For the most part, when I explain what Embrace Grace is to people, I usually get big eyes, an awkward (or sometimes dramatic) pause, and then a slow, big smile spreads across their face as they say how awesome they think it is.
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 that worked there was measuring out my fabric asked if I was going to use it for a party. I answered her and explained 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 wanting to defend and protect the Embrace Grace girls but then I quickly calm myself before speaking and try to explain how they might need to think differently about the situation.
Imagine a girl that is in high school. She finds out she is pregnant and scared to death. She doesn’t know what to do. All her friends are pressuring her to have an abortion and sadly for most, even their parents suggest it too. But something inside of them is telling them that they can’t do abortion … that maybe there is hope. Even if they have to do it alone, maybe they could try to make this work even though they know it would take a miracle.
So they lift up their chin and take a deep breath and just deal with it. They decide to give it a try and hope for the best. They bravely tell their family that they decide to keep the baby. Their family might just hold guilt and shame over their head for 9 months, reminding them of how they messed up. They tell their friends at school and the friends slowly drift away one by one, 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 that choose adoption? One of the EG girls was in hair school and was pregnant and just a few weeks away from blessing another family with her baby. An old lady came into the school for her discounted hair cut and the EG girl started working on her hair. The older woman kept asking questions like, “Are you excited about your baby and do you have everything prepared?” The EG girl responded and 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’s face suddenly became stone-faced and quietly said, “Excuse me” and walked away to speak to manager. She had asked the management if she could have a different hair girl and that she didn’t agree with adoption. The manager could not believe the rudeness of the woman and asked the woman to leave the salon. The EG girl seemed disappointed inside but she still squared her shoulders and knew inside her heart she was doing the right thing.
In some circumstances, it might have been a lot easier to just get an abortion and deal with the consequences of a broken heart later … but they didn’t. These girls chose life when the world around them said otherwise. They are giving their precious miracle inside of them a chance at life. Does God make mistakes? Did God mistakenly place a baby inside their womb? Of course not! Every child is a miracle designed by a creative God.
Most churches advocate pro-life and tell people that abortion is wrong, but then when a girl chooses life and resists abortion, should they just turn their back on the girls? 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 it. Are these millions of babies’ blood on our hands? If the church was a safe place without shame and condemnation, then why aren’t more girls running to the church for help? Do you not feed the poor because of their possible bad choices that were made to get them in that situation? Do we not 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 are they 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 them with the sweetest face they’ve ever laid eyes on, so they 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, and look past people’s sins and looked at the actual person? What if we honored girls that chose life for their baby? 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 would 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