Those familiar with the Proverbs 31 Woman either love her or hate her. For some she is a beautiful example of successful Christian living. For others, she is an unobtainable standard modern woman cannot meet. The verses detailing this woman is an acrostic poem using the Hebrew alphabet. When we understand the accompanying word pictures of each letter it adds a fresh understanding of the Proverbs 31 Woman. Today’s Proverbs 31 Woman comes in many forms. She is so much more than a wealthy woman who stays up late to feed her children, or a successful business woman who buys and sells.
I knew The Nest was going to be something special the minute I shook hands with Ms. Lynn. She didn’t just shake my hand; she held onto my hand and tucked it under her arm as she escorted me to the front door.
How is a divorced woman going to meet the Proverbs 31 standard or, a woman who has had an abortion? What about the single mother who works tirelessly but is barely making ends meet? When you consider nuances of the Hebrew letters that relate to the Proverbs 31 acrostic poem, you will see how even women defined by the world as lacking, can emerge as a capable example of the Proverbs 31 Woman.
Proverbs 31:20 states, “She extends her hand to the poor, And she stretches out her hands to the needy (NASB0.” The Hebrew letter Kaph represents this verse. The primary word picture for this letter is a cupped hand of service, but it is also known as a wing.
God promises to hide us under the shadow of his wing, and that his wings are a refuge for us. There is a remarkable group of women who have committed themselves to serving women who are facing the trepidation of an unplanned pregnancy. These ladies embody the qualities of Proverbs 31:20 and the protective image of God’s wing of refuge for women who are not only poor financially, but poor in spirit because many do not have the hope of the Lord. Pam, Lisa, Lynn, Megan and Rhonda have made personal sacrifices to provide a nest of hope for others through the unplanned pregnancy center, The Nest.
When you consider wings you likely think of birds or angels. God’s Word describes Cherubim stationed at each end of the Ark of the Covenant facing each other with their wings outstretched covering the glory of God who dwells beneath their wings. At the tomb of Jesus, angels again took this position, stationed at the head and foot of his body, covering the glory of Christ. I truly believe the glory of God is present in the work and services The Nest provides.
Several churches have partnered with them, and donations began to come in. Slowly, stick by stick, The Nest began to take shape.
I knew The Nest was going to be something special the minute I shook hands with Ms. Lynn. She didn’t just shake my hand; she held onto my hand and tucked it under her arm as she escorted me to the front door. I don’t know how you imagine a crisis pregnancy center, but when I walked through the front door, I was greeted with a welcoming environment that beckoned me to exhale in peace.
Over a period of five years God wove together a group of women. They had worked together in various capacities for other organizations providing women’s services and at one point found themselves together closing down a center serving woman they had come to deeply love.
We were called but none of us were qualified. We didn’t know how to establish a Non-Profit organization. We would sit around a big table trying to figure out what the wording in the application meant. We Googled everything
Pam, the Executive Director explained, “We just weren’t done. We knew God wanted an unplanned pregnancy center on the Westside of town. We told the Board from the other center we would stay, without pay, and close the center, but in return we wanted everything from the old facility donated to us for a new center, including the sonogram machine. We started praying. We needed a building, but didn’t have any money to pay for it. I mean none.” She laughed at the memory.
And then, God began to move. A church allowed them to lease a building for $1.00 per year. It was previously used as a health clinic, so the zoning was in order and the community was familiar with it. It was in terrible shape, and did I mention, they didn’t have any money? Through their contacts God provided manual labor to completely demo and rebuild the facility. Several churches have partnered with them, and donations began to come in. Slowly, stick by stick, The Nest began to take shape.
“We were called but none of us were qualified. We didn’t know how to establish a Non-Profit organization. We would sit around a big table trying to figure out what the wording in the application meant. We Googled everything. The government sites explaining all of this are awful. We submitted our 501, and just waited. We expected it to take the typical six to nine months, but we heard back in a month. Nothing was declined because of error. I think we could write a manual now.”
Everything was done without pay, and now they had the daunting task of financing this newly established, fledgling ministry.
Lisa, their Client Services Director, spent hours researching government grants, but found they had multiple constraints and regulations. “The requirements would have impeded our freedom to offer Christ and make the service we provide the women less personal.” They prayerfully opted to decline government grants.
Megan, their sonographer added, “We had a client walk in our first day open! The woman we serve sits next to you on a pew. We see ladies from 15 to 50 (yes 50!). Several are career women in their 30’s. Some are single. Some married with grown children who fing themselves pregnant again. Most have piles of problems and an unplanned pregnancy is added. They don’t all walk in abortion minded, but they all need support.”
Pan added heartbreaking information. “We asked several churches to partner with us so we could refer our clients to them for support and discipleship. Pastors don’t know how to deal with women’s issues. We are their stepping stone. Many of the churches said no. Some said ‘let’s wait and see’ but they’ve never returned to support us. They have missed out on some pretty amazing miracles.”
“We’re still praying. We want The Nest to be a place of refuge, and share Christ with them. So many have been burnt by the church, they are dealing with shame and judgment instead they need kindness and direction.
“We’re still praying. We want The Nest to be a place of refuge, and share Christ with them. So many have been burnt by the church, they are dealing with shame and judgment instead they need kindness and direction. We have never been turned down when we offer to pray for them. When Mary was pregnant with Jesus she was in a similar situation, and God told her to go see Elizabeth. Women need an Elizabeth.”
The Nest currently provides pregnancy tests, sonograms, diapers, wipes, formula, post abortion counseling, and adoption referrals. Parenting classes to earn credit points to purchase additional needed baby items are planned. All of this is supported through donations as is their operational costs and their salaries.
The Nest needs the community’s monthly support. They are seeking church and business sponsors. If you consider yourself Pro-Life but have never supported the work you have an opportunity to help build The Nest through financial support and volunteering. Sunday School classes or Women’s groups can host a baby shower or diaper drive. They are seeking churches and businesses to participate in a Baby Bottle Campaign, filling baby bottles with loose change. Amazon accounts can be linked to Amazon Smile and a percentage of purchases are donated to The Nest.
The Nest is located at:
8264 Old Plank Road in Jacksonville, FL
They have a second location on US Hwy 17 in Yulee, FL
For more information and to support The Nest visit their website at www.thenestwomenscenter.org
Like them on FaceBook and donate at https://www.facebook.com/thenestjax/