I've lost my heart to a group of girls. The opportunity to meet them presented itself in September and has continued on through this time. Let me describe the "average" girl at Teen MOPS (Mothers of Pre-schoolers).
She's 18 years old and is the mommy of a one-year old. She chose life for her baby even though people around her encouraged her differently. She's single, raising the child alone without any financial help or assistance from the father. She has family near by, but is living on her own. Currently she's in the Alt-Ed classes at her high school, working to get her diploma. She'd love to go on to college, but doesn't know that she'll be able to with a child and needing to work, but the hope is there. She works a minimum wage job, and receives aid from the government to help with food, her apartment, and day care. Life can get incredibly lonely and overwhelming when you're 17, a mommy, and on your own.
The girl described above is a composite of our girls. But each girl in our Teen MOPS program is unique. They range in age from 16 to 24. Some girls have just the one baby, while others have two, three, or four. Some are married, some are single, some are engaged, some are dating. Girls live at home with their parents or grandparents, live alone, or live with their husbands or boyfriends. Some girls have dropped out of school, or are in regular high school or the Alt-Ed classes. Some girls are taking college classes or vo-tech classes. Many, many, many of our girls, however, have received their high school diploma, which is a big feat (and cause for celebration!) when you're raising babies. All of them, without exception, are truly heroic in that they chose to give life to their precious babies. All of them, again without exception, deal with difficult choices every day as they struggle being young moms. But, all of them -- and I mean ALL of them -- love visiting with other moms who are going through the same stage of life. They love to make the different crafts that we do ... they love to play the silly games that we play ... they love shopping in our Mommy Mart ... and they love visiting with other girls. They laugh and giggle ... share wisdom with each other ... tell stories of sick babies, poopy diapers, paying bills, and listen to others tell their stories as well.
And I love them. I seriously love them all. I love their bravery and their determination. I love their hearts to learn and grow. I love their openness and honesty. I love their hugs and the opportunity to hold their precious babies. I love praying for them and praying with them. I love the fact that each one wants to be the best mommy she can be.
People have told me that I'm doing a wonderful thing (ministering to these girls) and honestly, that just cracks me up whenever I hear it. In reality, it's the other way around. My Teen MOPS girls have opened and expanded my heart. They've blessed me beyond belief and showed me that it IS possible to love people that I've just met. My life will never be the same after meeting them ...
If you're not one of the Teen MOPS girls, you're missing out on a blessing, let me tell you! But you can be a part of our group, even if you live far away. Just continue to pray for them as they continue on this path of life. Pray for their strength and stamina, pray for their growth and maturity, pray for their joy in trying circumstances, pray that they'll come to know Jesus as their Lord, Provider, and Comforter.
Losing my heart has never been so wonderful ...