I’m going to get on my soapbox and stir the pot a little bit today. I’m pretty good at that and I really try hard to be as unbiased and non-judgmental as possible. But, hot topics and debates leave me thinking…and pondering…and itching to share my opinion. Because we are all entitled to one of those, and I personally and wholeheartedly love a good debate with people who don’t always see things the same way that I do. We live in a free country and good, healthy, NON-ILLEGAL and riotous debate is good for the soul. And it leaves people with new positions and opinions to think about.
I’m not going to get started on whether I am for or against abstinence or anyone’s decision to embrace or encourage abstinence. The fact of the matter is, my testimony is out there for anyone to read; I’m not ashamed of it. Nor am I ashamed to admit that I was pregnant with our oldest son before I got married.
There. I said it.
Anyone who can do math would have known that, but let me just throw it out there in case it’s one of those things someone thinks they need to ridicule me for. The fact of the matter is our oldest son was a blessing. He still is a blessing. My husband and I, given the chance, would never go back and change the fact that we had him a mere six months into our marriage.
Do we wish we’d had more time to get to be just husband and wife? To get to know each others habits (both good and bad), enjoy that “honeymoon phase” people talk about? Sure.
But, does that mean that I’d give up being a mom to our son for a few more years of eating at restaurants that didn’t give out kids placemats with every meal? Not at all.
What caught my attention about this news article about Bristol Palin was this part:
I know this has been, and will be, a huge disappointment to my family, to my close friends, and to many of you. (via)
I read this, and my heart broke for her. Because of the fact that this poor girl (and I mean “poor” in the non-monetary sense, of course), felt that she was a disappointment…to her friends, to her own family and to hundreds of thousands (if not more) people that she’s never met in her life.
A baby, no matter the circumstances under which he/she is conceived is a blessing. Period. That in itself should be enough for people. It is for me.
But, even more so than the given fact that there’s going to be a new baby…a tiny little perfect miracle, created by the Almighty God…is the fact that this girl is stepping up.
She’s not running to an abortion clinic to “solve a problem” or get rid of this child. She’s not placing blame on anyone or anything…she’s not making excuses.
She’s owning up to the mistake that she made and taking responsibility for it. Which is, unfortunately, more than many adults in this society can say.
I remember the “shame” that she feels. Knowing that people ‘know’ what you were doing before you were married. And in the deep south, getting pregnant before you were married was a No-No. There were special names reserved for girls who did that, no matter their age.
I remember hanging my head in shame for a bit after the news came out that I was pregnant, a mere two weeks after Josh and I said “I Do.” I knew that people were whispering. That people assumed automatically that we only got married because we were going to have a baby. Most everyone assumed that we’d be divorced by now or that Josh would end up running off or having an affair (which brings me to a whole ‘nother stereotype with how people view the military that I won’t touch today).
And it was heartbreaking.
Because I knew what was happening. God had chosen ME out of the million upon millions of women in the world to carry THIS baby. This beautiful, perfect, not even fully formed baby that kicked and wiggled and squirmed inside me.
Sure, it was hard. Sure there were days that I cried and pleaded for God to make my child stop screaming or crying or puking or whatever he was doing. There were more days than I can count in which I was absolutely, utterly and completely exhausted.
But those days passed. And we came out on the other side just like I knew we would. And I sat back at night and watched my sweet baby boy sleep, and thanked God for the blessings in my life. We may have been broke and driving a two door car, relying on WIC to get us through on formula (hey, non-rate military pay is very, very minimal in case you were wondering…and I wasn’t working at that time)…but we did what we had to do. And we were a family.
So, to have to apologize for making a mistake…
To have to apologize for being pregnant-regardless of the circumstances… Is just pitiful.
Shame on us, America for making this poor girl feel like she’s less than the rest because she made a mistake.
Shame on us for making ANY girl whose respectable enough to not only admit to her mistakes, but deal with them and embrace them, feel like they are a disappointment.
I don’t know her personally. And I probably never will.
But I do know what it feels like to feel like you’ve disappointed the people that you care about. And it sucks. It’s a horrible feeling to look into the eyes of someone who you know loves you and see the disappointment on their face.
But that doesn’t change Grace. Or the fact that God is still God and he still loves us the same. He knew that baby’s name long before his or her mommy was even thought of. And that sweet baby, whoever he or she may turn out to be, was part of a divine plan that we don’t even understand yet.
So, Bristol Palin…you are not a disappointment.
The people who judge you? Who criticize you? They are the disappointment.
Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
What about you?
Have you been on the receiving end of someone’s judgment?
How often have you given judgment yourself?
What can WE do, to do better?
Courtney Kirkland is a Southeast Alabama Writer & Designer. Since 2008, Courtney has passionately provided beautiful, intentional design to small businesses & bloggers and encouraged thousands to walk in a rich faith in any situation.