Jordan was nineteen years old. She was pregnant and unmarried. And she had lost all hope.
She came to our class a little late into the semester but after we heard her story, we made an exception and let her join in.
Jordan had just found out she was pregnant and was very scared. She was an only child and her mom left when she was just a baby – so it was just Jordan and her father. Her boyfriend (and father of the baby) was in and out of jail and she knew she couldn’t rely on him for any kind of parenting at all.
She believed wholeheartedly, “I am on my own.”
After her dad found out about the pregnancy, he was angry and hurt, telling her she would be a horrible mother. He insisted that she either choose adoption or abortion but he did not want her to parent at all.
She was conflicted.
In her heart she felt like maybe she really could just be a mother, as opposed to the other options her father insisted on, but no one in her life agreed.
No one did.
One day, she was driving herself to work and couldn’t stop the tears. Everything seemed to be crashing in and she couldn’t see past this major bump. She worked at a UPS shipping store and pulled into her usual parking spot. She sat in her car for just a moment and closed her eyes. Tears ran down her cheeks as she cried out to God and asked Him to send someone that could help her and show her what to do – anyone. She needed someone she could confide in and receive help. In desperation, she prayed, “God, just send someone today with a package that say’s the word ‘church’ on it across my counter. Then I’ll know they are a safe person to talk to.”
The day crawled by with lots of customers coming to her counter, but none with the word ‘church.’ She tried to stay busy to keep her focus off of her fears. Five minutes before the store closing, a man came in with boxes and all labeled with the word church.
She took it as a sign and excitedly asked him, “Do you work at a church?” He answered, “No, I have a business that helps churches.” Her heart began to sink and the man could see the disappointment on Jordan’s face. He said, “Well I GO to church …” She got excited again and said, “You do? Where?” He pointed across the street and before he could even answer her fully she let it ALL out.
She poured out her heart to this stranger as her emotions overwhelmed her. She tearfully explained her pregnancy and how her dad responded saying she would be a horrible mother. She told him that she was desperate for answers and needed someone to talk to and help her through this decision. She needed someone to show her a safe place to turn to.
This father of four listened patiently, probably not expecting an encounter like this at the shipping store. He reassured her that their church might be able to help. He got her phone number and told her that his wife would be in touch with her. He said some encouraging words to her and told her he would pray for her.
A few phone calls later, Jordan found herself at church in our little Embrace Grace group. Sitting at a table with other single and pregnant mommas, she shared her story and her feelings.
And as I was sitting across the table from her, I watched as she began realizing that she wasn’t alone anymore. I could see hope in her eyes: finally, someone understood.
Meeting Jordan changed my life forever. Not only how she cried out to God in a time of her life that she felt terrified and alone, or her courage to share her story with a complete stranger and ask for help, but for something she said under her breath at the very end of sharing with the class. She was sitting right across from me and the subtle beauty of her statement didn’t hit me immediately, but it had a deep and lasting memory in my heart:
“My dad said I would be a horrible mom, but that guy I met at the UPS store said he thought I would be a good mom.”
The stranger spoke 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 spoke what came out of his heart. He may not have thought twice about those words he said that day, but to Jordan, it was life to her soul. He was light when all she could see was darkness. His simple words were all she had to hang on to that everything would be okay.
That simple statement has changed my whole outlook on my words, and how most of these sweet moms with unplanned pregnancies just need some encouragement and hope. They just need someone to believe in them even though no one else might. They need someone to say, “You’re going to be a great mom. You can do this!”
As the church, we get to be the church outside the walls. WE are the church and we are a FAMILY. Our words have the power of life and death – we have the opportunity to speak life to people we have never met before. And as the church, we get to love these mommas into the kingdom.
What if the church she was invited to, responded with judgment and shame? It may have been that one last reason to make a decision that she might regret forever. Instead, they wrapped their arms around her and pointed her to Jesus.
The church should be the first place a young woman runs to instead of the last because of shame and guilt – and we as the church, should be holding their hand along the way. It’s God’s kindness that leads us to repentance and we are invited to partner with Heaven, loving people no matter what they look like or what they have done.
[bctt tweet=”Where sin increased, grace increased all the more. Romans 5:20″]
From where I serve, I am seeing young women surrender their life over to the Lord the night of their baby shower thrown by the church, because they are drawn to the goodness of God. I am seeing young women choose life because they know their church will gracefully accept them and they do not have to walk this season alone. I am seeing women that walk into church with shame and fear but walking out with confidence that God will equip them to be a great mom. I have front row seats to miracles.
We are invited to partner with God not because of how “good” we have been, but because He loves us so very much because we are His children. We are invited to be a part of the celebration that his children were once lost but now they are found – even if they are a long way off but because they have turned back home to their father. Because we are a family that doesn’t kick each other when we have fallen but gracefully helps pick each other back up again.
In fact, maybe that’s what the church is supposed to look like after all … a big family, compiled of unique, intentionally created sons and daughters, united by our unconditional adoption into the Kingdom of God.
A place where we can believe wholeheartedly, “I am not alone.”