One day last fall, my four year-old daughter, Ruth, found me assembling our guestroom into working order. As I shifted the linens and adjusted the quilt, Ruth quietly questioned why I was in the guestroom, wondering who would be staying with us next. “We’re going to share this room with a young woman who is pregnant and doesn’t have a safe and loving place to stay,” I explained. Ruth’s eyes opened wide and she smiled. “Mommy, you mean that she will live here and fill this room with blessings,” she replied. In that moment, my young daughter put words beyond her years to the path we as a family had recently chosen to take. God had moved our hearts toward opening our home to a mother-to-be in need of a stable home environment for the duration of her pregnancy and possibly beyond. We were about to begin living life with Amanda. She was a young single woman who chose life for her baby, an unexpected but very special life. What follows is a glimpse into our time this past year as a Shepherding Home.
When Amanda arrived, we were eager to have her yet also unsure as to what exactly God had in mind for all of us through this season. And so within this dynamic we did what we knew to do – live life naturally and openly with all who are in our home. We as a family shared life with Amanda. We opened both our home and our hearts to her. My husband, our two daughters and myself had the opportunity to walk alongside Amanda during the ups and the downs of her pregnancy and all of the decisions she was facing. We celebrated with her when she found a new job, achieved an A on a college test, had a good doctor’s visit and secured her first apartment. We worked to listen with respect to the details of her heart and life situation, seeking to forgo judgment or too many personal opinions.
We also learned a tremendous amount about listening quietly, guiding gently and loving boldly. In all honesty, each of these ends were tremendously difficult to achieve and graciously wonderful to experience. When we shared meals together, we’d witness our daughters vying for that special spot at the table right next to Amanda. We sought to love her tangibly – buying groceries that suited her craving (we went through a dozen pickle jars). Yet above all, what we ultimately found was the blessing of friendship that grew between us. God used us all in each other’s lives. He is indeed so big and so good to have brought her into our lives. We stand grateful for the two new dear friends we now have in Amanda and her daughter Cheyanne who was born this May.
We know that in many ways this is just the beginning of our role as a Shepherding Home. We see this next step, of caring for Amanda outside the walls of our home as the “real deal.” While we understand that the friendship we share in the months and years to come will be filled with unknowns, we feel equally certain that with God directing us, He will continue to add to the foundation He’s established for Amanda and her daughter, and our family as well.
Life Network Pregnancy Care and Medical Center offers free and confidential help to men and women dealing with an unplanned pregnancy. For more information call 805 967-9096 or visit www.lifenetworksb.com. If reading Jill’s article stirs your heart to possibly serve as a Shepherding Home, please contact Life Network for more information. Also, there are many other volunteer opportunities available For more information or a complete list of volunteer opportunities, please contact Lisa at the number above, or email *protected email*.