Welcome to week 5 of the 10 week ProGrace experience. If you’re just joining us, be sure to check out the first posts: Start a Conversation, Continue the Conversation, Grace Overcomes Shame and Grace and Forgiveness.
“My friend asked me how I let this happen and I felt so stupid…That’s what I thought people would think of me, that I was stupid or dumb. But, I was disappointed in myself too…I’m that typical girl that goes and gets pregnant by a loser guy. I’ve become that stereotype. I never thought I’d be that girl. I used to laugh at those girls.”
Executive Summary: CARIS Women’s Emotional Inquiry Project. Oct 21, 2011. Brandtrust, Inc. Sponsored by Caris.
I still remember the first time I heard these words. In that moment it was like something reached out and grabbed my chest–and still hasn’t let go of me. For three years before this, I had been working for an organization that was committed to supporting women facing unplanned pregnancy. But I had no idea the women we served felt like this.
Hearing this quote broke my heart. And almost at the same time, two thoughts entered my head:
- Have I done anything to promote this negative perception to women?
- How can I help change this story for them and for their children?
These questions have been pivotal on my own ProGrace journey. So this week, we will all spend some time asking God these same questions.
Have I done anything to promote this?
The negative story women tell themselves, and hear reinforced from our culture, revolves around:
Shame – “I’m stupid, not who I thought I was, and I will be judged.”
Scarcity – “There won’t be enough [support, resources, acceptance] for me and my child.”
Ask God to reveal any places where you have believed there is only shame and scarcity for women after an unplanned pregnancy. Ask him why you have believed this. Where has this story come from?
Then ask Him to replace these old beliefs with His promises and His hope.
“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.’” – Jeremiah 29:11
Pray this Scripture back to Him, asking Him to renew your mind to see things through His eyes. And believing this promise for every woman and child, regardless of what a dark time they are in, or what challenging circumstances they are facing.
How can I help change this negative story?
God has us all in unique places to interact with this issue. Whether or not we work with pregnant women, we are in a position to make a positive difference. Maybe it’s in our church, our community, or our family. Wherever we are, God’s answer to each one of us will be unique.
Ask Him what He is calling you to do to be part of this change that He wants to bring. And then be ready for Him to answer in ways you may not have thought about. I asked Him this question eight years ago, and He has taken me on quite a journey!
In my experience, He always answers; His heart is so full of love for women and children who are in this situation. In America, these are our modern-day widows and orphans. And He has great plans to bring a much more hopeful future to them.
“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling.” -Psalm 68:5