Following the Nudge to Start Something New

A friend of mine, Kaitlyn Clare Mason, started a ministry to celebrate women who, when faced with a crisis pregnancy, choose life. I asked her to share her story, which you will love. She describes how the Holy Spirit used her particular life circumstances to nudge her into a space of self-giving service. In addition to sharing her story, she created a PDF to help you discover the steps to take if you find yourself in the exciting position of being used by the Holy Spirit to help co-create the Kingdom of God. It is a handy downloadable tool to help you discern what to do next.

From Guest of Honor to Hostess

When I was pregnant with our first child, I received four baby showers.  At the time, I was a trained as a hotline volunteer taking calls overnight for a local crisis pregnancy center.  One day, my Mom called to let me know that my little sister was facing a crisis pregnancy.  When she ultimately chose to embrace her motherhood, I longed to host a shower for her, but long distance and family strain made that impossible.  I called churches and ministries all over, but no one was willing to help me host that shower for my sister. 

I then realized how baby showers function as a rite of passage in our culture.  My showers gave me an overwhelming sense of security and confidence, both spiritually and physically.  Doesn’t every mother deserve that chance to celebrate and be happy about the arrival of her baby? Doesn’t every baby deserve to be welcomed into the world?   

Around this time, I learned about Mary Gardens, and how they’ve been planted by Christians for centuries in honor of Mary’s motherhood.  Slowly, the Holy Spirit sort of helped me connect these two profound things on my heart and the concept of Mary Garden Showers was born.  

Image courtesy of Ibrahim Boran.  Unsplash

Image courtesy of Ibrahim Boran. Unsplash

New Ministry to Honor New Mothers

Mary Garden Showers is an apostolate of the Church hosting baby showers for women in crisis pregnancies who choose to directly parent, and blessing showers for women who choose to place their child for adoption.  We started in Charlotte, NC in 2015, and have grown into a national ministry serving women in crisis pregnancies from many different backgrounds all over the country.  

Our showers come with no judgement, and no pressure - just love.  Our goal is for each woman we are blessed to serve to encounter Christ’s Divine Mercy, freely given, at her own personalized shower. 

First, we receive referrals for women in crisis pregnancies from many sources, and we connect each woman in need with a chapter of Mary Garden Showers at a parish that can support her through her pregnancy and beyond.  Each woman is connected with a loving sponsor group, and she attends a baby registry outing with someone from that group. At this outing, she handpicks items for her child.  For blessing showers, the woman picks out special gifts for herself like a picture frame for her baby’s picture, or a blanket displaying her child’s name.

Then, we share registry links via our newsletter and website, and people from all over can shop for these mothers.  Gifts automatically ship to each shower location.  Additionally, people can send cards, notes, and prayers to the church where the shower will be held.  Then, we host a big personalized shower for each mother.  She invites her friends and family, and we invite the Church.  In this way, women are able to visibly see the Church coming together to support her and her child in their time of need.  

Image courtesy of Priscilla du Preez.  Unsplash

Image courtesy of Priscilla du Preez. Unsplash

At her shower, each mother receives a canvas Divine Mercy image, and an image of Mary and Jesus.  Not all of the mothers we serve are Catholic, so this is a very powerful way to share our faith with them and to let them know how much they are loved.  Sponsor groups can continue to love and support each mother and build a friendship long after baby is born. 

Many women today never hear the word “congratulations” when they announce their pregnancy.  At Mary Garden Showers, we are here to change that reality.  If you’d like to learn more, visit www.marygardenshowers.org, and join chapters across the country in offering mercy to these women and families in crisis pregnancies.  You can start a chapter at your parish by requesting our Manual, and sign up to receive our newsletter to stay in the loop.

I also share more about how this ministry was started in the upcoming book Our Friend Faustina, which will be available for pre-order soon from Marian Press.  

Inspired to Take the Next Step

Is there a ministry on your heart?  Is there something like this that you feel God might be calling you to create to further His Kingdom?  Do not be afraid!  Remember that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.  I’ve created a little something that might help you get started called 5 Steps to Creating the Ministry on Your HeartYou can download it for free here.  Please feel free to reach out to me on my site kaitlynclaremason.com.  I’d love to hear about the ministry on your heart, and I’d love to connect with you about serving women in crisis pregnancies at your parish!