Ten years ago this month, the hospital where my life was supposed to end in a failed abortion attempt was transformed into the hospital that holds some of the most beautiful memories of my life, when our oldest daughter, the first child of ours to seize hold of my heart, Olivia, was born there.

It was certainly not happenchance that led to her birth at St. Luke’s Hospital, but the very hand of God, as many of you know. And if you don’t know, here’s my shameless plug to read my book, You Carried Me, that details this incredible experience.

As life marches on, or more appropriately, it seems, sprints on, the more I find myself struggling to find the words to describe the depth of the miracles we’ve witnessed in our family, the depths of restoration and reconciliation that have occurred. But to celebrate Olivia’s tenth birthday later this month, (Happy BIRTHday, sweet girl), I thought it would be a great time to reflect upon God’s goodness with all of you.

Since ten is the number of the week, here are ten of my favorite examples of God’s great mercy and love as experienced in our lives (broken into two separate posts for the sake of alleviating heavy reading). Cue the drumroll in your head as you proceed through the list…..

10. Although it’s certainly not low on the list of the miraculous and merciful, Olivia’s birth was the first very outward sign of God’s plans of redemption and restoration, so coming in at number 10 is her very birth at St. Luke’s Hospital.

9. Not long after Olivia was born, a congratulatory card on her birth arrived in our mail from my great Aunt Vicki (love you, Vicki!) that brought her into our lives, and not long after, number 8 occurred…

8. Grandpa Don came into our lives (my biological father’s dad). I will never forget finding his courageous and loving letter wedged in our front door, or how emotional and healing it was the first time that we met at a local diner when Olivia was about six weeks old. Grandpa, you’ve been a part of our lives for ten years now, and we’re so thankful for you! What a great blessing it is for both of our girls to have their great-grandfather in their lives.

7. It’s hard for me to believe, but ten years of life for Olivia means that I’ve now been speaking publicly as a survivor for 11 years, and that I gave up my career as a social worker (in the formal sense of the word—I practice it day in and day out informally) to live out my calling as a speaker and activist almost eight years ago. If anyone would have told me ten years ago when Olivia was born that I would give up my career, live out my calling in the pro-life movement, and love it more than my career, I wouldn’t have believed you. Yet here I am. Thank you, Lord!

Part 2 of 2 will follow in the next post.