I hate labels.If a person can't read at a certain level by a certain age, "remedial" follows said person to graduation and many times beyond. Often people automatically assume that a person is "rich","poor","educated","ignorant","athletic","musically inclined" solely based on skin color or circumstance. It has become so second nature, that many times people are unaware that they even do it. I say I hate labels, but I am a hypocrite and have realized that I often label people. I have been challenged by the life of a new friend to start praying daily that this stops.
My friend "Maria" has obliterated her "label". I am going on my fourth year at the Pregnancy Center and never before have I connected so personally with a client as I have with "Maria" (can't share real name). Maria came in about 7 months ago,shy, scared,pregnant and not really knowing what to do. She was 14. Immediately I thought how in the world is a 14 year old pregnant?!? What kind of girl is she? Where were her parents?,What is with this generation? Does anyone have morals anymore? and so on and so on...Labels,Labels, Labels went through my head. About 5 minutes into our conversation, it was apparent that Maria had just made a wrong choice. Haven't we all. True, her choice has greater consequences than most choices, but a sin is a sin. We are all guilty.We are all depraved.
Maria was determined to keep her baby and become the "best mom she could possibly be" (her words). She decided to be a part of our Mentoring program, which included a weekly visit with me,a lesson, and homework assignment based on topics having to do with her pregnancy, parenting/life skills, and some Bible study. Maria never missed a week, she was early to all her appointments, and even had a notebook where she kept all her assignments. Determined to keep up with her studies (she is a Pre-AP honors student),Maria left her school and enrolled in a accelerated home-school Internet program. She chose to do this so her mother and father won't be "stuck with my responsibility" (her words).She is mature way beyond her years, Maria is now 15 and is on track to graduate a year early through this program. She has several books going at one time so she can stay ahead in her studies.She wants to be a nurse. I know she will be.
Maria called me this morning and told me that she just gave birth to the "most beautiful son ever." A serious crier, I immediately started crying, which probably scared her a little bit. I felt the emotions I felt when Ryann was born...so proud, so thankful. Life is going to be undoubtedly hard for Maria, but without a shadow of a doubt,I know she can and will do it well. Throughout our weeks together, the Lord has challenged my prideful,self-righteous self in ways I didn't know I even needed to be challenged. How often do I assume? judge? or label? Hopefully now it will be less.
Me and Maria's son