Pleasing Him, Bearing Fruit, and
Growing in Knowledge
While reading through the Bible, are you tempted to skip to the end of the page when you come upon a genealogy with names you can’t pronounce that covers most of the page? I am. There have been times when I’ve tried to read names aloud that I say, “That guy” or “him” instead of slowing down and sounding it out. I’m not proud of this, nor am I encouraging others to do it; I’m simply sharing what I have done in the past.
In spite of my desire to skip over genealogies, I truly believe “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). I believe God included these genealogies in his word for our good and his glory. They remind us that he uses ordinary, flawed, and, yes, sinful people in his bigger story to bring about his perfect plan. It was no surprise to God that Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba (i.e., the wife of Uriah) are included in Jesus’s lineage. (Matthew 1). The fact that women are mentioned at all is remarkable, but 2 of them were from outside the nation of Israel.
None of our family trees are perfect. If they were, we wouldn’t need a Savior. But each person within a family has to make a personal decision regarding their faith in Jesus Christ. My parents’ faith doesn’t guarantee me a place in heaven; nor does my faith cover my children. When God draws us to himself, he does so individually. He may use a person within a family to point others to Jesus and, Lord willing, save them as well, but there’s no guarantee. Each person has to see their sin in light of God’s holiness, recognize their inability to earn favor with God and repay the debt of their sin, believe that Jesus sacrificed himself as a means of atoning for their sins, and ask him to be Lord and Savior of their life. It’s not a group activity; it’s between you and God.
As we serve teen moms and their children, we’re tempted to say we are “breaking generational cycles” but that’s not true. Jesus is the only generational-cycle breaker. He may use us as a tool in his greater work but he is the only one that makes lasting changes in a person’s life. Our call is to point a teen mom to Jesus and equip her for the future. Whether or not she accept Christ as her personal Savior isn’t up to us. It’s between her and God. And whether her children go on to become teen parents themselves isn’t up to us. It’s between them and God. We cannot dictate the choices these individuals are going to make. We can proclaim the truth of God’s word, share the good news of Jesus, and pray that God will do a saving work in their lives. If a mom, who accepted Jesus as her Savior, graduated from TMC with a full-time job and a plan for the future, tells us in 16-18 years her child is a teen parent, does that mean she wasn’t a success? By No Means!!! Her children have choices to make for themselves. Even seemingly perfect two-parent families have children who make choices we wished they hadn’t. If a generational cycle is going to break, it’s because Jesus interceded. There’s nothing you nor I can do to guarantee it. We aren’t God. We aren’t called to be saviors. We are called to be faithful to the work he has given us to do and lift high the name of Jesus. The future for each teen mom and her children are in God’s hands. Let’s trust him to do the work only he can do.
Kristin served as Teen Mother Choices first Program Director in the 1990’s. In 2012, Kristin joined TMCI as our first Training Coach. In 2016, Kristin became TMCI’s Training Director.