On Tuesday, April 23rd, our doors opened for the first time that morning to a young girl at 11:30 am. She didn’t know anyone who had already been here. She didn’t read about us on the website. She didn’t even have an appointment. She just saw our sign, and walked into our center. She needed confirmation of her pregnancy, but she truly needed so much more. I walked her into the counseling room, and introduced myself into her hopeless season.
She was just 16 years old, working to earn her G.E.D. Her boyfriend, also 16, was on schedule to graduate early. They wanted to provide for this baby together as their own, little family unit. The plans were already made: They would live in his parents’ house until he graduated. They would then move into an apartment together to raise their new baby themselves, no further help from his family and no initial help from her’s. This was the life she planned for herself. She planned to have a child right then at 16 years old. But why? Why was her family unconcerned? Why was she running into this unstable life? Without prompting, she admitted the reasons to my unasked questions.
“My mom is dying.”
She continued to explain that her mom was diagnosed with cervical cancer only a year previously. Now the cancer had attacked to such a vicious degree that her mom laid at home, heavily sedated and unconscious. The doctors involved in her mom’s case told the family that she only had 3 more weeks to live, if that long. Cancer, as so common with the disease, ravaged this woman’s body beyond medical rescue.
The client’s older brother planned to move his wife and baby into a home together once his mother died. The client’s younger brother planned to move into their father’s house. This family’s father, long-divorced from their mother, did not even speak with our young client. The moment his ex-wife had passed away, he planned to sign over his custody to whoever his daughter decided to live with. No fight. No offer of comfort or protection. Just immediate rejection.
Her security in a family structure was first struck with the excruciating pain of divorce. Then a ruthless, fatal disease struck second. Her guaranteed future as a legally parentless minor finally demolished all security the word “family” once provided. She ached so desperately to have that acceptance again, to be a wanted, vital member of a family -no matter what that looked like-that she planned to start one herself. This was the journey that brought this 16 year old girl into my counseling room.
With such a sense of loneliness in the room, I shared the only hope she could find rest. I told her about the relentless pursuit of her Creator to have a relationship with her. I told her that rejection in the Garden of Eden wasn’t enough to push God away. He saw that the only way for her to even have the option for relationship with Him was the merciless death of His own Son-and He saw her as worth it. I shared with her the impact of choosing Christ, and the assurances He brings. She intently listened, but, once I finished speaking, she simply gave a short response of a few “I don’t know”s. Though she did allow me to pray over her, she kept her heart closed.
The pregnancy test read positive.
Her dad doesn’t care.
Her mom is too sedated to even hear the words that her only daughter is having a baby.
“So you are no longer strangers and outsiders. You are citizens together with God’s people.
You are members of God’s family.”
You are members of God’s family.”
This young girl is frantically searching, but she’s just finding herself even more lost. Pray that she remembers the Savior that she learned about today. Pray for understanding in her estranged father and healing in her dying mother. Pray that this 16 year old, pregnant girl knows that she is noticed, wanted, and unashamedly loved by the Father. Pray that her heart softens and realizes the Hope that is waiting to embrace her, protect her, and secure her in His family.