The day began like any other, sunlight made the frost glisten like twinkling crystals on the trees and grass. It was a brisk spring morning; sun shining through the window; birds chirping in the distance. It was the sign of new life and another winter coming to an end. As my husband and I enjoyed the quiet of the morning and our morning devotionals, getting ready for another day at work, the phone rang.
It was a young woman, one of our son’s friends from high school. They had just recently graduated, and she found herself not knowing where to turn. She and her boyfriend had just broken up, and they had two beautiful babies; one around 6 months old and the other about a year and a half. While she had some family in the area, there was really no one who could take her and the babies in.
On the verge of homelessness with no job, no support and nowhere to go, she thought of us. Without question, we opened our home and made room for her and her two precious little ones. It wasn’t much – but a safe, warm, loving environment was all they needed to transition into a fresh start – a life she never planned or thought she’d find herself in.
We had the great joy of loving and caring for this sweet family for a season, during which the kids came to know us as Nana and Papa. Their innocence and sweetness was just so precious, and it was pure joy to watch them grow. As for their sweet mama – after the trauma of a breakup and the realization that life would never be the same, she emerged with an amazing will to succeed.
Being a single mother of two at 19 is difficult. Just the financial burden alone is almost too much to bear, let alone learning to navigate the basic life skills such as budgeting, cooking, cleaning, etc. To top it all off, finding a means to support herself and her children also poses tremendous challenges. She was determined to break the generational cycles of dysfunction and dependence on the system.
In her case, the children’s father remained involved, though both mom and dad were trying to find their way, while trying to find adequate jobs to provide for the children. Without a place to live and proper food, nutrition, nurturing and love, where would this sweet mama have turned? The resources are just not available and the need is astounding.
What could have been a serious crisis situation for her and her children was averted because we were willing to step in the gap and open our home for a season. Though we didn’t know how long they’d be with us, we knew we had to do something. Our time with them was sweet and fleeting as children grow up so fast. But it is in those precious moments that we get to touch the future with love, dignity, and grace.
From the uncertainties of being a homeless teen mother to finding a way to develop into a successful, productive woman takes courage, perseverance, and determination. This sweet mama now has a very good job. She is married with two more children. Those sweet little babies are now in grade school, dearly loved and totally resilient.
While God deserves all the glory, it is this sweet mama who put her best foot forward and never gave up. The sheer will and determination of these young mothers we see is simply amazing. We are the ones blessed to serve and see the mighty work of God as He gently loves, restores, and walks alongside them as they grow and develop into all God has created them to be.
The SONshine Home will help fill this need. And to reiterate how significant it is to provide a safe, loving home for our homeless pregnant teens and teen mothers, please see statistics reported from other maternity homes right here in our state.
“After one year of care, 98% of mothers have stable rental housing; 95% have access to adequate food and nutrition; 100% have appropriate prenatal and child well care, 98% have access to medical care; 44% attended or completed technical education training while parenting; 82% became employed within one year of the program; 96% of families remain safe, healthy, and together; 90% of mom’s mental health is stable, despite 90% being diagnosed with PTSD, intense anxiety, or depression – largely due to trauma.” Mountain Home, Missoula, MT