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Focus on the Family Broadcast

Showing God’s Love to Women With Unplanned Pregnancies

Showing God’s Love to Women With Unplanned Pregnancies

Imagine being single, and pregnant. Where would you go? To whom would you turn? In this heartfelt presentation, Amy Ford shares her testimony of having an unplanned pregnancy and feeling shunned by her church. She explains how that experience motivated her to become an advocate for women with unplanned pregnancies, and shares stories of women she’s helped through her ministry, Embrace Grace.
Original Air Date: May 24, 2022

Preview:

Amy Ford: God knows what he’s doing. Every baby is planned. It may be unplanned by the mom, but every baby is planned and a baby is not a sin, a baby is a miracle.

End of Preview

John Fuller: Well, that is truly a pro-life attitude, and you’ll hear more from our guest, Amy Ford, on today’s edition of Focus on the Family. Thanks for joining us. Your host is Focus president and author Jim Daly and I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: John, when you consider the fact that a baby is created in the image of God, it’s easy to see Amy’s point. Every baby is a miracle and that makes it all the more important for each one of us to get involved in the pro-life movement. Uh, you might not have time to volunteer at your local pregnancy center or attend the March for Life in Washington DC, but can you give an encouraging word to a pregnant girl? Can you be a friend? That’s the challenge that Amy has for us today.

Amy Ford is the co-founder and president of Embrace Grace, which provides curriculum and support to church-based ministries, serving young women with unplanned pregnancies. What a place to show up, and you’ll hear how Amy got involved in the pro-life movement as she begins her story.

John: And here now is Amy Ford speaking at our all staff chapel gathering on today’s Focus on the Family.

Amy: A little bit about me and my story. I’m going to tell you the super short version because I’ve actually been on the broadcast a couple times so you may have heard it already, but the super short version is that I had an unplanned pregnancy when I was 19. I was terrified to tell my parents, you know, the enemy lies to you and tells you like the worst case scenario that can possibly happen, and I believed all of it. I was gonna be homeless, you know, my parents were going to hate me, all of the things.

And so we, me and my baby daddy, we scheduled the abortion appointment and I went there to have it done and I ended up hyperventilating and passing out in the abortion room and when I came to, the nurses were fanning me, kind of trying to give me a drink of water and they said, “You’re too emotionally distraught to make this decision today. You can come back another day but today you’re not getting an abortion.”

So I went back out into the waiting room, told my baby daddy that we’re still pregnant. He could see my face was swollen from crying so much and we just decided in that moment, “Okay. We’ll just figure it out if we are going to be homeless, if we are, you know, all of these terrible.” We thought our life was over, our dreams were over, all of that. If that’s gonna happen at least we have each other.

And so we ended up choosing life. We told our parents. It wasn’t as bad as we thought it would be. They definitely were disappointed in the timing but they were supportive, um, and, but we… So we decided to get married, and we had asked the man that had led my husband to the Lord years before. We asked him if he would marry us? And he said, “No. I can’t marry you because you’ve sinned and so I can’t bless this marriage.”

And we were like, “Oh, my gosh. We are such horrible people we can’t even get married right.” You know and, but we ended up finding someone else that would marry us, and it was such a beautiful wedding but it felt like a scarlet letter. Like it felt like people were watching, think… You know, all of the crazy thoughts that you have. Like what are people thinking?

And it was just a, a day that I felt so much shame about our situation. So then we try to go to church, but it’s like the elephant in the room and people don’t know whether to say congratulations or I’m sorry. So they don’t say anything. And then you feel alone in a crowd of people. And I knew everyone knew that I was pregnant, but no one really was… And so I knew that they were talking to each other about it, but no one was really talking to me.

And looking back I don’t think it was because they were mad necessarily, it was more of that they just didn’t know what to say. So we didn’t really like the way it made us feel when we went to church so we just stopped going for a really long time and we ended up having a son and he’s so amazing. His name’s Jess. He actually works in the pro-life movement now. He graduated from Oral Roberts University. He just got married last year and it’s so crazy to think that it was so close that he wasn’t here, but he’s here.

And I love too, that he looks at it that, he… ‘Cause I told him… when he was 13, I told him a story and I was super nervous and I had all my friends praying because I didn’t want him to take it as rejection. I had my first book coming out, and so he had to know.

And at first, he, you know, he’s a typical 13-year-old. I’m like, “How does this make you feel?” And he’s like, “Hmm.” He’s a boy, you know. Um, but over the next few months, he did struggle a little bit because the enemy started lying to him. Like, “You weren’t supposed to be here and you were never wanted or…” He knows good and well how loved he is, but the enemy was lying to him.

And then one day about six months later, he came to us and he said that I heard from God. He said, “That I was an overcomer before I was ever even born and that Satan had a plan to take me out but I’m here and I’m going to use my life to change the world.” I’m like, “Oh, my… That’s amazing. Proud.”

Um, and so I love it. He’s passionate about life and one thing that’s cool too is that that pastor that wouldn’t marry us, he actually a couple years later called my husband out of the blue and he asked for forgiveness. And he said, “That it was his worst mistake in pastoring history that he had ever made and will you please forgive me for what I did?” He said, “I had a religious heart. I had a Pharisee… I had a Pharisee heart, a religious spirit. I’m so sorry. Will you forgive me?”

And my husband who adores this guy said, “I forgive you.” And they’re still to this day such great friends, but, you know, I love that God turns everything for good for those that love him and he did that with my story and I really think back about what would it have looked like, like I went to church every single week. I didn’t have relationship with the Lord very much but I did go to church every single week with my family.

What would it have looked like if I had found out I was pregnant, totally terrified, and I had thought, “You know what? I could go to the church and ask for prayer and wisdom and guidance and support. I don’t know what to do.” But it actually was the last place I wanted to go to.

And so we started an organization called Embrace Grace, because we want the church to be one of the first places a girl runs to instead of the last because of shame and guilt. And we believe that the church can be the hope of the world in this situation, that we can be the hands and feet. We say pro-life is a stance but pro-love is an action and it’s God’s kindness that leads us to repentance. It’s his goodness that draws us to his side.

And, you know, we are the church, right? Like there’s church buildings everywhere, but we are the church and we represent Jesus everywhere that we go. And God’s bringing us people all the time. And I’ve seen too, and he did this for my own life that sometimes when he wants to woo his daughter or son back to him and back to his heart, he might just give him a baby to do it, and he might just give them the sweetest face that they’ve ever laid eyes on so that they can maybe get the teeniest tiniest glimpse of how much God must love them.

And I’ve seen girls that were like, “I was about to kill myself. I was on drugs. I would… My li- I thought my life was over and then I got pregnant. And then things changed.” God knows what he’s doing. Every baby is planned. It may be unplanned by the mom, but every baby is planned. And a baby is not a sin. A baby is a miracle no matter how it got here. Yeah.

But God is bringing us people all the time and, you know, the world is our mission field. We have to be watching and looking. I can’t tell you how many women I have met that are pregnant and single. And I will say, I have a radar for it. I’m looking for it. I can, I can tell even if they’re not very far along I can tell kind of by the way they put their hand on their belly. I have gotten in trouble and thought they were pregnant but they weren’t and that’s extremely awkward, (laughs) but I’ve learned through trial and error how to do this and how to ask the right questions to make it totally work, but because I have the radar for it, I see them everywhere, everywhere.

And they’re asking God, “Do you see me?” And when you think about the first single mom in the Bible, Hagar. She referred to God as the God who sees. The first single mom in the Bible and I can’t tell you how many single moms that I meet, whether they’ve had their baby yet or they’re expecting that they’re asking God, “Do you see me?”

And then her son, Ishmael, his name mean, meant God hears. So the first child of a single mom, his name means God hears, but we are his people. We are the miracle. We can be their miracle, but we can’t just go coast through life, clock in clock out to our jobs here, and then go home. The world is our mission field. Everywhere we go is an opportunity to show the love of Jesus, everywhere we go.

At one time met, met a girl who, um, had told me that how she had heard about Embrace Grace. She said that she had found out she was pregnant, totally terrified. She was a, uh, a single child and she had a dad but she didn’t have a mom and she told her dad she was pregnant. He was so furious with her. He said, “You can have an abortion or you can do adoption but you’re not having this baby. You’re gonna be a terrible mom.”

And the baby dad was like already in jail, totally like crazy situation, but she just struggled. She went to the abortion clinic, saw people standing outside the clinic and kept on driving. She met with an adoptive family, but it just something what, didn’t feel right about it. And so she didn’t… She said no to that.

Well, she worked at a UPS store and she goes into work and right before she was walking into her shift, she was like, “God, can you bring me someone that has a box that has the word church on the label and that way I’ll know that they’re a safe person to talk to because I literally have no one to talk to. I don’t know what to do.”

So she goes in and she works her shift and five minutes bef- before closing here comes a guy with a box that has the word church on the label. And she’s like, “Do you work at a church?” And he’s like, “No. I have a company that makes websites for churches.” She’s like, “Oh, okay.” And he could see the disappointment in her face and he’s like, “Well, I go to church.” And she’s like, “You do?” And that was it.

She just let it all out, crying. My dad said, “I’ll be a horrible mom. I don’t know what to do.” And she just poured her heart out to this guy. And I know this guy. He’s the dad of four boys and he was just like, “I don’t know what’s happening right now. I’m just trying to ship my package.” (laughs) And, but he was like, “I…” He just said some like encouraging words. He didn’t, he didn’t really know what to say but he’s like, “I think our church probably has something for you. Let me get your information. I’ll have my wife call you. It’s gonna be okay.”

And she got plugged into an Embrace Grace group and she was in my group and it was, um, it was about the third class, so she was the new girl ’cause we had already started a couple weeks before she showed up, but I’ll never forget what she said and it has stuck with me my entire life since this happened. She said, “You know, my dad thinks I’ll be a horrible mom, but that guy at the UPS store said he thought I would be a good mom.” He was, she was telling all the girls this in our Embrace Grace support group.

And I just was thinking, “What did she just say?” A perfect stranger that she most likely would never meet again said something that he just, he couldn’t think of anything, “I think you’ll be a great mom.” (laughs) And that was literally all she had to hold on to. Someone believes in me.

John: You’re listening to Focus on the Family with Jim Daly and that’s Amy Ford. And, uh, you’ll find more inspiration and encouragement in her book called Help Her Be Brave: Discover Your Place in the Pro-Life Movement. Now you can get the book from us here at Focus on the Family and will include a free audio download of Amy’s entire presentation when you call 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. 800-232-6459 or donate and request those at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Let’s return now to Amy Ford speaking to the Focus on the Family staff.

Amy: Our words have life and death and the power of our tongue and God is bringing his people all the time. Do you have Sonics here? Okay. Well, we have Sonic and at Sonic, we’ve had a lot of Embrace Grace girls work at Sonic and I didn’t know this but apparently you are supposed to tip at Sonic and I didn’t know.

And apparently at Sonic, you can swipe your card now, but you can’t… they don’t have a tip line. So if you’re going to tip you have to have cash and I hardly ever have cash. And so I kind of hardly ever go. I live in Texas, it was super hot and it was happy hour and you get the slushies half off. I had all four kids in my car and we were going to Sonic and I thought I had cash.

And so I, you know, pressed the button, placed the order, and digging in my purse realized I had no cash. And I was like, “Oh, no. This is not good.” So I swiped my card. And then when the girl came out. I said, “I am so sorry. I thought I had cash to tip you. I don’t have any tip, but I’ll go to the ATM machine, and I’ll go get some cash and I’ll bring it back for you.” And she’s like, “No. You don’t have to do that, but if you want to, you can.”

I was like, “Yeah. Okay. I’ll do it.” (laughs) So I go, and I come back. And I was like, “Hey, what’s your name?” And she’s like, “My name’s Zoe.” And I said, “Oh, I love that name.” I said, “My fourth, I, you know, have four kids, my fourth, um, is a baby and before I knew he was a boy, my girl name I had picked out was Zoe and did you know that your name means life? But it’s not just like just survival kind of life, like just life-life, it’s like the heavenly realm of life. Like it’s the John 10:10, the John 3:16, heaven on Earth life. Did you know that?”

She’s like, “No.” But she’s like, “Wait. So you have a baby?” And I said, “Well, you know, he’s about one. He’s kind of a big baby.” She said, “Well, I just found out I’m pregnant and me and my boyfriend are super nervous. Do you have any advice for me, for me?” I was like, “God, this is the perfect setup, like how amazing is this?”

I was like I got her connected to a pregnancy center. I got her connected into an Embrace Grace group. I was at her wedding. I was at her birth. She ended up having a boy. She got tons of my boys’ hand-me-downs. It was so close that I missed out on such a special and amazing relationship because if I would have treated her like she was a robot or just another person that’s doing a transaction for me, she was a real person and praying and asking God to bring me someone that could give me some advice on what to do, and it all started by asking her name. That was it.

And he’s bringing his people all the time, it’s just sometimes we might get too busy to do it. I met her pastor once in Dallas that had said his daughter had an unplanned pregnancy and she had really rebelled and gone away. And then she ended up finding out she was pregnant, that baby dad was in jail already. So she came back home, he told the congregation about, um, her being pregnant and they were pretty supportive, but whenever… She had a little girl and she said, after she had a little girl, she said, “Dad, I wanna dedicate my baby at the next dedication service.”

And the way this church does it is they’ll have a family that stands up, you know, they’ll have like five families all at the front and they’ll do one family at a time and they’ll say, “If you’re part or connected with this family, will you please stand, um, and we’re going to pray over this baby.” And then they do the next family and the next family and the next family.

Well, then they get to this daughter and her little girl. And he said, “Is there anyone one here in this church that represents this woman and this child?” And something amazing happened, the whole church stood up. This is what the church looks like, whether we’re here in this building working or we are out getting our groceries, we are the church. How much it must have meant to her to see a body of Christ, a family, a spiritual family that stood up and said, “We are in this with you.” It made all the difference in the world.

There was a girl one time that did Embrace Grace. Her name was Britney and she wanted to come to Embrace Grace. She just called me and said, “Hey, I want to do this group because I want to get the free baby shower, but just so, you know, I’m Wiccan and I believe in witchcraft. Is that going to be a problem coming to your church?” And I was like, “No. It’s fine. Just come.” (laughs)

And she didn’t have a car so I would pick her up and take her and she was so smart. Like she… her parents had given her all the books of religion when she was young and they had said, “You know, you believe what you want to believe.” And there was something about witchcraft that she connected with, something about nature and the trees and I don’t really know, but it wasn’t the truth, it was a false truth.

So she would come every single week and we had such great dialogue on the way there. She got to hear the gospel, planting seeds, planting seeds, planting seeds. And I just knew in my heart, I knew it that there was gonna be a salvation experience. Like I believed it. I was standing on it. I was so pumped about it, it was going to happen.

And one day when I was taking her, she never missed a week, ever. One day when I was taking her, she said, “You know, I like the way it makes me feel when I come to this group.” And I was like, “Yes.” You know, what’s happening. We know that’s the Holy Spirit. That’s the Holy Spirit. Cooperating with the Holy Spirit.

And so we did the whole semester. The whole, you know, Embrace Grace is 12 weeks long. They get a baby shower. They get love on. They have a princess day, all this stuff. She does the whole thing and she never surrenders her life to the Lord and I remember going back home and I was kind of offended. Like I didn’t say it to her, but like internally between me and God. I’m like, “God, what? Why didn’t she surrender her life to Jesus? I really thought she was going to do it.”

And I heard the Lord say, “You’re planting seeds. Do you think that a girl that is Wiccan would have ever stepped foot in a church if you hadn’t created a safe place for her to be there? So let my people keep planting the seeds and trust me.” I was like, “Okay.” So I lost track with her, her phone number changed for a while. A year later she calls me totally out of the blue freaking out. And she said, “Amy, you’ll never believe this but I pulled out my Embrace Grace curriculum from a year before and I’ve just been reading it again and I’ve been thinking maybe God’s trying to talk to me, like I would think something, and then something would happen.” And I was like, “God is that you? I don’t know.”

She was the manager of a restaurant/gas station. And she said she went in praying before she went into work and she was like, “God if you hear me, if you’re real, I don’t want to just think you’re real, like I want to know you’re real so if you could do something that’s like a little bit more advanced like that I just know, you know, I know. I don’t want to have any doubts.”

So she goes into work and as she’s working this guy comes up to her counter and she… I remember she said, he was seemed very nervous and he came up to her and he said, “I know this is going to sound really crazy but I really felt like the Lord wanted you to know that he loves you and he sees you and all, all he wants is your heart.” And she was like, “What?”

So she goes straight home, and she gets her Embrace Grace curriculum from the year before and she puts the tiara on her head, because that’s something… it’s all about, you know, being a daughter of the King. She, she wanted to put this on. She goes into the bathroom, and she looked in the mirror because she said, “I wanted it to be a moment that was seared in my memory that this is the day that I’ve surrendered my life to the Lord. This is it.”

And so she prayed the salvation and prayer and she surrendered her life to Jesus and I was the first person she called and I was so excited, so freaking out. And after I got off the phone, I was thanking God and so happy and the Lord reminded me of two things. One, she liked the way it made her feel when she came to church. That was it. It’s God’s kindness that leads us to repentance. It was His love that drew her to him.

And then he reminded me of the guy. Like how amazing he cooperated with the Holy Spirit and he did it nervously, came up to the counter, and was obedient to the Holy Spirit’s prompting and said something to her that he has no idea that she went home and surrendered her life to Jesus. He probably walked away was like, “I’m such a dork. Why God? Why you made me do these things?” (laughs)

She went straight home and surrendered her life to Jesus. And I can just imagine someday in Heaven Jesus is like, “Hey, remember that girl that I told you to go talk to? Well, here she is, and here’s her kids and her grandkids and her great grandkids.” The legacy. And it wasn’t just him, it was the body of Christ working together, planting seeds that finally led to her salvation. And that’s what each of you guys are doing and now more than ever the world is looking for a savior, whether they know it or not, they are looking for a savior.

Savior means rescuer. They are looking for a rescuer and what you guys are doing is impacting the world. All of us working together, we can be the change that we wanna see in the world. I know sometimes we feel like we have to wait for this magical moment where a light shines down from heaven and you’re at the grocery store and the person in front of you, you know, you’re kind of feeling like, “Am I supposed to pay for that single mom’s groceries?” And you’re not really sure but like the light isn’t necessarily shining down on you and you’re not hearing an audible voice from the Lord but you feel something. And then you’re like, “Oh, maybe it’s just me.”

Let me just tell you. It’s not the devil. Okay? The devil’s not telling you to pay for somebody’s groceries. (laughs) It’s not you either because you’re probably not that nice. (laughs) It’s the Lord. The Lord is telling you to do that. I want to pray over you guys in closing.

God, thank you so much for this powerful team that allows you to work in and through them, to be the hope of the world, God, that they have… to do the good works that you’ve called them to do, God, give us opportunities to talk to single and pregnant women, give us opportunities to talk to people that are desperate for the hope of you God. We are here, we have our eyes open, we have our ears open, we have our hands open, we are open to however you want to use us, God. We know that we’re not here on earth because just to clock in and clock out and survive every day.

God, we are on earth to thrive and we know that it’s, it’s just a vapor, our life is just a vapor. It’s all about you, that’s why we’re here. It’s all about you. We wanna make Heaven crowded God, and we’re doing that here through Focus on the Family so give us more opportunity, give us more viewers and listeners and just people in our everyday life whether at the grocery store, the dry cleaners, wherever we are, God. Our kids’ teachers, help us plant seeds.

Show us how to do it, God, because we are willing and we wanna be obedient to your word and we know that the way that you receive love is through our obedience. That’s how you know we love us God so we want to obey every word that you say, God, and we want to cooperate and partner with you to bring the hope to the world.

John: And with that prayer, Amy Ford concluded her message to our staff on this edition of Focus on the Family with Jim Daly.

Jim: John, what I love about Amy is that she doesn’t just talk the talk, she is walking the walk.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And she is out there meeting women who need help with their unplanned pregnancies and providing support through her ministry, Embrace Grace. In fact, Amy will be one of the featured speakers at our SeeLife 2024 event coming up, uh, Saturday, June 15th. Join us to learn more about how to help expectant mothers in your own community and celebrate the value of every pre-born child.

Uh, the event will also feature NFL star, tight end by the way, Benjamin Watson, and his wife, Kirsten, and John Stonestreet, a good friend of mine the president of the Colson Center. You can attend here at our Focus on the Family Campus, uh, find a simulcast at a local church or even live stream the event from the comfort of your living room.

Another way to get involved is through Focus on the Family’s option ultrasound program which has saved…are you ready? Over 500,000 babies. Uh, through the years, we’ve seen that over 50% of abortion minded women who have counseling and an ultrasound will choose life. That’s the power of the visual image. If you haven’t donated to Option Ultrasound, let me encourage you to do so today. You wanna save a baby’s life, it’s incredible. Uh, your support helps us supply pregnancy centers with equipment and training to provide free ultrasounds to those women who are considering ending the life of their baby.

Every $60 that you give will help save one baby from abortion.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And when you give a gift of any amount today, we’ll send you a copy of Amy Ford’s book called Help Her Be Brave: Discover Your Place in the Pro-Life Movement. It will give you more practical ideas on how to get involved in protecting the lives of pre-born children, and how to help those young mothers as well. So get in touch with us today.

John: And you can do that when you call 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY or donate online and request your copy of Help Her Be Brave at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Coming up next time, Jeff and Shaunti Feldhahn explain how money impacts your marriage.

Shaunti Feldhahn: And that’s really the bottom line that we found is at the core of the inability to communicate about money. It turns out it’s not when you’re having tension, it’s not about the money.

Jim: Right.

Preview:

Shaunti: It’s about how money makes you feel.

End of Preview

John: On behalf of the entire team, thanks for listening to Focus on the Family with Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller inviting you back as we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ.

Today's Guests

Help Save a Baby's Life!

Your gift to support our Option Ultrasound program will equip pregnancy medical clinics across the country with ultrasound machines, resources, and sonography training for nurses, so that a mother considering abortion can see her baby, hear that tiny heartbeat . . . and be moved to choose life. Give now, and we’ll say thanks with a copy of the book Help Her Be Brave plus a free audio download of “Showing God’s Love to Women with Unplanned Pregnancies.”

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