Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Lost Caller's Story

2013 began with calls overwhelming our office to schedule pregnancy tests, yet the days for counseling have been thin. With 4 appointments scheduled for this morning, our counselors waited in the waiting room for the young women to arrive. The clock moved from ten to eleven, from eleven to twelve. Only one client showed up for her appointment. In the span of one week, we scheduled 27 individual appointments-only 14 girls came. That ratio of appointments to actual consultations is disheartening, when you stop and figure out the percentage of girls who seem to get lost. But, as all pregnancy centers know, you can’t look at the numbers. You must always look at the stories, because only these girls can speak volumes that numbers simply do not reflect.

-the day when only one client arrived-
a heart changed.

Lola, our receptionist, answered the ringing phone with a typical greeting, asking what we can do. The caller was one of the no-shows-one of the “lost” ones. She was uncomfortable and very short in her speech. She just asked for a counselor to call her, because “she was going through some stuff”. Lola gathered her contact information, assuring the anxious voice that someone would call. She then laid the information on my desk. The “someone” was me.

Immediately, I dialed the number and walked into a dark, hopeless story. The young woman began by explaining who she thought was the source of her anger: Her boyfriend, the father of her unborn baby, is an abusive, destructive force in her life. Through his ravenous behavior, her housing in an established community in Pasadena evicted her and her two sons. With nowhere to stay, they moved to a depraved, hungry area of Houston. She explained each pursued yet failed avenue of hope. Her boyfriend, though he failed, reported her to Child Protective Services.  She then revealed the true source behind her anger.

In the past three years, she has had five abortions.

And she now wanted just one more.

“I’m alone. I have nobody. I just want an abortion, so I can leave this all behind me.”

I prayed over and over again in my head for words. “God, please tell me what to say. Please tell me what to say. Please tell me what to say.” She finally stopped her whirlwind story, and waited for my response.

I told her point blank that abortion is not her answer. The cost alone would be insurmountable, much less the physical and emotional side effects. I didn’t make a pretty pro-life speech, and I didn’t spend 10 minutes exposing Planned Parenthood’s secrets. This woman knew that pain. She knew the heartbreak of abortion five times over with a three year time span concentration. She knew that was not what she needed, but what else could help? What else could eradicate this horrific season of her life so she could start over? Before I answered that question, I promised her that abortion is not a “quick fix”. Abortion simply extends the shame and fear to an entire lifetime. She reluctantly, but finally agreed.

I then explained all the resources we have at our facility to help. I told her about Thursday’s Points to Success class, and the support she could feel every week here. In these classes, girls walk into familiarity, realizing that they’re not the only ones in an unwanted pregnancy. Girls see for themselves that it’s going to be ok. I offered this security to the caller, giving her all the practical resources I knew. The practical stuff is important, but God wanted me to say something else to her. God kept her on the line after my practical conversation and the silence that followed, because He wasn’t finished using the phone to speak to His scared, loved creation. I swallowed my own words, and spoke what only could have been God Himself.

“God never allows a crisis that He cannot restore.”

It came out of absolutely nowhere, except Heaven. God wanted her to hear the direct message that He has FULL power to reverse what we see on earth as a mistake or a problem. Nothing is too broken for His hands to redeem. No one is too lost for His arms to find. I told her how very much God loved her. She’s priceless. She’s noticed. She’s wanted. Her voice rattled. I could actually hear her anger melt away, as she discovered her Creator’s love.

“If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do?
Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness,
and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it?

With immeasurable and unimaginable determination, the Almighty God of the Universe pursues the lost. He doesn’t search for a day, a year, or a set time limit. He searches until he finds that lost soul. Maybe she didn’t show up to her appointment. Maybe she was on the other side of town, but God didn’t walk away. He pursued her deep into the hopeless apartment in Houston, Texas, until she called to hear His beckoning voice.