Bridgehaven Pregnancy Support Center - Cedar Rapids, Iowa Blog

The Battle For “Those Young People”

 

Every few years this very old, very dear book, It’s Me, O Lord , wanders off my bookshelf and drops into my hands,  usually at a time when I need to be reminded not to take myself too seriously.  In one of her poems, “Too Old to Run,”  author Anne Springsteen writes: Read More

Be Strong and Courageous: Gala 2018

Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid.
Do not be discouraged for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. –Joshua 1:9

We did it.  We planned, prepared and executed another annual gala.  But somehow, it was different.  It had a new feel…..there wasn’t chicken for people to complain about.  There wasn’t a speaker from a national organization traveling to Iowa to share with our guests.  It was us.  It was the staff who comes to work at Center Point Road and 8th Avenue every day.  It was a client who comes to class every week and a client who was with us for a season of her life.  And it was the board members who don’t just show up to meetings but give of themselves and are invested.  It was a celebration of Bridgehaven helping families for 35 years in the community, and it was so amazing! Read More

Guest Blog: What A Mother Actually Really Wants

I LOVE being a mom. From as far back as I can remember it was a dream of mine. To hold a little one in my arms, calm their fears and tears, watch them grow, the hugs, the kisses…all of it. I couldn’t wait. As I got older, I discovered just how serious a job parenting was and realized the goal was to raise healthy, wise and fruitful adults – and that seemed terrifying.

I am thankful that there is a God of grace that oversees my parenting. What I cannot do in my flesh, he does by the Spirit that lives inside me. I am so far from being the perfect parent, but that makes my son a better person. My imperfection allows God to work inside him and helps to create the man that he’s purposed to be.

To all you moms out there just trying to get through today: Pause, grab a coffee and read through this message from our sister Ann Voskamp.

Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms. And all the sisters, aunts, and friends that love like them.

❤Chelsey

Read More

The Master Gardener

Man. Don’t we all just get caught up from time to time in plans we create in our minds? Plans we create because we don’t think something is moving fast enough. We want it to look a certain way. We think it will give us a greater sense of peace. Or when we get right down to it, sometimes we think we know better than God about what we need in our lives. When I sit and reflect on these times in prayer, these moments when I catch myself trying so desperately to make things happen in my own way, I realize I am left with a greater sense of dissatisfaction or a feeling of emptiness when I am trying to control the direction and plans for my life.

Sunday at church, the Gospel reading was John 15:1-8. This reading focuses on the Lord as the vine, and us as the branches. I received a devotional/blog in my email the other day in regards to this Gospel reading, and I thought it spoke very well to the Lord’s goodness in His will for our lives. Here is an excerpt from the devotional:

“Our Lord is the Master Gardener. His desire for us is that we thrive and bear fruit, and He knows exactly what we do and do not need to make that happen. He tends our souls; He knows when to prune; He sees the dead places in us that need to be cut out.  The growing process can be painful, but if we remain in Him, as today’s Gospel beckons us, we can trust that new growth, that sweet fruit, is coming. (John 15:4)”

-From A Gospel for Gardeners, Anna Coyne

One of the Deacons from church this weekend also shared a wonderful message in regards to this Gospel reading. One of the parts he shared was that, ultimately, the truth is we don’t always know what is best for us. But God does. If He knows and wants what is best for us, then saying “Thy will be done” takes on a whole new meaning. It creates great hope and anticipation for what is to come, and it leads us to our true and ultimate purpose.

Lord, we thank You for this truth that apart from You, we can do nothing. We pray we may continue to become more obedient in allowing You to direct and guide our steps and plans. We praise You that You know the innermost parts of us that need the most pruning, but You love us unconditionally despite that. Thank You for tending to our hearts. In Your name we pray. Amen.

Haley Brimmer, Director of Client Advocacy

Haley Brimmer

Director of Client Advocacy

 

 

Joyful Honor

“So joyfully welcome him in the Lord and make sure you honor such people highly.” -Philippians 2:29

Honor: admire, give special recognition, hold in high esteem, respect, privilege, fulfill or keep in agreement.

Joy: a feeling of great happiness or pleasure.

Hospitality: the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.

Holy Spirit has a beautiful thread theme of honor, joy, and hospitality He has been showing and teaching me in relation to leadership, relationships, and ministry. Recently, I felt led to share on honor during a morning staff prayer gathering. The conversations and expressions that came out of that prayer time were precious and valuable to me!

“Obedience to the will of God is the pathway to perpetual honor and everlasting joy.” -Charles Spurgeon

I was joyful to share on honor as well as my recent experience and revelation of honor.  I was so excited to honor precious people in my life and share about a recent and fresh experience I’d had with honor. Holy Spirit has been teaching me the value and power in honor and the price it takes for my heart to be a heart motivated by honor. The experience of honor, stationed me to pause and reflect deeply upon the securing power and the bond of unity created through the strength of honor.

Recently, I was in a situation where I was experiencing honor and dishonor at the same time – by different people. Although I did feel dishonored, the power and love of honor outweighed the distraction of dishonor. During those moments, I felt safe, secure and stable, loved, and capable because of honor. This allowed and invited me to release gentleness.  Honor soon flooded my heart with compassion and respect for this other person. Despite the anxiety and pain my friend felt, I pray the honor and gentleness that was released and within the atmosphere encourages her heart and reveals her true identity.

As a leader who experienced and received honored purely for being who God designed me to be, I am more secure and more encouraged to take bigger steps of faith. I feel a fresh faith and joy coming upon me to take and embrace bigger steps of faith, to ask for “wilder” dreams and visions, and to also expect those prayers to be answered! Wow, the power of honor!

On May 11th, Bridgehaven will be hosting our Gala event. We are celebrating our 35th anniversary as we focus on our past, present, and future.

During times of mediation on honor, joy, and hospitality, a connection to the Gala came up in my spirit. Truly, it is a joy and honor to serve in such a ministry as Bridgehaven.  Bridgehaven is a place of safety, a dwelling place of the love and truth of Jesus, an oasis of honor and dignity. We desire honor and hospitality to be a posture of our heart that is felt, given, and received. As we prepare for the Gala and seek God on what today and tomorrow for Bridgehaven looks like, the need for big faith, big honor, and big steps of action seem to be consistent in the vision we are receiving. I just know confidently that honor, joy, and hospitality are a part of that growth-culture and life-transforming eternal work of lives in our community.

Imagine what honor feels like when one has not experienced or known honor:

Safety.

Respect.

Value.

Real identity of who the Father created them to be!

We extend a personal invitation for you to join the eternal work and purposes of Jesus through Bridgehaven. Please join us for “A Night with Bridgehaven.” Come and see what Jesus is doing and hear real-life client stories that will honor the name of Jesus, move you to tears of joy, and help us continue with joy, honor, and a spirit of Kingdom hospitality! Your loyalty to the call and mission of life is more important than ever. We can’t wait to see you there!

Loyalty: strong feeling of support or allegiance.

Lord, I pray for each person reading this blog and connected to Bridgehaven.  I desire and pray that they all experience the depths of honor, joy, and hospitality that I recently was blessed with, with an increase measure! We feel that we are being obedient to Your calling and Kingdom purposes by stepping out bigger in faith and vision here at Bridgehaven. We know in Your Presence is fullness of Joy and that the Joy of the Lord is our strength. Jesus, we depend on Your joy and honor to do the work and resourcing of this life-giving ministry. Thank you for honoring Your people, your Word, and being the best at hospitality. You invited us and created a Way for us to be in Your Kingdom. We choose to extend that same invitation to others.  In Jesus’ name, amen!

“Those who look to Him are radiant with joy; their faces will never be ashamed.” -Psalm 34:5

With joyful honor and one-ness of heart,

Dawn Michaels

Dawn Michael

Director of Client Support

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Choose Joy

I know something about you.  Yes, you.

Regardless of your marital status, age, ethnicity, gender, income, beliefs, height, or weight– I can tell you with certainty we have something big in common.  We both want to be happy. I know this because it is a basic human desire to yearn for significance, security, and pleasure. Read More

He Equips the Called

“The Lord doesn’t call the equipped – He equips the called.”

Jacob was a liar, David was a murderer, Elijah was suicidal, Rahab was a prostitute, and Peter denied Christ. Despite their failures, wrongdoings, and flaws, they all aided God in different ways. So the question stands: Do you really think God can’t use you?

I have felt useless before – as if I have nothing to possibly contribute to a greater cause. But I continuously find fulfillment from serving God and His people, regardless of my doubts in the skills I have to offer.

We are all created in the image of God, and He truly does work Himself into each of our lives if we allow Him to. In my experience, God has always taken who He has created me to be and matched me to help those in need. Read More

Push back with hope!

I consider myself a glass-half-full kind of gal. But I will tell ya’, there are things of this world that really get me down or bring me to a dark place of discouragement and hopelessness. As I write this, I am attending the MLK50 Conference streaming live from Memphis, TN. The event is not only a commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s death but a call to action for the church. That racial unity is a Gospel issue and is all the more urgent for us to act upon today.

It could be easy to feel discouraged by what I’ve heard over the last day or so. It could be easy to look at this and on the surface see that at Bridgehaven we’re doing okay. It could be easy to say this is not part of our focus or our issue, and we need to stay focused. Yes, that would be easy, but untrue. The truth is, that I feel this deep discouragement because I know, in my heart, that we are not there yet. That at Bridgeheaven, God is calling us to understand and unify in a way that is different than we do today.

But, I chose to push back on my feelings of discouragement with hope.

I believe God is calling us, Bridgehaven, to look honestly at this issue within our ministry. We serve people from many nations, ethnic backgrounds, and cultures. We love and embrace all people that God sends our way, but I have been challenged recently to really think and pray about this from outside my own perspective. To seek counsel and wisdom from others that don’t look like me, act like me, or think like me. I have found, unsurprisingly, that we have some room to grow. Praise God!

“In his name the nations will put their hope.” Matthew 12:21

I don’t have the answers as to how God will help us. I just know that he will. My hope is in knowing that God desires unity of his people. He desires all his people, not just the ones that look like us and think like us, to work with one another in unity and harmony. My hope is in knowing that God has a great work in me to be done, a learning of something new. Something better to embrace and to see Him through a lens I’ve yet to look through.

One of Dr. King’s quotes deeply resonates with me and the mission of Bridgehaven: “Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.” If we, as an organization that is life-affirming, do not learn from the mistakes of the past and affirm, embrace, evolve and work alongside all of God-created human life, then we are blinded. So I state a commitment to my brothers and sisters of all races and ethnicities – I can do better. We can do better and we will.

Almighty Father of Nations, heal us. Bring us together through the bonds of hope and peace. Help us to learn from one another and soften our hearts toward the things that hold us back from one another. I pray for Bridgehaven, the staff, volunteers, and clients, may you continue your mighty life affirming work in us and through us to benefit all people. In your name…Amen.

Chelsey McDill

Executive Director

 

Optimal Health Clinic: STI Testing

This past quarter, Bridgehaven began offering an Optimal Health Clinic with limited STI testing to clients and their partners through a partnership with the Iowa Department of Health.

Who? We are offering the testing to current Earn While You Learn and pregnancy test clients, as well as their partners.

What? There are four possible tests. The Department of Health advises each client on which to take based on their individual risk factors. Details of the four tests are listed in the graph below.

Test Type of Test Results
HIV Finger Poke If finger poke (results in 20 mins) is positive, will draw blood (results in 1 week).
Hepatitis C Finger Poke If finger poke (results in 20 mins) is positive, will draw blood (results in 1 week).
Gonorrhea Urine Results in 3-5 days.
Chlamydia Urine Results in 3-5 days.

A member of the Bridgehaven team will also offer client counseling and prayer.

When? The STI clinics began on February 1, 2018 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., and they will continue every other Thursday until further notice.

Why? Statistics:

  • Gonorrhea and Chlamydia are the most common STIs in Linn County
  • Linn County has the second highest STI rate in the state of Iowa
  • 90 percent of the population that is STI-positive experiences no signs or symptoms
  • Bridgehaven served 507 women with pregnancy tests in 2017. We know these women and their partners are sexually active, and they have already approached us for our services. We can do more to give them the information they need to be a healthy family.

Clients who participate in STI testing are 60 to 70 percent more likely to choose abstinence*. If they simply take the one-time pregnancy test, only 15 to 20 percent choose abstinence*. By offering STI testing, we now have more opportunities to water the seeds that have been planted, reach abortion-vulnerable clients, and share the Gospel.

We know STI testing is somewhere on Bridgehaven’s roadmap for the future. We are going to learn a lot from this opportunity. When the time comes, Bridgehaven will be more equipped to provide these services through our own resources.

*Statistics from CareNet; Bridgehaven’s National Affiliate

Have Mercy on Me

“What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” (Matthew 26:15)

For the times I handed You over, Lord, for popularity and acceptance, have mercy on me.

For the times I handed You over, Lord, for comfort and ease, have mercy on me.

For the times I handed You over, Lord, for my own desires over yours, have mercy on me.

For the times I handed You over, Lord, for time to idly waste, have mercy on me.

For the times I handed You over, Lord, for not rocking the boat and looking the other way when wrong was done, have mercy on me.

For the times I handed You over, Lord, for saying what I thought even when my words cut other’s hearts, have mercy on me.

For the times I handed You over, Lord, for a hard heart when I refused to forgive, have mercy on me.

For the times I handed You over, Lord, for doing nothing in times when love was demanded, have mercy on me.

For the times I handed You over, Lord, for the convenience of using people, have mercy on me.

For the times I handed You over, Lord, for so much less than thirty pieces of silver, have mercy on me.

-Christy Isinger, Blessed Is She devotional

When this devotional came through to my email yesterday morning, I sat there for a little bit just rereading all of these statements. At first, I didn’t want to admit I could think of a scenario in which each of these played out in my own life, some of them even being recent circumstances. It was almost painful to think of the ways in which I so willingly put my own selfish desires or wants above Christ. Despite it being challenging to reflect on all of this, it was convicting.

We are all sinners, and these statements above reflect just that. The world tells us, in more ways than one, we should put ourselves first, and our own interests should be top priority above all else. This was depicted in the scripture above where Judas, Jesus’ betrayer, was talking with the chief priests before he handed Jesus over. Judas wanted to know what good could come out of this opportunity for himself, without even considering the magnitude of his decision.

How often do we find ourselves putting our own desires, wants, interests above all else? What do we do about it when we find ourselves in this situation? Are we allowing God to enter into these moments to help guide us back to Him?

I’m not going to lie. This wasn’t easy to talk about or reflect on because I consider myself more of an optimist. With the joy of Easter coming this weekend, I wanted to focus on something that felt a little more uplifting. And then I saw this reminder from Christy Isinger, who wrote the devotional above:

“As we journey through this most Holy Week of the year, let’s do the difficult work of looking at ourselves and what our sin contributes to Christ’s suffering. We are part of the story, we are part of His pain just as we are part of His Resurrection.”

Heavenly Father, thank you that we are a part of the story. We admire you for showing us the truth that we are a part of His pain, but we are also a part of His Resurrection. We await in great and joyful anticipation for Easter Sunday, and we praise You for the hope You have given to us by sending us Your Son, and raising Him up to new life. In your name, we pray.

Haley Brimmer, Director of Client Advocacy

Haley Brimmer

Director of Client Advocacy