There’s a disconnect happening in the church.

Author and founder of Embrace Grace, Amy Ford, talks about the gap between being pro-life and caring for those who are pregnant out of wedlock.

She shares her own story of having an unplanned pregnancy at 19 years old, and the surprising reaction from her pastor.

“I grew up in church, had an amazing family, but I had a boyfriend that I loved and I started going to him for my validation instead of going to God for my identity. We ended up getting pregnant when I was 19 and I was so terrified of telling my parents. I just felt like they were going to be so disappointed and ashamed of me, and that they were going to disown me.”

“The enemy lies to you and tells you that your life is over, and all of those things. Even though I grew up knowing abortion was wrong, in that moment of finding myself pregnant it became a real option for me where I felt like I had no other choice.”

The fear of judgement is overwhelming for many and, like Amy points out, the enemy is skilled at getting inside our minds and twisting the truth.

“We scheduled an abortion appointment, and then I had really gone into a kind of robot-mode where I was trying not to feel anything and just trying to get through it. I just knew that if I could just get through the abortion that I could deal with the consequences of a broken heart later, but I just needed to do it.”

She and her boyfriend arrived at the clinic, and the employees made him stay in the waiting room while they took Amy back to perform the sonogram.

“They told me how far along I was, and really all of those feelings and emotions I had stuffed down for the past few days erupted in that room. I ended up having an anxiety attack and passing out in the abortion room. When I came to they had nurses fanning me, trying to give me a drink of water, and I do believe I had a nurse that actually did care.”

“She 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.’”

“I walked back out to the waiting room, my face was so swollen from crying so hard, and I just told the father of my baby that we’re still pregnant, and we just decided in that moment that we would just see what happens.”

Together the high school-sweethearts made the choice that, no matter what, they would stick together and carry out the pregnancy. At 16 weeks pregnant the couple got married. Despite their life-saving choice and commitment to one another, they still felt the sting of judgement from a surprising source.

“We had asked the pastor that had led my husband to the Lord years prior if he would marry us on that day. He said that he couldn’t marry us because we had sinned and he couldn’t bless the marriage. It just felt like so much shame.”

In the end their youth pastor married them, but to have that rejection from a man whom they looked up to was heartbreaking, and it wasn’t just from him, either.

“We tried going to church a few times after that, but it’s like all of my friends that I would talk to on a regular basis all of the sudden wouldn’t talk anymore, and it’s like the elephant in the room; people don’t know whether to say ‘congratulations’ or ‘I’m sorry,’ so they just don’t say anything.”

Despite being married they were alone. Years later the couple received a call from that pastor asking for forgiveness…

“He said that he felt like it was the worst mistake he had ever made and wanted to ask that we would forgive him. Of course my husband said yes and to this day we’re really good friends with him.”

Not only that, he’s since invited Amy to speak on the topic of pregnant, unwed women in the church.

“I preached and he was very open with his whole congregation and told them what all had happened years before. He said that he felt like he had had a religious heart and a Pharisee heart. He said that he was really ashamed of what he had done, but he knew that God had forgiven him and there was just so much healing.”

Now Amy strives to help bridge the gap between churches being pro-life and also accepting of those who are pregnant out of wedlock with her ministry, Embrace Grace.

Highlight – Welcoming people pregnant out of wedlock

Welcoming people pregnant out of wedlock