Making Your Own Declaration of Independence
When thinking about the month of July, most Americans immediately envision Fourth of July celebrations with friends and family. The sound of the brass band playing patriotic music filling the air. The smell of hot dogs and hamburgers cooking on the grill. The spectacular sight of fireworks bursting in the night sky. The jubilant looks on the faces of children of all ages as they celebrate Independence Day in America.
History tells us that the first Independence Day in 1776 did not resemble our modern-day celebration. Instead, it was a day when our forefathers declared to the world that life as they knew it under the tyrannical control of the King of England had to change. It was a day when choices were made that would begin the bloody war that eventually won Americans the freedom to live in “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
The pregnant, single moms that enter the Redeeming Life Maternity Home go through a similar process. They come to the maternity home from lives that range from merely dysfunctional to downright abusive. Under the staff’s loving direction, the pregnant moms come to realize that their prior lifestyle was detrimental to their health and wellbeing and is not an environment in which they would want to raise their baby. From there, each woman chooses on a new path – her own Declaration of Independence - in which she declares that she is willing to do whatever it takes to break off the tyranny and control of her old lifestyle to build a new life for herself and their baby.
At Redeeming Life Maternity Home, women entering the maternity home program are accepted just as they are, with a mutual expectation that change needs to occur. For the woman who spent the previous night in her car or sleeping on a porch of a local church, the change can be dramatic. The change offers her the chance to no longer sleep with one eye open, worrying about her personal safety, or wondering if a policeman will appear and ask her to move along.
For those who have spent the last few months “couch surfing” (temporarily sleeping on the couch of friends or family), the change may not appear as dramatic. Although they do not share the same dangers as the women living on the street, “couch surfing” brings with it the stress and uncertainty of being told that you have worn out your welcome and asked to leave. No matter what the circumstances were the night before, from the moment they walk through the front door of Redeeming Life Maternity Home, these women can sigh a deep breath of relief. In their new home, they are finally safe.
Once a woman settles into the home, she begins her journey to independence. With the aid and support of the Program Manager, each woman begins the process of defining the lifestyle that she wants for herself and her baby. With a destination firmly in sight, the Program Manager helps the pregnant mom make a road map to get to her planned destination. Depending on the degree of change required and her reluctance to change, the battle to exchange her old life habits for new life skills can equate to the “bloody war” fought by our forefathers.
Most begin the journey enthusiastically and filled with hope that they will make it down the road with little to no difficulty, which we know to be somewhat unrealistic. It is not until they journey further that they realize their old habits, “the way they have always done things”, resulted in their current crisis. Furthermore, if they were going to arrive at their coveted destination, they learn they need to change both unproductive, ingrained habits and the way they perceive and respond to given situations. What they need is a new heart.
In the natural, this seems impossible, but not so in the Kingdom of God. In Matthew 19:26, Jesus teaches us, “With God, all things are possible.” The maternity home program teaches the women about a God who loves both them and their baby and, according to Jeremiah 29:11, has a “plan to prosper them, and not harm them, a plan to give them hope and a future”. For those who embrace this hope, they find the courage to make the necessary changes to reach their ultimate destination.
It is the same for all of us. We all have areas in our lives we wish were different. Whether it is that stubborn 20 pounds that we gained during quarantine or responding in love to that someone in our life that annoys us on a daily basis, all of us have things that we wish we could change about ourselves. Most of us have tried at least once to attempt to change an area of our lives that we are displeased with. After trials and failures, we may have thrown in the towel, resigning ourselves to learn to live with the situation rather than run the risk of trying and failing again.
To receive the desired result, we need to change our approach to the situation. On our own, it seems impossible; but nothing is impossible when you include God in the equation. If we allow Him, He will show us the way we should go and perform the necessary heart surgery to make the change attainable. As we learn to embrace this hope and exchange our old ways for His ways, He will give us the strength and courage to change. Only with His help will we be able to take hold of the truth, “Whom the Son sets free is free indeed” (John 8:36).
Redeeming Life is a Christ-centered maternity home that provides a stable environment for single women with unplanned pregnancies. Our structured program provides mentoring, counseling and life skills education to help them become independent and provide for their children as single mothers.