Unexpected Pregnancy and the Church

If you think unexpected pregnancies are not an issue in your church, think again.

A few years ago I met a single and pregnant woman named Jordan. She was 19. She joined Embrace Grace, a support group for women with unexpected pregnancies at my church, and she shared her story with us.

Days before coming to the class, Jordan had found out she was pregnant. She was scared. She was an only child, and her mom had left when she was a baby. Jordan and her father were the only people living in her home.

When her dad found out about the pregnancy, he was angry and hurt, telling her she was unfit to be a mother and insisting she choose abortion or adoption. Jordan felt conflicted; in her heart, she wanted to be a mother, but no one in her life agreed.

One day, as she tearfully drove herself to work at the UPS shipping store, she cried out to God and asked Him to send someone in whom she could confide, someone who would help her know what to do. In desperation, she said, “God, just send someone today with a package that says the word church on it, and then I’ll know it’s safe for me to ask for help.”

The rest of the day crawled by. Lots of customers came to her counter, but none with the package she was looking for. Five minutes prior to the store closing, a man came in with boxes labeled “church.” God had graciously answered her weak prayer.

She excitedly asked the man, “Do you work at a church?” He answered, “No, I have a business that helps churches.” As her heart started to sink, the man explained that he attended Gateway Church, conveniently located across the street from the store. That was all she needed to hear; she knew he must be her help from God.

Jordan poured out her heart to this stranger, explaining her pregnancy, her loved ones’ reactions, and how desperate she was for answers. The father of four listened patiently and reassured her that the church might be able to help. Before he left, the man said some encouraging words and told her he’d pray.

A few days and phone calls later, Jordan was in the Embrace Grace group, sitting at a table with other single and pregnant young women. As she shared her story, I saw hope in her eyes. Finally, someone understood.

What touched me the most was something she said at the end of her story. The subtle beauty of her statement didn’t hit me immediately, but it had a time-released impact on my heart: “My dad said I would be a bad mom, but that guy I met at the UPS store said he thought I would be a good mom.”

That follower of Jesus had spoken words of life into her, right there at the shipping store. He didn’t say some profound and beautiful statement that should be hung on a wall somewhere; he just shared from his heart. He may not have thought twice about those words, but to Jordan, they were all she had to hold on to. Someone believed she could be a good mom, even if that someone was a perfect stranger.

Search and Rescue

People like Jordan are everywhere. They are working at our grocery stores, bussing our tables, and delivering our packages. We can be searching for the lost everywhere we go.

I talk to pastors often about their church’s approach to ministering to women with unexpected pregnancies, and I frequently get a response like, “Well, we don’t have pregnant women in our church, so this isn’t an issue for us.” Unfortunately for many women in this situation, the church building isn’t the first place they think of to run to for help. It’s going to take a search-and-rescue team to go and find them and welcome them in.

In the parable of the lost sheep in Luke 15:4–5, the shepherd goes out to search for the one lost sheep: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the 99 in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.”

Don’t miss how Jesus uses the word “until” in this passage. He doesn’t say that he goes after the lost sheep until he gets tired or until it gets dark. He says he goes after the one “until he finds it.” And he doesn’t come back with sheep annoyed or frustrated from the search, either. He comes back rejoicing and ready to celebrate that the lost one was found.

Look for the Lonely

Christ’s mission on earth was, and still is, to seek and to save that which is lost. He would gladly leave the 99 to go after the one. The same search-and-rescue assignment has been given to us. We are to be actively looking for the wandering, the weak, and the weary—and that includes single and pregnant women who are praying for a miracle.

There are many ways to find these moms that need help and hope in our communities. Connect with your local pregnancy centers and let them know their single and pregnant clients are welcome at your church. Stand outside abortion clinics and peacefully and prayerfully offer help and hope. Meet with your local high school and college campus nurses and ask how you can assist moms that have unexpected pregnancies. And most of all, regularly ask the Lord to connect you to a mom who is praying for him to intervene in her situation.

Her miracle might be you.

This article originally appeared at thegospelcoalition.org. Listen to Amy Ford’s interview with Dr. Jon Chasteen on the Church InTension podcast.

Amy Ford
Amy Fordhttps://embracegrace.com
Amy Ford is the Co-Founder and President of Embrace Grace, a non-profit organization that equips the Church to help single and pregnant women. Her book Help Her Be Brave is out now.