In 2012, Co-Founders Chris & Julie Carden, felt drawn to reach out to young women facing an unplanned pregnancy. Their vision & passion to reach out led them to form what today is GHM, a non-profit organization legally established in 2013. At that time, the founders gave everything to begin the process of opening up a maternity home for young women. This included transforming their home into what is known as The Grace Home.
My calling to Grace Home Ministries (GHM) as Co-Founder & Board President was quite different than my wife Julie's. I’ve always been "pro-life," never wanting to see any child harmed, whether in or out of the womb. I’ve argued and pleaded with others not so like-minded. It wasn’t until the fall of 2013 that all changed.
My wife, Julie was “that” girl, a young innocent 14 year old who found herself pregnant & not knowing what to do. Being deceived, confused & without any parental guidance in her life she chose abortion.
Julie went on to find not only forgiveness but more importantly, healing. Healing, from years of guilt & agony of making that one bad decision in her life. She went on to be a great mother & wife, raising our three girls to be great young ladies. After she found healing, Julie went on to counsel young girls at numerous pregnancy resource centers in our community.
God wasn’t don’t with her yet. Sometime in the fall of 2012, God kept pushing Julie to do more but she wasn’t quite sure what. Soon it became clear...her "God dream" was now to open a home for young pregnant girls. A place for young women to be loved on, supported and prepared for motherhood. A home that would show them what family looked like.
As a business owner & recent empty nester, Julie's plan sure wasn’t mine. God surely wasn’t calling me to do that. I was ready to start enjoying this new season of life-just me & her, traveling & exploring new heights. "Shouldn’t these be the greatest years of our life," I thought to myself.
Not so much....
Approaching this house I knew 100% that her "God dream" wasn’t mine and I kind of hoped it would dissipate somewhat, at least for tonight. We pulled in the empty lot & just sat there.
Well, I was wrong about God being busy. He’s never busy I learned that night. As we took our second lap around that empty house on that busy street He reminded me of just how much He had blessed me over the years. He reminded me of my good health, my great job, my three healthy girls & most of all, the life He had rescued me from earlier in my years. He reminded of over 13 young girls who had called our home their home for some time for one reason or another. God didn’t change me that night He just reminded me of who He was, what He has done & what He wanted to do through us.
After a lap and a half around this house we found our selves back in the car & on our way home. My mind was now churning on what to do & what to say to Julie without giving off the hint of what God was doing in my heart. I was almost looking for this feeling to drift away, maybe like it didn’t happen.
Later that night God kicked it up another gear & I didn't sleep much. Scheduled to leave in the morning on a business road trip with Julie at my side, I wanted to see if there were any homes like the one she pictured on our road trip from Chester to Little Rock, Arkansas. I wanted to know more, I wanted to see how they did it & I was very anxious to hear more from God.
Now, several hundred miles away from home we both were still diagnosing every thought & idea that God was giving us concerning opening up this home. God was giving me some incredible ideas on how we would do it. I remember the moment when I looked over at Julie and told her what I was feeling & what we were about to get into. God had poured her "God dream" into me & now it was time to make this a reality.
After several months of learning what was needed to create a non-profit, we were ready to go. We formed a team that made up the board of directors & we were eager to do what God had called us to do. I stood before the Board the first night & proclaimed my passion for Grace Home Ministries, announcing that I would do whatever it took to make it happen.
More than two years later & 30K plus spent, The Grace Home is now licensed by the State of Virginia as a Children’s Residential Facility for pregnant young ladies. As great as it sounds to be one of two state licensed maternity homes in Virginia it, didn’t come without struggles. To obtain the license we were required to hire state approved staff, which doesn’t come cheap.
Financially, it’s been difficult to raise money in the foundational stages of the organization. Funders want to see credibility and maintaining licensure while keeping all the other wheels has been financially draining.
Our biggest obstacle aside from finances has been awareness. As stated before, it takes money to make money and for Grace Home Ministries it starts with awareness. The more who know what we do & what we offer the more who may be willing to step up & help.
"Saving two lives at one time for generations to come" is our passion here at Grace Home Ministries. We are committed to the cause to the very end, & willing give it all to see young women have another opportunity in life to become something great.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
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