Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Pro-Choice Woman's Story

The second appointment of this particular Wednesday brought a pro-choice woman into The Community Pregnancy Center. Her pregnancy test was positive. She knew it would be positive before she even called our center. By her own calculations, she figured she was more than half-way through her pregnancy. The only missing piece was timing. She needed to know how far along she was, so she could determine her eligibility for an abortion. According to Texas law, abortion at 20 weeks or after legally cannot be performed. If she proved even a few days shy of that 20 week mark, she planned on driving straight from our parking lot to an abortion clinic. The line on our test officially confirming her pregnancy solidified her choice: abortion.

                By her reasoning, she could not possibly keep this baby. That couldn’t even be a consideration in her choice. She moved to Texas from California just 3 months ago to escape a dangerous environment. Her mother refused to support her. Her father wasn’t even in the picture. The client knew a few friends in the Houston area, so she rented a room in Pasadena to start a new season in her life.

                The father of the baby wasn’t a husband or even a boyfriend. In our counseling room, the client wouldn’t even speak his name. He didn’t even know that she might be pregnant, because they weren’t speaking anymore. He was just one of the many empty male figures in her past. At just 25 years old, this woman was now in her 8th pregnancy. She suffered 2 miscarriages, bore 3 children, and chose 2 abortions. Her youngest child was just 8 months old.


8 different pregnancies with different choices, different men, and different scars.


                She didn’t have hope. She didn’t have support. The Client Advocate knew the only response was the Gospel of Christ Jesus Himself. With the client’s permission, she shared about the Son of God coming to earth to not only save us from an eternal death, but also to save us from a lost life. He chose out of free will to accept her rightful punishment from God, so that she could choose out of her free will to accept His gracious salvation from God. He conquered the fear she felt—she needed only to claim the victory. She needed only to make that choice. Jesus Christ was the answer to her searching. He was the understanding parent. He was the man who would never leave. He was the Comforter in her miscarriages, the Giver of Life in her births, and the Great Redeemer in her abortions. He was and is the ultimate, lasting, satisfying Source.

The client prayed and accepted Christ in her life!

She chose Jesus!

                Just minutes later, our ultrasound technician called her for a limited sonogram. A twirling, kicking, jumping baby appeared on the screens! The client’s calculations weren’t so far off. She was about 19 weeks into her pregnancy. She in fact was just a few days shy of that 20 week mark, but this was a different woman. She walked into our center to determine if she could still legally purchase an abortion. Just an hour later, she laid on the examination table, asking the technician to determine if her baby was a boy or a girl. She smiled. She asked questions.

-She changed her mind-

She chose LIFE for her baby!

“When the cares of my heart are many,
your consolations cheer my soul.”
Psalm 94:19

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Couple's Story

           The Community Pregnancy Center is the only crisis pregnancy center in the area to provide evening appointments. This past Monday evening reminded us how dramatically God can use those openings. Earlier that morning, a 23 year old man made a 6 o’clock appointment for his fiancé. As we learned later that night, she couldn’t schedule the appointment herself, because she was in class. His fiancé was just 17 years old, a senior in high school. That night, this young man signed the client in, and waited anxiously in the waiting room when our Client Advocate called her back. 

            The teen knew she was pregnant, but refused to verify it for months. Sitting with the Client Advocate, she admitted to being in denial about the obvious reality. Just the thought of telling her parents was motivation enough to ignore all symptoms of pregnancy. They had created an environment of hostility in the home, and now this client was a pawn in their battles against each other. Even while she was explaining her story to the counselor, her mom called her to kick her out of the house, yelling into the phone, “If you would rather be with your father, then live with him now!” Despite her home life, the client did plan to graduate high school and complete her cosmetology training by taking the final test for certification. 

After noting all the required information, the client advocate invited the young man into the counseling room for the test.

Over 3 months pregnant.

            The counselor delved into a spiritual conversation with the couple. The client claimed Catholicism, but had never been active in any faith. The counselor then asked, 

“Where do you think you would go when you die?”

The man quickly answered,

“Hell. I don’t do enough right now to deserve Heaven.”

            The “works” belief rose to the surface. They both believed that Heaven was earned by man’s acts of kindness and general morality. Any man could enter into Heaven if he was good enough. The Client Advocate took advantage of the opportunity and shared true faith. She introduced the concept of a relationship with God. She told them about Jesus Christ and His impact on man’s accessibility to Heaven. The pair listened quietly, but they weren’t ready to commit to such a relationship yet. Regardless, the Client Advocate planted the seed, trusting God to personally harvest it in His time.

            The counselor scheduled the client for a limited ultrasound appointment 2 days later. 

            Just fifteen minutes after their departure, the young man returned alone, anxiously asking to speak with the Client Advocate privately. Once in the counseling room, he unloaded his own burden. “I don’t know how to make her happy.”  He then explained his attempts to prepare his teenage fiancé for their new life as parents. He tried to bring his family to help, but she hated his mom. He tried to buy a townhome for them, but she hated the one he could afford. He tried to give her financial support through his full time job, but she spent his money at the mall. He tried to provide better benefits by looking into joining the military, but she told him to stay. On the verge of tears, the young man sat with overwhelming exhaustion. Nothing was working, and no one could help. Our counselor encouraged his genuine heart, even giving him a new job lead. 

            The following Wednesday, our sonogram technician, Claire, led the nervous couple to her ultrasound room. She explained the purpose behind our limited ultrasounds, and began the appointment. A 14 and a half week old baby lit up the screens! Their baby was kicking, crossing his legs, and sucking his thumb! The fiancé even recorded when our technician played his baby’s heartbeat for the first time. The client smiled, looking at her fiancé and then looking at her baby!

            Once finished, Claire led the couple to her counseling room to answer any other questions about the pregnancy. She gave sonogram pictures and instructed about diet, but God then put a different topic on her heart. She asked them if their counselor told them about the Gospel of Jesus Christ when they came on Monday. They said yes, and the fiancé added, “My friends told me that I don’t really need to worry about going to hell. Right now, I’m trying to get some stuff out of my life first before any of that. It’s a process.”  The Holy Spirit then intervened and spoke through Claire to two lost souls.

“Yes, getting things out of your life is a process, but salvation is a decision.”

            Starting in the Garden of Eden, Claire shared the holy and perfect Gospel of Christ. Sin was never God’s plan for the world, but Adam and Eve freely chose to defy their Creator. This first disobedience forever changed how man could relate to God. We no longer enjoyed open availability. Claire explained that man’s sin deserved death and judgment, but God had a plan to restore a relationship with creation. Through His everlasting love for humanity, God designed a solution, one eternal and one at a far greater cost than a sacrificial animal. He sent His perfect Son to accept the fatal punishment of an imperfect world. Because of His death and because of His resurrection, we-broken and fallen as we are-can choose a relationship with the King of the cosmos. It’s undeserved. It’s often rejected, but God still sent Christ anyway. 

The couple understood.

“We need that!”

Claire led both in a prayer for salvation.

This 23 year old man entered our doors on Monday night, defeated by disapproval. He was never enough to measure up for another person, much less measure up to the standard of Heaven.
On Wednesday, he met his Redeemer and left accepted.

This 17 year old girl came Monday, starving for contentment. Her parents couldn’t make her happy. Her future husband-as selfless as he was-couldn’t make her happy.
On Wednesday, she met her ultimate source and left whole.

                                       “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Sex and Revenge Story

Late Monday evening, our Client Advocate sat down with a beautiful 23 year old woman. Knowing this client’s forms read “Undecided” about abortion, the counselor began the appointment. She asked about any STD history, any prior pregnancies, and general information related to this possible pregnancy. Without much poking or prodding, the client opened up and vented her story of revenge.

            Because her mother chose addiction to meth over her daughter, the client grew up in a variety of foster homes. From a young age, she was passed around from house to house. She came. She left. She stayed. She moved. She settled down, only to be taken to a new home. Though she was constantly learning to trust anew, she believed that she was at least safe, protected inside the system from a life like her mother’s.

            She reached adulthood quickly. At just 22 years of age, she was already the mother to a toddler and the fiancé to a long time boyfriend. They lived with his parents. Together, they were planning their wedding, planning to be an official family, but their plans were forever halted. In December, they were both in a horrific car accident. She herself was life-flighted to a local hospital. She survived the collision with minor damage, but her fiancé did not. He is currently in a coma with no signs of response. The doctors told his family the heartbreaking news: IF he ever awoke, he would have to live within a nursing home with constant care, because his brain had been that deeply damaged. He would never be the same.
            Grieving her incredible loss, this client sought comfort in her ex-boyfriend, a close friend of 7 years. She needed his friendship in dealing with such heavy news. While her then fiancé laid in a coma, the client learned that he wasn’t the man she once thought. She discovered the truth: Before the tragic accident, her fiancé was doing drugs, and he was cheating on her. The trust he had earned, the man she thought he was—all a mirage.

            The client’s grief grew to anger. This man was no different than her mother. Despite the accident, despite the coma, she wanted revenge. If he slept with someone else, then so could she. She went straight to her ex-boyfriend-her comfort in the grief-and had a one night stand. It was done and now out of her system. Yet now, weeks later, she sat in our counseling room, staring at a positive test. She was pregnant with the ex-boyfriend’s child.

“I don’t believe in abortion, but I don’t know what to do!”

 If she kept this baby, her one night stand would become public knowledge. If she kept this baby, she would have to admit that her plans for her future really were over. If she chose life, she would be homeless, kicked out of her ex-fiancé’s home. She tried to stay open to all the options, but she was also terrified of all the options.

Our Client Advocate confronted the abortion conversation, and explained the cost, the procedure itself, and the real life risks of that choice. It’s 2014 and abortion is still dangerous, no matter how pretty a picture Planned Parenthood tries to paint. Our counselor answered all of the client’s questions, but she delved deeper. She asked about the client’s personal walk with Christ.

The client claimed a relationship with the Lord. These obvious decisions in her life were not reflective of that, she admitted, but she had accepted Him. Seeing the sincerity, the counselor reminded her of God’s relentless grace and unconditional love. Mistakes don’t scare God away. One night stands don’t intimidate Him. Yes, sin grieves the Holy Spirit. Yes, it is because of our sin that God sent His own perfect Son to die our death. Yes, He sees our sin, but He chooses to love us anyway. God saw us at our very darkest, yet, filled with irrational love, He chose to send Christ to die so we could be saved. While we were rejecting Him, He was pursuing us. While this client was choosing sex and revenge, her Heavenly Father was choosing to love His lost daughter. This is grace.

“After all these things have happened in my life,
God must want me to have this baby.”

Her mother rejected her for meth, but God protected her in foster homes. Her car violently crashed into another one, but God delivered her with her life. Her fiancé betrayed her trust, but God offered her redemption through a new LIFE inside of her. God gently drew this wandering heart back into His open arms.

A week later, the client came for her ultrasound appointment. Seeing her 9 week old baby move on the screen and hearing her baby’s heartbeat fill the room reaffirmed what God assured her in that first counseling room.
He is with her.
He is for her.
He is her powerfully forgiving King.
She chose LIFE.

“But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us
while we were still sinners.”
Romans 5:8

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Grieving Mother’s Story

The Community Pregnancy Center is so blessed to host pregnancy test appointments in the evenings. Last Monday night, our client advocate sat down with a young woman to ask our procedural questions before she gave the pregnancy test. This client was an engaged 20 year old, and a mom to one toddler. She lived with her fiancé.  They were planning to get married after her pregnancy, but these plans were not revolving around her current possible pregnancy. Her story began 2 years before.

After their daughter was born, the couple conceived again. Surprised by the news, they both chose LIFE for this new baby. They hoped. They made plans. Just a few weeks later, however, she miscarried. The grief of the death came just as quickly as the excitement for the LIFE.

They wanted a baby deeply after their loss, and they were blessed soon after. They conceived! Again, they hoped. Again, they made plans. The weeks passed, and she reached her second trimester! “Approximately 1 in 3-4 known pregnancies are lost within the firsttrimester due to miscarriage”, so when our client reached 13 weeks, she trusted that she was safe from the pain of that loss. At 17 weeks into her pregnancy, however, she miscarried. For the second time, they grieved yet another death.

Trying to fill the aching gap in their hearts, the couple focused on having another baby. They conceived again. Against their instincts, they both hoped again. They both made plans again. Surely this was their chance. Surely this pregnancy would carry to term and erase the pain of the past year. They reached the second trimester seemingly without a problem. They reached 17 weeks, surpassing the age of the previous pregnancy. At 20 weeks-halfway through a full-term pregnancy-she suffered salmonella poisoning, which devastatingly resulted in an early labor. She delivered a stillborn baby girl.

Now she sat in the Community Pregnancy Center, scared to even look at her pregnancy test: positive. Of course, she wanted this baby, but she was terrified. After 2 years full of loss, she was too scared to hope, too scared to make plans. Those in her family and those in the church attacked her with accusations:

“How can you take care of a baby when you can’t even take care of yourself?”

“You’re losing your babies, because of the sin in your life.”

                She sunk so deep into her grief that she began to believe these hurtful opinions as truth. She blamed herself for the miscarriages. Maybe this was her fault. Maybe this was a punishment. Maybe God was mad at her. When asked about God, the client told our client advocate,

“God doesn’t love me, because He gave me my miscarriages.”

                After sharing with her the hope in Christ and after praying over her, the client advocate sensed a wall. The client was too insistent on blaming herself that night after seeing the pregnancy test to accept any stories about God. The client advocate scheduled the young woman for a limited ultrasound by our trained technicians for the following Thursday evening.

                The client arrived half an hour early, anxiously waiting to see her baby on the screen. Finally, the ultrasound technician welcomed the client to her appointment, and together they saw a perfectly formed 7 week old baby. The client cried, thankful and fearful at the sight. Two of our ultrasound technicians then talked with her in our counseling room about moving forward. The client unloaded the weight of her burden: miscarriage after miscarriage after miscarriage, hurtful words by others, raising a young daughter through the pain, and all the while blaming herself for every loss. She sobbed, staring at her ultrasound’s pictures. Our new ultrasound technician, Claire, spoke directly to the deeper issue.

“How is your relationship with God?”

                The client stopped. She knew the answer. She prayed “the prayer” at 13 years old, but it was a temporary phase. She said that she knew she was sinning by sleeping with her fiancé and living with him outside of marriage. She knew she had rejected church. She knew she was lacking something, but when our technician asked if she wanted to accept God and claim peace, she said, “Not today.”

                Knowing this was a divine opportunity, knowing the devil was keeping this client in dangerous limbo, our technician, Mikelle, shared her own salvation testimony, unpacking the Gospel. God’s heart is so fiercely passionate for her that without hesitation, He sent His own perfect, beloved, sinless Son to die her rightful death, so that she could freely run to Him. She didn’t have to hold her own burden. She didn’t have to accept loss as her fault. She didn’t have to blame herself for 3 miscarriages. The world is so broken and fallen, but God’s grace will always reach mountains and valleys and oceans farther. Hurtful words are still said, but His promises speak louder. Tears still fall, but His love rises higher.  Miscarriages are still suffered, but His hope is and will always be offered with arms wide open.

                Our ultrasound technician explained that this peace-this consuming, lasting peace-is available. This client didn’t have to live in her sin, live in her fear, and live in her self-declared guilt. She could accept Christ Jesus as her permanent Savior and run straight into the life He’s planned especially for her.

“I would like to do that!”

                The client humbly prayed to her Creator, the relentless Lover of her soul, and claimed salvation! Her entire countenance lifted. A calmness filled her. She left with hope, because Christ-the Prince of Peace Himself-still reigns!

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
                                                                                John 16:33