by Mai Bean, Marketing and Client Statistics Manager.
You could feel the awkward tension in the air. A group of young women huddled together, swapping their latest pregnancy symptoms and catching up since their last meeting. They talked about one mom in their group who just gave birth a few days ago. As they spoke, they glanced around as more people entered the lovely home. First 10, then 20 or more women from McLean Presbyterian Church walked through the door to celebrate these young women and shower them with caring and baby gifts.
While coffee cups were filled and snacks eaten, eight large piles of baby gifts started to appear throughout the home, one for each soon-to-be mom. This baby shower was one of the last meetings for the second “Embrace Grace” group sponsored by McLean Presbyterian Church over the past year.
The girls in the group had been meeting for the past 11 weeks with their leaders Laurie, Kendra, and Pam, as they went through the “Embrace Grace” Bible study together. The leaders would encourage and “pour love” into the women’s lives, week after week, helping them to trust and feel safe and supported.
Over time, each girl began to feel more comfortable and slowly began to open up. They would share details about their lives and relationships; their fears and hopes about having their babies. You see, these women were originally NOVA Pregnancy Help Center clients.
They didn’t plan to get pregnant. Some considered abortion because it wasn’t “the right time” to have a baby. They had little support and were struggling through emotional and relationship challenges. However, each one made a decision to carry their unborn child to term and, regardless of their circumstances, give them life.
These women needed to feel loved and cared for by older women who had experience being moms. They needed support from others who could say “You can do this! We’ll help you.” These young pregnant women needed healing from past hurts and God’s love in their life. The Embrace Grace group struck a chord in their hurting hearts and provided love for them at this exact time in their lives.
We would love to see more churches get as excited about the Embrace Grace program as we are! SLM would like to refer more clients who have bravely chosen life in challenging circumstances. It is a great opportunity for the church to accept without judgment these women and their situations. To love them with the Grace that our Savior freely gives to us.
At the end of the baby shower, the girls thanked the volunteers and hugged their leaders, presenting them with homemade gifts. They also talked excitedly about their upcoming due dates and a future group reunion. The relationships that were built between the leaders and girls will continue. God is at work! We invite local churches to step out of their comfort zone and tangibly become a Pro-Love church by starting an Embrace Grace group.