pentecostal woman5Maria is a single, young looking Mom, who has just received the Lord Jesus Christ into her life, and was filled with the Holy Spirit at a sanctified tent meeting. That experience changed her life. She couldn’t wait to join a church to dedicate her services to God. Maria decided to join a particular Pentecostal Apostolic church. She offered to devote herself to church duties and volunteer activities; but that choice had unexpected future consequences, effecting her relationship with her daughter.

homegirls1Tarsha, born out of wedlock, now a teenager, began turning rebellious at the news of her Mom’s sudden conversion to Christianity. One night, while with her friends, Tarsha complained, “I don’t know what’s up with my mom, ya’ll! She ain’t even got time for me, you know!  But I ain’t gonna sweat it!  She’s  always at that darn church.  I’m telling y’all, she just up and changed, just like that! (snapping her fingers) Now she’s straight up religious. Some dude around the block invited her to go to some kind of sanctified tent meeting, and the next thing you know, she’s filled with this…… Holy Spirit stuff.  Now she want to sanctify the whole house!  I can’t take it!”….. “Yeah girl, I think I feel where you’re coming from,” said her friend Lisa, “I heard about them Holy Rollers, they strict as heck!”  “No doubt!” Tarsha replied, “I don’t even know my Mom anymore!”

In spite of Tarsha’s unwillingness for spirituality, Maria took her disappointed daughter to church every Sunday. And as usual, after entering the church building, said to Tarsha, “Ok honey, just sit anywhere you want for now, ok? I’ll be back for you after service. You know I have to take care of this church  business.” 

The Mom had numerous responsibilities in the church. And there seemed to had been an unspoken agreement, that church came first and family second. Many church going parents were so busy performing their church duties that they never even recognize their children’s increasing involvement in street life until it was too late.  When the question was raised as to why the kids of church leaders were out in the streets instead of in the church, the prevailing answer was…… “It’s the Devil. And he’s always attacking the dedicated!”  {dedicated—meaning: those doing more for the church} 

Not once was it thought that the rebellion in the home was due to the neglect of their child. But instead, they believed themselves to be fulfilling God’s higher calling.  They were giving up their family for Christ sake with the belief that if they took care of God’s church, then God would take care of their home.  It simply wasn’t common thought that one should give up their church titles to attend to their lost child, as Jesus gave up His throne to attend to His.  For surely, all the angels of heaven would had rejoiced over the conversion of that one child, then all the thousands of souls that were being entertained by one’s ministry.

There had been a few parents who were fortunate to have their kids willingly come to Christ and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, and there was great joy in those homes.  But in the case of Tarsha and her Mom, the situation was quite different. 

sad girl2Tarsha was dealing with teenage crisis, which the Mom seemed too busy with church duties to address.  “Just give it over to the Lord, baby!”  Her Mom would say, “He’ll handle it for you!  Just pray, honey! that’s all, and watch God work!” This was a common statement among many church members who’s spiritual leaders, at that time, failed, unintentionally, to teach the benefits of listening, with unconditional love, to what their child had to say.

One Friday night, Tarsha was allowed to stay home and finish up important school work while her Mom went to Bible class.  But after her Mom left for church, Tarsha snuck out the house to go to Lisa’s graduation party down the street.  Lisa’s parents were very lenient; they wanted their daughter to have lots of fun.  They prohibited any alcohol, but gave Lisa a stack of condoms just in case any of her friends got weak in the flesh. They were hoping to prevent coming back to a daughter who had caught HIV or was pregnant.

Black-Girls-PartyWhen Tarsha arrived, she saw Lisa across the room. Lisa motioned her to come over to their side. The party was in full force. Everywhere you looked, folks were dancing or rocking to the beat. After reaching where her girlfriends were sitting, Tarsha noticed that everybody had a boyfriend. Lisa jumped up and greeted Tarsha, and said to her, “Guess what girl? I have someone for you to meet.”  There was a guy sitting next to Lisa’s boyfriend. “This is Samuel!”  Lisa shouted, trying to be heard over the music that had just been turned up a notch.  “He’s cool. Why don’t y’all go and get acquainted” she said.

Samuel smiled at Tarsha, took her by the hand, and led her to the kitchen. As they got acquainted with each other, Lisa came into the kitchen saying, “Hey Tarsha, why don’t you and Samuel go up to my room. It’s more quiet up there. I have a lock on my door just in case you want to keep out any unexpected intruders.”  Tarsha gave Lisa a surprised shocked look. “I’m just saying,” muttered Lisa as she walked back out the kitchen.

“Yeah Tarsha!” Samuel said smiling, “Let’s go upstairs. I would love to hear more about you.”  Those words hit Tarsha to the heart. “More about me?” she said within herself, smiling. “Wow, no one ever told me that!” Here was a stranger, providing what she’s been craving; cravings for attention, affection, and to be heard. “Sure! Let’s go.” She said.

Samuel was a great attentive listener, and Tarsha found herself spilling out her whole life to him as they talked for hours, sitting on Lisa’s bed. “I don’t know why I’m telling you all my business,” Tarsha said. “I have never talk this much to anybody…. not even my girlfriends.”  Then Tarsha began feeling things she never felt before. Before long, the passion had grown so forcefully between the two, that the end was inevitable. The bedroom door was now locked as they lay naked, weak, and sexually spent, while the condoms on Lisa’s dresser remained untouched.

Surprisingly, Tarsha was able to sneak back home the following morning. Her Mom was so tired after Friday night bible class, she didn’t even bother to tell Tarsha good night, which would had probably changed the coarse of history for the young daughter. But it was not to be.  And since the Mom enjoyed sleeping late on Saturdays, Tarsha was able to sneak back in the house without detection.

Six weeks later, Tarsha recognized that her menstrual cycle hadn’t come. She went over to Lisa’s house to relay the complex situation.  “What the heck were you thinking, girl? You didn’t see those condoms I had on my dresser?” Lisa said, as she ran up the stairs to get her pregnancy test device. “I wasn’t planing on having sex, for crying out loud! I just got caught up in the moment. It was my first time!” Tarsha argued….. Then Lisa handed Tarsha the testing device. “Wow! I’m sorry Tarsha, I didn’t know it was your first time.”  “It’s Ok, girl. Just show me how to take this pregnancy test.”  Tarsha suggested nervously.  The results were positive. She was pregnant.

Tarsha was nervous and scared to the bone…..

“Just get an abortion,” Lisa advised.

“Are you crazy!  Tarsha shouted. “I’m not about to kill my baby!” 

“Don’t feel bad about getting an abortion.” Lisa explained.  “I know girls at your Mom’s church that got an abortion. They didn’t want to disgrace their parents and lose their good-girl reputations. You see, Tarsha, the church has a better tolerance for boys messing up, but when it comes to us girls messing up, it’s a whole different set of rules and rejection.  That’s why those girls at your Mom’s church refuse to have their babies, for fear of the wrath of their leaders.  That’s why I don’t go to church, because those girls pretend to live right, but I know they don’t. And what’s so crazy about them church girls is that, after having abortions, they have the nerve to talk down on a sister who decides to have her baby, as if they had been pure and holy all along.”

“Well, I’m having my baby!” Tarsha said emphatically. “I’m not a church girl and I can care less what they think about me.”

“Well, what about your Mom?” Lisa reminded. But Tarsha had no answer for that, and simply said, “I’ll see you later,” and proceeded back home. She had decided to wait until her stomach started showing before telling her Mom. But in a very short time, her Mom began to recognize signs of morning sickness on Tarsha, and with great anxiety, asked, “Tarsha, are you pregnant?” Tarsha’s answer was a devastating blow to her Mom. The Mom left the room crying, more disappointed at God rather than her daughter. 

mom praying“Oh God!” The Mom lamented, falling on her knees before God in her bedroom. “How could this happen to me!  Why didn’t you show me that my little girl was having sex?  I’ve been faithful in all my church duties.  I’ve served you with all my heart.  I paid my tithes and offerings. Lord, you see my record that I have stayed clean and holy before all. I thought that if I took care of your business, you would take care of mine.  What happen, Lord?  How did my daughter get caught up in this without my detection?” You know I didn’t want my little girl having babies out of wedlock, like I did.  It’s a big responsibility.  Why couldn’t you just hold off on her being pregnant for my sake.  I brought her to church every Sunday so that she could feel your anointing and be saved.  I needed your help on this.  Why let her have a baby now, Lord?  Why? I do so much for the church and your Kingdom.  Don’t that account for something?  I’m not trying to be hard on you, Lord….  I’m just really hurt.”

Lisa over heard the words of her Mom praying in the other room and was very disturbed by it.  At dinner time, Lisa asked her Mom, “Mom, why were you blaming God for me being pregnant?  Did you think he would come down from heaven and be a Mom to me? It was you who brushed me off and kept telling me to pray about it, but you never showed me how to pray.  It was you who told me to trust God, but you never explained who he is.  You never asked me what I learned in church, for I would have told you that I never understand anything that is going on.  I cried out to you Mom, but you were too busy with church business.  And now, are you telling me, that this God, you had been so excited about, is now at fault because I’m pregnant? I don’t understand! Why blame God, when you’re the one who wasn’t here for me!”

The Mom sat at the table, stunned at the reality of her daughter’s words.  Tears began flowing down her face as she pondered over it.  There was a long silence, but then, Maria began to speak with her head down and cracking in her voice due to her trying to hold back tears, “I’m sorry Tarsha,” she said. “I was wrong in how I treated you. It’s just that…. when I received Jesus Christ in my life, I was just so excited, and I wanted you to know what that felt like. I just thought that if I could get you into the church, you would feel what I felt, and we would both been happy…. But I totally forgot what it was like, not having Jesus Christ in my life.  And to be honest…. honey… I never liked church either. (she chuckled) Matter of fact, the only reason I went to that tent meeting with that guy George, around the block from us, was because he was cute and good lookin’. (Tarsha smiled as she listened)  I was thinking that if I went with this guy to the meeting, he would go out with me on a date.  I was just trying to get me a good man.  I didn’t know that I would receive Jesus instead. But let me tell you, honey, it was the best thing that could ever happen to me. And I just wish you could feel what I felt on that day.  I really didn’t see how I was rejecting you at the time, but I see it now.   And I’m mom and daughter embracereally sorry I wasn’t here for you. It was totally my fault. But I’m telling you…. Sweetheart…. you have my word….  I’m going to be here for you from this point on.  And when you finally have that baby, you will have my full support!”  Tears flowed from Tarsha’s eyes from that statement, and they both embraced.

“I love you Tarsha,” the Mom said, as she tightly hugged her daughter.

“I love you too, Mom.”