The Power of Love and Forgiveness
Amy Ford shares her testimony of nearly having an abortion, the power of forgiveness and humility, and the importance of love. Her testimony was given during the 2022 Stand for Life Campus Tour on November 1, 2022, at Cedarville University. Amy is the President of Embrace Grace, Inc., a non-profit organization formed for the purpose of providing curriculum and leadership support for churches nationwide to open their arms to young women with unplanned pregnancies.
Hey guys. So excited to be here. This is such a great crowd. I know that you guys came maybe for the great worship, but hopefully also just something stirred your heart to want to be here, to be the change that we want to see in the world.
A little bit about my story. I had an unplanned pregnancy when I was 19. I grew up in church, had an amazing family, but I didn’t have a relationship with the Lord. I just went to church every week because my parents made me.
So I found out I was pregnant. I was totally terrified. No one had ever told me what a pregnancy center was. No one told me about any kind of help or resources, and so me and the father of the baby thought, “You know what? We could just have an abortion and we’ll just deal with the consequences of a broken heart later. Let’s just get that done.” So we scheduled it, paid for it, went to the clinic to have it done. And even though I knew abortion was wrong, because of fear, it became a real option for me. So as they were explaining how they were going to do it, I actually ended up hyperventilating and passing out in the abortion rim and when I came to, the nurses were fanning me. One was trying to give me a drink of water and she said, “You’re too emotionally distraught to make this decision today. You can come back another day, but today you’re not getting an abortion.”
So I went back out in the waiting room, told the father of the baby, we’re still pregnant, and so we just decided in that moment, “Okay, if we’re going to be homeless…” We had thought of all the worst case scenarios, because the enemy lies to you and tells you all the worst case scenarios that could possibly happen, and we thought, “If we’re going to be homeless, we’ll have each other.” We knew we wanted to get married someday, not necessarily in the order that it ended up happening, but we decided to tell our parents. We told them, they were not as… I mean they were disappointed definitely in the timing, but not as disappointed as we thought they would be because we thought they were going to kick us out and all this terrible stuff.
But we asked the pastor that had led my husband to the Lord years before if he would marry us, and he said, “No, I’m sorry. Because you’ve sinned I will not bless this marriage.” And we were like, “We are such horrible people. We can’t even get married and be blessed,” and we ended up finding someone else that would marry us. We had this beautiful wedding, but it definitely felt like the scarlet letter experience. So then we tried to go back to church, but it was like the elephant in the room, and people don’t know whether to say congratulations or I’m sorry so then they don’t say anything and then you feel alone in a crowd of people and so we just stopped going for a long time.
I ended up having a son who is so amazing. He’s 23 now and he just graduated from Oral Roberts University and he is getting his MBA. He just got married. He is so amazing, so on fire for God, he wants to be a pastor. It was this close that he wouldn’t be here, and I’m just so thankful that he is here. He looks at his own story. He says that, “I was an overcomer before I was ever even born and Satan had a plan to take me out, but I’m here and I’m going to use my story to change the world.” I love that he speaks all over.
That pastor though that wouldn’t marry us, two years later, he did call us out of the blue. He called my husband and he asked for forgiveness. He said he felt like it was his worst mistake in pastoring history that he had ever made. “Will you please forgive me?” And my husband loves this pastor. He was like, “Yes, I forgive you. You’re amazing. I’ve missed you so much.” Well, when my son was 16, this pastor asked me to come to his church and speak on pro-love, and he was… I’m in the Dallas Fort Worth area. He’s a pastor in Austin, Texas. So it’s about three or four hours away. So he had really prepped his congregation before I had gotten there about what he had done years before. He said he had a religious spirit, a Pharisee heart, this is what he did. So I came, I spoke, I did my thing and then afterwards he asked me to come back on the platform and he asked my son, Jess, to come on the platform. He said, “Amy, years ago I asked your husband for forgiveness, but I never really asked you. Will you forgive me?” I was like, “Yes, of course. That was 16 years ago. I forgave you a long time ago. Now look and embrace grace, this ministry has started,” and all this. God’s done amazing things.
Well then he looked at my son, 16, in front of the whole church, and he said, “Will you forgive me for planting seeds of rejection in your heart before you were ever even born and while you were in your mother’s womb I rejected you? Will you forgive me?” And my son, 16, in front of the whole church says, “I forgive you.” It was such a powerful moment in that room. You could feel church wounds being lifted. The fact that the pastor would humble himself in that way was so healing even for Jess and for so many other people that were in the room.
The abortion reign is exactly the same inside the church as it is outside the church. There’s no difference, and one in four have experienced an abortion. I look back on my own story and I know I didn’t really have a relationship with the Lord, but I did go to church every single week. Why did I not feel like the church was a safe place for me to go to for prayer, wisdom, guidance, counsel, advice? It was the last place I wanted to go to. Well, how come I didn’t know what a pregnancy center was? Back then we didn’t have Google so I had to just look in a phone book for abortion clinic and went straight to the abortion clinic. But if I had known there were free pregnancy centers around the nation that I could go to for counsel I would’ve gone there, but no one ever told me at the church. I had no idea that they existed.
So what can we do as the church to make that the first place girls run to instead of the last because of shame and guilt? There’s so many people that are passionate about politics, and I think that’s good if God put that on your heart to be passionate about, but guys, the real change comes with love. Love is what changes hearts. We can talk about being pro-life till we’re blue in the face but without love, we are a clinging symbol.
Love is what transforms people because it’s God’s kindness that leads us to repentance. We are a part of a pro-love movement. Pro-life is a stance, but pro-love is the action. And God is bringing us, people all the time… I hear girls say all the time, I was going to get an abortion, and I told God, “If you don’t want me to do this, then you better do something and give me a sign because I don’t see how I can physically have this child. I can’t afford this child. All of these things are in my way. I can’t do this, so you better give me a sign.” I have heard that same line and that same story thousands of times, and I’m not exaggerating, guys, we are the sign. We are the tangible picture of hope and love. We can walk alongside her and promise that no single mom walks alone. We can’t fix all their problems, but we can point them to the one that does, and that’s Jesus. We can make sure that she never has to walk alone. She doesn’t feel alone. There’s so many great resources that are out there that maybe she doesn’t even know about.
God put specific gifts and strengths inside of you to do the good works that he’s called us to do. I’ve seen churches buy cars for moms. I’ve seen people that are really great at writing resumes help single moms with their resume. I’ve seen attorneys come forward and help with custody cases. I’ve seen women mentor other women. People start embrace grace groups, people serving at pregnancy centers. There’s so many ways that you can get involved in the movement.
I remember one time a girl said that she had a newborn baby, she lived on the second floor of an apartment and she said she couldn’t figure out how to take her trash out and the baby at the same time. She couldn’t hold the carrier and do both so she really wrestled, does she leave the baby at home by herself while she walks to the dumpster to take the trash out? She didn’t want to get fined. So she would put it outside her door and she just prayed, “God, give me a solution here. I don’t know what to do.” And she said the next morning she woke up to take the trash out and someone had taken it out, and every week someone was taking out her trash. She didn’t know who it was, but she said, “I just kept thinking, that’s Jesus. That’s Jesus taking out the trash.” That simple thing gave her the courage and the hope to keep going. We don’t have to over-complicate it, it’s just love. What is the Holy Spirit telling you to do to help a single mom or a single dad feel empowered in their life decision?
One last story. There was a pastor once, he was in Dallas, he had a daughter with an unplanned pregnancy and she had really rebelled, and the father of the baby was in jail. She found out she was pregnant, she asked for forgiveness and asked to come back home, and he said, “Yes, of course, you can come back home.” She had a little girl, a little baby girl, and she told her dad, “Dad, next time you do the baby dedications at church, can I do that?” And he said, “Yes, of course.” So the way they do it is they’ll have a family and their baby, and they’ll say, “Is there anyone here that represents this family and their baby? Will you please stand?” And people will stand and they pray a blessing over that baby, and then they get to the next family and the next family and the next family.
Well, then they get to his daughter and her daughter, this mom and her little baby girl, and he said, “Is there anyone here that represents this woman and her child?” And something amazing happened. The whole church stood up. That was a tangible picture of seeing a whole church say, “We’re in this with you. We’re not going to kick each other when we’re down. We’re going to pick each other up when we fall.” That must have meant the world to her, to see a church stand up and say, we’re in this with you. That’s why we’re here today because we want the church to stand up and to rise up and say, we are in this with you. We’re not going to just vote away and then think we’re done and we check that off our list. This is a pro-whole life movement. This is a pro-love movement.
So we’re asking you guys tonight to allow Jesus to speak to your heart about how you can get involved. I would love to pray for you guys, but first, and before we were about to start worship again, I would love for you guys too, if you want to stand for life, I would love for you guys to stand up as we go into worship, and I’m going to pray a blessing over you. Just stand up right now because I want you guys to really open your heart to what strengths and gifts that God put inside of you to do the good works that he’s called you to do, and he wants to speak to you tonight. Maybe it’s to start your own organization. Maybe it’s to serve at one. Maybe it is to just go reach out to someone on your social media that you just noticed said that they have an unplanned pregnancy, maybe they’re from your high school and you need to reach out to them because they feel totally alone. Allow God to speak to you guys tonight.
God, we just ask you right now, you brought all of these people to this event tonight, and we don’t want it to just be an event where we go to and we’re like, “Yes, life. That’s great.” But God, we want it to be a catalyst of activation in our community. We want the future of this city to have a generation of children that maybe might not would’ve been here if it weren’t for the love that this community has to offer, because of the resources, because of the gifts and the strengths. We know that there are over 300,000 churches in America and if we all are doing something, God, we really can make abortion unthinkable and unnecessary because it’s your love, it is your love that changes hearts, God.
So we just pray tonight as we go back into worship, that everyone that stood for life, God, we just pray that you download into their hearts, highlight a strength or something that they can use to help make abortion unthinkable or maybe bring a person to their awareness or attention that they need to reach out to. God, we just know that there’s going to be lives saved and changed both physically and eternally because of the love that you have that you put inside of us. So we just thank you that you continue to minister to the hearts of all that are here tonight. We love you so much, and it is an honor to partner with you to make the world a better place, God. We love you so much. In Jesus’ name, amen.