Whether you’ve been a parent for 2 days or 2 decades – you know that it’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do. From the second you know you’re expecting, you start to give things up in order for the baby to be healthy, happy and taken care of. You make sacrifices and go without for yourself you need to, just so that they can have what they need. You spend your every waking second thinking about them, caring for them, and worrying about them.
Unfortunately, this parenting thing doesn’t come with a very good set of instructions for all of the issues we run into, does it? What if they get colic and just cry all the time? What if they throw a tantrum in the middle of Target? What if the teacher says they have a learning disorder?
What if you find out your 16 year old daughter is pregnant?
This is our story. This was the last few years of our lives.
The relationship that you have with your child is one of sacrificial love, but there are times that love can be tested. Before our daughter got pregnant, there were years that were extremely hard and tested the boundaries of what we could take as young parents. We didn’t live anywhere near any family and obviously none of our friends even had teenagers yet, so we had few places to retreat to.
But God is faithful.
During this time of the breaking down of our relationship with our daughter, God was faithful to build our marriage up to a place that was different and stronger than it ever had before. Let me just say, honestly, that if I would have lost the stability of my marriage at that time I’m not sure I would be here today. For us, the first few months after finding out were like going through a grieving process. For days we laid in bed and just cried, feeling like it was the end of the world almost. We had no idea what we were going to do. We had no idea how our family would ever heal after something so devastating and life altering.
In those first 2 weeks we had lots of “meetings”…we met with the boys parents (and I cried so hard in the parking lot that I didn’t even think I could go in and meet with them), we met with the elders of our church (who were very encouraging and helpful, where we cried some more), we met with the house parents of a home here for teenage mothers (which is where our daughter stayed for a few months, and we cried). I think back on this time as a “setting in” of sorts. It’s like your family is being picked up out of their lives and just dropped into something brand new and scary. There’s a huge transitioning with confusion and chaos, but then you start to settle in a bit and realize that this is your “new” normal.
There are so many testimonies of how we made it through those first few months, too many for one blog, but the thing that God showed to us through this whole time was that He is faithful. It’s during this storm that He gave us our family scripture:
“For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”. Jeremiah 29:11
Those first few months, I wanted to give up. I was angry and I didn’t understand how God could allow this to happen, how He could stand back and watch our family get torn apart – both by the unexpected pregnancy and by our difficult relationship with our daughter. I wanted to give up on hope, on thinking our family could ever be normal again. I tried to squash out hope, to give up, but no matter how hard I tried to get rid of it, that mustard seed of hope would not vanish. He hung on to me when I was trying to let Him go.
It’s not easy, and some days I still feel like I’m not sure how this is going to work out, but He’s faithful. He brings us one step closer to Him every day. There might have to be some breaking, but it’s better to be a broken and poured out vessel that can be used than a perfect looking vessel made to just sit on the shelf and be looked at. If you’re going through something and you think that He isn’t there with you, just hold on by faith and know that His perfect plan is always being worked out, even in the middle of the storm.