Pointing New Moms to Hope in Christ—One by One

Motherhood. It’s a miracle. It’s messy. It’s loving with parts of your heart you didn’t know existed and experiencing joys you didn’t know were possible. It’s also waking up and wondering how you’re going to get everything done for the little ones who are entirely dependent on you. It’s ending the day exhausted, resources depleted, only to start that cycle all over again the next day. When Larricka found herself alone in an ultrasound room at Planned Parenthood, she knew she was staring into a difficult future—an impossible one, really. From that day forward, Larricka had a new title: Mom.

When Larricka saw the image of her growing son on her sonogram, she was immediately excited, but she was also full of fear, not knowing what she should do next. As she left Planned Parenthood, she ran into a few people standing outside.

“Some people told me I could go to this place across the street from Planned Parenthood that would help me,” Larricka said. “They had different programs I could get involved in and even free baby clothes.”

What Larricka didn’t realize at the time was that the people she met on her way out of Planned Parenthood were volunteers known as sidewalk advocates, most likely from Memphis Coalition for Life. Sidewalk advocates pray for women like Larricka who enter Planned Parenthood and provide resources to the women to help them choose life and have support for the road ahead.

The sidewalk advocates directed Larricka to a place called Life Choices, a free pregnancy medical clinic. Life Choices offers different programs to women to support a healthy pregnancy and guide them along the way. One of those programs is called One by One, through which new moms are matched with a mentor who meets with them on a regular basis and helps equip them for motherhood. The mentor journeys with the mother throughout her pregnancy—but the mentor is also present through the first year of the child’s life and, if the mother chooses, through the child’s second birthday as well. This mentoring program is where Rhonda entered Larricka’s story.

“I was signing up for any resource that would help me,” Larricka shared. “When I first met with Mrs. Rhonda, I didn’t know what to expect, but we instantly clicked.”

Rhonda felt the same way. The pair began meeting when Larricka was about seven months pregnant, and now, their relationship that has lasted more than seven years.

“I was thrilled to see Larricka every time I went to her house,” Rhonda shared. “God gave me a sweet friend in Larricka. We both look forward to meeting together so much.”

After the initial mentorship period of two years, how did Larricka and Rhonda come to meet every Tuesday for an additional five years (and counting)? Toward the beginning of their time together, Larricka came to know Christ and surrendered her life to Jesus. So their relationship took a new direction—discipleship.

“One by One trains you to tie Jesus into your mentorship every opportunity you have,” Rhonda said. “When Larricka accepted the Lord, we all rejoiced with her!”

After completing the One by One materials, Rhonda and Larricka walked through Donna Gaines’ book Choose Wisely, Live Fully, and now, they are studying the Bible chronologically.

“Before this, I didn’t know how to read the Bible at all,” Larricka said. “Now I’m understanding more and more, and I can ask Rhonda questions, and she can help me understand. I see the change within myself. Every day, I tell God I trust Him to make a way, and He does. I have more faith now than I did when we first started. I was just a beginner, and now I have grown more.”

Larricka is now able to pass her faith on to her son, Hunter. They read a children’s Bible together, and she teaches him the things she has learned. They both attend church each Sunday. Larricka is involved in The Source for Single Moms and a single moms’ Life Group, while Hunter attends children’s activities. Larricka recently joined Bellevue, and as the Lord would have it, she is scheduled to be baptized May 14—Mother’s Day.

“Being a first-time mom, sometimes it can feel like people just come into your life so they can say they did something for you. But Mrs. Rhonda is so genuine,” Larricka shared. “She loves me and Hunter genuinely. That’s what One by One is. It’s not for show.”

“One by One is just a really special ministry,” Rhonda said. “It’s a way to meet people you never would’ve met. I would’ve missed the joy of Larricka’s friendship. We have to step out in faith with the Lord.”

We cannot end crisis pregnancies alone as individuals, but through stories like Larricka’s, we see how individual members of the Church can come together to care for mothers in crisis: A volunteer sidewalk advocate pointed Larricka toward Life Choices and free medical care. Life Choices connected Larricka to One by One. And through Rhonda, the mentor Larricka befriended in One by One, Larricka found Jesus and a church home where she can grow and build community.

The saying is true—it takes a village to raise a child. May the Church be that village.

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