Expecting new joy

Published 4:53 pm Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Chelsea resident Rachel Bowman’s face radiated joy as she spoke of her work at Shelby County’s Pregnancy Resource Centers.

“When women first come in and test positive, we give them a Bible and a pair of baby shoes,” Bowman said. “Those shoes are their first sign of life and you can see the expression on their faces change as they hold those tiny shoes in their hands.”

Free services offered at the Pelham and Highway 280 centers include confidential counseling; pre-natal, post-natal and Bible study classes; post-abortion support and limited medical services, including ultrasound.

“Many women feel trapped when faced with an unwanted pregnancy,” Bowman said. “They feel helpless and hopeless. We try to help them work through the issues that cause such feelings.”

When attending classes expectant parents earn Mommy Bucks to trade for items in the Baby Boutique.

“This is not just a job to them; they care,” a young wife and mother told me. “My parents are dead and the women here have been like surrogate mothers to me.”

“I’ve always helped take care of young relatives as well as my siblings,” an unwed teen said. “But it’s really scary when it’s yourself having a baby. The Bible study is a big help because Rachel compares the Bible to our everyday lives.”

Sitting in on a Bible study class, I listened to Rachel speak of finding joy in life through a right relationship with God. She shared the story of King David whose sin cut him off from God and brought him heartbreak and shame before he repented and found joy again. Bowman read the words of David in Psalm 32, “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven … Be glad in the Lord and rejoice.” She explained the value of the verse saying, “Times may be hard for you right now, but with God, joy is coming.”

“I’m joyful about a new job,” a young father volunteered. Others said they were finding joy in new babies.

Some participants have also discovered the joy of knowing Christ as Savior, Rachel told me. “I’ve told God that if He never did anything else for me, He had done enough when He sent me here.”