faith, Family Fun & Fitness

30 Days of Forgiveness in June: Embrace Grace

“Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”

(1 Peter 3:9, NIV)

Amy Ford was nineteen when she discovered she was pregnant. She opted to abort the baby, but minutes before the procedure she fainted. She took it as a sign and canceled the abortion.

She decided she would keep the child and raise it as her own. She told her friends, family, and church about her decision. Some people chose to pull away from her, and she felt lonely during her pregnancy.

When the baby’s father proposed, Amy said yes. She was four months along when they made the decision. So she reached out to a pastor she knew and asked him to perform the ceremony.

But the pastor refused. He claimed he couldn’t bless a union like theirs because Amy and the baby’s father had sinned greatly.

Years later, the same pastor got in touch with Amy. He shared that his response to that situation had haunted him for years. He longed to make it right. 

He had seen Amy launch Embrace Grace, an organization dedicated to reaching out to mothers of unplanned pregnancies. So, the pastor invited her to speak to his congregation.

After her message, he stood up and publicly apologized. Amy and her family forgave the pastor, and now he’s a beloved mentor to their family.

It’s not easy when someone within the church hurts you. But healing and redemption are possible through the gift of forgiveness. 

God, when those in the church hurt, help me to repay them with a blessing. Give me the courage and strength to show grace. In the name of Jesus the Messiah, I pray. Amen.

If you liked this story, you might also like the sweet second chance romance novella Believe in Me, by Mishael Austin Witty. Available now on Kindle for only 99 cents!

General Book Stuff, Writing

LIGHT AND LIFE (Guest Post) by Patti J. Smith

 

The angel's announcement to Mary about her most blessed unplanned pregnancy.
“Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”
(Luke 1:28, NLT)

 

Luke 1:34-38 But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” And the angel said to her in reply, “The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.” Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

I attended a Light and Life fundraiser recently.  The fundraiser is appropriately named, as it raises funds to purchase mobile ultrasound machines for pregnancy resource centers. Ultrasound is an instrumentality which transforms sound into images, light which “pierces the darkness,” illuminating the life of the unborn baby in the mother’s womb, transforming the perceptions of an abortion-minded mother or father through a light of life – the images of their son or daughter.

It was a successful event, and the speakers were outstanding.  One stood out, though, with a comment that was very insightful and thought-provoking…”Who best to represent an unplanned pregnancy than the Blessed Virgin Mary?”  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone reacted to an unplanned pregnancy as Mary did by saying, “Yes”?

Patti J. Smith, Helping Hands Press Author
Patti J. Smith, Helping Hands Press Author

Patti J. Smith is a married grandmother of two. She recently retired after working as a federal auditor, elementary school secretary and background investigator. She is a caregiver to her parents and uncle and now has time to pursue her passion for writing. She has written poetry since childhood; however, she eventually heard the call to write devotionals. Through her work, she hopes to spread the message of God’s endless love, mercy and compassion. 

Her ministries include co-leading Rachel’s Hope Post-Abortion retreats in San Diego County and serving as a Regional Coordinator for the Silent No More Awareness Campaign.

In her spare time she enjoys reading, traveling and spending time with family and friends. She’s also a football fanatic (NFL and Fantasy) and a die-hard Seattle Seahawks fan.

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I found Patti’s post to be particularly appropriate for my blog for two reasons:

(1) This is just after Christmas, and we haven’t reached the Day of Epiphany yet, so this topic and passage are still timely.

(2) This fits in really well with the theme of my story, PROTECTING ZOE, which is coming soon from Helping Hands Press (Patti is another Helping Hands Press author). In my story, seventeen-year-old Noelle is faced with the choice to either save her child’s life or end it through abortion.

I still have some ARCS available. To get one, all you have to do is follow this link and fill out the information in the Google Doc. It’s easy, it’s fast, and you’ll get a good, free read to start off your new year. Total win! 🙂