I turned eighteen on November 14th and my son was born on December 14th. Barely eighteen years old and a momma to a beautiful baby boy.
Afraid. Excited. Feeling like a grown up and a little girl in the same skin.
And that’s exactly what I was.
I had just entered the world of grown up responsibilities but my new role as a mom didn’t change the fact that I was still a teenager.
With little help from others and a hard road ahead of me, I did the best I could to be a good momma.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have anyone to help me navigate the waters of motherhood and the many mistakes I made along the way only served as a reminder of how desperate I was for a shoulder to lean on, a heart to listen and an older woman to help me down the motherhood path.
It was a new road for me, but one many a mom before me had walked.
So, after a brief marriage and divorce, I made the mom journey alone.
But it’s not supposed to be that way.
Today, statistics tell us that the rate of teen pregnancies has declined. But even so, 26% of today’s children are being raised by teen moms and a little over 50% of children are being raised by single moms.
I’ve walked both roads alone and I know how hard they can be.
A little over a year ago I launched The M.O.M. Initiative. It was a clear call on my life to help the body of Christ become intentionally missional about mentoring.
Not in spite of the fact that I was a teen mom, but because I was a teen mom.
Not because I had a great mentor who helped me make a host of wise decisions, but because I didn’t. And because I should have.
And so should you, sweet teen mom. And so should your pregnant teen daughters and friends.
What would happen if the church chose to come along side of these young moms and loved them with the love of Jesus? What if we helped them discover how powerful and important their role as a mother is? What if they knew you would be there for them when they felt afraid or didn’t know what to do?
Here are 5 ways you can help a teen mom in her journey:
1. Validate the little life they chose to carry ~ While there may be accidental parents, there are no accidental people. Each life is a Divine design, carefully crafted by the Creator of the universe, regardless of how he or she was conceived. And the fact that she chose life for the precious bundle of joy speaks volumes to her courage and her heart.
2. Be there for her ~ She has just entered an unfamiliar world of grown up responsibility and the relentless 24/7 life of a mother. It’s scary and she won’t always know what to do. Making yourself not only accessible but also proactively helpful will mean the world to that young mom.
3. Accept her and her baby ~ I was recently asked if it was okay to have a baby shower for an unmarried teen mom and my immediate response was, ABSOLUTELY! How can the church of the Living God expect to win her to Christ and minister to her if it shuns her? A baby shower doesn’t condone sex before marriage, but it does create an opportunity to love her with the love of Jesus. A stone is never cast from a heart who knows the depth of its own sin. Jesus is the Judge. We are called to love.
4. Mentor that young momma ~ Be intentional about mentoring her. Look for different resources and materials to use as a tool to speak truth into her life. Schedule a weekly day at the park, at the local coffee shop or offer to buy her lunch each week as you walk through a book about parenting together or a book of the Bible. But meet her where she is at and begin to mentor her. She’ be glad you did.
5. Be her buffer when necessary ~ You can’t protect her from every word that will wound her heart, but it’s sad how many ‘well meaning’ Christian women will wield their words like a sword and heap coals of condemnation on that precious young mom. You can serve as a buffer for those who use their tongues to slice and dice instead of speaking life into their vulnerable hearts.
Because I was a teen mom, I know how hard it is to see the eyes roll and to hear the sneers of those who hurt the wounded in the name of religion and then wonder why they don’t want to go to church.
Because I was a teen mom, I know how hard it is to find myself overwhelmed by the mounting bills, the incessant diaper changing, the temper tantrums and the terrible twos, and I long to see the church nurture real relationships with teen moms in need.
There are teen moms all around. They need us to step in and be willing to help them when they are afraid, weary, worn out and overwhelmed.
QUESTION: WHAT ELSE CAN WE DO TO HELP TEEN MOMS? DOES YOUR CHURCH HELP TEEN MOMS?
If you’d like to know more about how you can help teen moms by beginning a M.O.M. Mentor Group, visit The M.O.M. Initiative at http://www.themominitiative.com/join-here/.
If you are interested in having me come speak at your next event to share a message about mentoring, how you can begin a M.O.M. Mentor Group or one of my other speaking topics, please feel free to contact me by clicking this link.