An Open Letter To Bristol Palin

[This is my first attempt at an open letter to anyone, so bear with me]

Dear Bristol

You and I don’t know each other.  In fact, it’s only because we live in the days of 24 hour news channels and unlimited access to the internet that I even know who you are.  But now you’re mom’s running for Vice President of the United States and a lot people don’t want her to achieve that position, and so here we are.  The worst part is, because of how the timing of everything worked out, you became pregnant at a time when a lot of people are gunning at you and your family.  You’re going to get a lot of different views on the subject and most of them will be negative since the media doesn’t want your mom to succeed.  Now I don’t know you from Eve, but I did want to just toss my two cents out into the virtual sea in the slight chance you might one day find this electronic bottle. Take my advice for what its worth. My hope is that it might encourage you just a little.

First of all, congratulations!  Having a baby is one of the greatest opportunities we can have as we grow into adulthood.  There is nothing like it.  You get the chance to mother a generation and help them go farther than you’ve ever gone.  Yeah, it’s going to be hard, tiring, expensive, tiring, time-consuming, and did I mention tiring?  But there is nothing better than participating with God in the formation of a life that has never existed before now.  I know because I’m the father a beautiful 20 month old girl and a two week old baby boy.

Secondly, don’t listen to all the naysayers.  I’ve seen a lot of the commentary.  A lot of it is just junk.  Most of them don’t know you and don’t care about who you are or what you’re going through.  Many have said that no good can come from a 17-year-old having a baby.  They say girls your age are not ready for marriage or family or even the real world. Even the best critics are articulating concerns that they feel very deeply, but they are still just an attempt to influence the nation.  Most people probably don’t realize that all of these attacks have a very real home where they will land–your heart and your mind as you carry this new baby.

But don’t let them get you down.  I’ll tell you why.  I know of another fiery, red-haired woman who gave birth at the age of 17.  She was a farm girl in a rural state in this country.  This was almost 30 years ago when things like this didn’t happen as often as they do now.  She loved the guy she was with a lot and they got pregnant.  She hadn’t finished high school yet, but with the help of her family, she had the baby, finished high school, and married the father.  Not everyone looked favorably on this 17 year old girl.  But this young girl and her husband and their baby became a family and started off in a direction that most would have advised against.

Now not everything went right for that 17 year old girl but I can tell you that a lot went better than anyone thought.  God worked in that whole family’s life despite the circumstances thrown at it.  But the baby is grateful to this day that a young, inexperienced 17 year old decided to keep that baby despite the consequences.  I know, because I am that baby.  Almost 28 years later, I have no claim to fame, I haven’t ended hunger or cured cancer, but I lived a good life because a 17 year old took the cards dealt to her and ran with them.  And I’m sure you’re baby will feel the same way.

So don’t get down when the press throws nasty stuff your way because of what’s going on.  Just remember what God has called you to do now.  Whatever happens with your mom, you and your fiance and your parents will be people the baby looks up to for years and years to come.  And this baby, whoever he or she is, will be thankful.

Enjoy being pregnant the first time Bristol, it’s like nothing you’ve ever experienced.

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About traviskolder

Travis Kolder is a follower of Jesus, a husband, a father of five, an organic church planter, and a writer. He lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he serves as part of the Cedar Rapids House Church Network.

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