It was not the first time I heard the birth of our Savior described as the best-known unplanned pregnancy from a human perspective. If you were at the banquet and heard Roland Warren, then you could probably say the same. But weeks later, what Roland shared about how the Holy Family’s story teaches us to approach unplanned pregnancies, continues to resonate with me and it is what inspired this letter. As Roland put it, “The Holy Family was wholly family.”
How God brought news, encouragement, warnings, and a plan to the Holy Family informs so much about how Assurance works with the families we serve in the hopes that they too will become “wholly family.” It is your gifts to our ministry that makes that work possible again and again as He brings vulnerable mothers and fathers through our clinic door.
Follow along with me in Luke 1:26-38. First, God sent an angel to Mary. To provide what? Reassurance and encouragement for her fears, truth about her condition, a vision for the calling she has been given, and hope for a future where God is with her every step of the way. Sound familiar? This is the model of the compassionate counsel and medical services we offer to women. And our prayer is that like Mary, at the end of that engagement, the pregnant mom will say “let it be unto me according to your word,” choosing life and embracing God’s plans for her family. We estimate 145 babies were saved from abortion when the mothers we served did just that last year.
But God didn’t stop there. He didn’t ask Mary to raise the Christ-child on her own or plan for Jesus to lack an earthly father. God also sent word to Joseph and called him to be a husband to Mary and a father to the child growing inside of her; in doing so, God formed the Holy Family to reflect God’s plans for marriage and family. Read with me through Matthew 1:18-25 as an angel comes to Joseph. Joseph starts in a position where he thinks it best to “not disgrace her” or “not make her a public example” and instead “put her away secretly.” The methods have changed perhaps, but the same human instincts that were at work then continue to play out in our abortion-minded couples. The angel provides Joseph with reassurance and encouragement for his fears, truth about the pregnancy, and a vision for what God is calling Joseph to do.
This is the ten-year anniversary of our Men’s Program, through which we have man-to-man conversations with the fathers facing unexpected pregnancies, providing these exact things in the hopes that they too, will do as Joseph did when “he took his wife” and the child as his son. Our work with fathers is critical if those we serve are to experience not just life, but God’s plans for the fullness of family life, with a mother and father bound together in marriage. Joseph continues to receive angel-delivered warnings when the Holy Family is at risk, with God calling and guiding Joseph through his responsibilities to provide for and protect his family. We had those conversations of encouragement, warning, truth, and vision with fathers 270 times last year.
The reality that we encounter with our clients though, is that not every mom we serve and child she bears has the benefit of a husband and father to provide for and protect them. What is God’s plan for those families, and how are we as the people of God to respond? As Roland compared, in Biblical times, a widow would have been a mother without a husband, and an orphan would have been a child without a father. Looking to God’s plans for widows and orphans demonstrates for us His plans for those we serve who do not have a “Joseph.” God calls His people to this task in James 1:27, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress.” Assurance is the first responder in a crisis pregnancy. We are specially called and equipped in that life-saving work. But for the longer-term well-being, discipleship, and care that leads to abundant life, we must connect our clients to local churches so that they can be what they are called and equipped to do for the orphans and widows of our day. We have always worked to do that. This next year, we have some exciting plans to take that work to the next level, ensuring that we are doing our part to more effectively connect our clients with a church family. Your support will help make that vision a reality.
As we celebrate the birth of our Savior and reflect on all that this story teaches us for God’s ways to respond to unplanned pregnancies, it is your generosity that enables Assurance to fulfill His call to this ministry’s life-saving mission. It is your commitment as part of His local church to continue to disciple the families, widows, and orphans God entrusts to our collective care and to continue that work until its fullness is found in the abundant life Jesus ultimately came to bring. “I came that that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
Thank you in advance for your generosity towards Assurance. May the Lord bless you this season to be a blessing to others.
PS: This Christmas season, take a few minutes to watch our most recent video testimonials from those you enabled us to serve: https://vimeo.com/364051199. I cannot think of a sweeter gift we could offer you in appreciation than seeing the face of a precious child who will experience his first Christmas this year thanks to your support of Assurance and God’s life-saving work in his parents.
Year End Appeal 2019