AFRICANGLOBE – Sarah Jakes is the daughter of Bishop TD Jakes. Jakes is a respected pastor and people know very little about his daughter and her struggles. For example, most people don’t know that she was pregnant at the age of 14.
“I was terrified,” Jakes said. “You have this idea of ‘I’m going to get in trouble,’ like ‘I’m going to be grounded forever’ because you have nothing else really at that point to compare it to.”
Jakes speaks openly about how difficult it was to tell her father that she was pregnant. Rather than telling her parents the news, Sarah left a letter in the family mailbox and her sister told her parents for her. She says that their reaction really hit her to the core and that they were shocked.
“My parents were speechless. I mean, my father was a preacher, who speaks for a living, and he was speechless,” Jakes said. “And that’s when it dawned on me that this was so much bigger than being grounded. [I was] bringing a life into the world and while I certainly had other options, whether abortions or adoptions, there was something inside of me that said I could do it.”
Jakes has written a book called “Lost & Found: Finding HOPE in the Detours of Life” in which she details the troubling teenage years she had to endure as a young mother. She is married now and says that her husband was having a child with another woman at the time she started to talk about her past.
“I started blogging about three years ago and at the time, I was married and my husband was expecting a child from another woman. I really wasn’t sure that I wanted to make the decision to divorce or to even put that part of my life out on a blog but I knew I had this pain and these emotions,” she said. “I was angry with God, I was bitter, and I just wanted to write about it.”
Her honesty has gotten support from the Christian community because people are appreciative that she is willing to share her story.
“Outside of wanting to know what would be the ministry legacy that you would create from your last name, they also wanted you to know that everything needed to be perfect,” Jakes said.
“In my case, you’re pregnant at 14, your stomach is growing, you’re sitting in a church, within service and people want to know who the father is and how it all happened. I mean that pressure very much made me want to hide and I became comfortable being an introvert,” she added.
Jakes says that her morality was consistently questioned by other church-goers, who felt she was a hypocrite for having a child at such a young age. She says that she knows she is going to be judged for his poor choices, but is ready to move forward anyway.
“But because of what it does for other people, I feel that I should share my story. It’s very scary because you open yourself up to criticism and so much judgment and you know that not everyone is going to see the message. So the hardest part is to kind of drown out the painful and hurtful things that have been said and really just focus on the hope it provides for other people.”
By: Sarah Miller