Genesis 16: 13 “She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”
Luke 12:48 “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”
John 8:7 “He who is without sin may cast the first stone.”
The cold drizzle on November 10th did not stop approximately 700 guests from attending the annual dinner fundraiser for Ruth Harbor held at the Des Moines Airport Hilton Inn. This non-profit organization serves unwed, young women experiencing unplanned pregnancies, many of whom are ravaged by abuse and poverty. For more than 20 years, Ruth Harbor Ministries (RHM) has been helping young moms and their babies. Young women are valued and loved where they are and for who they are, whether they choose to parent or place for adoption. These young ladies are acquiring knowledge and experience and becoming empowered to be independent.
The name of the organization comes from Ruth, the devoted daughter-in-law in the Old Testament who vowed to stay with and care for Naomi after both their spouses died. Harbor represents a safe place to stay. Thus, Ruth Harbor is a devoted, caring, safe refuge for mothers (some of whom are recovering from abusive relationships) until the time of their graduation from the program. During that time, the staff at Ruth Harbor lovingly minister to and prepare the expectant moms for the birth of their babies with great devotion while creating a safe place to stay. Both life skills and parenting skills are taught. New moms are empowered to choose their outcome, whether it’s open or closed adoptions or motherhood.
A lot of the women who have benefited from RHM have felt “unseen,” disrespected and rejected by family, friends, society and the father of their child, which is why Nicole C. Mullen, recording artist, singer and songwriter was the featured speaker at this event.
Mullen affectionately calls the women who are served at Ruth Harbor her “little sisters,” because she was in a similar situation in her own youth, making similar mistakes. Her experiences inspired her to write the songs “My Redeemer Lives,” and then “The God Who Sees,” both of which she performed.
Although I have never experienced an unplanned pregnancy and abandonment, my heart still aches for young moms in such vulnerable situations who are often deceived into believing that abortion is the only available option. I know that the Holy Spirit planted an overwhelming desire within my heart to participate in the event and an opportunity to meet the amazing Nicole C. Mullen was an additional incentive, since I’m familiar with some of her music and her memoir, “My Redeemer Lives: It’s Personal; a story of hope for our time,” this opportunity was extra amazing.
I’m not sure what filled me up more, the delicious dark chocolate cake dessert, or Mullen’s heart-warming, delightful presentation of her own story of redemption and forgiveness. The God who sees saw it all and was glorified. The song “The God Who Sees” is particularly meaningful to me since I myself have gone through long, dry spells in life of feeling unseen.
“I have no stones to throw,” Mullen said, referring to the Bible passage in John 8: 2-11 where Jesus admonishes a group of Pharisees who catch a woman in adultery. They humiliate her by forcing her to stand before the group and then they ask Jesus if it was proper to stone her according to Old Testament law of Moses. Jesus puts the brakes on the cruelty with the infamous line, “he who is without sin may cast the first stone.” In other words, we are all sinners. We simply sin differently from our neighbor, but Jesus offers ALL of us mercy and compassion.
The argument could be made that this type of organization enables women who fell upon promiscuity. But if you listen to the stories of the women who have gone through the program, you might gain a different perspective. Their stories of how the ministry of Ruth Harbor changed their lives will inspire you to either leap for joy or make you weep at God’s goodness and love. Or both.
I firmly believe that when the cycle of abuse and poverty is broken, and women are given the necessary financial, emotional and spiritual support, unplanned pregnancies are kept. Life is respected. Miracles happen. When women are educated about options beyond abortion, loved and valued for who they are, the angry screaming over “my rights, my body” quiets. Wounded hearts are healed.
Ruth Harbor stands in the gap as a spiritual, emotional, financial and familial support system when the family, as was God’s original design, has crumbled. What’s at stake here is the value of women and the value of life. Ruth Harbor steps in not to add to the noise behind Roe v Wade, but to be a part of the healing and solution.
If Jesus was active among us today, I’m confident that he would repeat his statement from John 8: 2-11 to all of us “21st Century Pharisees,” and then offer the same mercy, compassion and hope to any woman in a crisis situation, just as he did 3,000 years ago. He came to give life, not take it away.
I have been among the blessed to have had my family hold me up and set me back on my feet again when I was young woman floundering in my own mistakes, and now it’s my responsibility to give back. Luke 12: 48 says to whom much has been given, much is expected.
The Ruth Harbor Family includes hiring a family advocate to stay in contact with the moms after they graduate from Ruth Harbor, the funds to provide a safety net and as-needed assistance as moms adjust to a new life, and a pursuit of apartment living where a mom is independent with her own home and Ruth Harbor as the landlord. They are currently making plans to launch their Family-Life Care project.
Please visit the Ruth Harbor web site at the above link to learn more about the ministry, pray for it and donate, if the Lord leads you to do so.