The daughter of megapastor Bishop TD Jakes has released a book in which she opens up about her experiences of being a teen mother, and how her family dealt with the unexpected news.
Now in her mid-twenties, Sarah Jakes fell pregnant at the age of just 14. In an interview with Dr Phil yesterday, she shared how her father - world-renowned church leader TD Jakes of The Potter's House, a non-denomenational megachurch with an estimated 30,000 members – was rendered speechless when he found out.
"I remember [my parents] being completely silent for a really long time. I know that may not be a big deal in most homes, but when your father speaks for a living, to render him speechless is quite the task," she said.
Sarah, who now leads the women's ministry at The Potter's House, noted her parents were "extremely disappointed" to find that she was sexually active at such a young age, but that they were supportive of her as she made the transition to teen mother.
"I was 14-years-old. No one dreams that their child will have a child at that age. For a very long time they grieved the dream that they had for their daughter, but once we got through that – and it was a process – then we started looking at the practical matters of healthcare, school and education," she explained.
As a pastor's daughter, Sarah's pregnancy caused controversy when the news broke and the church faced a huge backlash from the media, but she was quick to share her belief that individuals must make a choice about their own lifestyle, regardless of their family's values.
"I think that we all have our own journeys," she said. "I know it was something we spoke about a lot in our ministry, but just because my parents were preaching about it doesn't mean that I will live by it – that's the reality of it, that we all find out on our own."
Her book, 'Lost and Found: Finding hope in the detours of life' expands on her journey, including her four-year marriage and subsequent divorce from former NFL player Robert Henson.
She shares the grace that she has found in a loving relationship with God.
"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," she told Good Morning Texas.
"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."
Bishop Jakes has spoken out about his daughter's pregnancy in the past, saying that he and his wife were "shocked, crushed [and] emotionally devastated", but decided to "rise above the trauma".
"Love overrides everything," he told Roland Martin Reports. "It wasn't about being embarrassed; it wasn't about protecting my image. I cared nothing about that. I cared about [Sarah]."
Available now in the US, 'Lost and Found' will be published in the UK on May 1.