Thursday, December 10, 2009

Joy in Giving

I just have to share about a wonderful event my church held this past Saturday, a baby shower to benefit a local pregnancy center. I was excited about this event, mostly because it felt like a neat way to honor the baby we lost who would have been born at the end of this month. I had so much fun buying and wrapping some baby gifts and gathering up some gently used items of Jodi’s that I could give as well. I’ll admit I got a bit emotional as I thought how, if things were different, we would have been preparing for our own new baby in just a couple weeks. But I rejoiced that a new little life seems to be growing just fine inside me now, and I acknowledged again the strange mix of emotions knowing that her life wouldn’t be possible had we not lost another. Doug and I like to think of it as having an “extra” child waiting on us in heaven that would not have been possible otherwise. :)

Anyway, I was blessed to attend this baby shower mostly because I learned so much more detail about what these centers do for mothers who are in a crisis pregnancy situation. The director shared with us how the center strives to help care for the mother and child from the moment they take a pregnancy test through age 2 of the child. Not only do they help the mothers choose life for their babies, but they encourage them to come in once a month to meet with counselors, take parenting classes, and receive needed items for themselves and their babies, all the while providing caring support and sharing the gospel and love of Jesus Christ. And they are funded and supplied only by donations and staffed with only two employees; the rest are volunteers.

What an encouragement to me to learn more about Christian pregnancy centers. Despite a government that might soon use our taxes to pay to kill babies, there are centers like these all around the country who are fighting evil and making a difference in loving ways. I encourage all of you to find out more about pregnancy centers in your area and see if there are ways you can give and help.

Have you given this Christmas season in a way that really encouraged or brought joy to you? I’d love to hear about it!


Erica Vetsch said...

What a great idea. We've had diaper drives at our church for New Life Family Services, our local crisis pregnancy center. New Life seems to have a similar approach as the center you spoke of, with continuing support for new mothers and fathers, education, resources, and care.

One of my favorite things to do is to shop for our Operation Christmas Child boxes. We have an expedition to the stores, then, as a family, we pack and wrap the boxes and take them to church for collection. It just wouldn't seem like Christmas without this annual tradition.

Mary Connealy said...

My sister adopted a child from a Catholic Children's home that is a place for women expecting a baby and needing a place to go while they make decisions about the future. A wonderful place that does great work.

Shannon Taylor Vannatter said...

I had no idea the pregnancy centers helped parents prepare to raise their babies. I thought they helped with adoption services. Thanks for your enlightening post, JoAnne. Maybe our church can get involved.

JoAnne said...

Erica, I love OCC, too. I think it will be so fun when Jodi is a little older and understands what we're doing with that. The promotion videos for that ministry make me sob! Someday I think it would be so awesome to be on one of the delivery teams. I can't imagine how amazing that must be to give those boxes away and see kids so incredibly happy over just a shoe box full of little things.

Mary, that's awesome about what your sister did!

Shannon, I know. I was amazed at what all MORE pregnancy centers do than what I thought. It was so cool to me that they help with parenting and give counseling on making good choices for themselves and their babies; they also screen for abuse for not only the children but also the moms, etc. I'm sure not every center is the same, but that would be great if you check out your local one(s) and get your church involved. That's why I posted this, hoping to get others excited about helping with this ministry, too. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this with us. My church has recently started a crisis pregnancy center. This baby shower sounds like a great idea. Thanks also for sharing from your heart about your own special babies.

Carrie Turansky said...

Thanks for sharing about this special event at your church. Sounds like a wonderful way to bless and encourage women and babies in need.

I recently read the amazing novel, Scared by Tom Davis. It is set in Africa and part of the story is told from the view point of a 12 year-old girl who is an orphan. Tom oversees a ministry to orphans. I was very touched by the story and gave to his ministry in honor of some special friends. Here is the link if you'd like to know more about Children's Hope Chest:

Cecelia Dowdy said...

Our family does Christmas For An Orphan through our church:

We purchase items to place into a box for an orphan. My four-year-old son will help pack the boxes this year. I want him to learn about helping others.