Guest column: Amy Ford is the co-founder of Embrace Grace, Inc., inspiring the church to provide emotional, practical and spiritual support for single young girls who find themselves with an unplanned pregnancy.
What if girls with unplanned pregnancies ran to the church for love and support instead of away from the church because of shame and guilt?
What if the church welcomed these moms with open arms and helped them get plugged into a spiritual family?
What if churches partnered with local pregnancy centers to eradicate abortion in their community through God’s hope and love?
Churches, unfortunately, have had a reputation with moms with unintended pregnancies as a place they would never want to step foot into. These expectant moms often say, “Why would I go to church? I already feel bad enough about myself as it is – they will just make me feel worse.” These women feel as if the feelings of shame and condemnation would multiply if they opened their hearts to a pastor or member of the church. A new study by Lifeway and CareNet shows that more than 4 in 10 women who have had an abortion were churchgoers when they ended their pregnancy. That means they are sitting in the pews next to you and they do not feel as if they can share what they are going through.
But there is a shift happening – a movement of grace and love. God’s kindness is leading these brave ladies to repentance. The church is taking a new approach to change things. They want to be known more for what they are FOR than what they are against. They are FOR life – not just the life of the baby but the life of the mother, father and all family involved. They are not just pro-birth. They are for ALL life. (For more on the church and abortion, see here.)
The church is taking a fresh and new pro-love approach to welcoming moms with an unplanned pregnancy by partnering with their local pregnancy centers. A non-profit organization called Embrace Grace is leading the way, strengthening the bridge between the center and the church. Embrace Grace has a mission to inspire and equip the church to love on single and pregnant young women.
Embrace Grace is currently operating a test project that could change the way these moms think about the church. 500 “Love-In-A-Box” gifts are being handed out to young, single moms with positive pregnancy tests through 8 participating pregnancy centers in Texas and Idaho. These gifts include a baby onesie that reads “Gift from God”, a copy of the book A Bump in Life: True Stories of Hope & Courage during an Unplanned Pregnancy written by the co-founder of Embrace Grace, Amy Ford. The box also has a journal that has on the cover “You are strong. You are brave. You are loved” along with a pen and a “Loved” hair-tie. And most importantly, a sweet letter to the mom encouraging her to get plugged into the local church and be loved by a spiritual family. With incentives through Embrace Grace like a baby shower, meeting new friends in similar situations, and emotional and spiritual support through great teachings and inspiring church leaders, these brave moms are opening their heart to the idea of the church and the hope of Jesus. Each gift is wrapped in tissue and tied with a tulle bow by volunteers that prayed over each woman that receives the gift, to be filled with hope and confidence in the next season whether it be parenting or choosing adoption.
Embrace Grace has hopes that this project saves babies and mommas, encourages them while filling them with hope that God sees them, and that they get plugged into an Embrace Grace group or other safe church in their area.
Join Embrace Grace in prayer for every mom that opens her gift will feel God’s comfort and the hope of Jesus. Pray that these moms choose LIFE!
We can talk about being pro-life and what our stance on abortion, but without love, our words are just a clanging cymbal. (1 Cor. 13:1) We can put action to our words by reaching out and loving these women that may just need someone to say, “You can do it” or “You will be a great mom.” God sees them and hears their prayers, and He might use us to help be the answer.
If you are interested in starting an Embrace Grace support group at your church for young, single moms with unintended pregnancies, go to EmbraceGrace.com for more information.