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Three Women You Should Celebrate This International Women's Day

Posted by Eve Gleason on Mar 5, 2020 12:26:29 PM

International Women’s Day, March 8th, is a time to recognize and celebrate women's achievements. In my role at Care Net, I have the honor of interacting with some the most amazing faith-based and social sector leaders in North America, and today I’d like to introduce you to three women of valor.

Each of these women came through the doors of a pregnancy center as a client. Now, they are advocates for other women and couples who are making pregnancy decisions.

Here are their stories in their own words.

Jennifer VanRyckeghem

Jennifer VanRyckeghem

Executive Director

New Life Pregnancy Resource Center

Twenty-seven years ago, I journeyed to my local pregnancy center to find out that I was pregnant. I made the decision to terminate the life of my third child. 

Approximately a year and a half later Jesus rescued me! I will never forget what that moment of acceptance from Him felt like. I was an adulteress, I had abandoned my children, my family had not spoken with me for years, I was a prostitute, I was physically abused, depressed and suicidal. 

And yet Jesus accepted me, forgave me, called me his own. 

Fast forward, I heard that the same center I had visited before aborting my baby was hiring a receptionist. I applied, went for an interview, and, yes, I got the job! I found healing and was able to give so much love to women who were journeying a similar path. I remained there for around 4 years and am still connected to that center.

But my story of redemption still wasn’t over. Here I am, now the Executive Director of New Life Pregnancy Resource Center! God has brought my life full circle!

 


Rhonda Creten headshot

Rhonda Creten

Executive Director

Family Life Pregnancy Center of Tehachapi

I visited a pregnancy center at the age of 16. I knew I wanted to have my baby but had no idea I would face opposition from the baby's father and grandfather. The woman I spoke with met me with compassion and encouragement. The thing I remember most was that she prayed with me and the handmade blanket that I walked out with. I believe her care and prayers helped me to stand strong in my decision for life. I knew then I would someday be involved in pregnancy center ministry. 

34 years later I now have the privilege of being here to offer that same support and encouragement to others. I believe that every life is fearfully and wonderfully made and deserves to experience the abundant life God intends. That’s true whether you are a 16 year old girl who needs to summon every ounce of courage to fight for your baby’s life or whether you are that baby who is now the father of two of my grandchildren.

 


Tara Vanaman

Tara Vanaman

Community Outreach Liaison

HeartReach Center

I was a client at a PRC in 1998. I experienced two "crisis" pregnancies. The first was at 19. I had no encouragement, support or resources. By God's grace, I chose life. The second was about two and a half months after giving birth to my first son. I was now married, but finding out that I was pregnant again felt so overwhelming. While I didn't consider abortion for this pregnancy, I did go to a PRC to get a proof of pregnancy, and God wrecked me with HIS compassion through the women I encountered that day.

My life is a living testimony of God's redemption over even the most bleak of circumstances. He restores even the places long-devastated, and He is no respecter of persons. I come into the center every day because I feel called to be that same voice of love and compassion to those God brings through our doors.

 


This International Women’s Day, please join me in celebrating Jennifer, Rhonda, Tara and all the other strong, beautiful, brave women who have come to their community pregnancy centers, whether as clients, volunteers, employees, or all three.

The stories of these women remind us that our God delights in showing favor to people who are often overlooked and forgotten. As pregnancy center team members, it’s our joy to do the same. After all, you never know the next chapter’s in your client’s story. They might be a future pregnancy center executive leader.

As the author of Hebrews advised new believers so long ago, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” 

It's your turn:

Do you know an Eshet Chayil (woman of valor) who is currently serving in a local pregnancy center (or has in the past)? Won't you take a moment to rise up and call her blessed (leave a comment below)? 👏

 

 

Alatheia Nielsen contributed to this post.

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