Thursday, February 27, 2014

Why Girls Stay with Mr. Wrong

I wasn't one of those little girls that had my wedding planned out from a young age.  But, I knew I wanted to be a mommy when I grew up.  In the life I imagined long ago, I had a nice husband who traveled for his work and lots of kids, most of whom were adopted. Fast forward to 2014 and I have a wonderful husband {who thankfully does NOT travel for his work} and four kids, two of whom are adopted. 

It was a long road to the happiness I have today.  I had a bad habit of choosing the wrong guys before I met my husband and I almost didn't give him a chance because he was too nice and too quiet. When I worked with teen moms for three years, I saw many girls shy away from nice guys and gravitate to the losers. 
Why?  Why would you want to be with someone that makes you miserable and treats you poorly?  The answer may surprise you.

We are attracted to what is familiar.  If you have grown up in a dysfunctional home, you have most likely become accustomed to a certain amount of chronic stress and conflict.  In fact, sometimes you may have equated love with being controlled or manipulated. Girls, let me encourage you to realize that there is a better way to live.

Here are some reasons you may be staying with Mr. Wrong:

  • You want to feel loveable.  Maybe you didn't have a close relationship with your dad.  You may not even know his name.  Girls often turn to relationships with men at a young age because they are trying to fill a hole in their heart from not growing up with a dad.  You want to prove to yourself that someone can love you and often times, if this is a driving force in your life, you will settle for what you think love looks and feels like and miss out on the real thing.
  • He says all the right things.  Guys can be so sweet and charming, especially when they have the type of personality that seeks to dominate and control.  You may have been dying to hear how beautiful you are, how much someone needs you...and when the first guy that whispers those things in your ear comes along, you think you've found the one.
  • You never learned what a healthy relationship looks like.  My grandparents have been married for almost 60 years.  When my husband and I got married we decided to model our marriage after theirs.  Both sets of our parents were dysfunctional and had been married several times.  We both grew up in homes with domestic violence. We knew what we didn't want.  But, we needed a benchmark for what we did want and so we looked to my grandparents.  
  • You believe you can change him.  Unless someone wants to change, there is no amount of wishing, sulking, nagging and pushing you can do that will make one ounce of difference.  And, if your guy doesn't want to change for the right reasons, you can't make him.
  • You are afraid. Let me be very clear-- If your boyfriend/fiance/husband has ever raised a hand to you or threatened you with bodily harm, it is NOT ok.  Please call the National  Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 and find a way for you and your child to be safe. If he has hurt you once, he will hurt you again. No matter what he says or promises, unless he is receiving treatment there is not hope for your relationship.  Please, please get help!
  • You fear being alone. You've gotten used to having someone to talk to that isn't a toddler, someone to hug you and someone that is on your team.  Being a single mom is hard and you just don't know if you have it in you to trust that God has someone out there for you that will love you and treat you the way you deserve.
Do any of these reasons sound familiar? If you need to talk about a relationship issue, please leave me a comment or email me at  Tomorrow, we will talk about how to let go of Mr. Wrong and then we will discuss what Mr. Right should look like.

Till tomorrow,

Monday, February 24, 2014

What the Bible says about Sex

Hi friends! I've missed writing here.  I'm sorry I was gone for a few weeks. My computer crashed and then my daughter had my second grandchild- a little boy born 2/13/14.  If you would like to see a picture of him (he is adorable!) head over to the Teen Mom 365 facebook page.

Anyways, it is still February so we are going to continue to talk about love.  This week we will focus on our relationship with guys.  If you are a teen mom, then it goes without saying that you've had sex.  That's ok.  I'm not going to tell you that sex is bad or dirty or shameful.

God created sex for two primary reasons- to procreate (the fancy word for having babies) and for fun.  Yes, you read that right.  God created sex for fun.

However, God also designed sex to be for a monogamous marriage relationship, which we will talk about more tomorrow.  Today I wanted to share a few scriptures to give you a glimpse of God's heart on the subject of sex and relationships.

I Corinthians 6:15-20
There's more to sex than skin on skin.  Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact.  As written in Scripture, "the two become one". Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever--the kind of sex that can never "become one".  There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others.  In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for becoming one with another.  Or didn't you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit?  Don't you see that you can't live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for?  the physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you.  God owns the whole works.  So let people see God in and through your body.

Genesis 1:28
Then God blessed them and said "Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it.

Genesis 2: 18, 24-25
Then the Lord God said, "It is not good for man to be alone.  I will make a helper who is just right for him"...This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.  Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame.

Ecclesiastes 9:9
Live happily with the woman you love through all the meaningless days of life that God has given you under the sun.  The wife God gives you is your reward for all your earthly toil.

Till tomorrow,

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

True Love

February is the month we are talking about love here at Teen Mom 365. Last week we talked about God's love and I shared how that love changed my life.

Another love that changed my life is the love I have for my children.

Jared was born when I was 17 and Matt 16 months later when I was 18. A year and a half after Matt was born, my husband and I got custody of (and I later adopted) his son Jason, who was 5 1/2 at the time.  Eleven years later, we met a homeless pregnant teen mama named Shayla, aging out of the foster care system, and she moved in with us (and we later adopted her as well).

As you can see my journey to motherhood was non traditional in every sense.  Yet, somehow, each child that was added to our family made the love in my heart multiply, not divide.

The Bible says that God loves you like a mama loves her children.
"As a mother comforts her son, so I will comfort you". Isaiah 66:13

 As you know, the love we feel for our kids is unconditional, deep, long lasting, inexplicable devotion.

I can't promise you had that type of love from your parents, but just like I know you love your little one, I want you to know that God loves you.

Till tomorrow,

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Filling the Hole in Our Hearts

I love to watch HGTV. My favorite show is Property Brothers.  They are fond of a product called spray foam insulation.  You spray it from a machine in between the frame of a wall and it expands and fills the empty space with insulation that will protect the home from the elements. 

God's love is like spray foam insulation.

Every one of us is born with a God shaped hole in our hearts. 

The hole gets bigger depending on the things that happen to us through out our lives.  A dad leaves when his daughter is too little to remember him.  An uncle touches his niece in inappropriate ways and threatens to hurt her family if she ever says anything.  A mom gets addicted to drugs and her kids leave in a police car to be bounced from foster home to foster home.  Kids lay silent in their beds listening to their mama cry as her boyfriend beats her. A teen girl has an abortion and gets rid of the problem so her boyfriend won't leave...and he leaves anyway. 

The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread. ~Mother Teresa

The holes in our hearts are deep and jagged. The knife of hurt, betrayal and evil has left scars and fissures where there should be healthy tissue.  We have been hurt too much to trust anyone to fix our hearts so we attempt to close the hole on our own.

We may try to fill it with other things such as relationships, drugs or alcohol, activities and even food but we continue to feel an emptiness until we allow God's spray foam insulation love to expand and grow in our hearts. 

God loves you more than you can imagine.  He longs to be your Healer, your Friend and the Lover of your soul.  He hurts when you hurt.  He hates the things that happened to you as much as you do.  And, He has the answers- the answers to how to move forward, how to change the patterns in your family so your kids don't grow up the same way, how to learn to love yourself.

Will you let Him in?

If you want to know more about how to begin or grow a relationship with God, please reach out to me at or talk to a trusted pastor or mentor.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The best part of the story

The bitterness and apathy that had taken up residence in my heart materialized in ugly ways.  Drugs, promiscuity, callous behavior towards those that loved me the most...the saying "hurt people hurt people" couldn't be more true.
And, then at sixteen, two lines appeared on the pregnancy test.
I was alone in a cramped bathroom stall scared beyond anything I had experienced before. There was life growing inside of me.
At first I pretended not to care.  I would fix the problem.  Have an abortion, pretend that this had never happened.
When I look at my Jared and think that I thought of him as a problem or a mistake, my heart beats hurt and sadness.  It reminds me of the feelings I had on those dark, lonely days.
I would like to tell you as soon as I heard my son's heartbeat on the sonogram that I had an epiphany and turned my life around.  But, that wouldn't be true.
For the first few months of my pregnancy, I continued the self destructive lifestyle I had been engaging in prior to becoming pregnant.  When I think of the consequences my behavior could have had on my now {almost 18 year old} 17 year old boy, I realize the hand of God never left me.  Even when I turned my back on Him, He never gave up on me.
He knit my baby together in my womb to save me from myself.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  Psalm 139:13
{You can read more about my salvation story by clicking here}.
Each child God has subsequently brought into my life, through birth or adoption, has changed me for the better and drawn me closer to Him.
You can't parent three kids six and under when you are barely 20 years old without the power of Almighty God.
You can't parent a hurting little boy, who has a deep mother wound, without the supernatural love of Jesus pouring through you.
You can't parent a girl who doesn't trust love without being able to trust the Lover of your soul.
Motherhood led me back to Jesus and it brings me to His feet every single day.

Till tomorrow,

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A Heart of Stone

Read Part 1 here.

Yesterday, I started sharing my story of a sad and painful time in my life. Today, is part 2 and I will wrap it up tomorrow. Then, Thursday and Friday I will talk about what I learned in those difficult moments and how I figured out that God was there, looking out for me all along.

Why was God letting this happen?  What did I do wrong? 
This isn’t how it was supposed to be.

It didn’t take but a few days for my family and the authorities to find me when I ran away.  The family court judge deciding my fate took my “strong feelings” into account and allowed me to attend a boarding school close to my paternal grandparents rather than return to foster care.

That decision did improve my immediate circumstances. From the outside looking in, I had a good life.  Friends, good grades, acceptance to an elite academy, grandparents that loved me, material possessions– you name it, I had it.

But I also had a heart of stone.  A determination that no one would hurt me, a desire to manipulate before I could be manipulated.
An entry from my journal at the time put it this way:
Spiraling downward toward imminent destruction. Will anyone notice?  Will anyone care?  What they don’t know won’t hurt them, right? What does it matter…no one cares anyway.
The system might have found me in a few days but it would take God longer than a few days to get me back.
To be continued…

Have you ever felt like your situation was hopeless?

Monday, February 3, 2014

For when you want to give up on God...

Yesterday I introduced the theme for February- LOVE!
And, this week we are talking about our relationship {or lack thereof} with God.

Now, don't stop reading. I'm not going to preach at you. In fact, I am going to share a bit of my story over the next few days and then share how God met me in my mess. Maybe it will speak to your heart or answer some questions you have about God.  Maybe it will help you feel less alone.  So, here goes- Part One.


I remember the day I gave up on God.

I held the phone to my ear while angry, hot tears streamed silently down my face.  As I listened and realized that I had been lied to for months by those closest to me, I made a rash and defiant decision.  If no one was looking out for me, I was going to have to look out for myself.

I gently depressed the button on the phone so that my grandmother would not know I had listened in and started to pray.
Prayer was an automatic response to crisis for me.  Prayer had been my constant companion in my brief 13 years on the earth.
This time the prayers felt empty.  It was as if my heart’s cries were not being heard and I determined God must not be any more trustworthy than the rest of the adults in my life.  Right then, in that moment, hurt and confused I decided God hadn’t been much help to me thus far.

I had done everything right.  Followed every rule, memorized His word and His promises.  What good had that done me?

A deep place in my heart turned to stone.  I stopped praying and decided God and I were parting ways.

I slung my backpack over my shoulders, tossed my long brown hair out of the way of the thick straps and decided to go it alone.  No more God, no more grandparents, no more foster care.  I was going to figure this out on my own.  I quietly closed the door of my adjoining hotel room, careful not to make any noise that would alert my {maternal} grandmother or grandfather to my departure. I walked out into the streets of a small town, determined to never let anyone hurt, betray or use me ever again.
To be continued….

Saturday, February 1, 2014

The God Sized Hole in your Heart

It's February 1st! I can't believe we are already in the second month of 2014.  Girls, you've probably heard that time flies when you have kids and it is true!  The days go by quickly even it feels like they drag on and on.

Each week in February we are going to focus on a different aspect of love.

Week 1 will focus on our love for God. 

Week 2 we will delve the love we have for our kids.
Week 3 we will talk about romantic love and relationships.
Lastly, in week 4 we will talk about loving ourselves.

If you have questions about any of the topics, please email them to me at

I'm excited to talk with you about all things love this month!

Till tomorrow,