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Feb25WedWhen my daughter told me the news I didn't know how to respond February 25, 2009 by Major Kathie Chiu
"Mom, I'm pregnant.” The words felt like a hammer blow. Did my daughter just say what I thought she said? “I'm going to have a baby,” 17-year-old Sarah confirmed.
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- Opinion & Critical Thought
My husband, Ed, and I sat in stunned silence. When words finally came, I couldn't hold back: “How could you? What were you thinking?”
Sarah and her boyfriend sat there staring at me, not knowing what to say. I continued like rapid machine-gun fire: “I thought you were into this chastity thing? How long have you been having sex? Why didn't you use birth control? I am so disappointed in you.”
This was every parent's nightmare. And to make matters worse, I was almost four months pregnant myself. I could feel my body tense with stress. Tears were threatening to explode from the pressure building inside. How could this have happened? Were we not good parents? Where did we go wrong?
My practical nature soon took over. I announced that we would find a way to deal with the situation. We had no choice. Eventually I retreated to my room and let the tears flow. As I gave in to deep hurt, my husband was off somewhere cleaning something. How would he deal with this?
After a few days I realized that I hadn't felt my own baby move. Worried, I drove over to my midwife and she checked me out. As I shared my grief she listened with compassion. Checking my blood pressure and the baby's heartbeat, she discovered both were high.
“You must calm down,” she said. “Let me tell you something. The same thing happened to my daughter when she was 17. Today, I have the most beautiful granddaughter who is the delight of my life. My daughter is a better person because of her experience. Remember, the consequence is not the sin. She could have contracted HIV or hepatitis. Instead, God chose to bless her with a child.”
I heard her. Somehow God broke through my grief and I sensed his love—for me and for Sarah. It was the truth. I would be OK.
Over the next week, reality began to set in. Yet my husband still wasn't talking much. I urged him to share his feelings, but to no avail. I prayed for him, for myself and for our daughter, and asked God to pour his love into our lives and give Ed the wisdom and courage to talk to Sarah.
Later, I found him in Sarah's room, telling her how hurt he was but how much he loved her. Then he did something that moved both of us. He cried—right there in front of Sarah and me—and his tears spoke louder than any words. She has never forgotten that moment.
When faced with a crisis, we all react in different ways. If you're like me, you use your words. If you're like my husband, you keep your feelings close and guarded. Some people refuse to face reality and pretend nothing's wrong. Others obsess, playing their hurt over and over again in their minds.
However we deal with crises, in the end, relief from the pain can only be found in the healing power of God. As we cry out “Abba, Father!” his Holy Spirit channels our hurt to the heart of the Father. God knows pain and disappointment. He walks with us and guides us through the maze of anguish, anger and confusion. He also guides others into our lives at just the right moments to help us carry our burdens.
If you are facing a crisis in your life, here are suggestions for coping in difficult times:
• Don't isolate yourself. Cultivate personal relationships outside your immediate family—a best friend, a pastor, an elder at your corps—to call on when times are tough.
• Don't be embarrassed. Everyone makes mistakes. It's easier to deal with the consequences when we're up front about it and can share with someone.
• Talk about your feelings. Sometimes it takes more than one conversation to move on. Our minds need time to process what's happening.
• Be patient. Healing won't occur overnight, but healing will take place.
• Don't live vicariously through your children. They are separate individuals who will make their own choices. Every sin they commit is not a reflection of who you are.
• Journal your experience. Sometimes writing things down helps to get it out if you're not a talker. You don't have to be a talented writer. You just need a little notebook to jot down how you are doing from day to day. You can then look back and see how far you've come in dealing with the issues and celebrate God's answers to prayer.
Major Kathie Chiu is the Corps Officer and Executive Director of The Caring Place Ministries, Mountain View Community Church, Maple Ridge, B.C.