In the eighteen hundreds two families from New York State and their descendents were studied by a researcher named Dugdale. What he found further illustrates the truth of Psalm 112:1-2.
1 Praise the LORD. Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who finds great delight in his commands. 2 His children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.
Max Jukes and his brother married sisters. They did not believe in Christian training. They had 1,026 descendants. Three hundred of them died very young. Many others had poor health. At least 140 of them served time in the penitentiary for an average of 13 years each; 190 were public prostitutes; and there were 100 drunkards in the group.
Over a hundred-year period the Juke’s descendents cost the state $1,200,000. With inflation and more liberal welfare programs today, these two brothers and their families could easily cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.
Contrast the misery experiences and caused by the Jukes family with another record:
Jonathan Edwards became a Christian and married a girl of like belief. After graduating from Yale in 1720, he became a preacher. From their union, he and his wife had 729 descendants. Among them were 300 preachers, 65 college professors, 13 university presidents, 60 authors, 3 congressmen, and a vice president of the United States. Except for Aaron Burr, a grandson of Edwards who married a girl of questionable character, the family did not cost the state a single dollar.
The mark difference between the two families was the basic training of the children which include both philosophy and practice.
Being Available to God
Thirty-six years ago there was a single, young woman about to give birth. She was young and didn’t know how she could afford a child without her parent’s help. She hadn’t talked to her former boyfriend in months. She had no idea how to reach him. How to tell him she was having his child.
This young woman attended church some, yet her dialogue with God was stilted. How could God let this happen to her? What would her life be like now?
A baby girl was born, and upon holding her child this young lady knew things would be okay. Perhaps this baby was a gift, not a burden as she supposed.
This woman raised her daughter the best she could, and while she wanted to give her child more than she had . . . history has a way of repeating itself. When the daughter became a young woman she found herself in the same situation—living at home, pregnant, scared.
The daughter knew she could raise this child. After all, her mom had done it. But what would her life be like? How could God let this happen to her?
If you haven’t guessed already. I was the daughter. Born to a single mom, and as a teenager becoming a single mom myself. At age seventeen God gave me a son. My boyfriend was out of the picture, and I faced raising a child alone with little education, no money, and maybe according to the world, little hope for my future.
Now if you take this story at face value, I am nothing more than a statistic. According to government research, most daughters of young mothers go on to be teen mothers themselves. They face lives of hardship, living on welfare for the most part—becoming a burden rather than an asset to society.
Yet, I am not a statistic. And you know why I’m not a statistic? Because God doesn’t do them.
Did you hear that?
God doesn’t do statistics. In fact, He likes to blow them out of the water.
You see, God has a history of seeing something that no one else does. Like seeing a king in a shepherd boy named David, seeing an apostle in a young zealot named Paul, and seeing a mighty warrior in a frightened no-body named Gideon.
God has X-ray eyes that see right through any outward characteristics or any national statistics. His X-ray eyes scan down to the heart.
And what did God see? He must have seen something worthwhile. Because . . .
At age 37, I’m a multi-published author of magazine articles, Bible study notes, curriculum, and fifteen books. My book for teenage mothers was nominated for a prestigious award. I’m a national speaker, traveling to share God’s good news.
While in my twenties I helped to launch a Crisis Pregnancy Center, helped start numerous abstinence programs, and launched support groups for Teen Moms.
Now, if I were not a believer, all these would be things I could really tout. But honestly, I can say that it doesn’t have to do with me at all.
A BIG God with BIG dreams.
A God who has made an agreement with me that is eternal, final, and sealed.
A God who is constantly look after my safety and success.
A God who is be strong in my weakness.
A God who sees the future, sees the past and has a perfect plan for me.
Well, I guess the whole truth is that I do have something to do with it. It’s only a little something, but I guess it makes a pretty big difference. See God can be all those things in my life, only if I let Him.
There is one thing I must do . . . and that is Be Available.
Of course, I didn’t just wake up one day and say, “Here I am. God use me.” I didn’t just clear my schedule and wait for God to show up.
Rather, the steps towards my availability were a work-in-progress. They started on the day I was six months pregnancy and accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. I like to look at that as Day One.
In those nineteen years from then to now, I’ve learned a lot.
#1 The first thing I learned about being available to God is sometimes being available means stepping away from status quo. For me that meant moving 1,000 miles away. Seriously, 1,000 miles.
You see, after I gave my heart to the Lord, I birthed a beautiful son. Not too long later, God gave me an amazing, Christian husband and two more children. Then He asked us to move . . . (in a round about way.)
First, God put us into a community of like-minded people. Our friends longed for a simple life away from the hurry and worry in California.
Next, He placed a desire in our hearts to raise our children in a better place. A place called Montana. We’d talk about it with our friends, we’d dreamt about it, and hoped that many someday it would come true.
Then, we decided to pray. My husband and I got on our knees and prayed that IF it was God’s desire He would make it clear. John was just graduated from college, and I was raising three small children under the age of 5.
We knew we’d be leaving our families, leaving our friends, leaving everything we knew. We had no job in Montana, no money to move, in fact we’d never even been there before! Still, we had a desire. One we couldn’t shake.
At the time, my husband sold computers on commission in a small store. He’d usually sell 1-2 a week. He went to work the next day after our joint-prayer, and sold 11 computers! Enough to pay off our current bills, enough to move and live on. It was the confirmation we’d been looking for.
So we did it. We packed up our three kids and moved. Our families thought we were crazy. They were sure we were joining some commune or something. We saw Kalispell for the first time as we drove in will our stuff. Within one week we were renting a house. Within three weeks, my husband had a far better job than he had in California. Within six months we’d purchased our first house. Within one year we were plugged into an amazing church and ministering to children in ways we’d always dreamed of.
That was lesson #1. We serve a BIG God with BIG dreams.
You have to believe this. If you don’t believe in a BIG God with BIG dreams there’s no use being available. But when you trust that fact. Trust God completely. Trust His dreams, THEN you can also trust Him to lead you to the right path.
Seeing God-at-work. Seeing what He did with our lives when we were available made me hungry for more. I wanted to experience God at work like that again.
Henry and Mel Blackaby says, “Watching the activity of God from a distance can never compare with the thrill of being full involved in the Spirit’s active work.”
You have to want God. Not want to work for Him. Or learn about Him. But want Him. You have to want to experience Him at work in your lives. You have to be hungry for what only He can give—a hope and a future.
I had my son Cory when I was 17-years-old. One day I was an honor roll student and cheerleader. The next day I found out I was going to be a teen mom.
I was so ashamed. Everyone knew and teen pregnancy isn't something you can hide. Yet finding out I was pregnant also made me grow up. It made me think about life and what I was going to do with my future.
Before I found out I was pregnant I had no plan. I dated different guys and I drank on weekends with my friends. After I knew I was going to be a mom I knew I had a child to care for.
I broke up with my boyfriend. He decided he didn't want to be a dad. My parents helped me as much as they could. I lived at home and I took classes from a "community school" to get my high school diploma.
I graduated with my class, and I registered for college. It was also during this time I met someone new.
John Goyer was the son of a pastor. He was kind and caring. He loved me and my son. We started dating when Cory was two weeks old and we were married when Cory was 9-months old. We are still married today, and we have two more children. In fact, I had three children by the time I was 22-years-old.
Marriage is not easy for anyone, but John and I made a commitment for life. We've struggled at times (like when an old boyfriend emailed me and messed with my emotions!), but overcoming our struggles have brought us closer. I'm 37-years-old and I've been married 18 years! A success if I say so myself.
More than that, John believed in my dreams. I wanted to be a writer, and he encouraged me. I attended writer's conferences and I wrote while my kids napped. We were dirt poor, but John made my dreams a priority.
I still don't have a college education, but I trained myself to be a writer at home. I read books on writing and sent out queries and proposals. I received many rejections at first, but I didn't give up.
In 1997 a literary agent noticed my talent. I was still unpublished, but Janet Grant took interest in me. Today I'm the author of 300 articles for national publication. I'm also the author of 15 books for publishers like Random House, Harper Collins, and Focus on the Family.
We should do all we can to prevent teen pregnancy ... BUT we should also offer hope to teen moms. Teen pregnancy is not the end. In fact, it could be a key moment when a young woman makes positive decisions to live a better life for herself and her baby.