As a pastor, Audrey Meisner devoted her life to spreading the word of God and raising her kids to be God-fearing people.
Audrey and her pastor husband Bob pastored a church together. When their three children were the aged 10, 13, and 15, Audrey had an affair.
According to Live Action News, Audrey was caught up in the affair for no more than three weeks, but in those three “short” weeks, Audrey ended up getting pregnant.
Bob had previously underwent a vasectomy, so Audrey knew for certain the unborn child didn't belong to him. Audrey told Live Action News:
“I never suspected that this would be my story. I never really dreamed that this would be my story, but when I look back 17 years, I can’t help but be in wonder about how God can redeem the most impossible situation. It felt like the worst day of my life when I told Bob that I’d had an affair. I was so remorseful, so full of regret. I could not live with the secret.”
Bob was distraught when he learned about his wife's affair and pregnancy.
He told Live Action News that after his wife came clean to him about her affair, he was left with a lot of questions and wondered how and why this had happened to them:
“In a crisis moment, everyone is trying to make sense of it. How do we figure this out? Where do we place this? Those why questions become so intrusive we just obsess in our mind of why, why, why, and how.
So, to be able to have people give us a moment to pause and think and consider: is there another way? Is there hope? The initial thoughts are just terrorizing and just images of doom and gloom and worst-case scenarios, so to be able to have someone you can call or talk to to get perspective is invaluable.”
Bob believed, even after the affair, that there was still hope for him, his relationship with Audrey, and their family.
Together, the couple visited a church far away from their own, where they looked for guidance and advice. The couple discussed their options and took a few days to come to a conclusion on how they would let Audrey's pregnancy affect their lives.
Despite feeling betrayed, Bob never once spent a night away from his wife after learning about her affair— they were in the situation together and he was ready to be a father to the child growing in Audrey.
Audrey, however, wasn't sure how ready she was to be a mother to what she then considered an illegitimate child. At that time in her life, the already mom of three was considering an abortion:
“My reputation, my credentials were completely gone because everyone would know the stupidest thing I had ever done against God and my family. I was terrified. My whole world stood still, and I didn’t think I had the strength or courage to face the rest of my life. It was that desperation that led me to call the abortion clinic privately in my kitchen. They said they would send me ten pills anonymously and I would take one every day for ten days and my problem would be gone. Even saying those words, ‘my problem would be gone,’ hurts my heart because I think of our son who is a precious and invaluable life.”
Audrey couldn't go through with the abortion, so she prayed instead. She prayed to God for a miscarriage.
God didn't answer that prayer, and Audrey believes it's “because God loves her so much” and because “He sees hope when we don’t.” God, as Audrey told Live Action News, saw an ending that Audrey couldn't imagine at that time in her life:
“I was asking him to evacuate me out of my circumstance, but He came to me right where I was and held me and loved me and comforted me and reassured me that He would never leave me or forsake me. He wasn’t going to take me out of the circumstance, but He would walk with me through it.”
The most difficult thing following their decision to keep the baby was telling their three other children about the pregnancy and the affair.
Audrey was four months pregnant when Bob sat their children down to explain what had happened. Their oldest son and their daughter broke down in tears, their youngest son wasn't quite old enough to understand what was going on. Bob told Live Action News:
“I said, ‘This is what God does when we make a mistake. He comes to us and covers us and wraps His arms around us and says, 'I will never leave you. I will never forsake you.' I described to them how much I loved their mom and what a wonderful family we are and that we are better together than we are apart. I said, ‘Kids, Mom has made a great mistake, but I’m not going anywhere’ and with my next breath I just said, ‘You’re going to have a baby brother.’ Immediately my oldest son knew what happened and he’s crying. My daughter understood as well, and she was crying, but it only took a moment for her to get this big smile and say ‘Daddy, we’re gonna have a baby!’ She cannot contain the excitement of a new life, of a new baby, of a new brother.”
Bob gave each of his three kids a gift to give to their baby brother once he was born.
That gift was to prove to that unborn child that he was not a problem, but instead that he was a gift to them and to the world. As Bob described it, his third son was “born out of the heart of God and entrusted to them.”
Bob wanted his son to know how much he loved him, so they decided to give him Bob's name, Robert:
“I didn’t want my son – I didn’t want our son – to ever question for a day in his life whose boy he is.”
His middle name is Theodore, which means “divine gift.”
God walked Audrey and Bob through that difficult time in their lives, just like they knew He would. And Audrey learned a valuable lesson:
“I decided to remember that even though people sometimes judge you by your worst mistake, our Father in Heaven, He doesn’t define us by it but calls us His children, His beloved. That reality becomes very real when you make a mistake that is so public, so scandalous, yet God loves us even on our worst day.”
Now, Bob and Audrey are sharing their story to let others know they are not alone.
Bob wants those going through a similar situation to know that it is okay to ask for help, to ask for some guidance, and to know that it is okay to take your time in making a decision on something that is so life-changing:
“What happens with couples and individuals in crisis moments, they feel the need to make life altering decisions in that moment. They feel they need to make that decision now and they make one bad decision after another. That’s why we need each other. We need help. We need people to come beside us to bring clarity and thought in an extremely urgent situation. That’s what my pastor was able to do for us. You think you’re going to leave, you’re going to threaten the other person, you’re going to make them pay thinking that you can even out the score. Thinking we’ll find restitution that way. Right away I was being so challenged with the nature and character of God. He doesn’t do that to me with my mistakes, with my choices. He doesn’t condemn me. He makes a way out for me and that’s what I needed to do for my wife.”
“It feels like it’s going to be a sacrifice. It feels hopeless, but with every new life is a fresh start. With the greatest sacrifice comes the greatest reward. Trust God like you’ve never trusted God before because God will never disappoint.”
The pair has since written a book about their journey called, “Marriage Undercover.”