Today I sat in church and listened to six young people talk about how the church and God helped them in their lives. I already knew The Teen’s speech would cause tears because I helped proof read it. I didn’t know I would leave with one of those “the student teaches the master moments.”
I was amazed at each young person who spoke, each saying how they struggled with anger, behavior, expectations, and even the existence of God. I shook my head, agreeing with their words, laughing and doing a lot of eye dabbing. I look at how much The Teen has grown and I’m surprised it went so fast. Watching these other children that were around the church, it really hit home that it takes that village to raise a child. We, the church, are that village.
Sometimes, we forget that we are the village working together for the greater good. As one of the young ladies recounted finding out that she would be a teen mom, I saw myself in her speech. Not the parts about the love and support she received from the church family, but the feelings of judgment and isolated from being a teen mom.
Pregnancy at any age is difficult. It’s a life changing decision. When I had The Teen I was young and dumb. Eighteen years later I am able to call myself a mom and not feel that awkwardness that came from trying to change a diaper or the feeling that I just wanted to play one more round of Mortal Kombat when The Teen wanted to go outside to play.
The young lady could have been talking about me. Listening to her speech, I saw myself in the descriptions of people who commented about her. I know more than one stink eye was cast her way when she mentioned something a non pregnant teen “should” only be doing. When she accompanied the church to a youth outing, I thought how inappropriate that this unwed very pregnant girl was around these “holy” kids. When pictures of her attending her prom surfaced on Facebook, once again, I made a snide remark about this child.
That’s correct, me, the person who named some of the folks at church as belonging to “The League of Extraordinary Christians” for their holy rolling, bible thumping, hypocritical ways. At some point I became one of these people!
Don’t judge someone’s choices without first knowing their reason. ~ Robert Tew
I don’t know how this child strayed from the path she was on to become a teen mother. That will be a story she tells another time. I do know that this young lady spoke of her child with love in her voice, and proudly told the church that DESPITE the extra responsibility, she would be attending school in the fall on a full scholarship.
I left the service, teary, with streaked makeup. I learned something from this young lady about perseverance and holding on to my faith even when it gets shaky. I learned today that what we see isn’t always what’s real.
Who are you to judge the life I live? I’m not perfect and I don’t live to be. But, before you start pointing fingers, make sure your hands are clean. ~ Bob Marley
This week I’m making a conscious effort to stop judging people. Remember, when you point a finger, three others are pointing back at you.