Friday, July 6, 2018

That's the Point!


(The following is taken from a letter sent to our supporters at Care Net. I shared with them my heart for the ministry, and wanted to also share it with you.)

Recently, I sat down with our Board of Directors and we discussed Care Net of SoMd, the ministry as a whole. At length, we talked about our goals, our purpose, and our primary mission. In an effort to avoid “mission creep” (doing good things that are not part of our original goals, which over time lead us away from our actual mission statement), we reevaluated why we do what we do. So of course, we asked ourselves these questions: Why are we here? What is the point?

While there are many discussions still to be had together, we all agreed that the ministry of Care Net is Kingdom work. Meaning, our primary objective is to bring our clients to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Only then, will they truly understand value and worth – their value and worth – and therefore, the worth of their baby. Yes, we want to stop abortions. Yes, we want to support the mother. Yes, we want to be a light in the darkness where so many struggle with unplanned pregnancies. But why do we want to do these things? Because God created them in His likeness, and therefore, they are all valuable. Regardless of their mistakes; regardless of their choices.

Sure, we can offer sonograms and STI testing, education and material support. And Lord willing, they will make a choice for life as a result of these efforts. But if they never acknowledge their need for Christ, then there will never be true change, and they will only continue to perpetuate this cycle.

This is why we offer all of these programs. This is why we hold fundraisers and outreaches through the year. And I believe this is why you have chosen to stand with us – because what we do and why we do it matters in this community, and it matters in this world.

Image result for relationshipsHere’s what some of our clients have had to say, just this last month alone:

“I couldn’t be more comfortable [at Care Net].”
“It’s like my second home where I can share my feelings.”
“They make you feel welcome anytime. You can tell them anything about your life. It’s really a great place to come especially if you need someone to talk to.”

Building relationships takes time. We have to build trust first before anything else happens. Some of our clients are “repeat” clients who have come to us for help through multiple pregnancies. Sometimes it takes this long for them to see our hearts and let their guards down. But many are new clients each month, facing consequences of their choices and needing support, and they are ready to hear truth. What is important is that our efforts in building relationships and offering grace freely and unequivocally to those who come to us are paying off in spiritual dividends: We have nearly tripled the amount of spiritual discussions we are able to have with our clients from a year ago.

Thank you. Thank you for partnering with us. Thank you for giving to us financially, month after month. Because of you, our doors are open. Because of you, not only are babies being saved, but hearts are changing. Because of you, we are able to be God’s hands and feet to those who desperately need Him. 
Image result for relationships
"Let us be concerned for one another, to help one another to show love and to do good." Heb 10:24

For more info about Care Net Pregnancy Center of Southern Maryland, or information on how to donate and join us in bringing hope and healing to our community, check us out here: www.friendsofcarenetsomd.org


Monday, May 21, 2018

Myths about Pregnancy Care Centers


In my core, I have always been pro-life. I was raised pro-life. Truth be told, there was a time when I wasn’t living quite as I should and I wondered what I would do if I had gotten pregnant. I questioned whether I would be able to face my mother, and worse than that *gasp*, how would I face my church? That's another post for another time. But in my heart of hearts, I knew that I could never justify my behavior enough to warrant killing a baby simply because it was inconvenient.

Fast forward to many years later, I find myself at the helm of Care Net Pregnancy Center of Southern Maryland (Care Net PCSM). At the risk of exposing myself, I feel compelled to share with you how I feel. This world is a dark and broken place. And it seems that only the loud voices get heard. And right now, the voices being heard are those screaming for validation of their choices; for those things that are not godly to be considered so; for the world to stop acknowledging our brokenness but instead renaming it, as if it would change anything.

The fine print doesn't matter.
What matters is that disrupting the
nest warrants legal action.
Add to this the fact that I am a new mother. (No, I am not blaming hormones for this post.) But I am more acutely aware than ever before that life is valuable. All life is valuable. Regardless of how it was conceived, the very principle and morality of human existence is the fact that we are all valuable. Aside from the myriad of scripture that claims it to be so – far before science ever proved it – life is redeemable, life is a treasure, and life is precious. So much so that we are spending TRILLIONS of dollars sending missions trips to outer space to find any molecule in order to validate life. And we are arresting people for killing eggs of endangered species because of the value of life. So how we can spend BILLIONS of dollars for the right to terminate human life with a clear conscience?

But I digress. There will likely always be a debate about this topic. You will believe one way; I choose to believe another. But in the end, whether a pregnant woman chooses life or not, she will need support. And this is where my rocks get rattled. Regardless of the services offered at PCC’s (Pregnancy Care Centers) across the nation, there are those who refuse to support what we do. There are a lot of lies out there as to what we do, why we do it and how it is done; so I will quickly discuss the three biggest myths we face in in our PCC and the truths behind them.

Myth #1: Pregnancy Centers claim they are medical centers, but they are not.
Testimonial from an ultrasound client.
Truth: There are Pregnancy Centers and there are Pregnancy Medical Centers. In short, some only offer material and emotional support while others have licensed and certified medical professionals (volunteer and paid staff) who are able to conduct clinical services.  At Care Net PCSM, we are a medical clinic. As such, we are a facility that provides medical services, under the direction and supervision of a licensed physician. We offer medical services that are diagnostic in nature. (Diagnostic means that a medical test is administered, results are read, and a medical opinion is rendered.) We currently have three Registered Nurses as part of our medical team who are trained in providing all our clinical services. Our medical director is a licensed general practitioner, and she issues standard orders, signs policies and procedures, and oversees the rest of our medical staff. You can learn more about our clinic staff here.

As part of our clinic, we follow guidelines by the AIUM, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), and American College of Radiology (ACR) and are able to offer limited obstetric ultrasounds and specialized examinations (STD/STI testing, pregnancy testing).

Myth #2: We are bible thumping do-gooders, forcing you into our religion.
Wow. Sounds like someone is watching too many dramas on TV.

Truth: Yes, we believe in God. We believe in His Son, Jesus. Because of that, and because of who we believe He is, we also believe that there is hope in the midst of a world that continually offers none. Because of who we believe He is, we also believe there is grace and forgiveness that He desires to give to all those who ask. And oftentimes, we know there is grace because we, too, have experienced it for ourselves first hand. (You might recall my introduction where I mentioned my own shortcomings.) Anyone who knows me has heard me say that we are all the same at the foot of the cross. I know from my personal experience that God can redeem and renew what the world would consider broken and useless. And because I have experienced this myself, I can demonstrate this to others. You can’t pour from an empty cup.

Don’t get me wrong. Yes, these things are the backbone and foundation of why Care Net PCSM exists. But this only provides the lens through which we see each client and each other. Do we force our faith on others? No. Absolutely not. That would go against all that Jesus stands for. But do we greet each person with a smile, offer them a shoulder to cry on, a safety net where they can vent their fears and anxieties without judgement, blame, or ridicule? One thousand times yes. Do we offer to pray with them if the situation allows? Yes, of course we do. But we also ask their permission and
understand if they say no. Grace, hope, and love – how refreshing this is in a society that demonstrates everything but these things. And really, who wouldn’t want to come to a place like that when they feel lost or confused?

Myth #3: We are Pro-Life, and we will coerce you into carrying the baby to term against your will.
Truth: Yes, we are pro life. Yes, we want you to choose to carry your baby. Because we believe in the inherent value of life. Will we guilt you? Coerce you? Shame you if you choose not to? NO. That would defeat our purpose of providing hope and grace without judgement. Unfortunately, we do have pregnant women who call us, come to us for their ultrasound and still choose to abort. Yes, it breaks our heart. Yes, we always wish we could’ve done more. And yes, we reassess each time to try to determine what we could say or do in the future to ease their anxiety or stress they feel.

What we will do is empower the pregnant client to make the best choice she can. We educate her; we talk about ALL her options, including abortion. We do not hide this option from her. If she is going to abort, then she has a right to know exactly what she is doing to her body and her baby – something that most abortion clinics do not do. We give her room to talk about and think through her decision, however long it takes. (When was the last time you went to a doctor and were given as much time as you wanted to make a decision or discuss your concerns?) Because we are a non-profit ministry, we have no quota to meet, no financial pressure to ensure you make a decision in our favor. God has blessed us with enough financial support in our community to give the luxury of time to our clients – without opinion, coercion, or pressure. Our client advocates are trained to be empathic, compassionate, and sincere in their approach while still giving the client the information she needs to make an educated and informed decision.
To that end, we also offer support groups for those women who have decided to abort. Many women will at some point struggle with their decision to terminate a pregnancy. And if/when they do, we are prepared to help them find hope and healing. Click this link to watch a quick video about our Bible Study. Information on the bible study we offer can be found here

I know this is a much more serious post than I usually write. But as of late, God has been impressing my heart for our babies and the brutality of this world. My heart aches over the callousness of those who think it is ok. It is a socially charged topic that rarely is discussed calmly. Both sides of the issue tend to break down and resort to awful tactics to prove their point. I am proud of the work we do at Care Net PCSM, and I believe in what we do. I believe that there are more people who have been helped in our community and are happy they turned to us in their moment of need (regardless of what choice they made). And I will continue to use my own brokenness to fight for each life that I can, because I know that each life is worth fighting for.

*Disclaimer: The thoughts presented in this post are in regards to how Care Net Pregnancy Center of Southern Maryland operates. While we are affiliated with Care Net (national), which includes 1100 other centers nationwide, I can only speak specifically to how our Centers are run.

For more information on Care Net Pregnancy Center of Southern Maryland, click here.

To compare Care Net’s (National Affiliation) stats with Planned Parenthood, click here.


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

#weareCareNet


Banquet Week is the busiest and biggest week for Care Net all year. Because it is our biggest fundraiser, it requires all hands on deck, incredible flexibility, and lots of creativity. It never fails that with all this, comes high stress, and supernatural attacks on the families of those involved, including sickness, financial pressures, and lots of last minute changes. This year was no exception.

Banquet night is the third Thursday of every March, like clockwork. We were planning for over 600 guests this year, with guest speaker, Dr. William Lile. Sure, we were battling our typical colds and heavy stressloads, but things appeared to be otherwise seamless. This year, unlike previous years, the planning seemed to go smoothly – we had new staff that we didn’t have last year, volunteers who we didn’t have before, and so the workload seemed to be spread evenly. Cue: banquet week!


Monday before banquet: There is talk of a freak snow storm headed for the East Coast and slated to hit our area Wednesday with up to 1 foot of snow. What?? It’s nearly April! So the atmosphere intensified a bit as we planned to be closed Wednesday.

Actual photo from Dr. Lile
waiting out the snowstorm
in Philly


Tuesday before banquet: We are informed that our community has been the target of the next school shooting. Chaos and pain ripple throughout our area as schools close, police and rescue teams are dispatched, news reports are made, and families and neighborhoods rally together to support the victims and each other.

Compounding the stress levels, the last (hopefully) winter storm is upon us, and I have been notified that our guest speaker may not make it. He is currently in Philly, headed to Florida tomorrow to conduct surgery, and planned to fly back to MD Thursday morning. However, Philly is slated to get even more snow than we are and airports are likely going to be shut down forcing flights to be rearranged to accommodate the impending weather.

Wednesday before banquet: The storm is here. Everything is closed. We are hit with approximately 6 inches of snow and sleet and it is likely school will be closed tomorrow, too. Plans are rearranged to accommodate not having our local high school students available to serve our guests, as we figure out how operate with a 40 person shortage. One of our key decorators finds out that she will not make the banquet as she is being induced with her first pregnancy. Dr. Lile is snowed in at his hotel in Philly. Having packed for only one day, he is now going on three days with the same clothes (and for Florida weather!).

Photo of the banquet hall before and after guests arrived.
Day of Banquet: The storm is gone – and we are left with 6 inches of heavy snow. But the sun is out and the temperature is rising. By mid-morning, the roads are cleared and school was declared to only be on a 2 hour delay. This means that we will have our 40 student servers after all! Dr. Lile was able to rent a car and drive to our venue in time. Out of the 615 tickets we sold, we had about 514 people show up, which was a success considering that just one day prior, we weren’t sure anyone would be able to leave their homes because of the weather.

Patrick, of Sunshine Caterers, who
was unwavering in his commitment
to this event.
The evening was beautiful. The weather was warm, and as people gathered to show their support for defending life in our community, the atmosphere in the hall was electric. Through the course of the evening, we paid tribute and respect for all those touched by the tragedy of the shooting this week – our community lost 2 children as a result, with a third child hospitalized for injuries. We also sought God for direction and favor as we wait to hear the results of the SCOTUS hearing (ruling in June) that could change our right to free speech and our ability to operate our Pregnancy Centers as we see fit (more information here). And Dr. Lile reminded us just how critical the work is that we do to save lives at its earliest stages. Defending life at Care Net is about protecting all life – mothers, fathers, children, babies – at every stage, and giving each life a chance to reach its potential. (Check out what clients are saying about how Care Net has impacted them.)

Me, with Dr. William Lile, guest speaker
During the banquet, I challenged guests to take the next step in how they defend life, which looks different for each person. Perhaps it’s a one time gift that God is calling them to make. Maybe it’s deciding to become a monthly supporter so we can depend on their financial contribution each month. Maybe God is calling them to partner with us and volunteer their time. Or maybe God is calling them to do all three.

Something amazing happened as a result of this banquet. Despite the trauma of the week and the schedule mishaps and confusion, people stepped up and answered the call. We even had one family donate enough money to help us enlarge our Leonardtown Center, doubling the space and the amount of people we can serve! We had numerous one-time gifts from new supporters who caught the vision of what God is doing for this community through Care Net. And while we are still 80% to our goal amount that we wanted to raise, it’s incredible to see the support from the community that was raised in the midst of going through its own struggles and pain.


What I learned this week: It can be easy to assume you know the pain that another person feels because you are educated, or have seen others in their distress. But until you walk in their shoes, until you experience the same kinds of feelings, you will never truly know the extent of their desperation. And at our banquet, our guests – our community – rose to the occasion, giving out of their need in order to provide life and hope to those who need it.

This is my community. This is my home. This is my heart. I am proud to serve in a place that is full of grace and hope, offering this lasting hope to anyone and everyone. What a privilege it is to see God working in the lives of those around me and to know that I have made a difference!


If you feel God calling you and you want to be a part of the change happening in this area, call me! Or click here to donate and leave a message for me!




#wearecarenet  #wearesouthernmaryland  #wearegreatmills

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Worth Fighting For

What if I told you that there was a new law that mandated those who had blonde hair had to vote Democrat, and those with black hair had to vote Republican? Or you had to attend a mosque at least once per month, regardless of your religious preference? Or even that you had to wear bright orange on Mondays even if you hated that color?

This is what we are facing today in our country – except it is so much worse. There is a decision that will be made next month in the Supreme Court that will affect more than what we wear, what our preferences are, or our political or religious affiliation. This decision is about one of our inalienable rights – free speech. Even more than that, it is our undeniable right to life that hangs in the balance.

The case of NIFLA vs. Becerra is a result of California’s FACT Act that forces Pregnancy Centers – who are pro life organizations – to refer for state funded services, including abortion.  The state has other means of advertising at its disposal, but is decidedly targeting Pregnancy Centers and coercing them to “promote a message that is antithetical to their beliefs.”[1]

(More information on NIFLA vs. Becerra available here.)
As Executive Director of our local Pregnancy Care Center (www.carenetsomd.org), I watch my staff and volunteers as they provide non-judgmental support to those women and families that are facing an unplanned pregnancy. Most of our clients come ready to choose life for their babies; some come in undecided, and some choose to terminate (disclaimer: we do not offer or refer for abortions in any of our centers). I have observed those in my Centers as they educate women on their choices. My client advocates and staff continue to demonstrate love and grace regardless of the mother’s choice, and whether or not it is in line with their own values.

As a result of the work we do at Care Net SOMD, I hear stories of women who come in lost, afraid, and scared of their future. I get many letters on my desk thanking my Center for the compassion and love that was given to them. Many women have gone through our abortion recovery group, humbled by their past but have come to embrace the freedom found in their future. I have seen women convinced that they were going to abort their baby, but then they see their baby in their ultrasound and have a complete change of heart. None of this would be possible - these lives likely would not have been saved – if we were forced to also refer them to an abortion clinic. These women may have changed their lives forever because of a choice made in a moment of desperation.

We need to care about this SCOTUS case. We MUST care about it. The decision made will alter our future and the future for our children. This case not only affects our freedom of speech, but also “the rights of conscience, and the issue of government coercion when it comes to dissenting voices on moral issues.”[2]

What can you do?
NIFLA is hosting a rally on the steps of the Supreme Court on 3/20/18. The case is being heard at 10am. This is history in the making, and if you can be a part of it, you should be there. Show your support for NIFLA and for life by participating in the rally.

Pray. Pray often. Pray fervently. Pray for the hearts of the Supreme Court justices. Pray for the Pregnancy Centers in California currently having to adhere to this egregious violation of our First Amendment right. Pray for the legal team presenting their argument on March 20, specifically Michael Farris. Pray for those fighting for life, continuing to battle in the front lines and against those that seek to take away our rights.

Even if you are not pro-life, this case should concern you. If the government can take away the rights of one, they are well on their way to take away the rights of all. Today, we fight for pregnancy centers. Tomorrow, we may be fighting for our churches, businesses, communities, and families.  Imagine what could be possible if we all join forces and stand up for what is right


Glessner, T. (2018, January). Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). NIFLA Legal Tips .
Hausknecht, B. (2018). Social Issues. Retrieved February 6, 2018, from www.focusonthefamily.com: https://www.focusonthefamily.com/socialissues/religious-freedom/why-you-should-care-about-nifla-vs-becerra-at-the-us-supreme-court



[1] (Glessner, 2018)
[2] (Hausknecht, 2018)

Monday, January 15, 2018

A Letter To My Child...

My dear baby boy,

Words can’t express the emotion that I feel for you as I watch you sleep in my arms. This is the last day I have before returning back to work, and I want to spend every second of it with you. I knew that I would love you, but I didn’t know that it was possible to love you THIS MUCH.

I have had two glorious months with you outside of my body. I have cherished each moment, the
The first time holding Brody
The face of exhaustion
good as well as the frustrating and tired (and sometimes frustratingly tired) ones. I remember holding you for the first time. You were as soft as silk, crying, and oh so beautiful. Before that, I remember the excruciating pain I was in for what seemed like years (but really was only 11 hours) and how I thought I would always remember the torture of labor, and yet how quickly I forgot about it when they put you in my arms.

Once all the hustle and bustle calmed down and we were alone with you for the first time that night, I remember being suddenly overwhelmed at the complete realization of the gravity of my responsibility for you. I was beside
myself at the love that overflowed the depths of my soul in those quiet moments and had no idea how much my love would continue growing. For the first time, I cried…and I haven’t stopped.

I cry because you are so treasured, because you are so very precious to me. I have prayed for you my entire life, even when I didn’t think you would ever come. And now that you’re here, I pray for strength, for patience, for the ability to continue to do and be my very best for you for as long as I have you.

I thought two months would be enough. Eight weeks originally sounded like a long time to be stuck in a house during the winter. But it has flown by - each day seemed shorter than the day before, and I have begged God to slow down time so that I can hold you longer and love  you more.

Side by side, 1 month apart
I remember being scared. When I first found out about you, I cried – not because I was happy, but because I was terrified. I didn’t know how I would actually figure out this whole parenting gig and was scared I wasn’t enough. But what I realize now is that I don’t have to know it all, and who I am is all you need.

And this is why I have to go back. As much as I don’t want to leave you, I must. I have to. Because there are so many mommies and daddies who may miss out on having these precious moments and memories with their baby if I don’t. Every day there are people who make decisions because of fear, doubt, and anxiety. They are afraid that this is the wrong time to have a child, or their partner will leave them, or they just can’t be a parent. I wish I could give each of them the gift of what I feel when I hold you, or see you smile, or calm you when you cry. And by going to work every day, you let me do this.
I know that there will be a lot of things I will miss: the first time you roll over, the way you snuggle into my neck when it’s nap time, the first time you really begin to play, maybe even your first word or first step. But there will also be a lot of “lasts”: the last time you cuddle in my arms, the last time you reach for me when you are upset, the last time you wrap your entire hand around my finger. And I intend to make each moment in between count.

So until I am able to come home every night and hold you once again, I will bring with me the love and joy that I have when I see you. And it is this hope that I will give to those who come to our Centers, so that they may one day experience the gift that I get every time I am with you. I love you, my precious child, and am blessed to share this love with all those around me. 
Life is truly a gift from God

(For more information on what we do at Care Net Pregnancy Center of Southern Maryland, click here. To support the ministry of Care Net, click here.)

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Don't Judge Me

Have you ever over reacted at something? Worse, have you overreacted and then, in some switch of fate, had to eat your words and leave with your tail between your legs?

True story; it’s confession time. I was out grocery shopping today, and stopped to talk to someone on my Bluetooth while sitting in my car in the parking lot. Minding my own business, I quickly realized that this van had just parked next to me. Like, literally NEXT TO ME. I could touch the van from my seat, that’s how close she was. I was on the phone but did not hesitate to make a face at the woman when she looked at me, but I was too distracted by my phone call to take any sort of real action.

When I was off the phone, however, I *slowly* opened my door and peered out. She was IN my spot. The problem was that I was also in the SAME spot <insert angry face>. I, ever so carefully, inched my way out of my car (which is no small task, considering how ginormous you are when you are 8.5 months pregnant) which took a couple minutes. Sliding down the side of my car to freedom, very upset at this woman’s lack of respect for other drivers, I stared incredulously at the back of her van as if doing so would forcibly remove that vehicle and dislodge it from its very undesirable location.

And then I saw it. Her bumper sticker. On her car was the bumper sticker to the Christian radio station that I listen to. I am not proud of my next thoughts...I stared in disbelief at this piece of sticky paper, as if it were mocking me.  She’s a Christian?? And she did this? Instantly my mind ran through a dozen different scenarios that involved her and what I thought this meant about who she was and even her relationship to God. Well, she must not be that good of a Christian for her to do this….who does she think she is, Jesus? …. Maybe that sticker belongs to someone else…

Our actual Care Net sticker - contact us for your free one!
I finally turned to leave this crime scene when it happened. I saw on the back of MY car was my Care Net bumper sticker. Instantly I was humbled. Most people who know Care Net , know that it is a faith-based, pro-life ministry that seeks to provide hope and support for those facing the crisis of unplanned pregnancy. In order to be a part of the ministry, you have to ascribe to the tenants of the Christian faith. By promoting Care Net, you would be right to assume that I not only support the ministry and therefore Christianity, and am myself a Christian.

Do you see the hypocrisy? How many people may have looked at me and felt the same way that I was feeling towards this stranger? I *may* have cut through a few parking lots on my way home from work a time or two (hey, I have a looong commute and there’s a ton of traffic! Gotta save time where I can!). I *may* go more than 5mph over the speed limit on occasion. And there is that slight possibility that I have thrown out gum or an apple core from my window once or twice (did I mention that I get hungry on this long commute?).

After reading this, how many of you judged me the same way I judged this woman? How much worse would you feel once you knew that I was the Executive Director of Care Net? Does this exacerbate your feelings about my behavior? Do you want to yell at me and lecture me about the environment? Do you want to read to me the state and county laws of proper driving mechanics? Do you think I should retake my driver’s test?


Friends, let me tell you something: You are no different than me. Just as I am no different from that woman. No matter what we do, someone will judge us from what they see, or how we made them feel. I am not getting ready to give you some sermon about “Judge not, lest ye be judged”  because, let’s face it, we are human and we are prone to judge. What I am saying is that how we live and treat others reflects who and what we value. 

For me, I value love, vulnerability, honesty, and integrity. I cherish life. That's how I live in my personal and professional life; that's what I expect in return. As Director of Care Net, that is what I want each client to see and feel every time they walk through our doors. I know I am far from perfect - we all are. But despite my imperfections, I still strive to do my best and be my best for all those around me. 
πŸ’“πŸ’“πŸ’“The two biggest loves of my life πŸ’“πŸ’“πŸ’“
"So that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God." Colossians 1:10



That's the Point!

(The following is taken from a letter sent to our supporters at Care Net. I shared with them my heart for the ministry, and wanted to also...