Man takes on ministry challenges after discovering his birth was unplanned

(Image by Pexels from Pixabay)

(Image by Pexels from Pixabay)

[Editor's note: This story originally was published by Live Action News.]

By Lisa Bast
Live Action News

Jess Ford’s mother was 19 years old and living with her parents when she experienced an unexpected pregnancy. She worried that when her devout Christian parents found out about her pregnancy, she’d be thrown out of their home and be forced to care for her baby without any financial means.

Ford said, “When my mother was young, she would go to abortion clinics with her parents where they participated in sidewalk counseling. She was advised to stay pure until marriage and was ashamed she had strayed from her moral upbringing.”

Ford’s mother knew her boyfriend could not support her as he, too, was financially unstable. Together, they made the decision to seek an abortion. But at the abortion facility, Ford’s mother started to hyperventilate and subsequently passed out on the floor. The nurses attempted to revive the distraught woman, then informed her she was too emotionally fragile to have the abortion that day; she would need to return some other time.

Ford said that his mother “reluctantly returned to the waiting room and announced to her boyfriend that she was still pregnant. Both left feeling very confused and frustrated.”

It wasn’t long afterward, Ford noted, that both his mother and her boyfriend suddenly had a dramatic change of heart; they decided to marry and parent their baby.

“I was born about two months after they married, so essentially, my mother walked down the aisle with a big baby bump.”

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A life changing opportunity to administer to women in crisis offers chance to address near abortion

Yet life was challenging for the young couple as they struggled to meet their financial obligations. Ford’s father juggled multiple jobs and his mother, too, worked long hours. Fortunately, Ford’s grandparents, while initially disappointed about the unplanned pregnancy, were nevertheless excited when their first grandchild was born and often cared for him while his parents were away.

Ford said, “My parents had a strong support network, but I remember them scraping by and how tight things were when I was growing up.”

But as Ford’s mother discovered, challenging times often present incredible opportunities. When Ford was 13 years old, his mother Amy launched Embrace Grace, a ministry designed to assist young, single mothers in crisis — and it would soon sprout chapters nationally.

“I remember a lot of hype around Embrace Grace when it was first introduced to the church community,” Ford said. “My mother started getting more speaking engagements to promote the ministry and garnered media coverage as well.”

As Embrace Grace gained recognition, Ford’s mother realized she had never spoken to her son about the near-abortion. Ford’s parents invited him out to dinner one night and told him they wanted to share “a story” about the circumstances of his birth.

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Ford said, “They laid bare their shame and guilt about being unmarried and pregnant, telling me they felt having an abortion was their only option. My dad talked about how his fear propelled him to write the check for the abortion.”

At first, Ford wasn’t sure how to process such a stunning revelation. But in time, he began to understand the enormity of what his parents had disclosed; his life had nearly been snuffed out by the brutality of abortion.

The enemy’s lies threaten to destroy a promising young life but for God’s plan

Then, a little voice began to whisper lies, sporadically, then louder and more consistently, mocking him: “Jess, you’re so unwanted. Jess, you’re a mistake.”

“I felt so overwhelmed and fell into a deep depression,” Ford said. “For about six months, my mental health suffered, and eventually I developed suicide ideation from believing that I wasn’t supposed to be here.”

Ford could live with the fact his conception wasn’t planned, but he couldn’t grapple with the idea he wasn’t wanted by two people he thought loved him.

Sitting on the edge of his bed one day, he decided to swallow as many pills as he could to end the torment. As he stood up to walk toward the medicine cabinet, he heard a clear voice tell him: “Jess, your parents may have said ‘no,’ but I said, ‘yes.’ I have a plan and a purpose for your life.”

Ford said, “It was a huge turning point. I completely surrendered my life to God. I had always grown up in the church but was never serious about my faith until that profound moment.”

He graduated from college and became involved in the pro-life movement, initially working in digital marketing for pregnancy support centers, ensuring women who searched online for help were funneled to life-affirming centers rather than to abortion businesses.

“I wanted to promote a culture of life from a practical standpoint, and this was a good fit,” Ford said.

His foray into the pro-life movement has taken him in various directions. Now 24 years old, Ford has been busy, speaking at pregnancy support center fundraising banquets, finding time to write articles for Focus on the Family. He was employed with Live Action where he partnered with church leadership teams to utilize pro-life content in a targeted way.

He’s currently serving in a management role with Youth for Christ, aiding women facing unplanned pregnancies, by connecting them to a supportive church community, administering to their physical and spiritual needs.

Importantly, he has a keen insight of how to educate “Generation Z” on the injustice of abortion.

Ford said, “Looking at my peers, I see a deep desire for justice as key motivator for their activism. Because of this, there’s an amazing opportunity to reach this younger generation if we begin to speak about abortion as a great injustice to women and the preborn. We need to stop talking about abortion in terms of a religious or political issue, but as a human rights issue. If we can paint a picture of this travesty, young people will get it and hearts will be changed.”

[Editor's note: This story originally was published by Live Action News.]


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