The following is a guest post by my friend Amy Wheeler, shown here dancing at her wedding reception with husband Mike and daughter Brianna.
Ten years ago today I was blessed with the birth of my amazing little girl, Brianna. I can’t believe that it has really been a decade! I can’t help but be reminiscent on days like today, wondering at the grace of God, that I, a mere sinner, could be so greatly blessed with such an amazing little one…well, not so little anymore.
I remember the moment I found out she would be coming. On October 30, 1998, I had gone for a free pregnancy test from the Caring Pregnancy Center in Boulder (now Real Choices Pregnancy Care Center). I felt so alone, so scared. I hadn’t told anyone other than my boyfriend at the time about my fear that I was pregnant. I was seventeen and a freshman at CU-Boulder. I couldn’t believe that one night, one lapse of judgment, one moment of a lack of self control could change the rest of my life. I sat trembling in the chair in the pregnancy center across from two gentle, compassionate women. They asked me what my pregnancy symptoms were and as they ran down the list and I confirmed nearly every one, my stomach sank. I watched as one lady glanced over at the test. Before she could utter a word my eyes welled up with tears. I knew my life would never be the same. I felt alone, scared, confused and yet somewhere deep inside, joyful. There was no denying that this was life that was within me.
Throughout my pregnancy, the pregnancy center offered amazing support in ways that my college freshman friends never could have. I had a support group of other pregnant women with varying stories. We laughed, cried, vented, and experienced the growing lives within us. I had free Lamaze classes through the center and received free maternity clothes. The connected me with an adoption counselor to help me consider what the best path for my child would be and a mentor who had chosen adoption who met with me weekly. I had support every step of the way and I can’t imagine having gone through my pregnancy without the loving support that I received from this pregnancy center. I never felt judged, pressured, or condemned. I even got connected with a local church through a volunteer there, a church I called home for seven years! When I realized that God was calling me to parent my little one, the support continued, and they supplied me with a wide variety of baby items, including a crib, to make sure I was ready for her to enter the world. Throughout my years at CU, I had support from this organization, a group for single moms and lots of baby clothes. I then turned my own blessings around and volunteered with the organization and even worked as a summer intern before my senior year.
Why am I reminiscing about the very earliest moments of my daughter’s life, when there have been so many AMAZING moments in the past ten years, including watching her commit her life to Christ and being blessed with a wonderful man of God as her father this past year? Two days ago, a so-called “pro-life” vigilante violently took matters into his own hands and took the life of one of the nation’s most infamous abortionists. While I find it completely abominable what this doctor had chosen to do with his life, I completely disagree with what this vigilante did. I mourn the fact that so often the pro-life movement is tied to such violent, ugly displays as this and others. I found it important to declare on this day, the 10th anniversary of the birth of my wonderful unexpected blessing, that there are amazing organizations out there that not only passionately support a prolife stance, but are truly pro-woman, pro-child and pro-family.
This weekend, Alternatives Pregnancy Center in Denver is hosting a Walk for Alternatives. This organization is in the same network as the one I was blessed by 10 years ago. They offer free pregnancy tests, options counseling, resources, referrals, free ultrasounds, and pre and post natal support all in a truly nonjudgmental loving way. Sadly, on the basis of current abortion rates, 1 in 3 women will have had at least one abortion by the time she reaches the age of 45. Many of these women struggle with intense issues related to post-abortion syndrome. Alternatives Pregnancy Center offers incredible post-abortion support for women who have made that choice and now need the freedom of forgiveness. They truly are an organization that values women before during and after pregnancy. In 2005, I worked as a Client Services Director, establishing an office on the Auraria Campus, ministering to young college women like I was 10 years ago. While I moved on from that position, it continues to grow strong and I am still truly committed to supporting this organization. If you would like more information about the organization you may visit www.youhavealternatives.org. If you would like to boldly take a stance, standing up for women and families and supporting an organization that does so in a truly loving, non-judgmental and practical way, please consider sponsoring me in the walk this Saturday, June 6th. You may do so at www.firstgiving.com/amywheeler. Anything you can give, from $5-$500, makes a deep impact in the lives of women. A mere gift of $5 can provide several women with free pregnancy tests and possibly life-altering counseling from and Alternatives counselor. I hope to be able to make a difference in the lives of women the way the pregnancy center made an incredible impact in my life…and my ten year old daughters. Please join me in making a donation to Alternatives Pregnancy Center, in honor of the birth of my child, and the birth of many babies who are born to women cared for by Alternatives Pregnancy Center each year. Also, if you would like to join us on Saturday, we would love to have you Walk for Alternatives. Check out the website at www.walkforalternatives.org. Please pray that ministries like this one will continue to have a positive impact in the lives of women and families.
Thank You and I hope you have a wonderful, blessed day.
Amy Wheeler…and Brianna