When she first found out she was pregnant with an unexpected child, Susan Wood seemed pretty optimistic about being able to keep the baby—that is, until her boyfriend at the time reacted in a way she couldn’t have imagined.
“You need to have an abortion, you can’t have the baby,” he told her. “I can’t have another kid, I’ll kill myself.”
It was a side of him that Susan had never seen before, and terrified of what he would do, she simply said, “OK,” if only for the sake of ending the conflict.
With her agreement, she found herself completely overwhelmed with shame and confusion. “I didn’t want anyone to know I was even thinking about that.”
In an attempt to erase the confusion from her mind, Susan headed to a Super Bowl party.
On the night of Feb. 7, 2010, during the first quarter of Super Bowl XLIV, Focus on the Family’s “Celebrate family, celebrate life” commercial aired for the first and only time. Pam Tebow appeared onscreen, reminiscing about her “miracle baby”—son Tim.
Susan, who had never watched college football, and couldn’t identify a single player, was shocked to recognize the 2007-Heisman-Trophy-winning college quarterback on the tv screen in front of her.
“A few weeks earlier, I was folding laundry alone and the TV was on ESPN,” she says. “I was too lazy to change the channel and watched an entire special on Tim Tebow. Literally the only college player in the entire country I could have named or recognized.”
The anti-abortion commercial wasn’t what anyone would have expected. The usual tone of condemnation and shame was completely replaced with an encouraging message of a mother’s love.
Of course, 85 percent of the Super Bowl hype is rooted in the commercials. There were hundreds of others played that day, but for some reason, Susan couldn’t get that one out of her head.
When she got home, Susan searched the web for the Focus on the Family Ad.
She watched it over and over, then found an interview with Bob and Pam Tebow. It turns out that while she was pregnant with Tim, Pam’s doctor’s recommended that she abort her unborn son because of medical complications. Pam’s rejection of their suggested abortion is the reason the world knows Tim Tebow.
Susan watched the commercial again—this time she felt like it was made specifically for her. Then she browsed Focus on the Family’s site, and even reached out to their team for help.
Surprised to hear back, Susan received an email from a Focus staffer who responded quickly with a message of encouragement, information and hope.
“It was so nonjudgmental,” Susan explained. “She offered advice but didn’t tell me I was wrong. I kept thinking about what she wrote, and the commercial, and what Tim’s mom said in the interview, and it all just spoke to my heart.”
She decided to keep the baby.
It’s so crazy to see the ways that God uses the most unexpected circumstances to work on someone’s heart.
Anita Grace was born that September. Today she’s six years old and thriving, and it’s all because of a commercial her mother saw during the Super Bowl.
“I think about the commercial, Tim Tebow and the people from Focus daily,” Susan says. “I am so grateful. If there hadn’t been a Super Bowl commercial, if I hadn’t been at the party, if someone had responded to my email in a different way…I will never be able to express the gratitude and love that I feel.”