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How God Redeemed My Teen Pregnancy (Part 1 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
December 15, 2020 5:00 am

How God Redeemed My Teen Pregnancy (Part 1 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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December 15, 2020 5:00 am

Lindsay Pepin Ophus, her mother, Scarlet, and her aunt Bethany share their inspiring story of how God brought about redemption in their family when Lindsay became pregnant as a teenager. (Part 1 of 2) (Original air date: Feb. 19, 2020)

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I remember just getting like really panicky like no I have to figure this out right now because my my Sunday school like two hours and I have to know what to say when Holly's son was considering suicide. She called a Focus on the Family counselor all those years I've been listening to focus.

I was thinking about how they were like a practical guide for me that was founded by certificate from them. I didn't really know where else to turn on Jim Daly. Working together we can rescue hurting parents like Holly and give families hope.

We need the truth that Focus on the Family brings into our minds and enter homes. We need that if working to raise up the next generation of believers to walk in obedience and to walk in the truth that God loves us, only today Focus on the and your gift will be doubled and so is seven years old. Kindley is already starting to dream about what you can be doing in life. Today I Focus on the Family you really hear how God is already using as a seven-year-old is a testament to his perfect hostess focus president Dr. Jim Daly and I John four John were able to interview some very well-known death on this broadcast. And that's always an honor. Sometimes my favorite conversations and the broadcasts of the listeners seem to connect with most are with ordinary people who have extraordinary stories and that was the case when we had scarlet pep and enter daughter Lindsay in the studio. Their story is about an unplanned pregnancy. Lindsay's bravery and sacrifice. God's grace in the family's choice to adopt her precious girl named Kindley who we just heard from the beginning that I wasn't surprised when this broadcast had a huge response from you. Are listeners and it became a best of 2020 program. So today we wanted to share this broadcast again to remind you that God can and will always use your mistakes and your pain for a greater purpose and let me mention that Scarlett and Lindsay have written a book called joy will come exchange shame for redemption and we've got that just look for the link in the episode notes and now here's how we started. Part one of this best of 2020 conversation with dependents Lindsay and Scarlett welcome the Focus on the Family thinks ravenously got that were so glad you're here. And thank you for the courage in writing the book and your willingness to speak.

You speak often on this topic and what God has led you through and so were grateful for that.

Lindsay, let me start with you. You were a senior in high school and everything was going smoothly right pretty much right but you had a bit of a secret going on and this is so good for all of us Christian parents to hear again. I especially appreciate your willingness to talk about this, and there's no shame is only going forward and correcting errors and seeking forgiveness from the Lord, and those you love. And so I hope you feel that that all you got me in tears know that as we unfold your story. But what was that secret what was going on. Like you said. I grew up in a seemingly perfect family had all the cards stacked in my favor. The night was blessed the best parents I went to church every Sunday, but my big secret was that I was sleeping with my boyfriend so I had been dating someone on and off for about five years and we were making decisions in our relationship that I knew were right and I felt the weight that I try to go to God consistently, but I got to the point where I just felt so shameful and so dirty and so I just kept feeling that I can't go back go back to God. He cannot fix this. I'm too dirty I'm too messy to go to the cross. I need to figure this out on my own and we get to that point Laura figured out on her own at Silmarillion's in trouble so you have really prayed this through thought this through your articulate on this. I can't wait because are so many directions here lollipop in my hands full of questions and obvious one. You know was such a good stable environment.

Why, because you know we as parents.

I've got two teenage boys and I'm cynical and were hoping we've done everything right. I'm sure like your mom and dad were to hear from you in a minute mom but I'm sure they were, you know approaching that formula and thinking okay we got all the boxes checked. She knows the Lord, she prays before bed. She prays with us at mealtime. She's going through the family devotional but still there was that area of your life. Can you tell us why I think the number one question I get from Christian. Why, why did it not work out what happened because we as parents were performance oriented. So were thinking we've done all the right laps. We have all the rights and where were like stunned right right think that was that it is not about us number one thing I say is your children make decisions that are there decisions and as parents, you have to remember that you can't take on their decisions is a reflection of how I missed that I decided that their budding adults there making new decisions are testing the waters are trying out new things and said that that's the first and foremost is parents or children will make decisions that go against everything they've taught them and that's just life right.

Let's go to that day and that's scarlet were really good to get you in here but I want to hear from Lindsay first, let's go that day when you actually found out you're pregnant. What was the environment one setting and what did you hear and how to respond yes so it was a threefold finding out and I took a pregnancy test came back negative. I am at this point I am newly 18 so I was older, senior and newly 18. I took a pregnancy test came back negative. Dodged the bullet okay were good multiple days went by and I still did not start my periods and I took another pregnancy test and this will in turn positive as soon as it got wet so it was ready to go.

So it was positive and it was oh my goodness what's going on.

This can't be writing I've had a negative not had a positive I need to go and get this checked. So the first thing I think of is I can't let my pediatrician call my mom so I need to go somewhere else so the only place I need to go as planned so that is where I went I went. I filled out paperwork.

I filled out all the information and the whole time thinking there is no way this is my life.

There is no way this is happening on the happens, don't get pregnant.

Peasants don't go to plan. Peasants don't have the scenarios. This is mom, scarlet okay the mom's listener going when his mom let's hear your heart. How did that go down when Lindsay came home. I'm assuming the picture.

What was that discussion. Like when she said okay yeah I'm pregnant. We thought we had had the ducks in a row. As far as parenting and nothing was perfect in our eyes that everything seemed to be going on track so is a Saturday morning and one of those just easy-going mornings in my Lindsay sits down at the kitchen table is what you guys have planned and had Home Depot is not like a set of pancakes just a normal feeling Saturday morning and at that point we say Home Depot and Lindsay's head hits the breakfast table like a ragdoll. I mean her long hairs hanging down in a sound came out of my daughter. I've never heard it was in between unknown and a whale meant to hear that sound from your child was very much a panic. What is wrong what is wrong and she's sobbing and can't get the words out. My has been said his first thought was, did she hits him with the car last night but it was that much of a emotional reaction is something wrong Hugh Cottam like something bad happened.

Oh yes it was that we got a helper kid what is going on and she said two words that I never saw coming. Absolutely could not believe that these words came out of her mouth and they were just two words and it was I'm pregnant and my first reaction was to leave the room if I leave the room.

That means this scene didn't just happen and said something happen psychologically or not thinking it through, but it was like I got maybe it's fight or flight.

It was like maybe if I run or get out of this room, then my life is different than what just happened really odd feeling.

This is really important because there are some listening that either.

This just happened to or it's about to happen to us and I want to make sure parents here this really clearly, this is the moment of truth.

How you react in this moment could very easily set the relationship with your child for the rest of your life. Yes I do.

But when it is happening. I didn't realize I was setting that you're just in fact it's almost us.

First thing is a little bit of a selfishness, your first thought is, how did this happen on my watch. Reno hate to make it all about me, but I feel firstly I don't feel guilt and I slow my friends say I wasn't that far along in the thinking is yes too much in a panic of those words didn't just come out and so my first. I think senates of offers I said now lives in. This can't be true, and then the next thing that came out was I would've helped you. So it went to guilt immediately – is Screaming no now and then I could help you I can help you in Getting it like even leaning in my face I could help Sheila and it was this complete panic is my dad banging his fist on the table. That's what he went to anger did this. How did this happen when did this happen, wanting all the facts and thing is this and I just the puddle just sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry I just couldn't couldn't you watching you just created this tornado you crushed your parents feelings and their hopes and they are in complete, utter shock and panic in your the source of all of so much instant shame and guilt headed either one of you. How did you process the next 10 minutes, 30 minutes. Our day today would be accurate.

Yeah what was that like what were okay how I get my balance had you come back to the room.

Yeah, I was just a punch in the gut that I don't think for 24 hours. You're just reeling trying to what we do what we do what we do and a lot of times and angers a secondary emotion and sell for my husband anger was first. How could this happen on my watch was his feeling, and so every dad of her daughter saying you and going out with you. He felt like I met every anyway that dated her. We met at the door. I shook his hand. I told him that it was a strong presence here fatherly presence and so he felt a failure.

How did this happen and like I said, I think it was the surprise factor in that it this was not a teenagers that had given us Lori or closer so that day we are every bit Brad. My husband got right you know they were sitting down on here everything I want to hear where you were. I want to hear when it happened. I want to remember it was just house down the down data and logic and that through his pain. The other part that plays an interesting point are part of this is that we had 1/8 grade daughter. At that point and shoot. We still have her, but now she's all grown anyways on eighth grade she had never you know even thought me and maybe thought about but never kissed a boy or held hands or anything like that. And so to watch that child to as a parent.

She is just devastated because she's hugging my husband and she goes, she told me later. I could feel dad shaking I've never felt like big dad shakes it out, and so to watch her and the anger that she put towards Lindsay on how could you do this to us and beat it really became my, how could you Lindsay. Her quote was Bertha Pepin girls so something to you.

Not everybody would have that but there was a standard that also sent our last name carried so much weight on who we were.

We were a unit.

We were the Pepin family in the Pepin family had standards and responsibilities and you know upheld certain values and and I think a lot of that came to a lot of my Shane and a lot of my hiding and a lot of my guilt was like I've ruined the family name like I've tarnished who we are as a unit and it was it wasn't you know what you know when she's pregnant you get a move on. I need it shattered. Our whole family are so tightknit and I didn't feel is apparent that we were trying to hold up a name, but our kids did Scarlett let me tap into something I think you just mentioned specifically in the book joy will come.

You talk about the scrapbook analogy because I think a lot of moms or can identify the specially Christian moms or my wife Jean and I are just trying so hard to be perfect. Yes, you know so you scrapbook and you get the pages in the pictures of you got on the wall and you're paying $14 million a page to do that's right look and by the way just goes with what I get it and having so many of the listeners understand that true yes I would say probably my number one job in my life that I felt responsible for was being a great mom a great life to but this motherhood thing was it was the most important thing to me. I feel like, and so the scrapbook analogy was just a feeling of dread that handed this little girl Lindsay, you know. 18 years before and bows in her hair and taught her to brush her teeth and taught her about Jesus and memorized her love languages and tried to get it all down just right and then you turn the page and their growing up and she's doing, you know, taken her to Sunday school and enjoying who she is but felt like I got to the point where she announced she was pregnant within that next week I felt like I had left my whole project out in the rain. It was almost like I grabbed my scrapbook figuratively. You know as an analogy here that Lindsay's life. Now what and not that I was labeling her as the pregnant teenager, but now what the plans for okay did you get married she can it get married, is she going to go off to college, you know, I had things kind of going down the road that I thought was great. You know like their first grade they hold up the sign that's what we do until Sunday when they hold at the sign for the front door first grade you get their picture. Second grade their picture and you're watching him well, but I picture her senior year pregnant that just never crossed my mom and so the scrapbook analogy is just kinda see in those pages look like all the dreams I had for her willing to go a little further in the direction you had that startling realization that maybe you had made idols out of your kids to this for so many moms and say that's me and I will tell you I did not know that that's what so I'm there's a small yeah don't know yet how much they idolize on either their kids yes and it's all for a good cause. We think that's a good thing to be a loving mom but even good things can become an idol that almost sneakier that way. I think what's that boundary line. I mean, you're saying it but help me.

I don't quite get it. When do I cross the line to creating an idol out of my child when I look back at it. I think it came down to I love God and love the Lord.

I'm spending time you know in the Bible. But if my kid has a school project. I will get back to God. That, in other words, I get staple three and get the school project done within my heart and my spirit. I can fill the Lord drawing me.hey come away with me, let's spend some time together, and the only way I can explain it is your reading the word or spending time with the Lord you're putting him first. Also, it unraveled some of my identity on a good mom.

So that was part of my identity. These kids you can make them all about them especially.

I think in our society now Instagram and all the postings and they have their own hashtags and I'm not not slam on anybody, but I think as mamas we need to be real careful, because nothing can come before relationship with the Lord this area, and ask a couple really sensitive questions and I appreciate your honesty toward each other. You've obviously gone through this process and so not shocking you by this but Lindsay you say the pressure to be the perfect Christian girl major vulnerable all of us purchase what what is we don't.

We were not grabbing that in looking back, was there anything anyone could have done differently, and what sets you up, you use the story in the book about giving the stars for achievement that something we talked about her focus on.

We think that's a good thing you put a star when you hit the mark and you do your chores and that's a good thing out of the star chart play in this idea of perfection. Yeah, I think really what it boiled down to a ways they were such a standard and they were such a place that you had to cheat you how to get all your checkmarks. You get all your stars to be the good daughter and there was rewards if you do this thing. You get this award. If you do this if you don't do that you don't get your star. You don't get your reward so it felt like my love with my parents was contingent on if I met all the checkmarks I did everything right. My parents would love me and then it went back to church.

Are you guys bring your Bibles everywhere they praying every morning a get well if I don't read my Bible this morning that God doesn't love me today and I started to really interpret it. If I don't hit all the checkmarks in every area of my life and I am unlovable and so when I started to believe those lies and get into that isolation. Then when I started to make decisions add up. While I'm not to be perfect anyway so I mice will do whatever I want and I kind of moved, swung a little too far it because you couldn't hit the mark. There was and I couldn't get the mark I could never achieve. So I'll just go and swing this person seems to love me so will go and swing this way and then it turns into will now everybody thinks I'm still getting on my checkmarks so I can't go get help. I can't go to the church because they think I'm a good Christian girl if they only knew God would definitely not love me. I could never ship church. My parents knew they would disown me they would never, you know, allow me to see this person anymore. It turned into you I had a façade of yes I'm perfect. So now I can no longer get help because there's no authenticity and who I am with you you're really on it and again I appreciate the thoughtfulness what you're saying this and I think all of us as parents.

Carl don't feel guilty were all this right you will doing it, but what you how you react to that right because our our way of thinking and still is obedience has rewards right like you do it God's way and you have this great life. So one plan went to right, but there has to be a human factor in thereto that somehow we missed the grace factor. Honestly, the grace of God and free will to. I think that plays into it to their some free will. These are our children are not robots but yet was just to say hello, help me go 17-year-old Sonoma life just felt that no sir but on behalf of all listeners. What can we do as parents and really for both your perspectives now that you've learned when were put in the stars up there were giving the accolades and were making it a very performance-based relationship. How do we augment that what could've been done in your opinion to help us to do a little better job of talking about God's candidness. I this is something I think about when I need to be, you know, raising children in the future is what will I will I personally do differently and I think that's the candidness of yeah. Even mom and dad make mistakes, even mom and dad sent Mom told a lie. The other day and it really wasn't great. Here's how it made me feel. And here's, you know, kind of letting your children learn from you, even when you're, you know, being ugly and not an incident like your kids see the different areas talk to them about what you struggled with and validate and make it a conversation and here's you're not isolated, I get it nice to be a teenager you know having those conversations up open and let's all talk about this and I think about it from apparent sampling even from the trip standpoint we need to be okay to say from the pulpit and the pastor and I still make mistakes and I still said and I still fall short.

But God's grace is constantly there, you can always come back home will always have open arms. And I think just some candidness because to be honest, as I'm an adult and I hear things more now about my parents and you know shortcomings that they've had in the past like they said it was crazy when people found out I was pregnant. How many of my friends moms and older you know Christian women in my life that company to write struggled with to walk that to and I like where were you when I was struggling in my said why were we not having these discussions when you could have helped stop and prevent me from getting to the point where you've now felt that her tail and so that authenticity is an yet you know the thing is we want to project. This perfection is what you to live up to it yet. That's the bottom line. Note this is a horrible trap for you. I mean it's vicious downloaded that get bouncing between living.

This dual life of don't know what I've done or what I'm doing yeah which was having sex with your boyfriend yeah versus winning the stars and doing all the things to when you accolades about your Christian life. Wow, did you what was your lowest point in that regard. I mean, I think the bleeding all up to it. I mean, that was it was something that ate me alive. From the moment that I made the first decision to you know move into that type of relationship, I mean it was something to where I would practice lies in the car before I got home so they could be candid to my parents on what I actually did that night I got to that point ran like well I have to make sure even my Lai sound good so they believe me and I just, I mean my self-worth was completely deteriorated. I kept having those thoughts of Lindsay what are you doing this is not who you are. You need to. It was the Holy Spirit. I know that now saying meet. Come on girl like you.

You know better than this.

And then it just turned into. I'm just too far gone that it just is what it is there's there's no saving me. At this point and I'll just get through, you know, high school, Ali my parents house will then let my own life and will go from there. And if I come back to God.

I do if I don't, you know, I just was. It was just rock-bottom, so I'm sure some women are saying.

You could make this problem disappear quietly. You didn't have to be that embarrassed girl that embarrassed family and I want to talk to about the just so we don't leave people wondering what did you do, you did not abort the child correct. I chose life for my daughter and placed for adoption and we want to come back next time and talk about that aspect of the story because it's equally intriguing.

Yeah there are so many elements to this. It ended up being a family member in order to bring her in and talk with her next time about the solution and how you guys work through this. Here's the question I really wanted to hit him again if families just gone through this.

Or if you're even unaware mom and dad you're about to go through this sin has a way of working itself and for the Lord using it for his and for our good. That's the thing we we don't always embrace as I'm hearing the two of you interact right now watching you could play so definitely better than before the pregnancy and her husband. My husband to doesn't mean encourage your daughter to go there. I just no way LOL but the point of it is this life has an magnifies our short company, but God can use that, like he did in David's life and David to be more than what he was in that moment. And that's what I see in you guys, that the Lord is use this and used it in your life so you can actually be closer to him. Yes, and a folder for him a warrior spiritually for him As I resume yes we are a stronger family because the Pepin family that is stronger or more real have a testimony and absolutely beautiful granddaughter Morgan to come back and talk about that in the solution is struggled through next stick with us. Definitely let's do it. You should tune in next time. This best of 2020 Focus on the Family broadcast will continue the conversation with Scarlett and Lindsay and McKinley's adoptive mom will join the conversation as well John, I so appreciate the reminder that if we invite God into our mistakes, challenges and hard times. He can make us and our family stronger than ever before. That's the point. It's great to remember here at the end of such a challenging year families in crisis struggling parents couples on the verge of divorce, thousands of families have reached out to us in the past months who were desperately longing for the hope of Jesus this Christmas you can be a conduit for that hope.

We need your support here to continue providing life-changing spiritual help to hurting families, please join our support and when you give will send you a copy of Lindsay and Scarlett's book joy will come exchange shame for redemption as our website. Thank you were listener supported conjoined at support team. Call 880 family or donate and get the book links in the officer's on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team.

Thanks for joining us for Focus on the Family I'm John Fuller inviting you back. As we continue the conversation once more help you and your family thrive in Christ

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