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Auburn homecoming queen shares how God is light in darknesscomment (0)

December 12, 2013

By Julie Payne

Auburn homecoming queen shares how God is light in darkness

Even though a circumstance looks and feels so dark, God not only provides light, but He is the light Himself,” said Molly Anne Dutton, Auburn University’s recently named homecoming queen. 

Dutton’s birth mother was a young married woman living in California who, through a series of events, found herself the victim of sexual assault.

After realizing she was pregnant, she approached her husband and was presented with an ultimatum — either abort the child or get a divorce. Choosing life, Dutton’s birth mother moved to Birmingham where she discovered Lifeline Children’s Services and received counseling, along with confirmation that adoption was the best option for herself and her child.

Dutton was adopted by Peggy Dutton and her then-husband, who at the time were serving on Lifeline’s board. Molly Anne Dutton was raised in Gardendale where she grew up within Gardendale First Baptist Church’s youth ministry under student pastor Jamin Grubbs. 

The youth group “traveled to a beach retreat where the Lord showed me His compassion, purpose and love in Hebrews 2:9–11,” she noted of her faith journey. “Those verses [led] me humbly to the feet of Christ where I called Him Savior and King of my life.”

Now a 22-year-old senior studying horticulture at Auburn and a member of the Church of the Highlands Auburn campus, Molly Anne Dutton said never in her wildest dreams did she imagine God taking her story outside of Auburn’s city limits.

During the development stages of what came to be known as her “Light Up LIFE” homecoming campaign, she sat with her campaign staff in a planning meeting and tossed around slogan ideas. “We tried to think of words that described my story,” she said, adding they soon decided on the slogan “Light Up LIFE.” 

“Some people could focus [on] the hardship of my birth, but God provides light in the darkness. That is exactly what we wanted to focus on. That saving hope is the reason why… I live for Him,” she said.

When Auburn’s homecoming day arrived Oct. 12, she was accompanied on Pat Dye Field in Jordan-Hare Stadium by her adoptive mother, Peggy Dutton. When Molly Anne Dutton’s name was announced as the university’s 100th homecoming queen, both women cried together.

“I was full of gratitude that I just leaked happiness and relief,” Molly Anne Dutton noted. “God gave us every ounce of strength during that time and He proved so faithful. God isn’t good because of the blessing He pours out on us, He is good because He is God.”

Since being named Miss Homecoming, her world has looked a bit different as her story and message of life has spread across the U.S., requiring her to balance both schoolwork and a multitude of media requests. But through it all she believes her story has touched many hearts, as evidenced by conversations, emails and messages. 

Grubbs noted that Molly Anne Dutton has an incredible story. “But when you think about it, many people have incredible stories and have been faced with circumstances that seem overwhelming,” he noted. “I believe what makes Molly’s situation unique is that she is far more concerned with ‘HIS story’ than her own. I believe she has been living her campaign slogan ‘Light Up LIFE’ long before she ever thought about it. When I think of Molly, I think about Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:14–16. Molly has simply been faithful to shine her light before men so that her heavenly Father can be glorified.” 

Now a couple months into her title as Miss Homecoming, Molly Anne Dutton said she is reminded that the story she has shared with the nation isn’t about her. “This story might have me as a character, but God is the author and perfector of the story written within my life,” she said. “I am so humbled to be used in what He wants to tell America.”

She added, “That Saturday in Jordan-Hare (Stadium) I thought the journey had finished; however, God was just beginning.”

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