door. His fourth and last child was conceived while her mom had chicken pox. The whole neighborhood, all the neighbors knew about this girl and all her health problems. She had heart problems, brain problems, lung problems, bone, blind, deaf, mute—all kinds of different things.

That's the first thing I thought about—this girl. I remembered it was chicken pox her mom had when she got pregnant with her. I thought we're going to have the same situation.

Laura: He said, "You know, we don't want a child with birth defects. Let's see what the other doctors say." We went to see several other doctors, and everybody concluded that I needed to get an abortion.

Fausto: Except for the family doctor.

Laura: This was a Christian doctor.

Fausto: He said, "The statistics say there's a high risk of a child developing developmental and physical problems if something like this happened." But he's the only one who said, "Trust God and let's see what happens." And I remember thinking, Is he crazy?

I remember even getting upset. "Is this a healthcare professional? Is he going to help me with this child? Is he going to pay for all the medical expenses? Is he going to raise this special child?" So I totally ignored his counsel. And we went with the other four.

Laura: We relied on these people, and they all agreed that the recommended thing to do was to do an abortion.

Fausto: So I convinced Laura we need to do this. Again, it was good with me because I didn't want to have another child. I saw it as another chance to not have it. But I knew she wanted it. I could see her sadness. I could see her suffering, so I felt sorry for her. I could feel her pain. But being a selfish individual, I would say, "Oh, I'm so sorry for you, but we have to do it."

My next door neighbor illustration, I guess, was enough to convince her that we don't want something like that. And not knowing God, this is something that you do. The doctors recommend. So if you go to these experts and this is what they tell you, then you have to do what experts say you should do.

Leslie: We've been listening to the story of Laura and Fausto Gonzales. This week they're telling us about their journey. At one point they did not value life—not in their words or actions. As we continue in the story, you'll hear how and why their hearts have changed. And you'll hear how God's using their story today.

One tool the Lord used to bring Laura and Fausto to a big turnaround was the workbook Seeking Him. This book will lead you through the steps of personal revival. You'll gain a new appreciation for the crucial need for humility, honesty, purity and many other qualities. You'll discover the power you need in order to live these characteristics out.

We'll send you Seeking Him when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any amount. Call with your gift. The number is 1–800–569–5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com. We'll send one workbook for your donation for this week.

Tomorrow, we'll continue hearing Fausto and Laura's story. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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