Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Wiccan's Story

                Appointments like the one on Monday morning prove that The Community Pregnancy Center is not just a facility with free pregnancy tests. We’re not just client advocates. We’re not just ultrasounds or pregnancy classes. Monday’s appointment reminded us all that we are a facility with eternal hope. We’re vessels, individually used in the Potter’s hands. We’re the outstretched arms of God to the young girls in this community.

                Monday morning, our client advocate called the waiting teenager into her counseling room. They sat together as the client advocate received the basic information. The client was just 18 years old, freshly graduated with her high school diploma. The father of the possible pregnancy was 9 years older than her. After dating 8 months, he proposed marriage. They were engaged just 3 weeks on Monday. This pregnancy, if validated, would not be unwanted. The couple hoped for children together. This was according to their plan. She only came to our center in the first place to receive that confirmation.

She may have wanted a pregnancy test,
but God wanted a lost soul.

                When the client advocate asked the teenager about her relationship with God, she replied, “Well, I believe in a Supreme! But God is just one of my gods.” Exploring that statement, the client advocate learned that this young girl was a Wiccan. The teenager then elaborated on her beliefs, telling the counselor of the magic of WICCA. Calmly, the counselor asked her second question to fully grasp the extent of this belief: “Where do you believe you’ll go when you die?”

“I’ll become a tree.”

                The religion of WICCA is a modern deviation from the witchcraft belief, sometimes referenced synonymously. Like their predecessors, Wiccans believe in strong, dark magic. They believe in an inner harmony. Though the religion typically worships both a god and a goddess, they also honor a host of others. The moon, stars, and fate are all spun together as core belief structures, along with reincarnation. Because the religion incorporates a multitude of convictions and also because many in the “traditions” separate themselves into individual categories, Wiccans are a highly varied, highly lost people with no lasting hope. This is who sat in our counseling room, wholly convinced that the only peak in her future was transforming into a tree among a forest.

                Our client advocate, filled with words directly from God Himself, spoke holy truth into this teenager. She introduced the confused beliefs to a righteous Savior. She explained a Heavenly Father, so passionate for the lost world, so passionate for this teen's lost soul, that He willingly sent His perfect Son out from the throne of Heaven to die her death on a cross. Because of that death, because of His love, because of His fervent pursuit, she now has the opportunity to be whole. It's not elusive. It’s not mystical. It's forgiving, filling, and powerful enough to rebuild even the darkest soul. It’s an everlasting relationship with her Creator, the one and only King of the universe. The broken ideas of magic collided with the redeeming message of Christ Jesus. The Holy Spirit almost tangibly filled the room.

The teen prayed and accepted Christ into her life!

“He’s in my heart now! I know He is!”
The pregnancy test read positive.
“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
Acts 4:12

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The 12 Year Old's Story

                When the woman called to make an appointment for the Community Pregnancy Center, I thought nothing of it. She said it was for her granddaughter, so I knew the client was probably under 25. When she said that the girl didn’t have a driver’s license, I knew that the client was probably under 16. I assured the grandmother that we certainly accept school identification, as well. I made the appointment for the following day.

                The grandmother and grandfather followed behind the young girl last Thursday morning. Our receptionist greeted them warmly and received the school ID from the girl’s hands: a junior high’s school ID.

12 years old

                The client advocate took a deep breath and called the preteen into the first counseling room. The girl offered little to the conversation. She merely answered the questions asked of her. She was indeed 12 years old. The father of her baby was 16 years old-a sophomore in high school. They had only been dating for 3 months. For the small window of time, the couple was actively trying to get pregnant. They talked about it, and they both agreed. They wanted a baby, if for no other reason but that it might be fun to have one. When asked about the boyfriend, the client admitted that she didn’t want a future with him. He was just her “right now”.

                Her parents both lived out of the country. Apparently she’s been without them for many years, because she calls her grandparents “mom” and “dad”. Her own mother gave birth to her when she herself was just 14 years old. Though she was trying to have a baby, the young client went straight to her grandmother when she suspected a pregnancy, asking, “So what do I do now? Do I have an abortion?”

                She planned this pregnancy, yet she had no concept of actually carrying a baby for 9 months and then raising it for the next 18 years. She wanted to have a baby at 12 years old, but she wasn’t sure if she should have an abortion instead. She wanted to have sex and share that responsibility with someone, but she certainly didn’t want it long-term. When the client advocate asked about a relationship with God, the client said she was a Christian, but then also said that she didn’t think she would go to Heaven. She was a child by all definitions of the word.

The test read positive.

She’s 7 weeks pregnant.

                The client, slowly starting to grasp the reality she created, chose LIFE. She is scheduled and confirmed for an ultrasound: a child looking at her own child.

“Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, ‘Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children.’”

                Jesus calls for the children. He calls for this confused 12 year old. He knows her by name. He holds her close to Himself. He will use a childish decision to pull this child’s heart to His own. Even a twelve year old’s pregnancy is forgiveable and redeemable, because God’s grace forever stretches beyond the choices of man.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Positive and Negative Story

Over 80% of all pregnancy tests at The Community Pregnancy Center read “positive”. Over 80% of the time, fears are realized by two distinct, purple lines on a pregnancy test. In one day, however, two abortion-minded women waited. Two talked with separate counselors. Two shared their reasons for an abortion. Two impatiently waited for the test to read, but only one walked out with a negative test.

                The first woman arrived in the morning. Our client advocate called the young woman in the counseling room. They sat and ran through the necessary questions. She was 23 years old, a mom to a 3 year old child and an 18 month old child. The father of these children, the father of the possible pregnancy now, was no longer in the client’s life. They dated for years, but the woman quietly refused to explain their current separation. She only confessed that she hated him.

                She just knew that she was pregnant, so she called an abortion clinic earlier in the week. She learned the price of her procedure. She learned what paperwork needed to be done. She just couldn’t make the appointment. She claimed that she didn’t yet know how to work the continual visits and check-ups into her schedule, but something stopped her from making that appointment. Someone stopped her.

“I don’t want an abortion, but I certainly don’t want this baby.”

                When asked about Christ, the woman said that she considered herself a Christian. The client advocate asked her about a relationship, but received only, “Umm, I talk to him sometimes?” It wasn’t that she was saying the wrong answer. It was that she didn’t know what a relationship with God was. The client advocate seized the open opportunity and explained how to have an actual, real-life relationship with God. It’s immensely more than a repeating the same words every Saturday morning. It’s more than constant one-sentence prayers before bed. It’s a passionate love story between her and the King over all earthly powers. Her Creator is alive and has not stopped pursuing her since she was first designed. He sent His own perfect, beloved Son to a ruthless death, because that was the price for a relationship with His creation. She was worth it.

She took the pregnancy test.

                The second woman arrived later in the day, around 4 o’clock in the afternoon. She walked into the entry room without a boyfriend or a mother, just signed in and sat down. She seemed calm, ready in a way. Our new afternoon client advocate called her name and led her into the first counseling room. She, too, asked the same typical questions. Similar to the woman in the morning, this client was a mom of two. Her oldest child was 15 years old and her second was 12. Our client, however, was 30, meaning that she gave birth when she herself was just 15 years old. She was no stranger to an unplanned pregnancy.

                She’s no longer with her boyfriend, and he’s not even remotely an option for her future. Baby or no baby, she was alone. She didn’t understand abstinence, nor did it seem appealing. She’s currently unemployed and living with her father, along with her two junior high kids.

“I want an abortion. I just can’t start all over.”

            When asked about Christ, she, too, claimed that she was a Christian. The client advocate started talking about a relationship, and the client stopped her: “It’s just hard for me to believe in a relationship with God.” Her mother died. The traumatic event of losing her parent scarred her in the most painful sense, in the most spiritual sense. A bad thing happened to a good person and apparently God said it was ok. The client advocate ached for the hardness in this heart. She carefully, sensitively shared who God truly is and what a relationship with Him means. He never looked down on earth as a puppet stage for which to play. He saw seeking souls. He hurt for hell-bound humanity. He intervened, though man rightfully deserved rejection. He built a bridge, though man himself built the barrier. The lost world, full of lost people, is fallen, so bad things will continue to happen to good men and women. Free will in the hands of fallen people is unpredictable, but God is still good. He is still in sovereign control. His grace is still MORE than any evil-even when it doesn’t make sense.

She took the pregnancy test.

The positive could only see negative. The negative could only see positive.
Two women wanting abortions.
Two tests.
Two results.
The first woman’s test read positive. The second woman’s test read negative.

The client’s ultrasound is scheduled and confirmed. God is working in both of these hearts, and His plans are GOOD, no matter what a pregnancy test reads.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.  In those days when you pray, I will listen.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Forgiven's Story

                Due to client advocates’ vacations at The Community Pregnancy Center, the counseling rooms were supposed to be closed this Thursday. Only two staff members were even in the office. We were supposed to be open for scheduling alone, yet a distinct voice inside refused to quiet. I had to counsel on Thursday. Literal stacks of papers scattered atop my desk, but somehow, that was irrelevant. It was as if someone needed Thursday. Maybe God was setting aside that specific, closed time for a specific, closed person.

He was.

                Thursday morning, she sat in our waiting room alone. Her "General Information" seemed to reveal a positive environment for a baby. The client marked that she was twenty-five years old. She was a Christian. She was married and absolutely against abortion. She must have come to the pregnancy center, because she only needed a Proof of Pregnancy for her Medicaid Application. This wasn’t an unplanned pregnancy. This didn’t seem to be a crisis. And yes, this pregnancy wasn’t a crisis.

“I’ve had 4 abortions.”

The first when she was 16.
The second when she was 19.
The third when she was 22.
The fourth when she was 24.

                When she was just 16 years old, she discovered her first positive pregnancy test. Surely not. Surely it was a mistake. Surely this wasn’t right. She denied the reality for weeks, dreading the response. Not only did this pollute her own plans for her life, but this also affected her family. This affected her mom. The very thought sent her into a panic. Finally, she gained the courage to confess the fact. Her mother immediately drove her to an abortion-operating clinic and bought an abortion for her 16 year old daughter, who by this time was ten weeks pregnant.

                The others followed a similar pattern. Her mom bought the second abortion for her when she was 19, beginning her college career. She paid for the third and the fourth herself, barely able to pay the $600 base fee for each one. Each abortion scarred her body, and each abortion shattered her heart. She knew she was far along. She knew that baby already had a heartbeat, already had arms and legs.

Just before her fourth abortion, she wanted to back out. The weight of her past abortions fell unbearably onto every part of soul. She couldn’t do this one more time. She couldn’t do that to another baby. She couldn’t endure the physical pain or the tormenting guilt for yet another abortion. She told the doctor that she changed her mind, but it was too late. The second a client signs her name onto that last waiver at these clinics, she is bound to an abortion. The doctor already administered the first dose into her body, killing the developing baby.

Walking out of the abortion clinic that fourth time, she decided to never walk into their doors again. Last year, her and her husband welcomed a son. Thursday, she sat before me desperately hoping for another positive test.

When she finished her story, I took a deep breath and reminded this haunted Christian whose she is. I shared the only Hope able to withstand such fortified, unmoved guilt, the only One able to wholly forgive. That’s why she’s been searching. That’s what she was so desperately hoping for. It was never about a test. It was never about another baby.

God opened the counseling room Thursday to assure His daughter that she is forgiven.

                Nothing-no thought, no word, no action-on this fallen earth could ever reach beyond the righteous blood of the Son of God. Nothing-not one, two, three, four, or fifteen abortions-could ever be unredeemable. This ashamed woman is loved, wanted, pursued every day of her life, and even more—she is forgiven by the King of Kings. Her entire countenance changed. The Lord God filled the room, and seemed to relax this pleading woman into His peace. We prayed together, accepting every wave of grace.

She left joyful. She left free.

She left finally forgiven.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Abortion Exception's Story

She walked into the Community Pregnancy Center, looking for a specific answer. She didn’t want to hear a single word about adoption. She really didn’t want to hear too much about parenting, either. She couldn’t bear either path as possible options. She made her appointment, because she wanted someone to assure her that an abortion would be ok. The operation was morally wrong to her, yet she wanted it anyway. She convinced herself that her situation was the exception to the rule and her abortion would acceptable. She just needed that outside confirmation.

Knowing only that her General Information read “Undecided” on the question of abortion, our client advocate led the teenager to the counseling room. She asked the basic questions about STIs and LMP, but the young girl simply began explaining her story—her reasons for a justifiable abortion.

Our client first revealed her age. She was just eighteen years old. She wasn’t one of those twenty-something church women with the dream job and the dream husband and the planned pregnancy. She was just eighteen years old, a student still living with her parents. She didn’t have a job. She wasn’t married. She wasn’t in the life where a baby made perfect sense. She had never been pregnant before now. She hadn’t even told her parents yet, because she knew and already feared their disappointment.

She then confessed her isolation. She couldn’t bring herself to even speak the name of the baby’s father. When he learned that she was pregnant, he broke up with her. He told her to abort, because he certainly was not going to accept that life with her. If she actually gave birth to this baby, he promised her that she would never see him again. If she chose life, she would be alone in all doctor’s appointments. She would have no financial support from a loving partner. She would have zero acknowledgement from him. Their baby meant nothing, their relationship meant nothing, and she meant nothing. Sex was never a commitment for him. She was alone, completely unwanted and abandoned.

The weeks passed, but they did not pass quickly. She ignored the abortion clinic, hoping against all hope that somehow her situation was a horrible nightmare. She could somehow wake up, and her future of a loving marriage with kids would still be possible as she always wanted, but she never awoke to such a reality. She was growing further into her pregnancy, and she couldn’t deny it any longer. Before she could pay for an abortion, she needed someone to tell her that she was right in getting one. Society told her that her situation, all her reasons were more than enough to warrant an abortion.

She was a teen--She was a student--She was unemployed--She was unsupported

Even still, she needed someone else to assure her that this was right. She took a breath after unleashing her story, ready for that confirmation. Our Client Advocate didn’t hesitate. She asked the client about her relationship with God. Confused by the seeming irrelevance of the topic, the client admitted that she wasn’t really sure. She grew up Catholic, but didn’t quite understand what an actual relationship with Christ meant. Praying for the words, our Client Advocate shared the unfathomable love that God Himself personally feels for her. The counselor didn’t skip or skimp over any detail. The Maker of Heaven and earth wanted her so desperately that He sent His only Son to pay the fatal price—just so a relationship could even be an option for her to choose. With Him, she would never be alone, never unwanted, and not even for a moment abandoned. She would be His, treasured and protected.

Our client prayed and accepted Christ!

After the positive pregnancy test, our client waited a few weeks for her ultrasound. Our nurse led her to our sonogram room and began to explain the images on the screen. Finally, for the first time, our client saw her ten-week old baby!

This was more than a teen pregnancy,
more than disappointed parents,
and more than a disappearing boyfriend.
This was a moving body, a beating heart, and a verifiable life!
She chose LIFE!

In the weeks since, God has provided a new man, a boyfriend who supernaturally supports our client’s decision to keep a baby who is not even his! Her Savior softened the hearts of her parents to accept and encourage their pregnant daughter. She is now attending our Points to Success classes on Thursdays to better provide and parent her growing baby.

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
Isaiah 43:19
Nothing is beyond Christ’s control to reverse. Nothing is too broken for His Hands to rebuild.
Contrary to media and culture, no unsupported, unemployed, teenage student is beyond Christ’s ability or beyond His passion to redeem!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Sex-Addict's Story

                Miles away from the heated, abortion debate in Austin, TX, The Community Pregnancy Center opened our doors last Monday. Some girls were hoping for a positive pregnancy test. Others were indifferent, but able to provide for a new baby. At noon, however, a girl sat in our waiting room, staying to see if we had time to counsel a walk-in. Personally ordained by the hand of God alone, one of our scheduled appointments failed to show. Our client advocate prayed over the new client file, and led the woman to the second counseling room. Waiting only to hear a “Welcome to the Community Pregnancy Center”, our client burst open in her confession:

“I have a sex addiction.”

                In over 10 years of service, the client advocate had never heard a client reveal that struggle. She took a deep breath, and immediately asked if she could pray. Only the Undefeatable Savior could bear the weight of this client’s struggle. The counselor prayed and spoke absolute deliverance over her life through the generous grace of Christ Jesus. Together, they moved even further into the painful story.

“I need an abortion today.”

                She already was a mother to two children. At twenty-four years old, our client had a 5 year old and a one year old. The oldest child’s father sits in a prison cell to this day, while the other father threatens to take away their toddler on a regular basis. The father of her current pregnancy scare-not even a boyfriend-has already given her money to have an abortion. He doesn’t want relational ties to this woman, much less a child with her. These, of course, were only the men who fathered a child. Her sexual partners extend into a much longer list. As she revealed this past, she suffered panic attack after panic attack in the counseling room. The client advocate kept stopping the conversation to pray, asking God to encircle them in His peace.

                She was alone. She couldn’t even confide to her family about her sexual addiction. Her family, like her, is actively involved in their church. They don’t go a couple Sundays out of the month. This family goes to worship, Sunday School, and any scheduled weekly activities. It was embarrassing enough to have a single mother for a daughter when she was 19 years old. She couldn’t stand the thought of admitting the depth of her situation to her family. She couldn’t stand the thought of humiliating them.

“I was driving to Planned Parenthood this morning
-in my car, actually driving there,
but I couldn’t make it.

The money in my pocket, yet I couldn’t make it.

I exited I-45, and parked in the Walmart parking lot.

Something brought me here.”

                God brought her here. Her attentive, loving Savior carefully held every shamed tear she cried those empty nights. He heard her desperate sighs for a different life. He watched her car drive forward on I-45 to the largest abortion-operating clinic in the northern hemisphere, and He supernaturally intervened, reminding her of a pregnancy center in Pasadena, TX. He wanted that baby, and He wanted that hurting soul.

                The client advocate assured her that she is still and always will be loved. No matter the sex addiction and no matter the abortion determination, she is forgivable. She is restorable.  She is pursued. She is wanted. She is noticed as the carefully designed creation of the King of the universe. The counselor explained how such unbelievable mercy is even possible. She reminded her that she could never run farther than God’s grace reaches. The client calmed, and absolutely reveled in the truth of the Lord! She prayed, and made her relationship with God right again. Her heart immediately shifted.

The pregnancy test read positive.

She’s choosing adoption for her new baby.

A changed decision from a changed woman by an unchangeable God!

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Jehovah's Witness' Story

           On Monday our client advocate welcomed an anxious woman into her counseling room for her pregnancy test appointment. According to the client's basic information, she seemed to have no reason for anxiety. She wasn’t a teenager. She wasn’t a student. She wasn’t unemployed. She was a stable thirty-one year old woman. She seemed mature and established in her life as a mom. The stress in her demeanor, however, contradicted the facts in the file. Once our client advocate began the conversation, the burdened woman exploded with her purpose.

“I know abortion is killing my baby, but I just can’t have another one.”

At thirty-one years of age, this client was already the mother of five children. She began her journey to the doors of our crisis pregnancy center with her own crisis pregnancy at seventeen years old. Her children-from separate men-span the state of Texas. She only has custody of her youngest sons. Her current possible pregnancy is fathered by a different man whose identity she fiercely protected.
She’s confused. She’s ashamed.
She’s alone.
“I don’t want this baby. I need an abortion.”

Our client advocate saw the heavier burden on this woman’s shoulders. She asked about her spiritual life. The client answered, “I’m a Jehovah’s Witness.”   Beyond the mother, beyond the provider, beyond the lover is a desperately lost soul. With permission, our client advocate shared the undoctored, unashamed Gospel of Christ Jesus: His immoveable determination for her, His irreversible compassion on her, and His incessant grace over her. He has ardently loved her from the beginning of time itself. The counselor shared the meaning of the blood-stained cross and the relevance of the empty grave. It's not about perfection. It's not about a numbered elite in Heaven. It's only about Jesus. Finally, when she finished, the client looked up and said, “That makes sense to me for the first time." She prayed in that moment to accept the salvation reserved for her by the Creator of the Cosmos.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Ephesians 2:8-9

Her pregnancy test read negative.

She left that day, but she left changed. She may still have five children. She may still have partial custody. She may still have estranged men in her past, but this client is now saved by the conquering blood of her King of kings and Lord of lords. Her circumstances remain, but her life will never be the same. Pray for her as she begins her new walk with her Savior!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Lost Girl's Story

On Tuesday, April 23rd, our doors opened for the first time that morning to a young girl at 11:30 am. She didn’t know anyone who had already been here. She didn’t read about us on the website. She didn’t even have an appointment. She just saw our sign, and walked into our center. She needed confirmation of her pregnancy, but she truly needed so much more. I walked her into the counseling room, and introduced myself into her hopeless season.

                She was just 16 years old, working to earn her G.E.D. Her boyfriend, also 16, was on schedule to graduate early. They wanted to provide for this baby together as their own, little family unit. The plans were already made: They would live in his parents’ house until he graduated. They would then move into an apartment together to raise their new baby themselves, no further help from his family and no initial help from her’s. This was the life she planned for herself. She planned to have a child right then at 16 years old. But why? Why was her family unconcerned? Why was she running into this unstable life? Without prompting, she admitted the reasons to my unasked questions.

“My mom is dying.”

                She continued to explain that her mom was diagnosed with cervical cancer only a year previously. Now the cancer had attacked to such a vicious degree that her mom laid at home, heavily sedated and unconscious. The doctors involved in her mom’s case told the family that she only had 3 more weeks to live, if that long. Cancer, as so common with the disease, ravaged this woman’s body beyond medical rescue.

                The client’s older brother planned to move his wife and baby into a home together once his mother died. The client’s younger brother planned to move into their father’s house.  This family’s father, long-divorced from their mother, did not even speak with our young client. The moment  his  ex-wife had passed away, he planned to sign over his custody to whoever his daughter decided to live with. No fight. No offer of comfort or protection. Just immediate rejection.

                Her security in a family structure was first struck with the excruciating pain of divorce. Then a ruthless, fatal disease struck second. Her guaranteed future as a legally parentless minor finally demolished all security the word “family” once provided. She ached so desperately to have that acceptance again, to be a wanted, vital member of a family -no matter what that looked like-that she planned to start one herself. This was the journey that brought this 16 year old girl into my counseling room.

                With such a sense of loneliness in the room, I shared the only hope she could find rest. I told her about the relentless pursuit of her Creator to have a relationship with her.  I told her that rejection in the Garden of Eden wasn’t enough to push God away. He saw that the only way for her to even have the option for relationship with Him was the merciless death of His own Son-and He saw her as worth it. I shared with her the impact of choosing Christ, and the assurances He brings. She intently listened, but, once I finished speaking, she simply gave a short response of a few “I don’t know”s.  Though she did allow me to pray over her, she kept her heart closed.

The pregnancy test read positive.
Her dad doesn’t care.
Her mom is too sedated to even hear the words that her only daughter is having a baby.

“So you are no longer strangers and outsiders. You are citizens together with God’s people.
You are members of God’s

                This young girl is frantically searching, but she’s just finding herself even more lost. Pray that she remembers the Savior that she learned about today. Pray for understanding in her estranged father and healing in her dying mother. Pray that this 16 year old, pregnant girl knows that she is noticed, wanted, and unashamedly loved by the Father.  Pray that her heart softens and realizes the Hope that is waiting to embrace her, protect her, and secure her in His family.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Hardened Heart's Story

                She already called Planned Parenthood. She already understood the processes of abortion in their clinic. She already knew that she had up to two weeks to take the RU-486, the abortion pill.

This was the client that walked into Community Pregnancy Center Monday morning. Without an appointment, she sat in our waiting room for a pregnancy test. Our client advocate and trainee took a deep breath, and asked the twenty-year-old girl to the counseling room.

                Together our counselors tried to hear this woman’s story, but she refused to share. She didn’t want to hear that she could do this. She didn’t want to talk about the other pregnancy options. She didn’t want to accept any form of hope. She wouldn’t even receive a Proof of Pregnancy for a Medicaid application. She knew she was going to abort. It wasn’t a baby in there. It was hardly even a pregnancy to her. It was just a mistake, one that Planned Parenthood offered to erase.

                The client advocate shared the Gospel to this hardened heart. She explained the unconditional love of her Heavenly Father, a concept our client didn’t truly grasp. Unconditional love from a father? Her own father told her that he would never speak to her again if she had a baby this way. She didn’t even know who the father of her unborn baby was. This is the confused, twisted view of a father she knew. Though she assured the client advocate that she was indeed a Christian, she didn’t acknowledge the lack of unconditional love in her life. When the client advocate offered to pray over her, the client rejected it. She saw her positive pregnancy test, and she didn’t want prayers. She didn’t want our free ultrasound. She wanted out.

                Before she rushed out of the doors, our client advocate trainee gave her a packet filled with truths of God, her baby, and the undoctored truth about abortion. The client left with the information. We prayed for intervention. For all we knew, this woman was driving out of our parking lot and straight to Planned Parenthood. It felt like a lost opportunity, but God’s truth is never lost.
“So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
Isaiah 55:11
                If this client already knew she was pregnant, why would she want to take our pregnancy test? If this client already talked with Planned Parenthood, why would she first come to a center that does not offer abortions?

Because her Sovereign Creator wanted to talk to her.

                There is not one single logical explanation of why she would come to our facility if she was absolutely determined to have an abortion. The Designer of the cosmos personally interrupted her plans with a distinct message of LIFE. His words never return to him as a failure. When He speaks, mountains move, even the tall mountains in a panicked heart. We saw a lost opportunity, but Christ saw an open door.

Two hours after she left, she came back to the office.
“I was wondering if I could go ahead and get my proof of pregnancy for a Medicaid application.”

An hour after that, she called the office.
“I was wondering if I could go ahead and schedule an ultrasound.”

She is now looking at all of her pregnancy options!
She is applying for Medicaid, and she's scheduled for an ultrasound.

                Pray for this young client as she searches. Pray that she doesn’t run away anymore. Pray that she will wait for her ultrasound appointment with us. Pray that she begins to understand the unconditional love of a true Father!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Today I received my standard weekly email from my former Planned Parenthood affiliate, Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast. You would think they would have removed my name and email by now, but that is another story. Anywho, it was a pretty boring update with nothing exciting to report, but as I was scrolling through, something caught my attention. This particular affiliate always has their big gala event at the Hyatt in downtown Houston. Lots of well-to-do Houstonians come to show support of this huge affiliate (4th largest in the country to be exact) and all of the “services” they provide, including abortion. No one that comes is surprised that Planned Parenthood provides abortion services. No, they know that all too well. In fact, the people that come to this particular gala for this particular affiliate come because they are PROUD to support the largest abortion clinic in the Western Hemisphere. They know what abortion is. They know what abortion looks like. They know, and they support it proudly…at $500 per individual ticket.
So, back to the attention getter. I always like to see the names of the high rollers who are listed as the “co-chairs” of the event. These are donors who give tens of thousands of dollars to the affiliate and are therefore asked to put their name down on the invitation. They usually have some sort of status among the elite local community. Name recognition is important when you are trying to raise over a million dollars at one event. I scrolled through the invitation and there it was, a name that was VERY familiar to me. Jeff Smisek.
That name may not ring a bell to you. But I know it well. I spend most of my life on airplanes. Before every take off we get a little safety demonstration. If we are lucky enough to be on a decent sized plane, that demonstration is shown on a video. I personally prefer to fly on airlines that are in the “Star Alliance.” Some of those include United, US Airways, and Lufthansa. I am a million mile flyer with this program, which comes with a few perks. Because of this, I try to stick with United when I travel. When the United safety demonstration video begins, a message from the CEO comes on first. He is thanking us for traveling on United and talks about how image is so important to his airline. That man’s name? Jeff Smisek.
I almost couldn’t believe what I saw on this invitation. Surely not. Surely not MY Jeff Smisek! Surely not the CEO of my favorite airline!! Let it be a lie!!! He was actually listed with someone else, a lady named Diana Strassmann. http://www.ppaction.org/site/Calendar?id=102855&view=Detail. Hoping there was someone else with the name, Jeff Smisek, I googled both of their names together to see what I would find. Well, they are married. And Jeff Smisek, CEO of United and Jeff Smisek, co-chair of Planned Parenthood’s annual gala are one in the same.
Now I was disappointed…and angry. And I am doing something about it. Jeff Smisek runs the second largest airline in the world. And now he is co-chairing an event for the LARGEST ABORTION CLINIC IN THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE. This abortion clinic’s goal is to perform at least 75 abortions, 6 days a week. They intend to perform abortions up to 25 weeks gestation. And THAT is what the CEO of United Airlines stands for.
Well, this million mile flyer has had enough. It is time to expose Jeff Smisek for who he really is. He is helping to kill the most defenseless among us. And apparently, he is PROUD to do it! He has his name plastered on their invitation! I am taking a stand against United. Will you stand with me? Will you say NO to United Airlines? This one clinic ALONE in Houston is killing over 23,000 babies per year!!! THAT is what Jeff Smisek is supporting. Jeff says United Airlines cares about their image…well, let’s see how much they care. Let’s get this message sent out far and wide. On my website at www.abbyjohnson.org, I have included a sample “letter to the editor” that you can send in to your local paper. Share this article on your blog. Share it on your Facebook and Twitter. We need to hold these people accountable. Our voices DO make a difference…and our dollars DEFINITELY make a difference! Stand against Jeff Smisek! Stand against United Airlines! Email Jeff Smisek today and share your disgust. jeff.smisek@united.com.

Letter to the Editor
Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, located in Houston is the 4th largest Planned Parenthood affiliate in the United States. They run the largest abortion clinic in the Western Hemisphere. This clinic’s goal is to perform at least 75 abortions, 6 days a week. That totals over 23,000 abortions per year. And they terminate pregnancies up to 25 weeks gestation…that is babies over 6 months old.
So, you can imagine the surprise I felt when I found out that the CEO of United Airlines, Jeff Smisek, was “co-chairing” this particular affiliate’s annual gala in Houston, Texas. www.ppaction.org. When flying on United, you will often see a video of the safety demonstration on television monitors throughout the plane. Before the demonstration begins, Jeff Smisek will come on and thank you for flying and tell you that “image” is very important to his airline. Well, let’s see if that is really true. Myself, along with thousands of other pro-lifers across the country, are taking a stand against United Airlines. Jeff Smisek runs the second largest airline in the world. And now he is co-chairing an event for the LARGEST ABORTION CLINIC IN THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE. Enough is enough. It is time to expose Jeff Smisek for who he really is. He is helping to kill the most defenseless among us. And apparently, he is PROUD to do it! He has his name plastered on their invitation! I am taking a stand against United. Will you stand with me? Will you say NO to United Airlines? Our voices DO make a difference…and our dollars DEFINITELY make a difference! Stand up for life! Email Jeff Smisek today and share your disgust. jeff.smisek@united.com.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Cousin's Story

Thursdays are exciting days at Community Pregnancy Center! Throughout the week, our client advocates counsel every young woman seeking a pregnancy test, listening to the details of her situation. If the client is vulnerable to the abortion choice, our advocates schedule them for a free, limited ultrasound to see the growing baby in the uterus, give an accurate due date, and allow that confused girl to hear the sound of her baby’s heartbeat! Donated equipment and a large flat-screen television reveal the life that our loving King has been knitting together for weeks. Miracles happen in that ultrasound room. God changes hearts in that ultrasound room, and it all happens on Thursdays.

                This past Thursday welcomed a young woman, celebrating her twenty-fourth birthday. Our sonographer, Mikelle, reviewed her file before calling her to the back of the office: abortion-vulnerable. When she came for her pregnancy test just a week previous, she explained her sorted story. This was not her first pregnancy. She chose abortion years earlier, and, after that decision, she mothered beautiful sons. Her youngest boy is just five months old. Her boyfriend has already left her. She’s unemployed, she’s alone, and now-for the fourth time-her pregnancy test read positive.

                She convinced herself that she could not parent this child. How could she? No money. No boyfriend. No support. She then saw only two options: adoption or abortion. She considered both, fully knowing the grief and regret of abortion. However, she saw adoption as giving her baby away. She would experience the full pregnancy, the pain of delivery, and then she must watch as another woman walks out of the hospital with the baby in her arms? Surely that’s not proper motherhood. Surely a decent mother would care for her own child. If she did not have the will or the means to do this, then abortion must be the only option. She told herself that if she couldn’t keep the baby, then it would be better to stop the pregnancy before the baby grows any further.

                Mikelle read this commonly heard mindset within this young woman’s file, and prepared for the ultrasound appointment. She called the girl forward, but the client asked if the appointment could please wait. “My relative’s coming!” she explained. “Can we please wait for my relative to get here?” Mikelle graciously agreed. This was the last appointment for the day, so a small delay was not a problem.

                Finally the relative walked through the door. Identifying the woman as her older cousin, our young client followed Mikelle to our sonogram room to see her baby. The cousin walked behind the pair seemingly distant. Hesitation appeared to hang over her. The television screen soon lit up with a perfect 14 week old baby boy! The sound waves from the ultrasound machine stirred the life into excited motions! He flipped. He turned. He nodded. He touched his face. He moved every second with animation and exhilaration!

                The client smiled and looked up at her guest: “Do you see how active he is?” she asked her cousin. “I could never handle that in my life right now!” Confused at the reaction, Mikelle continued to explain the baby’s growth. After a few minutes of routine pictures and measurements, she activated the sound capabilities of the machine. The sound of a fast-paced heartbeat filled the room. This was a healthy, beautiful baby boy due just two days before the 5 month old son’s first birthday.

                Following the appointment, Mikelle asked the client to pick a baby blanket before they continued to the post-sonogram counseling. The client looked over to her cousin, saying, “I want you to pick out his blanket!” The cousin, still somewhat hesitant as if she was processing, chose a cozy blue blanket. Mikelle led the client to one of our counseling rooms, and the cousin, clutching tightly onto the blanket with a warm smile on her face for the first time, walked to the waiting room. The distance, the hesitation melted away!

                Mikelle asked the client how she was feeling after seeing the ultrasound. The woman beamed with joy and explained her excitement, her relief, and her cousin’s role in the entire story. She confirmed her report. She was planning on an abortion. She was terrified to have one again, but she just couldn’t parent this child. Thanks only to the God of the universe intervening, this young woman remembered her cousin. After many miscarriages, this beautiful relative recently carried a baby to the third trimester. However, due to violent and detrimental complications, her pregnancy-at 7 months-was terminated for the health of the mother. Thursday, however, changed the ending to this cousin’s dark story to have a family with her husband, because on Thursday, she saw her new son.
This client,
overwhelmed at the thought of parenting another child,
is giving the healthy baby boy to her cousin through adoption!
                Merriam-Webster defines adoption as the following: “to take by choice into a relationship; especially: to take voluntarily (a child of other parents) as one's own child”. Using the pen of the apostle Paul, Jesus Christ Himself defines adoption in Ephesians 1:4: “even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him”. This young woman chose the baby to be hers, even before he was born! She was to be his mother, through the body of her pregnant cousin. God, the Sovereign, loving Creator and King of the cosmos, chose us to be His, even before the foundation of the world. He was to be our Father, through the broken body of His only Son.  Thursday, we saw firsthand a beautiful yet earthly imitation of God’s perfect love for mankind!

                Pray for these two women as they move forward with their adoption plan. Pray for absolute peace. Pray for opened eyes to see the love of their Creator and the adoption plan He has crafted for them.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Stripper's Story

A 19 year old woman asking for a pregnancy test is not uncommon at Community Pregnancy Center. In fact, 19 years old is the average age for our clients. In 2012, 64% of girls seen in our facility were under the age of 24, so when a 19 year old girl entered our doors, we were in our comfort zone in a way. However, this girl’s current age was not the one that identified her. Her ages leading her to 19 reveal the sordid story behind the beautiful face.
  • Her mother refuses responsibility, sending the child to her new grandparents.
  • Her father has already disappeared from her life.
9 years old:
  • The client’s grandmother dies, leaving her under the care of her grandfather.
  • This sole caretaker refuses the child and sends her away to her aunt and uncle.
  • While his wife lie with him, the uncle leaves his bed every night to sexually abuse his 9 year old niece.
  • Scared and confused, the child tells another uncle of her nightly experiences. This man then tells the young girl’s father.
  • Her father takes his child, who he doesn’t even know, to another country to escape. (Though evidence was drawn and testimonies given, the case against the perverted uncle never made it to trial.)
13 years old:
  • She moves into the house with her now pregnant birth mother.
  • She discovers that she herself is now pregnant.
  • Once her mother gives birth, she disappears for days at a time, leaving her 13 year old, pregnant daughter to care for her newborn infant alone.
14 years old:
  • She delivers her child, and chooses adoption.
  • She suffers the heartache of giving her baby away, unsure if she will ever see the child again.
  • Because the pregnancy matured and shifted the curves of her body, she chooses to become a stripper.
16 years old:
  • She falls in love with a young man. He supports her financially, so she could stop stripping.
17 years old:
  • She gives birth to their first child together.
19 years old:
  • They are now engaged and expecting their second child.

                Suddenly 19 years old doesn't seem so average. This young woman, this teenager has experienced more agony-more “world”-than most people should know in an entire lifetime. She had been rejected by her own mother, her father, and her grandfather. She was raped on a regular basis by family. She gave away her first born child, when she, too, was just a child. She had been seen and touched in the most intimate ways by complete strangers. This was her life. This was all she knew: betrayal, perversion, and abandonment. She grew gravely familiar with the process of working her way out of her past.

                When asked about her relationship with God, she expressed a similar “works” belief. She cleaned up her life for her fiancĂ©, so she assumed that she needed to clean up her life for God. She wasn’t quite where she wanted to be in her life, but she was getting close. Maybe she’d surrender to God…when she gives birth to this new baby. Maybe she’d lie in His arms…when she marries her fiancĂ©. Maybe she would see herself as good enough then. Maybe after all these decisions, God would finally see her as worth His attention, worth His love.

                But that’s the point. As humans, as creation, we will never make enough right decisions to deserve the love of the Perfect Creator. There’s not a checklist in the Bible, detailing a road to righteousness. There’s not a set of magic words that will set us free from any past. There’s only Jesus. 
There’s only grace.
Our limited brains have not been functioning long enough to fully grasp even a fraction of grace, but it’s real, and it’s available. Our admittance to God’s presence is always open. Our forgiveness from God is guaranteed, because it’s wholly anchored in the victory of Jesus Christ-not in our works. Every wrong choice adds another death sentence to our growing death toll and more anger and judgment from God Himself, and no amount of reciting or working could ever eradicate such a debt-except the blood of the Son of God. Now, through a relationship with Him, God hears the scared confessions and He sees those mistakes, but He sees them through a lens of absolution. That death toll was paid for. That anger and judgment was already exhausted.
There’s only grace.

                As our Client Advocate explained the unashamedly good news of the Gospel, the 19 year old girl’s heart seemed to soften. Her past seemed to fade in the light of Christ’s love, but she still hesitated. She still held back, unsure if such a Savior could truly be THAT good to redeem such a life. Having permission, our Client Advocate prayed over the young woman before she left. Tears streamed down her face as if she sensed for the first time her Creator’s passionate pursuit to bring her home. Pray she realizes she can come unprepared and broken to the feet of God.

“Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is FULL redemption.”