My life growing up was full of dysfunction. Life was more about learning from others mistakes, than about leading by example. My grandmother and mother were both pregnant by 16, and my brother and I were both expecting our first children by age 16.
I often told my kids the same thing that my mother told me, and her mother told her, "Don't make the same mistakes I did," and "If you have kids at a young age you will be setting yourself up for a lifetime of struggle." These words were coming out of my mouth, and my sons were seeing me struggle being a single mother, but I was not leading by example.
My sons would see and hear me complain about how times were hard, but they also saw me still living the life of a single, carefree woman. The life I was living had everything to do with me and nothing to do with walking with Christ.
When my son told me that he was expecting a child at the age of 15, I was livid. I yelled and screamed (the same words my mother screamed at me when I announced my pregnancy at 16) "How could you be so stupid? Didn't I tell you not to do this?" His response was, "You did it and you seemed okay." My heart was broken, but in the tradition of dysfunction, I didn't show any emotion other than anger. The tone of my voice was as cold as ice when I gave him the same advice my mother gave me years before, "You better grow up fast, I'm not taking care of any more babies." That was it, no guidance, no support, no love from his mom.
I realize now that it was the love from his mom that he was looking for all along. The comfort, support and guidance from the first woman in his life, and I failed at the most important job that I was given. I realized that my words were not enough to show them that I loved them. My kids needed to see and feel my love, my comfort and my support, just as I needed the love of Christ to save me from my destruction. They needed a mother to show them how to walk with Christ. Instead of going to the clubs and bars, I should have been taking my children to church.
God gave me the responsibility of an under shepherd to care for the flock that He blessed me with, to love them, protect them, and lead them in the path of our heavenly Father. I am thankful for the City Union Mission this holiday season because my husband and I can finally teach our children the true meaning of Christmas. We are no longer lost souls looking for a way out; we are now children of God. We are no longer leading our children astray; we are now leading them with God as the head of our household.
(Submitted by Annathesia, a participant in the New Life Program at City Union Mission)