For the most part, when I explain how I help young girls with crisis pregnancies, even throwing them baby showers, I usually get big eyes, an awkward (or sometimes dramatic) pause, and then a slow, big smile spreads across the listener’s face as that new idea slowly starts sinking into his or her heart.
But every once in a while, I get a different reaction. Once a crabby old man said, “That’s all they need – another handout,” as he went off on a tangent about the government. Another time I was at a fabric store and the woman who worked there was measuring out my fabric. She asked if I was going to use it for a party. I answered her and explained that it was for a big baby shower for single and pregnant girls, and she stopped what she was doing and looked up at me and said, “I’m a teacher at an alternative school, and a lot of the girls are single and pregnant. Why in the world would you want to reward them for their bad behavior?” Another time, a woman met with her pastoral team at her church in Houston about possibly starting an Embrace Grace. Her pastor responded, “This sounds like a great program, and I’m sure they do great things to help these girls. But we really want to be careful about this and how it might be perceived as honoring girls that have sinned.”
Every time I hear stuff like this, my first instinct is like a momma bear to her cubs; I want to defend and protect these girls who choose life. But then I quickly calm myself before speaking and try to explain how the person I’m talking to might need to think differently about the situation.
Imagine a girl who is in high school. She finds out she is pregnant, and she is scared to death. She doesn’t know what to do. All her friends are pressuring her to have an abortion, and sadly, as happens in many scenarios like this, even her parents suggest it, too. But something inside this girl is telling her that maybe there’s another way. Deep down, she really doesn’t want to have an abortion…so maybe there is hope. Even if she has to do it alone, maybe she could try to make this work, even though she knows it would take a miracle.
So she squares her shoulders, lifts up her chin, takes a deep breath, and just deals with it. She decides to give it a try and hopes for the best. She bravely tells her family that she has decided to keep the baby. Her family might just hold guilt and shame over her head for 9 months, reminding her of how she messed up. She tells her friends at school, and slowly they drift away, one by one, not really sure how to relate anymore, and the momma feels more alone. People might point in the halls or just ask a lot of questions, but regardless, every day, it’s like a battlefield just to get through it.
And what about the girls who choose adoption? One of the girls I helped was in hair school and was pregnant and just a few weeks away from blessing another family with her baby. An elderly lady came into the school for her discounted haircut, and the Embrace Grace girl started working on her hair. The older woman kept asking questions like, “Are you excited about your baby? Do you have everything prepared?” The young pregnant girl explained how she had chosen adoption and had already picked the family, and everyone was so excited to meet this precious baby in a few weeks. The woman suddenly became stone-faced and quietly said, “Excuse me” and walked away to speak to the manager. She had asked the management if she could have a different hair girl, stating that she didn’t agree with adoption. The manager could not believe the rudeness of the woman and asked her to leave the salon. The EG girl seemed disappointed inside, but it just made her even stronger. She knew inside her heart that she was doing the right thing.
In some circumstances, it could have seemed easier just to get an abortion and deal with the consequences of a broken heart later…but these girls didn’t. These girls chose life when the world around them said otherwise. They are giving the precious miracle inside them a chance at life.
Does God make mistakes? Did God mistakenly place babies inside their wombs? Of course not! Every child is a miracle designed by a creative God.
Most churches advocate the pro-life position and tell people that abortion is wrong, but then, when a girl chooses life and resists abortion, should they just turn their back on her? And here’s a shocker: maybe, since most seem to turn their backs, perhaps they have actually contributed to the problem of abortion instead of helping to solve it. Are we unknowingly contributing to the abortion rate when all we would need to do is reach out and show love and compassion to a girl who feels hopeless? If the church is a safe place without shame and condemnation, then why aren’t more girls running to the church for help? Do you refuse to feed the poor because of their possible bad choices that were made to get them in that situation? Do we refuse to reach out to the people in prison because their past is just too dirty? Do we not lift up the broken when they fall? Is your church there to help the perfect people (which there is no such thing), or is it there to help real people? The broken…the lost…the desperate?
God is such an amazing God that when He wants to get someone’s attention and woo a girl closer to Him, He might just use a baby to do it. He might just bless that baby with the sweetest face the girl has ever laid eyes on, so she can finally get a tiny glimpse of just how big God’s love is for each one of us.
What if we thought differently about people – looked past people’s sins to the actual people themselves? What if we honored girls who choose life for their babies? What if we made the church a safe place for girls to take refuge for their weary hearts? What do you think would happen with the pro-life/pro-choice issue? What if we pointed each life to the foot of the cross and helped inspire a passionate relationship with Christ? What could happen? God’s kindness leads us to repentance. We are here to show the love of Christ.
I challenge you to think differently about people you encounter and meet. God is bringing you people to love on, no matter what they are going through. Love can change everything.
Written by Amy Ford