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Meghan Manzanares — Mistake turns into ministry

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For Meghan Manzanares, Mother’s Day is a good day to reflect on her kids being the best thing to have happened to her life. That wasn’t always the case. Manzanares grew up here in Roswell and came from a good Christian family. In high school, she played golf, volleyball and swim. She grew up in the church and was the church secretary when she went to college.

During her freshman semester in college, Manzanares ended up getting pregnant and felt scared. She felt embarrassed and shame when she had to tell the people closest to her, fearing what they might say and think. When she did tell them, her family and church members responded with love.

It was never easy, trying to be a single mother. Manzanares would get anxiety attacks and sometimes wondered if she would make it. She had some dark moments going through the pregnancy.

One of the best things that happened to Manzanares was people loved her through her mistake. When she found out she was pregnant, she was the church secretary at Christ Church. She confided in the other church’s secretary. The secretary told the pastoral staff.

Manzanares expected to be fired after she came back from lunch, but when she returned, she found a huge bouquet of flowers on her desk. She kept her job and the church threw her a baby shower and gave her a bonus.

“Christ Church showed me — Christ,” Meghan said. If a parent ever finds themselves in that situation with their daughter — show her Christ. That’s what Christ would do.”

Meghan knows it would have been harder to make it if not for her family. She feels like she was met with a lot of grace and mercy and didn’t have to live with guilt or shame. She knew that Cade Manzanares not having a father in his life, he would be starting off at a disadvantage.

“I would tell a girl that’s 18, 19 years old or younger,” Meghan said, “you’re not the first that this has happened to and you won’t be the last. It is possible to successfully raise your child and have a good life. The choices you make going forward will dictate the life you live. Don’t give up because it’s going to get hard and you’re going to feel tired, but you can make it.”

Meghan did find someone to love her and accept Cade as his own son. She fell in love with Joe Manzanares — who was her friend in high school and was with her throughout her pregnancy. She married Joe when Cade was 2 years old, and Joe Manzanares adopted Cade when he was 5 years old.

“I would tell women,” Meghan said, “if you’re starting to get serious with a man and he’s not kind to your kid, then you need to stop seeing him because your child is your first priority.”

Meghan has gone back to school and is now majoring in rehabilitation therapy.

“Whoever would have thought,” Meghan said, “in so many ways, Cade’s birth — Cade’s unplanned, unwanted pregnancy was probably what brought me to the most healing, redemptive place in my life.”

Cade has gone on to make All-State twice, was the Gatorade New Mexico football Player of the Year, and will attend Eastern New Mexico University on a football scholarship in the fall.

Joe and Meghan Manzanares have three children: Cade Manzanares, 18, Anika Manzanares, 15 and Julian Manzanares, 12.

Sports editor J.T. Keith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 304, or sports@rdrnews.com.