How many sermons have you heard or preached on Protecting and Promoting LIFE? I believe the pulpit is the best place from which to teach and have a conversation with the body of Christ about how to support at-risk moms with a crisis pregnancy. But, it seems even the church is leaving this necessary and important topic up to the health class teacher or social services.
The church needs to lead by example. If we embrace women, no matter their age or circumstances, through the decision-making process, we can have an impact one life at a time in a culture that preaches abortion as a healthcare option. Sadly, even Christians have forgotten the example of Jesus, who gave the ultimate sacrifice of His body for our salvation (Luke 22:19). We need to be reminded that our bodies are not our own. Just as Jesus gave His body for us to have life, it’s important for a woman, even with an unwanted pregnancy, to understand her need to also give her body for a precious life. This is an opportunity for the local church to help them make that difficult decision.
In Isaiah, it says, “Before I was born the Lord called me; from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name.” When God laid the foundations of the earth He spoke your name and my name. We are claimed by the Creator Himself in Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning, God…” We are His because He made us. We urgently need to preach the gospel of repentance, sacrifice, life, and adoption. We are His, and He adopted us.
Adoption is a beautiful option for a mama in crisis.
Do you know that the Safe Haven Law, which offers protection for women and infants, is active in all 50 states? It needs to be spoken of and taught so young women can exercise their rights under that law because adoption is God’s heart for His children.
As spiritual leaders, we need to leave shame and judgment at the door and be open to nurturing the needs of pregnant women. That is how we will save the lives of both mom and baby!
Twenty-one years ago, I discipled a young college freshman when she found out she was pregnant. Her story breathes life into the vision for the local church to support women in crisis by doing life with them.
“At 18 years old, I had the terrifying reality of having to tell my parents that I was pregnant. They were gracious and gentle and supported me right out of the gate even though they suffered and grieved the loss of what they thought my future could be. We were part of a big church and my family was very involved. I grew up in the church and was part of the youth group. I wasn’t a vagabond or a reckless child who broke the rules.
I was a Jesus-loving, Christ-following, knowing right from wrong college student that was in love. We made an adult decision and had to face the adult consequences.
I was safe in my family and a church community that loved me.
They scooped us up in their big loving arms and showed up. They mentored us, provided jobs, encouraged us, and helped us process through how we got there. If we not been received with such supportive love and care in our community and church, we may not have made the same decision to continue the pregnancy. My mother was actually a crisis pregnancy counselor and counseled post-abortive women through their grief. I had seen and known the abortion choice led to grief.
As my pregnancy advanced, my physical body began showing the consequence of my choices which made me nervous to return to our church. But they never made us feel ashamed for the pregnancy and becoming parents at 18 and 19. Yes, there were some judgmental eyes but, mostly we encountered a blanket of grace, love, and support.
There are lots of others just like me sitting in the chairs at churches around the globe. The circumstances of my son’s birth may not have been ideal, and my boyfriend (now husband of 20 years) and I may not have done things the right way, but God has used our story for good. My baby will turn 21 this year and I can’t imagine my life without him. He is how I see Jesus in the flesh. He is my living example of how real God is and how good He is to us. I’ve never stopped thanking the Lord for every single person he put in our path that loved us through that time. They were his angels on earth for us.”
Linda Znachko is the founder of He Knows Your Name Ministries, which seeks to honor every child with a name in life and dignity and honor in death. Znachko is a popular speaker at conferences and retreats and has been interviewed numerous times since the life-changing events of 2009 when she learned of the death of a precious baby boy, whose body was found in a dumpster. She lives in Indianapolis, Indiana with her family. To learn more about Linda Znachko and her work, visit www.heknowsyourname.org