I learned many things from being a “16 & pregnant” statistic. Things I now use to defend young mothers who have known this hurt all to well. Teenage moms who already feel the pain without having people telling them to feel it. Experiences that will forever be burnt in to my mind but by God’ grace not my heart.
Being 16 and pregnant was such an experience that, unless you have the nature to really feel what others do and have a heart to understand, you can’t. Words can’t describe the humiliation the burden of walking to the mailbox and not being able to smile when people stared at me. Even worse because I was a pastors kid, pregnant! (If you’d like to read more on this please read my story to understand this part). I would find myself smiling down at my belly in the dark. When no one was around, in the darkness of a basement where we lived after we got married. There, I would smile and talk to my baby. There I would cry to myself and fall asleep, waiting for my 19 year old husband to come home from his small job to hug me. The grace my family showed me, I have no words nor will I ever have enough to repay them for their compassion and love. God in his infinite love, forgave me. I truly repented and wanted to glorify him in my young marriage and this gift I had inside me. I do have to believe that when someone truly repents, it comes with shame and sadness. We need to feel the greatness of our sins… but God helps us with those feelings. There I found rest and love.
But the people outside my family and church members I guess I couldn’t say the same for them. I already felt shame and with fingers pointed at me, made me want to just dig a hole and lay down until people would forget I was alive.
I didn’t take pregnant pictures, I was to ashamed. Nor did I gladly announce it for all to congratulate. Instead I would keep to myself. Where was the good in this you ask? I learned that God was my Savior. Though it would take me many more years to understand his love and forgiveness and not to take it for granted this was the event that made my heart seek him again. We tend to do that, run to God when we’re in trouble. Even, return to our true love when we have eaten with the pigs.
I learned that in those lonely moments when I would cry, God was watching.
I learned that when I had much to say but little to no words, he was listening.
I learned to speak to him in a way that I felt completely naked. Vulnerable, but taken care off.
I learned to lean on him when I was falling in to my mind’s game of shame, when I was forgiven.
I learned to open my heart to the only one who knew my pain.
I learned to smile, when I felt like running away.
I learned that there is more to people than what we see.
I learned to see people in such a way that I wished they looked at me in that same manner.
I learned that I had someone who smiles down at me while I was smiling down on my unborn baby.
I learned to not let people’s smirks and face expressions get to me. Although this took so long, my daughter was about 5 years old when I learned this one and by then I had another baby girl who was 3.
My faith grew and I knew there was a God who loved me, forgave me and was after my heart. I knew that this would too pass, that one day I would look back and hope that I could help someone in those same shoes.
I never regretted having my sweet baby girl who was born, January 10th of 2008. I did regret not doing things Gods way, but it was to late for that. I couldn’t dwell on that. I’d miss the blessing right in front of me, I learned to let it go and now being 25 years old I smile when I see my daughters. I smile because I remember everything I learned and because of them I came back to Jesus.
What do you say when you see a young mom? What are your first thoughts? Are they quick to punish? Are they those of compassion?
There are far many reasons why teenagers are pregnant. From poor choice to rape.
When I see young pregnant girls, who know Jesus, strayed away and sinned against him I have something to share. When I see young pregnant girls who don’t know Jesus, I have someone to share.
- 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Hebrews 8:12 For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.
Romans 5:8 But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Micah 7:18-19 Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love. He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.
Some experiences will never leave our hearts or minds, but it’s those life changing experiences that mold us in a hopeful way. We must keep looking forward and onward resting in the palm of our Lord. I wish I could hold you young mom, I wish I could know you and tell you that this, this is only a temporary pain. The choices we make can’t define us but can refine us. Even when it seems we are defined at times of great length by our poor choices. God can take your life and call it his work in progress. The baby inside your womb, may it be blessed. May the Lord God almighty bless that child and seek that unborn baby from the time she/he takes its first gasp of life to it’s very last. Your child is a blessing, regardless the way it came to be. I pray that when you see your baby, you see hope of a new life with Jesus. I wish I could hug you but I hope these words wrap around your soul and bring healing as you realize that God loves you, and that sweet baby.
My heart reaches out to teenage moms. If you’re a teenage mom reading this or a young mom. God, can and will forgive you. There is a new life in him. His word will fill your heart with hope and discipline (that might hurt but trust me, he disciplined those he loves). You are worth more than your choice. You are more. Give your life to Jesus. Return to Jesus. From experience, it was the most beautiful choice I’ve even made.