Amy Ford is a determined and inspiring person. But before I share her story with you, you need to know that she has an amazing book coming out in just a few days, on October 1: Bump in Life: True Stories of Hope & Courage during an Unplanned Pregnancy. Look for it at your local Barnes and Noble, Family Christian store, Lifeway, or order it online through Amazon!
A Bump in Life will help anyone going through or connected with this situation move from feelings of loneliness, shame, and worry to the far more lasting joy that is God’s redemptive blessing of a child.[It is a] hope-filled collection of real life stories by inspiring young girls from different backgrounds who all experienced God’s grace and redemption in their journeys through unplanned pregnancy.
15 years ago, Amy was herself a pregnant teen with the question of “now what?” looming large and real in front of her. But despite challenges and feelings of loneliness and shame, Amy made the choice of life for her precious son. She also married her son’s father and, together, they have had three more beautiful children.
While this would be a great story in and of itself, Amy’s dreams go even farther.
She realized that she was nowhere near the only young woman to encounter an unexpected pregnancy. She knows firsthand that many young women are pregnant and in great need of support and encouragement. And Amy felt a calling to give them just that.
Together, with her friend Salina, Amy started an organization called Embrace Grace. Embrace Grace takes young women with crisis pregnancies and gives them real support – in large part by connecting them with churches willing to help them. Amy explains the name “Embrace Grace:”
We really want the girls to truly know how to embrace the grace that God freely gives us not only for themselves but also for the loved ones around them. We also want the church to embrace grace for these girls. It’s one thing to say you’re pro-life but the church can fully BE pro life by mentoring and loving on these girls through their pregnancy and beyond.
Amy tells how it all started five years ago when she attended a women’s conference at her church. During the conference, she asked God to show her what He had called her to do, and an idea of being there for young pregnant women and helping them celebrate their pregnancies came to her. Salina knew that God had asked her to “help the mommies and the babies,” so together, Amy and Salina set out to do something – though they had yet to figure out exactly what that something would be:
We had no idea what we were doing and how we were going to do it but we knew God was up to something BIG. That summer, we met with pastors to brainstorm about what God was stirring in our hearts and we decided to start a small group for single and pregnant girls that next fall. We were SO excited. We had a few months before the groups were starting back up again so we had time to try to get a game plan. We picked our name for our group: Embrace Grace. After we chose the name, we searched everywhere for the perfect curriculum, and we ended up finding a book called Embrace Grace by Liz Curtis Higgs that was perfect! How cool that God gave us our name and He had planned all along what we were going to teach from.
As the date was quickly approaching for our first class, we had no idea where the girls would be coming from—or if anyone would even show up—but they did. Our first semester, we had three sweet girls.
Those first few months of serving began one of the most fulfilling times of my life. I LOVED being with these girls every Monday night. I loved hearing their hearts and offering God’s hope to them. I loved encouraging them and being excited for them through the milestones of pregnancy.
Over time and as we grew, we started adding more and more to the curriculum, until we ended up writing our own material and making it specific to girls with unplanned pregnancies. Other churches started contacting us, asking us if we could help them get a program started as well. We soon realized the need for support groups for single and pregnant girls, and we wanted to be the ones to inspire it and encourage the church to open their doors.
We launched Embrace Grace, Inc. October of 2012 and we just finished writing our own curriculum for churches to use. We are going through the waiting list of churches and pregnancy resource centers now and beginning the launch of these groups!
An Embrace Grace baby shower
The Embrace Grace curriculum – and the special events included for the girls – is amazing. To date, at least 188 girls have gone through the program. At weekly meetings, the girls learn about “identity and their dreams for their life, having an open heart to Jesus, salvation, faith, the Bible, sin, forgiveness for themselves as well as for loved ones, repentance and grace.” Amy shares:
We usually start noticing that their walls that they had walked in with that was guarding their hearts, slowly come down brick by brick. They open up their hearts more and more, letting God come in and heal all the broken pieces so they can be healthier, spiritually and emotionally, for their babies.
Each girl gets to participate in what Amy calls a “giant baby shower:”
They receive brand new items like a carseat, bouncer, diapers, wipes, clothing, a Bible and so much more. The donations flood in by fellow churchgoers, and we have never had to use our own money or ask our church support to help cover the cost. Every item gets donated. God takes care of each of them. The babies get everything they need.
Perhaps the best event of all is “Princess Day.” It’s easy to imagine how young moms would revel in this kind of a celebration:
We give them a special invitation and tell them to come in comfy clothes but bring a nice dress for a special day. We host Princess Day in a large home or venue and as the girls arrive, we tell them that a team of hairdressers, make-up artists and massage therapists are there to pamper them and help them to feel as beautiful on the outside as they are on the inside. The girls are totally in heaven and have huge smiles on their faces.
As the girls get ready, the leaders and volunteers set up beautifully set tables with fine china and unique place settings. The girls come out one by one, looking beautiful and feeling valued, and then we crown each one of them and tell them how much God loves them. We want them to look in the mirror and see the picture of how God sees them—His princesses. His treasures. We speak life into each one, calling out some of their gifts. When we finish, the girls sit down at the table and we serve them an amazing four-course dinner.
By the end of the night, they will have had just a small taste of how much God truly loves them. They always look so beautiful with their crowns and baby bumps. Maybe if the girls can really capture and understand their value and worth, and how much God REALLY loves them, and how He sees them as His precious daughters, His princesses … then maybe they won’t allow their boyfriend to abuse them, maybe they won’t let their bosses call them names, maybe they won’t let their family speak negative words over their life … because they might remember this special day. They might remember that picture of their sparkly crown and that they are priceless.
CLICK LIKE IF YOU’RE PRO-LIFE!
Embrace Grace babies
What about the girls who choose the gift of adoption? Amy and Salina have designed a perfect way to celebrate these young women:
We throw them a Celebration of Life Shower after they bless another family with their baby. Friends, family and even women that she doesn’t even know all come to honor her selfless choice to sacrifice her body for 9 months to save her baby’s life. We bless her with physical gifts as well as words of life and encouragement, showering her with love and thankfulness.
Personally, I’m blown away by what Embrace Grace does for these sweet girls and their babies. I’m ready to sign up and join in! If you are, too, here’s how Amy says you can get involved:
- If you are single and pregnant, check our groups page to see if there is an Embrace Grace in your local area. If you don’t see one, email us because we are adding new groups frequently.
- If you are wanting to get involved in a group that is already going, check our groups page to find a group near you and contact the leader to see if they have any volunteer opportunities and how you can get involved!
- If you are part of a church or a pregnancy resource center and want to start a group, you can register on our website, and we will send you a promo packet with all the information for you to submit to your leadership for approval. Once approved, just let us know and we will get you started with all the resources and tools you need to have a successful support program!
Embrace Grace wants to see more churches and pregnancy resource centers all over the U.S. get involved. And they are willing to do what it takes to help new groups be successful and reach out to young moms:
We provide all the curriculum and materials needed in order to have a successful class for a very low cost of the resources. If any church or pregnancy resource center that have the girls with unplanned pregnancies and have the volunteers and leaders to make a class happen along with approval from their leadership, but doesn’t have the financial means to pay for the cost of the resources, Embrace Grace can cover those costs.
[Embrace Grace] was, and still is, one of the best things that ever happened to me. I still get just as excited as the first time we started. The number of girls who come through EG has grown every semester, but God has never given us more than we can handle.
As I serve where God has placed me, my heart is full and I feel inspired every week. Embrace Grace is not a chore or a job to me. It is a joy! Because these girls are so hungry and desperate for God to rescue them, seeking Him with their whole hearts, God comes in and shows off. I have heard so many stories of how God spoke a word, gave a dream, performed a miracle or gave hope to each of these girls, and they are deeply etched in my heart. I have front row seats to miracles every day and their stories have strengthened my faith in God.
Pick up your copy on Tuesday!
Remember to grab your own copy of Bump in Life on October 1! And if you can, volunteer at or start an Embrace Grace group at your own church or local pregnancy center. If you’d like to be inspired even further, invite Amy to speak for your organization. You can read stories from Embrace Grace girls or visit the Embrace Grace blog for yourself.
LifeNews Note: Kristi Burton Brown is a pro-life attorney, volunteering for Life Legal Defense Foundation and as an allied attorney for Alliance Defending Freedom. She is also a stay-at-home mom and an assistant editor for Live Action News. This column originally appeared at Live Action News and is reprinted with permission.