The Unexpected of Teen Pregnancy with Charlotte Smiley

The Unexpected of Teen Pregnancy with Charlotte Smiley

In this episode of this series on the unexpected, we are talking to Charlotte Smily about life as a teen parent and life as a parent of a teen parent. As a 17-year-old senior in high school, Charlotte found out she was pregnant with her oldest daughter, Morgan. Years down the road, Charlotte found out that Morgan was going to become a teen parent herself when she got pregnant her sophomore year of college. With her incredibly unique experience and perspective, Charlotte walks us through the challenges of teenage pregnancy from both sides of the story.

We are so thankful for Charlotte’s wisdom as we talk about choices, family, grace, forgiveness, accountability, and walking through difficult times.

If you have a teen parent or parent of teen parent in you life, please listen, share and let us know what you think! We invite you to join our conversation with Charlotte Smiley.



Listen & Subscribe:  iTunes | Google Play | RSS


In this episode, we mentioned the following resources:

About Us:

At 17, Charlotte found herself pregnant with Morgan who is now 29 years old. After graduating from high school early, she went on to graduate from Midwestern State University with a B.S. in Dental Hygiene. Charlotte met her husband Scott when Morgan was 4 months old, and they now have four beautiful children and 3 grandchildren. Charlotte and Scott consider their lives a ministry as they find their passion mentoring young teenagers and young married couples.

Chris Robey is the CEO of Teen Life. Earlier in his career while working as a youth minister, Chris earned a Masters Degree in Family Life Education from Lubbock Christian University to better equip his work with teenagers and families. Chris’ career and educational opportunities have exposed him to teenagers from a variety of backgrounds. Follow him on Twitter!

Karlie Duke is Teen Life’s Marketing & Development Director, joining Teen Life after graduating from Abilene Christian University with a degree in Communications and a minor in Family Studies. Karlie has worked with teenagers for the past 6 years and is passionate about encouraging students to live better stories. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram!

Have a question?
If you have a question about something you heard or just want to give us some feedback, please leave us a comment below.  We would love to hear from you!
Helping Students Lament

Helping Students Lament

This past week, I was on staff at a church camp and spent time teaching a Bible Class. Earlier in the Spring, they put out the class list for the teachers to choose a topic, and I guess I got there a little too late…One of the only topics left was on mourning. Yay! Or boo, I guess.

As I started preparing for this lesson, I was led to the various “laments” in the Old Testament of the Bible. In these laments, the authors would express their pain and grief in such a way to leave no doubt how they were feeling about things. Typically, the authors would speak in metaphors to describe the pain they were going through, and often the finger was pointed directly at God.

Being a former youth pastor, I thought I had taught it all. And having taught “church kids” most of that time, I assumed they have heard it all.

But not this time.

As we walked through some of the laments, you could see the students leaning forward in their chairs and paying extra-close attention to the words of the psalmists. They were captured by the metaphors and astonished by the words of those in pain.

Can they say that?” – was a common question as students explored passages like Psalm 88:3-7 and Lamentations 2:1-12.

You see, the structure and usage of lament functioned like therapy before there was anything like it. The ancient Jews had a relationship with God that allowed them to both praise and yell at God, depending on what was going on.

In other words, the ancient writers assumed something about the human condition: We have to tell the truth, somehow. 

And, we will end up telling the truth, somehow.

Laments are simply a healthy way for someone to mourn and grieve. They are a way to “tell the truth” about how they are feeling without fear of retribution. It’s an opportunity to lay everything on the table and take stock of what you have.

Because, the truth will come out at some point – but maybe not in the way we would think. We all are burdened with life and what can happen. Injustice, violence, loss, sorrow, and brokenness dance around us everyday. And with the advent of social media, we know more about human suffering than ever before.

We hold all of this stuff inside. The bad stuff of life can become a part of us if we don’t find a healthy way to “get it out”. If we don’t, it comes out in ways that are far less helpful. Anger, abuse, substance, self-harm, depression, anxiety, despair, and violence will “tell the truth” about how we are really feeling about things if we choose not to get things out in a heathy way.

Ultimately, we all tell the truth about what is going on inside of us. 

As someone who loves teenagers, I am worried about their ability to really deal with the hard stuff of life. Many assume venting over social media and texts is the way to go. For a lot of teenagers, there is no real safe place to go and “get it out” unless they go to a counselor or group.

Let’s create space and opportunity for our teenagers to lament. Whether it is at a church, in your home, or within the context of a loving relationship, maybe we can allow a student to speak about how they actually feel regarding the tough stuff of life.

It might sound confusing. It might not make sense. They might cuss. They might be disrespectful. They might point the finger at God. Or, you.

But, it is how they feel – and that is an incredible starting point for healing. Because, how they feel isn’t where they will end up on their journey through pain. Likely, it is just the starting point.

What do you think about this? Have you been around someone who is truly lamenting? Have you? How has it helped? 

Chris Robey, Teen Lifeline’s Program Director, has worked with teens for over a decade and strives to help students see the best in themselves.