Have you ever faced something and thought, There’s no way I’m going to make it through this? Did that journey start on what felt like a never-ending path of darkness? Was hope the most impossible thing to find? I’ve been there, and I know that feeling all too well. Teenage pregnancy can seem like the end of your life. But I survived. And I’ve learned the keys to surviving just about anything!
I was two months away from high school graduation when I heard the scariest two words a teen like me could hear from a doctor: “You’re pregnant.” In a moment, my world turned upside down. Every plan I had for what would come next in life seemed to fall apart, and I was terrified. My mom was with me and we both just cried. Every emotion was present over the next few months as my new reality set in and I began my journey toward motherhood.
It’s been over 10 years since that day, and while it hasn’t always been easy, the time has allowed me to see God’s persistent love for us in a whole new way. Whether you find yourself in a situation with an unplanned pregnancy, or you know someone going through it, I want to share three things that are helpful to remember when times get tough.
- Forgive. Colossians 3:13 tells us to “forgive as the Lord forgave you.” I know this sounds like the typical “Christian” thing to say. I mean, I grew up in church and heard all about forgiveness. But when I found myself with what felt like a “big sin,” it was hard to believe that God was just going to just wipe this one away. I carried the shame of being a teen mom for far too long. Everyone knew what I had done. There was no hiding or getting away from it. It wasn’t until a pastor asked me these simple questions that I finally broke free from that bondage. He said: “You realize God has already forgiven you, right? So, have you forgiven yourself?” Once you’ve forgiven yourself, walk in that freedom and believe God for restoration!
- Believe. Mark 5:36 says, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” For a long time, I feared that God couldn’t use me anymore. When I finally forgave myself, I had to start believing that I wasn’t ruined, and God wasn’t done with me. Believe that God has more in store for you than what statistics say about teen moms. Believe that through this, He will teach you something that you can one day use to help others. Most importantly, believe that He is good. He is creating something new, a new life, and you have the opportunity to teach this child about who God is and how much He cares for them.
- Don’t quit. The days are going to be long, and things will be hard, but you have to keep going! It’s easy to hope for a season to pass, but we miss so much of what God wants to show us by trying to get out of the storm. Embrace where you are, seek Him, and keep following Him one step at a time. Lean into the people He has placed in your life, and allow them to walk through this with you. And when you’re short on sleep and the baby won’t stop crying, ask for help. There is nothing wrong with needing a break. Motherhood is hard work but it’s so very worth it! Keep going, momma.
If you’re a family member, friend, or church leader of a teen mom, you play a huge part in the success of this new family. There’s no way I would be where I am without the love and support of my community. People who were willing to throw baby showers, check in on me, and love on my sweet little girl. The three points above aren’t just for someone going through teenage pregnancy—they’re also for you! You can help a teen mom see that she’s forgiven and move past whatever shame or hurt she carries. You can believe in her and cheer her on to accomplish her goals. Believe that God has great things for her and her child! And you can’t quit, either. There will come a day when your wisdom and support are needed, and you will stand ready and able to pour into her!
No one ever wishes for a trial, but they come anyway. The next time you find yourself staring down a hopeless path, remember to drop the shame, believe God has a purpose, and just keep going!