Tightly Stretched Between Motherhood & High School

Remember the days in elementary school when it felt like summer vacation was a million years away? I remember it feeling like an eternity. A little dramatic, I know, but it dragged on forever. Now it seems like months fly by unnoticed. We had our final meeting of the school year for YoungLives Club last Thursday and it seems like we were just getting started. Wasn’t it just Christmas?! The girls still have a few classes to complete and finals to take but, for the most part, this school year is behind us. Of course, we still have prom in a couple of weeks so we do have that to look forward to. But Club is always a very special time of sharing and fellowship with these teen families and it’s always a blessing. The structure is always the same but the actual events differ greatly from week to week. We have the privilege of being part of their lives as they navigate family life and teen life.

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Imagine a day in the life of a teen mom as she’s tightly stretched between motherhood and finishing high school. As if one or the other isn’t a monumental task in itself. These moms are amazing! Their love for their kids and families is fierce and the one thing that stood out to me this year is that most, if not all, are focused and determined to create a future for herself and her baby. More than that, they’re willing to do the work that will lead to that end.

This week, two of our leaders shared intimate stories about events in their lives that greatly impacted their faith. Both were challenged to look at their circumstances and then reconcile what they saw and felt with their understanding that God loves them and has a perfect plan and purpose for everything that they face. We were reminded that God is the Creator of all things and that He can make beautiful things out of dust and ashes. That He can bring something good from the pain that threatens to cripple us. That even in the depths of our sin He stands with open arms waiting to welcome us home, into His presence.

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Sarah shared a beautiful story and visual demonstration of God’s grace and love.

May these precious mommas believe that no matter what her circumstances or how bad life treats her, no matter how far she may feel from God He is making us new and He makes all things beautiful. Above all else, may they know and believe that nothing can keep us from His love. Will you pray with me this summer that the seeds of faith planted in the hearts of these young men and women will be watered and tended to and that the joy of the Lord will be their strength? ~ Sue Groff, Committee Member

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Sue and her granddaughter Londyn

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“Change-ing” Lives

Hello my name is Cristen, I am not much of a blogger but I am passionate about this ministry and the opportunity to share how you can “change lives with your spare change’”!

“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all…”               Galatians 6:9-10b

This verse has always been an encouragement to me. And, although I may not always see the fruit of my labor, God’s Word promises that there will be a season of reaping if I do not give up. Not everyone is called into the same ministry, we are all given specific giftings to serve, but as this portion of scripture suggests, as believers in Christ we should be doing good to all, as we have opportunity. What does this look like practically? Well, I suppose it can be manifested in many different ways, but one way could be as simple as gathering our loose change to impact two generations this summer.

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If you don’t already know, for the past 5 years, the North OC YoungLives staff and volunteers have been encouraging teen moms to experience a wonderful gospel focused camp in Arizona. This camp is special because the teens (from many different areas) can bring their babies and it has made such a positive impact on those that have attended in the past. It is a time of really fun activities and focused teaching that reinforces all they’ve learned the past school year at Club night events.

 

 

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As you can imagine, camp is a pretty big expense but something that I and the North OC YoungLives Committee believe is well worth raising money for! One of the ways I’ve personally been excited to help with camp fundraising is our annual Baby Bottle campaign that launched on Mother’s Day and will wrap up on Father’s Day. We get the chance to hand out empty baby bottles to different churches, friends, co-workers, etc… and they get to participate by filling up the bottles with coins, cash, or checks. It’s an easy way for everyone to get in on the action of sending these young moms and their babies to what is touted as being “the best week of their lives!” at camp.

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If you want to join me in this opportunity to do good and share, get a baby bottle by contacting us at northocyounglives@gmail.com.

Cristen Gerum, YoungLives Committee Member

 

God Does Special

It’s always such a treat having one of our volunteers guest write for the blog and this week doesn’t disappoint with Tricia Poissonnier sharing from her viewpoint about last week’s Santa Ana Club night.

It sounded a little like a personal ad.  The closing lines read, “Message me if you would like more info.  We would love you heart and your help”.  That’s the post I put out on social media – not really knowing what kind of a response to expect, but trusting in, and hoping for, God to “work things out” like  HE always does.  It was going to be a special club for May since Mother’s Day was just around the corner and we wanted it to be just that, SPECIAL for all of our teen moms.

Man, can God do SPECIAL!

When I arrived at Newsong, Maria was already set up with beautiful table décor  – flower bouquets for every mom to take home.  Nothing says Mother’s Day like fresh flowers, right?

I got busy setting up the craft – sugar body scrubs.  The girls would make them and get to choose between orange, lemon, lavender or peppermint as their scent of choice.  There was also a little gift of a face mask and hand sanitizer for each young mom.  Because nothing says Mother’s Day like a little pampering, right?

dsc_0321.jpgWhile all of this was going on, barbers were setting up on the other side of the room.  They had come to give the men – daddies and little guys alike – complimentary haircuts.  As the chairs started filling up with takers, the young moms stood by with smiles and satisfaction.  They admired their boyfriends or tried to keep their little ones still and distracted while the barbers did their magic.  Because nothing says Mother’s Day like a Mom taking care of the ones she loves.

Then my friend arrived to set up a photo corner.  She was the first one to have responded to my social media post.  She came with a gorgeous backdrop of paper flowers and starting clicking off pictures of the moms and their little ones.  Each mom addressed an envelope to herself not quite knowing why.  Well, the secret’s out of the bag now – – – we’ll be dropping Mother’s Day cards and these pictures in the mail for them to receive on Mother’s Day.  Because nothing says Mother’s Day like photos and keepsakes to mark special times over the years.

After a delicious dinner, the teens settled in for the message. The kids were taken into child care where 4 of my other friends whose hearts had been tugged at by my social media post showed up to hold babies and play with toddlers.  The message told of the prodigal son and the way he was welcomed back into his father’s arms without question or hesitation.  Then the kids got an amazing visual on how man, sin, and God really work.  It was kind of a science experiment-y thing with magical color changing liquids, but it tangibly showed the kids how Jesus takes all of our sin away if we will just let him pour into us. Because nothing says Mother’s Day like an encouraging word (us mamas need lots of them to do what we do every day and not grow weary), and God’s word encourages far better than any friend or advice column!

img_1249.jpgAll of our teen moms left the evening feeling special – I hope, anyway.  I left the evening feeling so thankful for women who had responded to a little heart nudge via social media.  I felt like they too had received a little early Mother’s Day gift they probably weren’t expecting – the blessing of serving others and having a front row seat to seeing just how well our God does SPECIAL!

Tricia, Santa Ana Volunteer

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Tricia with her own daughter Claire

 

Like A Family

For this week’s blog post, we are excited to introduce you to one of our young moms, Yessie. She and her husband David, and their two beautiful daughters attend the Huntington Beach Club nights. Yessie kindly answered a few interview questions for us…so that you could know her just a little bit better. (We think you’ll love her!)

Tell us a little about you…your girls, your husband.  Well, my name is Yessie and I have two little girls. One is two years old and the other one is eight months. The oldest one is named Grace and the little one is Faith. My husband’s name is David and we’ve been married for  one year.

Yessie_and_familyHow long have you been coming to YoungLives?  I have been going to YoungLives around two and a half years.

How did you first find out about YoungLives?  I found out about YoungLives in my high school in a teen parenting class.

How would you describe what YoungLives is?  YoungLives is like my second family.

DSC_0268What would you say to another teen parent to convince them to try YoungLives?  That YoungLives is caring, loving, and they’re like a family.

What is your favorite part about Club night?  I love everything they do, but my favorite part is when they teach about the Word of God.

dsc_0261.jpgWhat are your dreams/goals?  My dream is to get back into singing and playing the piano at church to our God.

What is the hardest part of being a mom? What is the BEST part of being a mom?  The hardest part of being a mom is leaving them when you have to work and they’re crying because you’re leaving. Also when they run and fall and hurt themselves, it hurts me seeing my babies cry 😢

My favorite part of being a mom is playing with them, singing to them as they fall asleep, and coming home from work and seeing their beautiful smiles.

~Yessie