This week I journeyed to Oklahoma City to explore Whole Foods Market. I was so excited all morning.. carefully planning my list, getting the diaper bag packed, situating the Moby. Even Carter was excited! I couldn’t wait to check out this new grocery store where nothing was off limits because of refined sugar or GMOs.
We were jamming out to Taylor Swift and I thought nothing could get me down. And then it did.
Because I am not familiar with OKC, I took the wrong road to get there. Not the wrong road in that it would not lead me to Whole Foods Market… it did…. but we went through what is probably referred to as “the bad part of town.”
As we were passing under a bridge I saw a billboard for Planned Parenthood.
I wish I was joking when I said that I have googled this billboard and I’m unable to find it online, so I’ll just have to explain it in detail.
The billboard was blue. It had a woman on it with a condescending look and in big white letters it said, “You know what you can’t afford as a teenager? A baby.”
My heart instantly broke. I started to cry and I remembered the day that I found out that I was pregnant with Carter. Though I knew that many people would be happy for us, I was terrified. I was only 18 years old and I didn’t have the first clue about being a mom. It was Whitney’s birthday and we drove to Pensacola. On the way there, I saw a billboard. It said, “Pregnant? Scared? There is hope!” Then it listed a Women’s Health Center.
What if I had seen the other billboard instead of the one offering hope? Would we still have my sweet Carter today? I cringe at the thought, but for many young girls, they cringe too late. They end up with emotional and physical damage that is sometimes impossible to repair.
I’m not saying that teenage girls can afford babies, but there are programs in place specifically for them. There are homes where they can go. Nothing is so bad that God can’t get you out.
All day long it broke my heart. Faces of pregnant teens flashed through my mind.. many, like myself, who found redemption through Jesus and live wonderful, Christ-centered lives with husbands and children. Many who don’t have to concern themselves with working as a single mom… But also many who chose a different path. Many who, instead of pouring their heart into the child and serving God, pour their heart into earthly things… And then even others who chose not become a mom in order to do some sort of good for their child and still live with the guilt of their decision.
I think that it is always possible to have normalcy. You choose your life. I worked really hard to be where I am today, but mostly, I relied fully on God to get me here. I trusted that if this is what he wanted for my life, he would make it happen.. and he did. It’s possible for anyone, no matter what the circumstance.
Jesus taught that faith will save you and does so in such a beautiful way in Luke Chapter 7…
“When a certain immoral woman from that city heard he was eating there, she brought a beautiful alabaster jar filled with expensive perfume. Then she knelt behind him at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them.
When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know what kind of woman is touching him. She’s a sinner!”
As we all know, Jesus was so much more than a prophet… and he knew exactly who was touching him. Here’s what he said a few verses later….
“Then Jesus told him this story: ‘A man loaned money to two people- 500 pieces of silver to one and 50 pieces to the other. But neither of them could repay him, so he kindly forgave them both, canceling their debts. Who do you suppose loved him more after that?’
Simon answered, ‘I supposed the one for whom he cancelled the larger debt.’
‘That’s right,’ Jesus said. Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, ‘Look at this woman kneeling here. When I entered your home, you didn’t offer me water to wash the dust from my feet, but she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You didn’t greet me with a kiss, but from the time I first came in, she has not stopped kissing my feet. You neglected the courtesy of olive oil to anoint my head, but she has anointed my feet with rare perfume. I tell you, her sins- and they are many- have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven that shows only little love.’ Then Jesus said to the woman, Your sins are forgiven….. Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
And they are many….
Those four words overwhelm my soul. My sins are many, but I have been forgiven for all of them. They no longer define me, Jesus defines me.
She was broken and hurting. She fell at the feet of Jesus… literally.
As we are called to love like Jesus loved, shouldn’t we minister to those who are broken and hurting?
I know I am extremely sensitive to teen pregnancy, but this is applicable advice for any area of brokenness.
Maybe it’s just me, but I notice so much more hate than I notice love… In a world that’s full of hate, how can we claim to be any different if we’re really just hating in a different way?
I challenge every Christ lover to be different.. to choose love. Choose to embrace those who are brokenhearted at the feet of Jesus, even if they’re only there because they have no where else to go. Choose to give them hope for a better life… a great life… instead of ending a life.
Be team love because love ALWAYS wins.