He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8 (ESV)
One day I was sitting across the table from the pastor of a church, I couldn't hold back my happy tears. He had been sharing about his daughter Abby having an unplanned pregnancy and the effect it had, not only on his family, but also on the church that he pastored.
The father of the baby was in and out of jail and not a part of her life, and Abby had asked for forgiveness. She wanted to come back home. Eventually, Abby gave birth to a sweet baby girl. Everyone in the family was happy about this new addition, even though the timing wasn't what they had hoped.
During the pregnancy, the pastor had shared the news with his congregation, and it was received with grace. Members of the church had purchased gifts for the baby, dropping them on their doorstep. They would encourage Abby and thank her for choosing life.
Then what he said next touched me deeply.
He told me that Abby asked him if it would be okay to dedicate her baby, his grandchild, at his church. He agreed and they arranged for the baby dedication at their next scheduled ceremony. At their baby dedication ceremony, when each family walks to the altar, the pastor will ask, "Would the family members who represent this child please stand?"
That's when all family members connected to that baby will stand. Then the pastor leads a prayer of dedication for that specific family.
On the night when Abby signed up for her baby dedication, family after family took their turns at the altar, until finally, it was her turn.
The pastor asked the same question he had asked with each of the other families, "Would the family members who represent this woman and her child please stand?"
What happened next is the perfect picture of God's dream for the world:
The whole church stood up.
Leading a ministry that launches support groups for women with unexpected pregnancies in churches all over the nation, I have seen firsthand the power the church has in helping save lives from abortion because of kindness and love. The church can be a spiritual family to her for not only the pregnancy but her whole life. The church can be an army of love warriors to help her see past the temporary 'crisis' that might be consuming her every waking moment and help her be brave. Together we can make abortion unthinkable.
God has put certain strengths, gifts, and passions within you so that you can use them to change the world. There is something unique inside of you that equips you to help someone be courageous.
Here are few questions you to ask yourself as you pray about how you can help:
1. What are you passionate about? What is your favorite hobby? Could it be used in the pro-life movement? For example, if you love numbers, teach a single mom how to budget. If you love career coaching, help a single mom create her resume and find a job. If you love children, offer to babysit. If you have a knack for fixing cars, you could help repair a single mom's car.
2. What makes you pound your fist on the table and say, "Someone needs to do something about this!" That someone might be you. There's a reason why you get fired up about a certain injustice or cause.
3. What is your story? A lot of times, our purpose is tied to our story. Have you experienced an abortion and want to help others experience God's healing the way you have? Did an unplanned pregnancy leave you feeling completely alone? Perhaps you can be the person you wish had been there for you. God often uses our deepest pain as the launching pad for our greatest calling.
Look out into the world and see what breaks your heart. Run toward your heartbreak, not away from it. Dig in and ask God if your heart is broken because His is too. When your heartbreak becomes a map to find a place to serve, it will set your soul on fire. If all of us work together, we will make abortion unthinkable and empower women to be brave. Let's work together to do justice and love kindness and walk humbly with our God!
Heavenly Father, thank You for giving me a passion to be a changemaker. Forgive me for not fully using the gifts you have given me to serve others. Help me find a way to help her be brave. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
For practical ideas on how to empower women in their life decision, grab a copy of Amy Ford's book, Help Her Be Brave: Discover Your Place in the Pro-Life Movement.
To start a support group at your church for women with unexpected pregnancies, go visit Embrace Grace!