In her shoes

by Robin Dance

walk-in-anothers-shoes-robin-dance
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”
~ Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird

 

“Everyone’s against abortion….until you find out you’re pregnant.”

~ My son, a recent high school graduate, and his pained response to the news of a former classmate’s pregnancy.

 

i.

Their story is one of those…. Well-rounded, all-American teenagers, active in school and sports, students at a Christian school.

Our children transferred to another school years prior so I don’t recall much else, but they’re the kind of kids who leave an impression–beautiful, full of life, good at a lot of things.

I heard they found out right before graduation, after they had already broken up.

There wasn’t one thing about their circumstance that didn’t break my heart.

 

ii.

It amazes me when I talk to friends who don’t talk to their children about sex.

It concerns me when they aren’t having ongoing conversations about it.

It’s not just about having The Talk; it’s about making sure your children understand you know more than they do and you will tell them the truth when their friends or classmates don’t know the truth to tell–

Especially if your children are in a relationship…

even if both parties are committed to preserving their virginity…

even if they’re following Christ or wear a purity ring…

even if they have no intention of having sex…

because good kids do.

Christian kids do.

It’s precisely why good, moral, Christian kids get pregnant–because they have zero intention of crossing that line, they are not prepared, and they’re no longer capable of thinking with their heads or adhering to the convictions of their hearts.  Physical desire is the body’s normal response, and given opportunity its appetite is demanding.

I don’t know if that’s what happened in this case, but I suspect it could have been.

 

iii.

My son was crushed when he heard the news, hurting for his friend; the “it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy” kind of thing.

His friend wasn’t a kiss-and-tell jerk; no one knew he was sexually active.  I’m not making excuses for him (or her), but these weren’t kids who were sleeping around for kicks.

Before I had time to ask, my son answered my question.  “They’re giving up the baby for adoption.”

Some desperate couple walking the anguished road of infertility would have their baby boy or girl after all.  A broken heart’s redemption.

“I’m so proud of them,” I began, carefully choosing my words so my son would hear the heart of them.  “It would seem more likely that their easier choice, for now at least, would been to have aborted the baby….” and my voice trailed at the thought of one more cast onto a pile of millions.

For convenience’s and reputation’s sake.

God help us.

And that’s when he admitted it had been a consideration.

They could have easily taken care of it.  Preserved their reputations.  Avoided disgrace, the whispers and judgment from family and friends….

It’s the kind of situation that gives everyone it touches reason to consider what he or she would do in those shoes.

But it’s one thing to imagine it and a whole ‘nother to live it….

I sensed my son and his friends were learning a grave life lesson – albeit from a safe distance – by watching a friend living out the consequence of his poor decisions.

I secretly wished chastity belts were a viable option.

“Everyone’s against abortion….until you find out you’re pregnant….”

Honest and profound and truer than a lot of people are willing to admit.

Parenting teenagers has taught me a lot, often revealing hard truths about myself.  Like if I’m tempted to point an accusing finger at another parent (or child), three are pointing back at me.  I don’t have to wonder what Jesus would do;  thankfully, He makes His thoughts clear sometimes–

“…let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” (John 8: 7b, NLT)

 

iv.

There is a teenager girl out there who made a poor decision with painful consequence to herself and those who love her.

Then, that same teenage girl made a hard, beautiful, life-giving, good decision, still with painful consequence to herself and those who love her…that will enable a couple to have the child they’re incapable of bearing themselves.

God is in the redemption business.

Let that be what we remember.

 

 

9 Responses to “In her shoes”

  1. Amy September 9, 2013 at 8:48 am #

    Robin, this is beautiful. I just love when you write about raising your kids. I learn something every single time.

    • Robin Dance September 9, 2013 at 1:30 pm #

      Amy,

      Thank you, friend. I’m thankful for those who’ve gone before me, sharing their insights and shaping me in the process….

  2. Diana Trautwein September 9, 2013 at 12:59 pm #

    WELL DONE, Robin. Thank you for so many levels of truth and reminder in this piece. These are hard things and they can happen to anyone – and yes!! God is in the redemption business.

    • Robin Dance September 9, 2013 at 1:31 pm #

      Diana,

      When I meet you, I shall give you pompoms and a cheerleader’s outfit; you are a grand encourager to all.

  3. JessieLeigh September 9, 2013 at 1:06 pm #

    This both chilled me and gave me chills. I have SO many challenges ahead of me in this motherhood gig, but I’m always so grateful to have a mentor like you, Robin! (I hope that’s okay for me to say? Do you mind?)

    My brother and his wife have a nephew who is living out a similar story. Great kid. On track for college. Catholic school. He and his girlfriend had a baby before he even graduated high school… and no one saw it coming. (They chose to keep their baby girl; both parents are in college and the grandparents help a LOT.)

    • Robin Dance September 9, 2013 at 1:33 pm #

      Jessie Leigh,

      It makes me nervous to share parenting advice because neither I nor my babies are perfect!! Far from it! BUT, if any of our experience adds value to others, I’m honored. And thankful that, as Diana said, God is in the redemption business :).

  4. Katie September 9, 2013 at 1:40 pm #

    This is perfectly, exactly what I want to say when I see white crosses and accusatory signs on the lawn of a nearby church.

    God alone redeems. He alone judges, saves, and sees us truly.

    What would the church look like if we were known for being like Jesus, rather than being known for judging those who aren’t?

  5. beth September 9, 2013 at 1:44 pm #

    This is beautiful and powerful and truth. Sometimes no matter how much you know about sex or the right and wrong of it, no matter how many honest and open conversations you have with your kids, it happens anyway. I have a beautiful grandson and my daughters life will be harder now but God’s redemption is amazing.

  6. Leigh Kramer September 9, 2013 at 1:45 pm #

    You’re a good mama, Robin. I’m grateful my mom chose to have an ongoing discussion about sex with me, starting when I was young and even now that I’m fully grown. I’m more than a decade older than she was when she married my Dad so our situations are different but I’m so glad I can go to her still.

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