These last few days I have felt so in awe of the way that God uses willing hearts to make a large impact. Exactly a year ago, Tom and I had our first conversation about the possibility of starting YoungLives in Huntington Beach. For those of you that don’t know, YoungLives is Young Life’s ministry to teen moms. Looking back on the last 12 months since we had that conversation I see that there was definitely a need for this ministry in our area and cannot imagine if we had not listened to the nudge to move forward. Today, I am surrounded by incredible leaders who are mentoring young moms and are making a true impact on their daily lives. We have about 25 girls that are a part of YoungLives that come from Huntington Beach, Westminster and Fountain Valley. We strive to pair up each teen mom with a mentor that’s main goals are to love unconditionally and provide support. We get the privilege of hearing their stories, holding their babies, and cheering them on as the face many of life’s struggles. I would love for you to hear one of the young moms’ stories from her own perspective.
At our last club, Monique got a CD with professional pictures of herself and her son Robert, that were kindly donated by two professional photographers from our church. When she got home she posted one of the pictures on facebook and wrote the following as her “status.”
“The amazing feeling you have when you have someone in your life you’re willing to change for because you care so much for them, you don’t want them to get hurt. I was 12 years old when i got pregnant, 13 when i had my child [everyday i get judged, but I’ve gotten so use to it; it doesn’t even bother me anymore. Without my mother, i don’t know what i would have done. I was in 7th grade & because of the judgment, i kept from going to school and because of that i’m 1 grade behind in my grad. year. But honestly that just give me more reason to push hard, so i can give my son the life he deserves. My CHILD is my motivation and inspiration, he is also my weakness & STRENGTH. I AM A TEEN MOTHER & WE ARE YOUNG LIVES :)”
When I asked Monique if we could share a little bit about her story she said that the only thing she wanted to add was that her pregnancy was indeed a mistake but her child was not. She explained how she believes that God used her son Robert to change her life and pull her out of the lifestyle she was living. A few weeks prior to this post several of the mentors became aware that Monique was struggling with some self-worth and depression issues. We were able to shower her with love, prayer and positive affirmations. It is amazing how a year ago we didn’t know Monique or any of the other teen moms we are now in relationship with. I am so thankful that we get to enter in to these girls’ stories at the climax of their brokenness and just be with them.
PS -thanks to Whitney Schey for photography