Thursday, February 10, 2011

Mamahood, among other things

Warning: This post talks a little bit about some things that we usually spell out at our house (ahem, s-e-x) so Jayci doesnt repeat them (and so I don't get too embarrassed) . . . that said, this has been on my mind for a long time and I finally thought I'd share/ask for input. However, please feel free to NOT read this if you might feel uncomfortable or anything. As a side note, this little sex talk has to do with our kiddos and NOT with Adam and I. You don't know me at all if you think I'd be willing to talk about my own s-e-x life in a public place. I'm blushing just thinking about it.

Adam and I have been working with inner-city kids for about four years now. That means all the sweet little third and fourth graders are now full-fledged teenagers. And, to be honest, I really am enjoying working with middle schoolers (although I still love all my little babies too). It's fun to be able to talk to the kids and have real, reciprocal conversations. However, the issues these kids are facing (and forcing us to face too) are slightly more complicated than they were when they were just little 8 and 9 year olds. And quite honestly, they make me shake in my boots at the thought of my own kids entering the teenage years. Basically almost every single one of the 13 and 14 year old kids that we are working with are having sex regularly. Which, really, just blows my mind because I feel as though I didn't even know what sex was when I was that age.

These kids are forced to grow up so quickly, and they live in a culture that's both overtly sexual and doesn't have any qualms about talking about or even demonstrating grown-up things in front of kids. As a result, these kids are knowledgeable (more so than me, honestly. Sometimes they ask me: "becca, do you know what that means?" and i get all flustered and embarrassed and insist that "of course i do!" when really i dont, but that's probably a whole other set of issues to discuss) and acting on that knowledge. And yet, they're still such kids. They don't really understand all of it and they certainly aren't equipped for all the JUNK that comes along with physicality in relationships (disease, emotional attachments, pregnancy etc). We had a kid tell us that she couldn't get pregnant as long as that 'white stuff' dont get inside her. And another kid tell us that the only reason Adam and I could wait until we were married to have sex was because we are white, and that "black folks don't do like that." . . .

Ugh, I can't help but think that our Heavenly Father's heart must just be broken to see how far from Truth His children are living, how desperately ensnared they are by the enemy and the lies he is feeding them. I hate to think of my kids missing out on one of the Father's most precious gifts simply because they never even knew it existed.

The result of all this growing up too fast and confusion and what-not is kids who end up being parents themselves. Like 14 year old girls and boys having children. I'm sorry, but 14-year-olds are still children themselves. Period. And can you see how this perpetuates the whole messy cycle? Of course a teenager who is single and woefully unprepared for high school, let alone parenthood, is only going to repeat the things she's heard and do the things she sees going on around her. Which means her child is going to grow up the exact same way she did, and then probably end up having sex early and maybe becoming a young mother/father themselves.

It's painful really, the hopelessness of the cycle. Because unless something changes, unless someone intervenes, everything is going to stay exactly the way it is. Young boys will become fathers with no sense of responsibility, and no idea what it means to be a FATHER. They will abandon the girls they impregnated, leaving them alone (and ill-equipped) to raise their child. . . It hurts my heart.

So what's the point of this post (besides just depressing you)? I think the key to this whole mess is something I mentioned above. . . . UNLESS SOMETHING CHANGES. That means people stepping in, intervening, and changing the course of these kids' futures. And that's exactly what Adam and I want to do with our ministry. We've been thinking a lot about things like getting these girls on birth control. Because right now, they're not going to stop having sex apparently. So at least maybe we can stop them from getting pregnant while they're still kids themselves . . . (and before you jump on me about what a terrible idea that is and how I shouldn't do anything that would enable these kids to have more sex . . . let me just say that I'm totally torn over the whole issue and am still wrestling through the best way to respond). Or things like educating the girls who DO get pregnant. Because I guarantee you they're not taking prenatal vitamins, nor do they nothing anything about babies needing schedules or sleep or what to feed them and what to feed themselves etc. . . Or about maybe starting a study on s-e-x the way God intended it to be. Or about purity.

I honestly don't know what it will look like moving forward, but I DO know that something needs to be done. Or the cycle is only going to continue.

Today I was reading my friend Marla's blog and she had a fantastic post up about praying through her book (Expecting) for young mothers-to-be in Haiti. And I immediately thought of our girls. Of the prayers that they need to. Or maybe we could get these books to them somehow if they do end up expecting . . . Anyways, all that to say that I would love for you guys to take a minute and lift up the girls we work with to you. Girls who are still children and desperately need the chance to stay that way a little longer. Girls who need Truth. Who need Jesus. And anyone who has any knowledge or insight or ideas on the best way for us to proceed with these kiddos, I would love to hear from you.


  1. Becca, this breaks my heart as well. And you're absolutely right about the cycle. I might get flamed for this, but I think that we all know that changing their sexual habits is going to take time. It involves changing an entire cultural mindset. In the meantime, I think that protecting those girls (and guys) through education and birth control is a smart idea. In the meantime, we'll be praying for you and Adam as you love on them!

  2. Yes, I think you cannot expect someone's actions to change before their heart changes. That's not what Jesus required, and it is simply backwards to salvation. Until we are prompted and guided by the Holy Spirit, ALL our actions are sin, sex or not, because they are done apart from Jesus. So I think meeting a practical need by getting them on birth control is your best option.
    I love you and I love the fact that you're letting your heart wrestle with this issue.

  3. Will pray for wisdom for you, my friend. "Until something changes" sticks with me. Don't we long for Jesus to come and make all things right again? Well done to act on the promptings of the Spirit until then. Blessings, friend.

  4. My heart aches reading this... because I understand. I've been with my group of kiddos that are now in high school - I started with them as tiny 6th graders & now, to look at them.. .only one of them is a virgin now. Its what kids do so OPENLY now... I thought there used to be pressure when I was a teen - nothing like today. It breaks my heart...
    I, personally, have had talks with these girls that if they're not going to stop, then I take the discussion to safety & prevention because while I PRAY they dont continue to have sex, you & I both know there is nothing we can do about it :( its such a hard line to walk as someone who works with young people. Dont want to seem to "encourage" that behavior, but dont want to see them a single mom at the age of 15.
    I'm in this boat with you... & I dont think that many other people know they are in this boat too... they just choose to think we're still on land - ignoring it.
    I will most definitely lift up your girls... & you & your husband continue to work with young men & women, finding the right words.

  5. Oh Becca. I so understand this. I work with little girls that are pregnant sometimes. How in the world you can you be ready for a baby at 13. It breaks my heart. I pray for change every day.

  6. Oh, momma, i love this post! You're heart is so evident and your wrestling so honest. This is, I think, one of the hardest issues the inner-city faces. Abortion is rampant, teenage pregnancy epidemic, and sex is like jumping rope. praying for you, friend. We're right there with you.

  7. Gosh, it almost seems like an uphill battle doesn't it? How can you change the mindset of people who only know one way of life? It has to be a complete intervention through our Savior. Which is not something that you can instnatly make happen, so in the mean time what do you do (besides pray for them and mend your broken heart as you watch them make these choices). Praying for you and Adam and your ministry!

  8. Back in the day, I was all "abstinence only!" I'm with Lauren (and the others) who said changing sexual behavior will take time. I think birth control is your best option (if you can even convince them to use it).

    I'm praying!! And I'll send you as many books as you think you can use. Let me know!

    Love and hugs!

  9. I know I'm late to this post, but had to say something..

    This seems like the hardest battle. You don't want to help them with protection because it seems like you're condoning them having sex. If you just preach abstinence, well, until you change the culture, you'll still wind up with pregnant 14 year olds. My personal opinion is to supply them with the protection they need at this point. You have quite the job to change their mindset and you'll need quite the spiritual intervention, but until you get that, they deserve the protection and hopefully the chance to continue to be children living in the Holy Spirit.

    I'll be praying.. this is a tough one.


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