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James 2:13 states, “Mercy triumphs over judgment.” Unfortunately, for a young woman facing an unplanned pregnancy, this may be hard to believe. She probably feels a lot of judgment from others – even Christians. Why is that?

Early in my career, I worked for a state correctional facility for juvenile delinquent girls, and I desperately wanted to make a difference in their lives. Every day, I prayed for these girls and tried my best to be a living example of God’s love. Honestly, though, some of those girls were so angry, with so many walls up, they were difficult for me to love. I remember one girl who was particularly challenging. One day, in frustration, I prayed, “God, I don’t know how to love her!” That’s when God showed me I needed to pray for myself – that I would see people the way He sees them. God also challenged me to look at that girl’s case record, and when I saw the horrible abuse she had been through, I finally understood why she was so angry and difficult. Praying for my own judgmental heart became a turning point in my life!

Mercy triumphs over judgment when we see people the way God sees them.

Now, let me set the record straight to say I have never been a mother in the biological sense. But I have a very clear understanding of the tremendous challenges of parenting. I have come alongside countless young women as they’ve made the courageous choice to give life to their babies despite their marital status or their age. And one thing I know, these young single moms need mercy! They need people to look past their mistakes and the stuff they don’t know yet. They need to know that their past does not define them, and that in Christ their future is secure!

Statistics say that 50% of babies today are born outside of marriage. This tells me that the church has a tremendous opportunity to impact an entire generation – and future generations. One way to do this is to reach out to single moms, to embrace them and strengthen them right where they are, so they can know Christ and grow in Him. This is our hour! We can step into what the enemy meant for destruction in these girls’ lives and speak hope and redemption to them and their children!

I love Jeremiah 29:11, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” Every single mom needs to know that God has a future and a hope for her! Will you be a conduit of mercy to tell the single moms in your church about God’s awesome plans for them? Let mercy triumph in your own heart so you can truly love people the way God loves them!

Nancy Alcorn is the Founder and President of Mercy Ministries, a free residential counseling program for girls ages 13-28 facing life-controlling issues such as addiction, unplanned pregnancy, sexual abuse, eating disorders and self-harm. Nancy started Mercy Ministries in 1983 after spending eight years working for the state of Tennessee at a correctional facility for juvenile delinquent girls and investigating child abuse cases. Thousands of graduates have had their lives transformed and their hope restored through Mercy’s program. Nancy has also authored several books, including Mission of Mercy, which releases in May 2013. For more information, go to www.MercyMinistries.com.

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The Life of a Single Mom is a national, faith-based, nonprofit that exists to see that no single mom walks alone. To date, we have worked with more than 1,500 churches & community groups to start or improve a single mom’s support group in cities throughout the U.S. and beyond. We have a large array of books, curriculum, training materials, and online instructional videos to support ministry leaders who lead single moms. Our single mom programs focus on empowering single moms to grow spiritually, emotionally, financially, and parentally through a number of projects including: Single Mom University, Single Moms Across America, the National TLSM Single Moms Conference, and a variety of programs throughout the U.S. For more information, visit www.thelifeofasinglemom.com