Every Thursday night our family loads up in the car and heads to inner city Little Rock. This includes me, my husband, our homeschooled 17-year-old son, our toddler, and sometimes my college-age daughter. We set out on a special mission, to serve Teen Moms in the area through a program called Teen MOPS.
Teen MOPS is part of MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International. I first heard about Teen MOPS when I was part of a regular MOPS group at our church. As a former teen mom, I loved the idea of helping those who are where I used to be. I know how hard it is to find advice on everything from dealing with a boyfriend, to finishing school, to parenting while also living with parents.
When I first started mentoring teen moms eleven years ago I was worried that I wouldn’t have all the answers. Now I know I never will, but the contribution I make is pointing them in the right direction. I can help them learn how to make wise choices…which helps all areas of their lives!
According to dictionary.com, wisdom is: “the ability to discern or judge what is true, right, or lasting; insight.”
Mentors in our program remind young moms that they don’t have to stay where they are. They teach young women that they don’t have to live on the edge, balancing between right and wrong. Instead they can move into a spacious place in a solid relationship with Jesus.
In addition to sharing this personally, I also worked with MOPS International to write a book for the moms and a curriculum for Teen MOPS leaders. It’s great that my words can help young moms all over the US and the world! Only God can do that.
Over the years I’ve seen many young moms begin a relationship with Jesus. It’s been amazing to see them transform from troubled teens into responsible adults who are raising their children in Christian homes! And one of the greatest examples to the young moms isn’t just my words, but my family’s example. Hopefully they see something different in us.
Yet what I never anticipated were the changes in my own family. When I started volunteering my kids were young. I felt guilty for dragging them along with me as I mentored teen moms. Yet they helped too. My boys would help with the baby clothes and diapers. My 9-year-old daughter would babysit.
What I discovered was that my mentoring ministry was one of the best things we did in our homeschooling. They learned about giving to others, offering grace, serving and praying. Today they are still involved, each helping in their own way.
My daughter—now 19—still babysits, she also makes friends with the young moms. My 17-year-old son is our doorman and security guard. Since the meetings are held in inner city Little Rock he watches the door and is our protection. My husband comes to the meetings too—to give support and do the heavy lifting. My kids have seen how hard it is to become young parents. They’ve also seen the changes God can make. That has given them insight into their own relationship with Jesus.
This reminds me of that definition of wisdom: “the ability to discern or judge what is true, right, or lasting; insight.”
Through serving, my children have learned wisdom, too. They’ve gotten insight into how to care for others and the transformation that can happen when we live beyond ourselves.
Image Credit: Jessica McCollam