Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)
11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Today as I reflect on my life, I am reminded of the circumstances of my birth. Even though they are very sketchy at best for me, I marvel at what God has done in spite of what would seem to be poor circumstances. What I know about my birth is this: My biological mom was an older teenager, either 18 or 19. She was tall and liked to play Volleyball and Basketball as well as liking math in high school. She was not married to my biological dad, who was several years older than she. (If my facts are straight.) I do not know anything about him. My biological mom supposedly had a brother that played football, either professional or just college, and was a lineman. (Therefore, I have the genes for my excuse of my size. LOL) In 1962, the stigma of being pregnant without a husband was so much greater than it is now. Now it seems that pregnancy is a badge of honor for so many of the girls. I digress. Anyway this girl went to a home for unwed mothers to have her baby. What she didn’t know is that the home in Pilot Point where she went had already placed a daughter in Doyle and Shirley Watson’s home. She also did not know that the Watsons had requested a son just a few months prior to her arriving. Furthermore, she did not know that Doyle Watson played Basketball at East Texas Baptist College (back then, now University) and led them to the NAIA Final Four two of the three years he played with them while majoring in math. She did not know these things, but God did as well as the administrators of the home. God was working through all the circumstances to get me exactly where He wanted me to be.
On this day in 1962, my biological mom gave birth to me and named me Jackie Lynn. The administrators called Doyle and Shirley Watson and told them that their son had been born. My parents thought they would have to wait longer as the waiting list for a son was up to two years long. God was at work though. The Watsons were told that this was a perfect match and they needed to come to Pilot Point to get me. Thankfully, when my parents got me they immediately changed my name to Bradley Doyle Watson. I don’t think I look like a Jackie Lynn. (No offense to anyone with that name is intended.)
You see the Watsons have been committed Christians for a long time. They raised their three children in church. I have only gone back to FBC Nederland a few times since I left in 1985 for seminary, but many of the people there remember me as a small child still to this day. I have many wonderful memories of my growing up years in church as well as many that I am not too proud of while at church. I could create a stir every once in a while. But this is not about my behavior; it is about what God did from the very moment of my conception in order to carry out His plans for my life.
I thank the teenager that had the courage to carry me and then the generosity to give me to someone else. I thank the administrators of the Nazarene Home for Unwed Mothers in Pilot Point, TX that had the discernment to realize that the Watsons were a perfect match. You be the judge if this was a perfect match or not.
I thank Doyle and Shirley Watson for taking a chance of adopting not just one child, but three so that I could grow up in a family that loves God and loves each other. Most of all I thank God for knowing me from the very beginning and designing my life in a way that I would know Him and follow Him. I thank God for calling me to serve Him in full time ministry and now for allowing me to share that love not just through the church but also through counseling others and writing my thoughts. God’s plans are definitely working.
Psalms 139:16 (ESV)
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.