|B.L.O.G Featured Ministry Spotlight: Grace Pregnancy Resource Center
By Myckelle P Williams
“This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings, and curses….Now choose life, so that you and your children may live!” ~Deuteronomy 13:19
As an 18 year old girl, I was once faced with a painful decision. The choice to abort my second child or to be a struggling mother of two with no education and resources. In my mind, I had no other options. I felt that this child was an inconvenience, and a hindrance to my life and well-being. I share my story in my book, “Choosing The Road Less Traveled: Finding Grace on the Path To Purpose” which details my painful past, and struggles from homeless, pregnant teen, to successful mother and wife. It was not an easy road. But the most impactful moment was when I stood at a fork in the road in my own life, and had to make the ultimate choice…between life and death.
We all have similar choices in our own lives. Each choice either takes us closer to the God-Given purpose that we are created for, or further away. As a young girl, I had no idea of the options that are available to me, but felt that my choices were limited. God showed me, however, that even in the midst of my struggles, I can come to know Him.
A few facts: Each year, approximately 126,000 Women have a legal abortions in the United States. That is approximately 4,400 per day. 50 million abortions performed since 1973 (Guttmacher Institute, 2011), almost 40% of which are on teenagers. A woman can have a legal abortion for any reason, and 93% are done for social reasons (inconvenience, no money, problems with the father, etc.) And in some states, you can abort up until the 7th month of pregnancy. Many of these women that abort are not fully informed about the risks involved, nor given all the information that is required to make an informed, educated choice.
Many times, abortion advocates say that they are protecting a women’s right to choose. But interestingly enough, when I walked into an abortion clinic seeking an abortion, I was not only not given all of my options, but I wasn’t even voluntarily shown the baby on an ultrasound. Everything was very secretive. Adoption was not mentioned, neither were resources that could help me in my situation. I was only told the price of the abortion, and the risks of the surgery involved. The child within me was simply referred to as the “product of Pregnancy” and I was made to feel that I would be easily ‘rid’ of a tragic mistake.
I believe that is a dis-service to women. In order to make an adequate choice, especially one that is life-altering, there should be a fully informed decision, which involved all of the options available. In any normal surgical procedure, you are shown by a physician the x-ray of your injury, talked to about every option available, and a treatment plan that will assist in healing you. Abortion is one of the only surgeries that is ‘hush-hush”, with no options offered, the ultrasound is hidden, no long term treatment plan is discussed, or on-going support, and results often in long term feelings of guilt and shame. That in my opinion is not the definition of a ‘choice’. However, God gives us choices every day; we have the gift of free will. We can choose life or death, blessings or curses, and sin or sanctification. Our choices are not hidden from us, and in Deuteronomy, He is loving enough to recommend a choice…“Choose life, so that you and your descendants may live” But the ultimate final decision rests on us, along with the consequences of those choices.
On the day of my scheduled abortion, I also at the last minute contacted a Crisis Pregnancy Center (CPC), and my question to them was at first simply rhetorical and sarcastic, “What can you do for me?” Little did I know those 6 little words would change my life. I originally, like so many women, thought that a Crisis Pregnancy Center was just a place that they give you a few baby items and where radical anti-choice protesters slammed abortion, screaming “Don’t kill your baby!” and forcing religion on you. This is what I was told, and therefore formed my opinion before ever visiting one. As a non-Christian growing up, I didn’t want any pressure when making my choice, nor did I particularly value my life, nor the life that was growing inside of me.
I was surprised that the people at the center were genuine, loving, non-judgmental, and concerned. Not only for my unborn child, but, surprisingly, it seemed as if they cared for ME as well. They discussed all of my options, and asked me what I needed help with in order to get on my feet and be a good mother to my son. They even offered parenting classes, and explained to me the various risks of abortions, which I previously believed was totally safe, since becoming legal in 1973. I had no idea that women die each year from complications from “safe” abortions, including hemorrhaging, infection, and blood clots…over 400 deaths in the U.S. since abortion became legal. These are things that are never even discussed in the media. I also was unaware that in certain states the abortion clinics are not required to be licensed, and therefore are not being regulated as they should to protect women’s health.
The CPC made it clear that they also respected any choice I was to make, telling me that in the event that I did choose abortion, they would assist me through the healing process, even offering post-abortion counseling and support.
I also indicated my need to have a place to stay with myself and my son, who was 17 months at the time. Within two weeks I was placed in a home with a family who assisted me with my needs, from getting adequate medical care, to learning to drive. This family also became my second set of parents, and listened to my problems, loved on me, and taught me about the Love of God. I’d never felt such love and encouragement, and I felt confident in my decision to choose life. Before the end of my pregnancy, I was born-again, baptized, and planning my wedding. The family that I lived with assisted in the delivery of my daughter, and watched me walk down the aisle two weeks later, beaming with love and pride. A chance experience with a Crisis Pregnancy Center changed my life forever.
There are hundreds of these CPC’s in almost every city across America. Grace Pregnancy Center, was founded in 2006 and is located in Nashville, Tennessee. The mission of Grace is to provide support and information about pregnancy options to women experiencing crisis pregnancies. Its director is Sandy Neison has been director for approximately one year. In the Nashville community, Grace Pregnancy Resource Center has assisted over 2,000 clients, first time and ongoing. These woman are of childbearing age, with diverse ethnicities and backgrounds, from Tennessee and surrounding states.
Sandy is optimistic about the work being done at Grace Center, but also faces struggles as the new director. Because Grace is located next door to an unlicensed Abortion clinic, women walk into Grace mistakenly almost every day seeking abortions. The abortion clinic seeks to shut down Grace center because they feel that Grace is interfering with abortion profits. Grace neither offers or refers these women for abortion, but will counsel them in making an informed choice. CPC’s generally believe that no one should be forced to choose between their preborn baby and their future, empowers life-affirming choices by providing accurate information in a compassionate environment. Grace provides resources that will not only help the baby, but provide support to the WHOLE woman, assisting her throughout her pregnancy and beyond with her physical, spiritual, and emotional needs.
For physical needs: They provide free pregnancy testing, community resources, such as medical referrals, information on local health departments, Doctor referrals, Medicaid application assistance, .and school and employment referrals for those women who need a job while pregnant. STD testing information, and information on Domestic Violence Shelters, Maternity Homes, Food Banks, Utility Assistance, and local Housing assistance. To assist with information about the pregnancy, they provide free on-site ultrasounds (that the client is able to view), and abortion and adoption information. If the woman is tested discovered not to be pregnant, they offer Abstinence education and family planning information. If the woman decides to continue the pregnancy, there are baby stores with items such as diapers, wipes, bottles and clothing for mom and baby, usually up to age 2
For emotional needs; CPC’s assist with classes and offer free counseling for both parents. There is both pre- and post- abortion counseling, and support groups, as well as pre-marital counseling, and couples counseling to assist the father as well with his emotional needs. They also provide on-site mentors that you can meet with anytime to assist with any emotional support that may be needed on an ongoing basis. If a woman has had an abortion in the past, and is suffering from Post Abortion Syndrome, there is counseling available and support groups of women who have experienced her pain as well.
For Spiritual Needs: Crisis Pregnancy Centers provide Church referrals, ministry assistance, Spiritual guidance and mentors who will pray with and for you daily.
Unfortunately, despite the tremendous impact that Pregnancy Centers have on women in the community, many of these pregnancy centers as shutting down due to lack of funding and community support. Many times, simply because people are unaware of what they do in the community and the support that they provide women in crisis situations. Says Sandy, “ Fundraising has been a challenge recently because we have been understaffed and focused on meeting the needs of our clients.” They also are not eligible for government funding because they are faith-based organizations and would be restricted from ministering Christ to their clients. While most Planned Parenthood Organizations (The largest abortion Providers) gross approximately $30 million dollars per year towards their goals of assisting women with abortion, Crisis pregnancy Centers are lucky to gross $50,000 per year. In fact, Grace Center is usually in the red (negative) by $10,000 at the end of each financial year. Sandy points out that Grace has a need for funding, resources, and volunteers. Needs include baby items and furniture no longer needed, maternity items and clothing, and volunteers are needed to assist with filing, handling calls, and sorting baby items that are donated, and even mentoring, for which training is provided. Other ways to assist your local CPC include being a translator for women who don’t speak English, Hosting a baby shower/diaper drive in your community, and offering your skills and talents to your local center, such as pedicures for expectant moms, or leading a class that may empower the clients.
If you would like to donate to Grace Pregnancy Center, Please visit their donor site at http://www.partnersofgrace.com/ To volunteer, individuals can come to Grace Pregnancy Resource Center at 409 Welshwood Drive in Nashville, TN 37211, or call and leave a voicemail message if necessary. The phone number is 615.331.8958
To find a local pregnancy center in your area, visit: http://pregnancydecisionline.org/get-help/
Today, because of what a local pregnancy center did in my own life, I am now a wife, mother, mentor, speaker, and author, assist other women who were once in my position of helplessness and hopelessness, letting them know that despite what it looks like today, His Grace is truly sufficient! Take time to research and get involved with the crisis center in your own area, and allow your tests to become your testimony. You can make a difference!
Myckelle P. Williams
CEO, B.L.O.G. Magazine
|Myckelle P. Williams, the CEO of B.L.O.G. Magazine™, and creator of the Heartwood Project™ for Women, lives in Tennessee with her husband of over 20 years, Gerald. She is the mother of 6 children and two grandchildren. Once a teen mother who overcame the odds, Myckelle helps empower women to overcome the traumas of their past, and mentors young women over the country. She was featured on “Joy in our Town” on TBN Network, for her development of the PURE Satisfaction™ Abstinence Program in Atlanta in 2009. She is the author of the book ‘Choosing the Road Less Traveled: Finding Grace on the Path to Purpose,’ which is now available on amazon.com and Kindle. For more information about her upcoming Heartwood Project™ Seminars, you can reach Myckelle at email@example.com|