By: Jeannie Hall
Is it really helpful to shelter a single mom and her baby? What will the long-term outcome look like?
At Expect Hope we have a vision for what this would look like for the women and babies who will be sheltered here. Each mother and child can stay in our home for at least two years and during that time there is planned biblical training which by God’s grace will point her to Christ as well as life-skills training that prepare her to be able to support and care for her child. We’re at the actual-working this all out-stage now as we have begun to welcome our first residents.
I do have an answer to my initial questions from my own experience from a much more haphazard version of sheltering a mother and child that feeds my passion for the Expect Hope ministry. It was forty-seven years ago that my husband and I were asked to open the spare bedroom of our apartment to a young single mom and her infant. It was only to be temporary, until the baby’s father would come to marry her. However, the young man changed his mind, leaving them in a very bad situation. We were newly married and had little experience with babies. Suddenly we saw that this girl and her baby would be with us for a while. The mom was not a Christian, but did attend our church out of gratefulness to our church leadership who had offered our home to her. Over the next months of her stay, we offered our bumbling advice on childcare, provided for their needs, and prayed for her salvation. Through the gentle urging of a seminary professor, she did give her life to Christ.
We left St. Louis and eventually our single mom and baby did as well. We lost touch and had no idea what had happened to them until two years ago when I received a Facebook message from her. Had our offer of shelter been a worthwhile endeavor? Oh yes, very much so! One of her initial messages was “four and a half decades later… so good to reconnect with you! God is good.” She has shared with us that she did eventually marry and have other children. All was not a steady uphill climb through her life, but we rejoice to see her posts from this point in her journey, testifying of her love and faithfulness to our Lord as a grandmother.
What had she needed when abandoned by her baby’s father? She needed a place of safety, financial support, and encouragement centered in a Christian church family which we and our church were able to give her. She received a year of shelter that gave her wings to self-sufficiency and more importantly dependency on God. Multiply this to the many women Expect Hope envisions helping and the outcomes can be glorious through God’s power. Do it again and again, Lord.