Friday, May 2, 2008

A Label Destroyed

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

7 comments:

Annie and Jeremy said...

What an awesome testimony Maria is to so many people!!! I'm so glad you shared her story, Erin! And what a blessing you are, too, Sweet Friend! :)

Kristyn said...

Wow, Erin what an awesome story. God is sure to complete the great work he has started in the relationship with the two of you!

The Mitchells said...

Thank you for that Erin. I'm reminded daily that lables are so hurtful...thanks for another view on that!

Brannon said...

Oh my goodness I love that story. Let's talk Thursday about the pregnancy center more - I really liked what I experienced when I went for my sonogram!
-Meredith

Les and Shannon said...

What an amazing testimony to share. How funny it is that people come to us asking for help with their problems and more often than not, you are the one walking away with something new learned. You are doing fantastic work!

John and Sarah said...

Im glad you were able to go to the hospital! He is a handsome little man!

AnniePhil said...

Beautiful story, Erin. God can so beautifully redeem the stickiest of situations... and even us!