It can’t be easy being the child of a man of the cloth. All eyes are on you, and expectations are high. That was and is the reality of Sarah Jakes, daughter of Bishop T.D. Jakes. As a teenager, she went through quite a bit, including getting pregnant at the age of 13 and dealing with having to share this information with her father. Sarah also says that she went through years of “giving myself away,” and was even married to NFL linebacker Robert Henson, but filed for divorce after four years together after he got another woman pregnant. Sarah has dealt with all of this, and she is only in her mid-20s. She is putting out a book about her life so far and the lessons she has learned called Lost & Found: Finding Hope in the Detours of Life, and to promote it, the gorgeous mother of two (Malachi, 11, and McKenzie, 4) sat down with Good Morning Texas to talk about her growing pains, changing her life around, her father, the inspiration for her book, and motherhood.
Being A Preacher’s Kid:
“You know I do think it was pretty difficult, but it was always our norm. It wasn’t until we were in school age that we realized that our lives were much different than our classmates.
There was pressure from our congregation, pressure within ourselves to kind of live up to what it means to be T.D. Jakes’ children. It’s a process we’re still kind of maneuvering through.”
What It Was Like Getting Pregnant At The Age Of 13 And Giving Birth At 14:
“You know, when you get pregnant at that age the only thing you have to compare it to is like failing a test or not turning in your homework. So you have this concept of ‘I’m gonna get in trouble, I’m going to get in trouble.’ You don’t realize that you’re bringing a life into the world or what that means to yourself and to your family. So I did not have the courage to tell my father. My sister actually wrote a letter and told them. She was the only one wise enough to let them in on the whole process.”
Her Father’s Reaction:
“Obviously devastated. No one dreams that their child is going to have a child before they’re even out of high school. I think we grieved what we thought my life would be and then made the decision to pick up the pieces…’Where do we go from here?'”
Receiving Her Father’s Support:
“I think he felt it would be a disservice to help millions of people around the world and then have his own daughter in need and then abandon her. To both of my parents’ credit, they were very supportive.”
On Her Book, Lost & Found:
“I always say that I considered finding the pieces that you gave away of yourself along the way. When I had my son at such an early age I dealt with a lot of shame and pressure and found myself in bad relationships and just giving myself away. As I really desired to live my life for God I found the pieces that I gave away and I learned to love myself again.”
Her Children, Malachi and McKenzie:
“They are incredible. Something about having children makes you want to be a better person. I know we all want our children to have better lives than we did and be more whole than we are, but knowing that they’re watching me really made me want to make a conscious decision to always love myself and learn from my mistakes so I can demonstrate for them what it really means to overcome.”
The Process Of Writing Her Book:
“I started a blog three years ago and within three months I had over a million hits and I was just talking about the pain I was dealing with within my marriage. At the time there was another woman pregnant and there were all of these emotions I was going thorugh. They kept telling me, ‘You’re so transparent, you’re so transparent.’ So for me, Lost & Found was an opportunity to really be as transparent as they thought I was on the blog to really tell my story and give them the wounds behind the scars.”
If She Worries About Living Up To The Standards Of Being T.D. Jakes’ Daughter:
“Oh goodness no. I think the pressure only applies if I allow it to. I’m so authentically myself that I don’t allow that to get to me.”
Bishop Jakes actually spoke about learning of his daughter’s pregnancy in the past, and how he knew that he needed to support her rather than reject her, saying that his reaction was:
“Shocked, crushed, emotionally devastated, and yet there was something down inside of me and in her mother as well, that said we have to rise above the trauma.”
And they have all risen above it after all these years. If you’re interested in learning more about Sarah’s story, her book comes out tomorrow, on April 1, and is available on Amazon.