I’ll never forget when I saw the news that Roe V. Wade was overturned come across the tv screen. We’d spent many years serving those experiencing unplanned pregnancies in a country with some of the world’s most loose abortion regulations. It was surreal.
In the days that followed, we saw the rightful, necessary celebration of pro-lifers that women, men and the unborn would be spared the pain and death of abortion. We also saw the equally intense reaction of abortion supporters. While driving out of town, I ended up turning onto a street blocked by an angry demonstration. It reminded me so much of the random guy one may see in Time Square holding a “The End is Near” sign. Unfortunately, I fear that this and even messaging from life-affirming organizations may have given the impression that the “fight” is over. That after years of faithful work and prayers, no more women will be regretting recent abortions, or little humans having their lives cut short. I would give everything I have for that to be even close to true.
Unfortunately, I speak with Wisconsin women who are just a short car ride away from an Illinois abortion provider. Increased awareness of, and access to abortion pills, is changing the dynamics. An increasing percentage of abortions are abortion pill procedures, which bring unique risks. Borders and laws remain important but have their limits. We live in an age when we can have seemingly anything discreetly delivered to our door. If it’s Italian food (or shoes) I am all for it. However, abortion pills are being mailed sometimes from India. The trends suggest that abortion pills via mail through sites like “Plan C” will only increase. While some things have changed, many risks for women remain the same. We may have been lulled into complacency. We must not forget the destruction that legalized abortion has had on pre-born babies, families, and society. DON’T underestimate the reality and availability of abortion.
Even if legal abortions were a thing of the past there would still be unplanned pregnancies, families facing significant challenges, and women and men dealing with unhealed pain from abortion. There would still be those without the hope and unconditional love that can only be found in Christ. The truth is our mission doesn’t change based on the political whims of Washington.
I can’t overstate the impact of a woman choosing life, but that is just a beginning. There will be bad days when she needs support and the Holy Spirit grants a volunteer just the right words. Satan will try to scare her into changing her mind. We must be available with practical support. When she doesn’t feel strong enough we can gently remind her she is brave and not alone. Ultrasounds, parenting classes, and diapers are just a few of the ways that we are there for parents in our community.
Love in action is needed now more than ever! By giving of time and treasure, people are having an impact that lasts for generations. DO be a part of families thriving! Your skills can be a blessing. Learn about volunteer opportunities.
Reaching out to those in need is expensive. You can get the word out about the services provided by giving today!
“A gracious woman gets honor…” – Proverbs 11:16
“Get Mom what she really wants!” We hear Mother’s Day ads like that everywhere this time of year. Some of us are secretly thankful for them because they help us never forget the big day. Aside from the marketing, what do Moms really want?
In a survey featuring 767 mothers, LendingTree discovered that,
One of the best ways to get quality time is over a meal. If you've shared meals with someone, you may notice certain habits. It could be where someone sits, who takes extra helpings (me) and other things. In the home of an older couple I knew, there were certain things that happened like clockwork. Inevitably, before dinner was even over, the patriarch would urge people to help his wife in the kitchen. It was clear who the most important person in the room was… It reminds me of the old adage "if mama ain't happy ain't nobody happy."
At WELS Lutherans for Life, we love to make moms feel not only happy, but also loved. The generosity and commitment of pro-lifers ensures moms receive words of encouragement AND our time. It makes an impact. A mom we’ve been walking with for a while, providing notes of encouragement, as well as material assistance, recently said:
“I appreciate y’alls time and dedication.”
In the film “You’ve Got Mail” (which I’ve seen too many times) we notice how special it is seeing, in writing, that someone cares for you. This is especially true in crazy times. As things constantly change, something that remains true is, receiving personalized mail is FUN! If you’ve gone through a difficult season and received a card you know firsthand how meaningful it is. As you open it you might not even realize a smile has come across your face. Perhaps a tear of appreciation, too?
We can all be reminded of our value in Christ and His presence during challenging times. Thanks to one of our sonographers the mom mentioned above had a free ultrasound. It was another beautiful opportunity for her and her unborn baby to receive love and attention.
All of this is made possible by kind pro-lifers taking action! Volunteering and donating can change the lives of moms in need. As cheesy as it sounds (we are Wisconsin-based after all) every day is Mother's Day at our ministry.
P.S. My mom will be receiving a playful card, a book, and a donation to her pro-life pregnancy center in Ohio. Empowering moms is a great way to honor our own!
Please answer one or more of these questions. We'll compile the answers and share them here on our blog in the next week. If you'd like to answer but want to remain anonymous, just let me know. Thanks!
We look forward to reading and sharing your replies.
Thanks for playing along and have a great Father's Day!
Teens today have tough questions and tough situations. Rachel Greiner speaks to them at schools all over with our Healthy Choices program. Despite how it may feel, students DO open up sometimes to adults they trust. Here's an exchange Rachel had with a teen.
Izzy was one of a couple dozen students in the 7th grade class. She didn’t participate too much during the first day. Izzy was a little suspicious and a bit uncomfortable because they were going to be talking about some “adult” type topics.
The class, called Healthy Choices, was led by a young woman they called Miss Rachel. Little by little, Izzy and the other students began opening up, getting more comfortable and even participating with questions and answers. They all enjoyed Miss Rachel’s energy-filled, interactive lessons and loved that she had a great sense of humor.
Izzy and teens everywhere are facing issues like:
The teachers witness the after-effects of Rachel’s presentations. They report that while Rachel brings laughs and games, the students are learning and remembering. The students wish adults knew that teens “need someone to talk to.” Rachel is one adult that the kids can talk to thanks to Healthy Choices.
Izzy explains, “Miss Rachel made the class feel comfortable even though we talked about issues that normally wouldn’t be talked about.” Another student commented that it wasn’t a boring lecture, it was a lot of fun and full of important information.
Rachel expresses that with Christ and his guidance, we’re able to talk about this stuff in a positive way. We’re able to say, “Good News! God has a plan for you. Good News! You could do great things with your life. You can have healthy relationships and can be a blessing to so many people.”
Rachel adds that Healthy Choices does more. “We’re not just equipping students. We’re passionate about empowering parents/guardians as they walk with teens. The response to our parent nights has been very positive.” The goal of these meetings is to build confidence in the parents/guardians so they are empowered to continue these difficult conversations with their teens as well.
Rachel reached more than 1,600 students and nearly 300 parents in 2019 with a message of Healthy Choices, emphasizing God’s plan for each student. Thanks to your support, teens are getting equipped to make healthy, godly choices through the Healthy Choices program.
Catching Up with Students
We were able to catch up to some of the students who had gone through Healthy Choices and this is what we learned.
Despite the negative headlines, you can see there is reason to be optimistic about this generation! You are helping bring hope to and through them!
One mother reported to Rachel that, “My daughters came home telling me that they were opening up to Miss Rachel. They said, ‘Momma, how come we don’t talk about these things?’ and I told them, ‘Today is the day. We can talk about them now.”
You can bring Healthy Choices to your school or church.
Learn more at Speak4Life.info or contact us: 414-727-8176 or email@example.com.
When women introduce themselves, very often the stay-at-home mom replies she is “just a mom.” The implication in that answer is that being a child’s whole world and running a household somehow is not enough.
C.S. Lewis said, “Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work.”
This isn’t to say that every woman should quit their job and stay home to raise their children. It is to suggest that we place value on a homemaker’s role.
Just think of that title: homemaker. The homemaker influences how the home is run. She influences the tone of the home, the look of the home, what is offered in the home. But if you’ve been a stay-at-home mom, you also understand that you are not “just” staying at home. Very often you are helping out neighbors, volunteering at school and church, carpooling. Very often you are the piece that not only holds your family together, but supports a handful of other families as well.
How can we not place value on that?
And why do we place so little value on molding children’s hearts?
I found one of the great benefits of carpooling is having a voice not only your child’s attitude, but in their friends’ as well. That opportunity is not available once children drive themselves. And one of the benefits of being the house where all the neighborhood children congregate is having opportunity after opportunity to gently suggest another way, to break up arguments, to amend rash or foolish choices.
Whatever a mom’s status is outside the home, their value in the home is beyond measurement. Though the payment is delayed for years (and years and years), the payout is considerable. In the short term you experience and create memories. In the long term your hard work will hopefully produce the loving leaders you are trying to rear.
No one is “just” a mom. You are a molder of children, a teacher of manners, and the first glimpse of Christ your children see. And as I’ve realized throughout the years, most of the other roles I am and can be covered by someone else, but my children have only one mom. And that means you are priceless.
This blog was written by Amber Albee Swenson.
Ask any mother any day of the week and she’s likely to tell you she has “a hundred things to do!”
Every day we do countless small things. We get out of bed, make coffee, cuddle our infant, feed the toddler, read to the bigger kids. If your children are older, as mine are, you take a child to work, pick up an item for another, stay up to make sure everyone makes curfew, (and text them when they don’t). We scrub toilets, make meals, run errands, weed the yard. And hopefully every day we pray, read the Bible and worship.
It’s easy to count the big things. It’s what we report at the end of the day. Today I got groceries, made supper, paid the bills. Sometimes we forget how much the little things matter. How do you answer the phone or respond to the unwanted interruption in the day? What words do you say underneath your breath? How do you talk about the neighbor or relative behind closed doors? And what do you say about those who hurt you, go out of their way to annoy you, or blatantly hate you?
While the big things, like how our child behaves at bedtime or in church or when people are over, are important and learned, equally important is what is going on in their heart. How they react to friends who’ve hurt them or want to borrow something from them reveals what is inside. But it is also learned. They see how we respond to someone cutting us off in traffic, and the person who budges in front of us in line at the grocery store. When we get the phone call with worrisome news they see how we worry and stress, making the whole house tense, or how we gather our kids to pray. And when something good happens they see how we celebrate our good fortune, how we boast and put others down, or how we give glory to God. Our word choices become our children's word choices; the little things we do each day become their way of life.
Next time you answer you have a hundred things to do, think about the way you do the hundred things you do each day. Think of what you do when no one but your family is watching. Consider your music and entertainment choices. And consider what you could do better. Here’s my list: spend time in the word. Let His praise be on your lips. Make prayer your first resort. Invite your children into the dilemmas and point out how God is working. Tell them when you are waiting and trusting the Lord for answers you aren’t yet seeing. Watch your tone. Think before you speak. Apologize. Forgive.
These are the things that mold our children into who they will be and determine if they will be of the world or in the world but set apart.
Introducing ultrasounds to our pregnancy clinic has been extremely beneficial for our life-saving ministry. Through this free and confidential service, clients have been empowered to make life-affirming decisions and bond with their babies. To understand ultrasounds, and their role in our mission, we spoke with the expert, Beth Hildenbrand.
Beth serves as the Clinic Coordinator and sonographer. We asked her about her experience inside the ultrasound suite and she provided plenty of insight!
What sparked your interest in sonography?
“I had an interest in health care, so I began to research my options. When I came across sonography, it felt like a natural fit. This career could incorporate my love for problem-solving and give my compassionate heart a focus as I helped patients. Soon after coming to that realization, I enrolled in a program to become certified.”
Were you always interested in obstetric sonography?
“No. When I first enrolled, my intent was to focus on cardiac patients through echo sonography. God, as He tends to do, had different plans. I was friends with Vicki Raddant (a longtime volunteer) through church and she invited me to tour the offices at WELS Lutherans for Life. This was my first touch with the organization. While I was on the tour, I met Peter Georgson, the Executive Director. I noticed a poster behind him that listed the organization’s goals for the next ten years. Adding ultrasounds was on the list, and it made me reconsider. I went home and felt that God had put this on my heart for a reason. I changed programs that evening. Looking back, it still amazes me that God used such a small interaction to make such a big impact on my life.”
When did you begin working for WELS Lutherans for Life?
“Once I graduated from the sonography program, I worked in a hospital before transitioning to WELS Lutherans for Life. When I first started in 2014, I was in an administrative role.”
Tell us about your role in the medical conversion.
“The conversations about becoming a medical facility began before I arrived, but the vision started to become a reality in the spring of 2016. I began investigating various avenues, collecting information, and comparing models of other centers that provided ultrasounds. Pam Mankse was integral in this process and really helped coordinate these efforts. By the fall of 2017, we were performing ultrasounds on clients.”
What have you learned through your role?
“I am constantly amazed at how being kind can make such an impact. We have so many clients compliment us on our service and compassionate staff, it really makes me realize that they have not experienced the same elsewhere. Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, and I am glad that we can provide our clients with a positive experience.”
What makes sonography unique in a pregnancy center setting?
Generally, when you are performing obstetric sonography, you are working with patients that are excited to be pregnant. They wanted to have a baby, and because they have been practicing pre-natal care and seeing a doctor regularly, they know what to expect. This is not what we tend to experience in a pregnancy center. Sometimes clients are unsure what to expect during an ultrasound. So much discourse exists on the topic that I think they envision a random clump of cells appearing. Then, when a heartbeat is detected or the shape of the body is clearly visible, they are taken aback. Watching them see their baby for the first time and see it become real for them is amazing.”
Explain the difference between our clinic and the hospital.
“Clients come to our clinic to confirm a pregnancy and receive a due date. This initial screening allows them to process their pregnancy in a safe, non-judgemental environment. Then, if they choose to carry, we refer them to a doctor if they do not have one. Once they have established care with a doctor, they can have additional ultrasounds. These usually include one at the end of the first trimester to check for chromosomal abnormalities and one at 20 weeks to look at the fetal anatomy and find the sex.
Of course, our clients can come back for another ultrasound for reassurance, but they will receive more information through their doctor.”
Explain the role of a doctor for our clinic.
Dr. Matthew Lee serves as an Obstetric Consultant for our clinic. Once the ultrasound images are uploaded, he reviews them to ensure the pregnancy is in the uterus, the fetus is developing correctly, confirm the heart rate, address areas of concern, and verify the measurements. Once he has reviewed the images, he can sign off and it becomes an official ultrasound report.”
What makes your job the most challenging?
“Knowledge that this may be the last time the baby on the monitor is seen. Realizing that some of these babies are not acknowledged or seen as valuable breaks my heart. Examining an excited mom and not finding a heartbeat is also extremely difficult. Having to tell her that she miscarried is absolutely heartbreaking.”
What makes your job fulfilling?
“I love being on a team that offers support. Sometimes women come to us and are unsure of how they should react to pregnancy. Society sees unplanned pregnancies as a problem, so giving her permission to be excited and empowering her through our services is incredible.”
There are so many things I should express to you today, but the English language only has so many words. Truth be told, there will never be an adequate way to share my feelings. There will never be enough “I love yous” to convey how much I care, or enough “thank yous” to demonstrate how grateful I am. Even so, I have decided to try and do you justice in this letter.
Mom, thank you for your big bear hugs. Thanks for wrapping me in your arms and holding me close. Thank you for the happy embraces and the sad ones. You are a constant source of comfort.
Thank you for countless pep talks and endless support. Thank you for standing on my sidelines, both literally and figuratively. You were my first (and loudest) cheerleader.
Thank you for helping me with homework and seeing past my frustration. Thank you for instilling a love for education within me and always encouraging me to learn more. You were my favorite teacher (but please, don’t tell the others).
Thank you for kissing the cuts on my fingers and bandaging my scrapes. Thank you for drying my tears and sending me back on my bicycle. Without you, I would have never learned the importance of rising after the fall.
Thank you for sharing a wealth of knowledge and understanding the value of your wisdom. Though there were times (hello, teenage years) when I pretended I didn’t want it, your advice was always appreciated. Now, I share many of those words when my advice is solicited.
Thank you for always having my best interests at heart and guiding me. Thank you for knowing my needs and understanding my desires. You know me better than I know myself most times.
Thank you for teaching me to say my prayers and for reading me Bible stories. Thank you for singing “Jesus Loves Me” and practicing my memory work with me. You taught me about my Savior and helped form the foundation of my faith.
Mom, thank you for being you.
Your Loving Child
Pregnancy centers have earned an unfair, ugly reputation among members of the media. Many major news outlets have chosen to label these centers as deceptive. Learning about pregnancy centers through a variety of unnamed sources, journalists claim that they spread misinformation and provide unwanted advice. Painted as cruel and manipulative, those not familiar with pregnancy centers might envision a villainous organization.
The Huffington Post describes pregnancy centers as, “faith-based, anti-choice organizations that masquerade as medical facilities in order to trick people who are experiencing unplanned pregnancies. West Virginia is burdened with 34 of these fake clinics.” Meanwhile, Allure magazine wrote, “But these centers also resort to manipulation or even outright deception to prevent people from accessing abortion care, obscuring their religious affiliation, spreading health misinformation, and failing to inform clients of the full range of reproductive options available to them.”
Understanding that these claims can influence opinions of pregnancy care centers, WELS Lutherans for Life wanted to take the opportunity to respond. Listed below are three common myths associated with pregnancy care centers and the truth about each of them.
Myth One: Pregnancy Centers Are Unauthorized to Provide Medical Care
Women who visit pregnancy centers are offered a variety of services. These may include pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, medical referrals, post-abortion support, parenting classes, and material assistance. Clients receive these services for free, and their privacy is protected according to regulations set forth by HIPPA. Those performing medical services are trained professionals, and centers operate under the medical license of a practicing physician, who oversees the medical care being provided.
Myth Two: Pregnancy Centers Lie to Women About Abortion
Advocates talk with the clients, learn more about their story, and review their options. Information on pregnancy and abortion is provided. The material is medically and scientifically accurate and is designed to be educational. Pregnancy centers do not refer clients to abortion clinics, but they do provide information on the procedure. They review the abortion process for each trimester and discuss what to expect during an appointment. Just because these centers do not give abortion referrals does not mean they lie to women. Clients are fully aware of their right to abortion via the supreme court decision in Roe V. Wade and can locate an abortion provider by performing a simple Google search. Pregnancy centers present clients with information regarding all of their options and then allow clients to make an informed decision.
Myth Three: Pregnancy Centers Deceive Women Regarding the Impact of Abortion
The physical and emotional impact of abortion has been debated between pro-life and pro-choice groups for decades. Pro-life groups have provided examples of women who have experienced physical side effects and emotional stress following an abortion, and pro-choice groups have said these situations have been dramatized. The trouble with the latter statement is that they cannot, as they claim, disprove every woman’s experience. Even if only one woman admitted to experiencing mental duress or physical pain, there would still be a reason to discuss the possible implications of having an abortion. Given that many pregnancy centers provide post-abortion support, they have seen the impact it has on women and they share these experiences with their clients. When pregnancy centers discuss these situations, they are not implying that everyone will have the same experience, they are simply informing clients of the risks involved.
These myths, which the media perpetuates, are not only inaccurate; they are harmful to women seeking help. Pregnancy care centers, like the one operated by WELS Lutherans for Life, provide women with free and confidential care. They offer accurate information and support through the decision-making process. By blacklisting these centers, the media is limiting the options for women facing unplanned pregnancies and discouraging them from seeking compassionate care.
While it is unlikely that the media will stop making these attacks, there is hope that women will see beyond these unfounded, scathing claims. Pregnancy centers have grown rapidly and they now outnumber abortion clinics in the United States by a 3 to 1 ratio. Client satisfaction among these clinics is tremendously high and client reviews are consistently positive. Between Care Net and Heartbeat International (the leading affiliate organizations for pregnancy centers), over two million families are served on an annual basis. These pregnancy centers are thriving. So, let the media say what they will, because they cannot stop these organizations from empowering women.
TO REPRINT / SHARE
To request permission to share or reprint any of our articles please contact us.
Any questions or general comments about this blog, please contact: BlogMaster@ALife2.com