Monday, September 25, 2006

Your Teenage Pregnant Daughter

A comment from an old friend was posted on my blog a few days ago. I wanted to answer Amy privately, but there was no return email address so I'll post the answer here.

Here's Amy's comments and question:
Hey! I had no idea you were a grandpa! Congrats! I'm assuming, because her name is Mondok, that Charity isn't married... I'd love to pick your brain a bit - my little sister (16) just told us she's pregnant and the baby's coming in December. Well, she told us in July, but it was quite a shocker. The other thing (not a big deal to me, but has my dad just about to jump off a bridge) is that the daddy is black. Any advice??

I'll never forget the night I found out Charity was pregnant. She was still 18. Our electricity had just come back on after being knocked out for about a week after Hurricane Wilma blew through last October. Charity planned the timing of the delivery of her news quite well. I was in bed about 11:30pm when she called my wife's cell phone which she always keeps on her night stand on her side of the bed. Charity knew I was fast asleep and that her momma is a light sleeper and would be the one to answer the phone. Charity did not want me to be the one to answer.

I woke to hearing Susan's voice out in the living room. She was on the phone with Charity, and while I lay in bed I began to listen in on Susan's side of the conversation. Suddenly it felt like the cieling landed on my chest when I figured out what they were talking about. My heart was broken.

Susan and I stayed up the rest of the night and just talked. Charity had done four of those home pregnancy tests that day and all of them came up positive. I'm proud of her because she didn't wait even a whole day before she let us know. She couldn't tell me not because she feared my wrath, but because she knew that I'd be broken hearted. She told her mom that she was going to stay away for a couple of days while the news sank in. The next day, I didn't call her, but I text messaged her: "I love you." She text messaged back: "I love you, too."

I wish I could say that she and I have handled this whole thing with perfect ease, but we haven't. We've had our share of tears and playing the "blame game." Susan and I were looking forward to an empty nest to put it quite frankly. Maybe we would go back into the mission field. We're relatively young for parents with teens getting ready to move out (we both turned forty in the past year and our youngest is eighteen with plans to move out) and we thought that we were going to be an active in ministry, childless couple. "Who knows where we'll go to serve the Lord next?" But now we have a baby in the house.

There are two things I've learned:
  1. I don't get to determine my destiny, I just get to shape it a little.
  2. It's not the baby's fault.

Here's how this whole thing relates to God: ALL children are a gift from Him (Psalm 127:3) and ALL of us are conceived in sin (Psalm 51:5). And Jesus has an attitude toward children that cannot be ignored. In Matthew 18, Jesus brings a child into the middle of the crowd as an object lesson to those arguing about who is the greatest (Matthew 18:1-5). Jesus said that if you want to be great, become like a child. He went on to warn anyone listening (or reading) how bad the consequences would be to the one who hurt, sinned against, or caused a child to sin (Matthew 18:6), and it ain't pretty. Jesus said that each little boy and girl is assigned an angel and that this angel stands in the presence of God the Father (Matthew 18:10). I want to be on the angel's good side as he makes his report to our Father.

Here's the bottom line: God has given me the chance to participate with Him in loving this child.

I can be angry and blame my daughter for wrecking my plans. But that's just childish. God would not bring this situation into my life if He didn't build me to handle it. What rings in my ears is the verse in Acts where Jesus tells Saul, "It is hard for you to kick against the goads."

About the baby-daddy: you're right. It doesn't matter that he's black. But from your father's point of view, red or yellow, black or white; ain't none o' them gonna be precious in his sight. The man knocked up his little girl. But it's his grandchild and your father has been given the chance to participate with God in loving this child. He also has the chance to participate with God and forgive the foolishness and sin of his daughter.

I realized that my daughter just got caught doing the things I (and her mother) got away with.

Here's how I handled things with our baby-daddy. Something that none of us are proud of is that in Charity's case, over the course of two weeks, there were two candidates. I made it my goal to befriend both of them. One of these guys was most likely going to be a part of my life for some time. Maybe this guy would become a life-long friend somehow. One guy was very receptive. For the most part, that's another story for another time, but the short of it is that this guy made a profession of faith in Christ and was baptised. But he didn't turn out to be the dad. The other guy, I became aquainted with and was friendly toward him, but he left town shortly after the baby was born. It turns out that he's the biological father. And I'm still praying that the Lord will open the door for a relationship between him and I in the future.


Anonymous said...

Yes, Bryon, thank you. Wow. In the situation of my sister, she's 5' tall, about 100# - spent the entire summer in a bikini and no one could tell! She didn't tell us until she was 21 weeks along - and then, only because she was taken to the ER b/c of a kidney infection. Talk about a shock!

The most shocking thing is, none of us knew she was even sexually active. She has always been a "good girl" and made such smart decisions (athletics, no drinking, no smoking, no drugs - we assumed no sex) - and she's SO close to my other sister and hadn't told her either, so we were all very surprised.

I'm kind of glad she waited to tell us - other than the drawback of it all happening so fast, it eliminated the "option" that my dad wanted and reallllllly insisted on until he was told it just could NOT happen.

Dad is coming around in some ways - he watched the video of the sonogram, and he's resigned to the fact that he, too, will not have an empty nest anytime soon. But the thing with the baby's dad... he won't even let this boy come to the house. And you're right - it wouldn't have mattered what color he was, he would've been upset no matter what, however... to my dad, unfortunately, the fact that one of "his little girls" dates a black man is WORSE than the fact that one of them is having a baby while she's still in high school. It's like his 2 worst nightmares rolled into one - and the black part is worse than the baby part. Ugh. (And, for the record, he's a very nice boy who really seems to care about my sister and the soon-to-arrive baby - he's 19, in college, works, etc...)

I plan to print out your blog and let my dad see it - he's not a believer, but he DID pick up the Bible the night he found out... Said, "when's the last time you saw me in THERE?" I tried to point him to specific passages, but I don't think he was receptive to me - perhaps he will be to someone in his shoes. Thank you for sharing your story, Bryon - so much.

Much love to you, Suzy and your family.

Oh - and I apologize if you would have rather sent that privately - I DID enter my email address in the "log in" screen here, but didn't realize it doesn't come out in the comments.

Anonymous said...

Oh - and for future reference - my email is

Anonymous said...

Not a surprise to God that you didn't have Amy's email address... I am sure many people have been ministered to. Thank you, to you and to Susan and Charity, for being so transparent. You said,"Who knows where we'll go to serve the Lord next?" I guess God made that clear! You are serving the Lord as you love on little Ali Rae and as you come along side Charity to love and support her. I just met a wonderful woman who had a baby at age 18... She is now 33, has 3 more children and has been married for 8 years to a wonderful Christian man. She also is a speech therapist. She had loving parents that made all the difference in the world for her and her son. The biological father was never in the picture, but her son was adopted by her husband and treated as his own. She also said that she wouldn't be the woman she is today had she not walked through that. Not one of us could cast a single stone... your words were brave and honest. Thank you for giving to the Lord. Little Ali Rae's life and the life of Charity are changed because you and Susan have chosen to love. God is blessing you with the gift of time with your granddaughter. I am sure you wouldn't trade that for anything! Ali is the only baby I know with a blog!! If she is like my little Caleb, she takes your breath away every time you look at her! They are indeed a total and complete blessing!!!

Carole Turner said...

WOW. I teared up reading that. I can't imagine how painful that whole process must have been and yet, you have a grandchild, how great is that?

As the mother of a bi-racial boy, whom we adopted, I would like to speak to Amy and say, my step father was die hard racist, and he also was furious with us for adopting when we had a diabetic daughter who he adores. But we put Steele (our son) in his arms and let me tell you, that inocent love melted a hard heart. Everytime Steele see's his Pappa Baloo (Baloo the bear from Jungle book- cuz' he looks like a bear) he wants to just be near him and my step dad feels the same for him.

God gave us both our children, they teach us all so much and show Jesus to my step dad and others like nothing else can. Steele is being used by God to touch him like nothing else could.

Children truley are a blessing.