With the start of the school year, our Teen MOPS year has also started. Our first meeting we had five young moms–three young women returning from last year and two new mommies! I was the speaker at our first meeting and we talked about dreams. I shared how I was a teen mom–just 17 when I had Cory. I shared how I turned my life over to God and how He transformed my heart. I also shared how, with God in my life, I once again started to dream of a good future. I NEVER dreamed that I’d be a writer, speaker, spokesperson, etc. but I did think I could have a good future with God on my side.
These young mommies loved the idea of dreaming. They talked about going to college and getting their degrees. They talked about getting married, having more kids, having a career. All of them spoke of traveling and seeing the world outside of Little Rock, Arkansas. For these young women–many of which were raised by single parents and grew up on public assistance–the dreaming isn’t the hard part. It’s the daily steps that are the struggle.
One young mommy who I had a chance to talk to attends college classes, cares for her baby and works at night. She walks nearly two miles to her job and has to be there at 10:30 p.m. Her boyfriend walks with her, taking their baby in their stroller. She gets just over $7 an hour and is happy when she can get 4 hours of work a night–every little bit helps. She was excited because she’s starting a new job this weekend, passing out food samples.
I’m so proud of her! And she’s just one example. I’m so proud of these young women who come to the meetings to learn to be good mommies. Most of them have been raised with tough life circumstances, but they keep fighting–doing the best for themselves and their child.
It makes me think about how easy it is to talk about the “problem” of teen pregnancy, yet few of us really understand it. Yes, these young women made a poor choice to become sexually active as a teen, but that poor choice is followed by hundreds more GOOD choices that people don’t often applaud:
-to have their child
-to continue going to school
-to work minimum wage jobs to pay for diapers
-to walk away from relationships with friends who are poor role models for their child
-to start going to church
-to join support groups
-to learn to be a good mommy
Thinking of all this–knowing all this–makes me want to help them more. And knowing that I may be one of the only loving, caring, encouraging people in their lives brings their names to my lips in prayer throughout the day.
Just yesterday I saw an online post from one of my former teen moms that broke my heart:
Why is it that some people get the best family possible while others are forced to raise themselves because their parents are too drunk/high to even notice they exist….Why are some people so LOVED when others have no one to love them….?
That’s a good question. I also wonder if God HAS brought someone into their lives to love them … but that person just hasn’t taken the steps to do so.
Do you know a teen mom? Maybe the person God brought into her love to encourage her is you.
Do you see a teen mom struggling? Maybe God made you aware so you can help.
Do you wish teen moms had more support? Maybe you’re the one He’s called to begin a support group or offer to babysit.
Do you know a young woman who’s looking for love in all the wrong places? Maybe you’re the one to show her love like she’s never known … and point her to Jesus, the Lover of her souls, who will never leave her.
I’m so thankful for those men and women who took the time to encourage me, help me, offer me support, babysit and point me to Jesus. Without those people in my life who knows where I’d be?
Because of those people in my life … my life, my kids’ lives, and the lives of those I influence will never be the same.