Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Fearful Christian's Story

One of our newest client advocates sat down in the counseling room with a new 26 year old client. This woman’s general information revealed that she was already “undecided” about the issue of abortion. She slowly began the devastating story that brought her to us. Though this was her FIRST time at The Community Pregnancy Center, she wasn’t a teenager who wanted to keep the pregnancy hidden from her parents. She wasn’t uneducated or even confused about how this could have happened. She was a lonely, fearful Christian, so far away from her Father’s arms.

            She was unemployed, living with her brother and her children. She was a mom to two kids from two different fathers. She was just 17 years old when she admitted that she was pregnant to her FIRST boyfriend. He didn’t hesitate in his response; he ran. The father of her second child followed this example, leaving her alone with two kids.

            After the rejection from these two men, she sought love with others. Again, she saw 2 more positive pregnancy tests. Before she could announce the news, however, these pregnancies ended, resulting in her FIRST and second miscarriage. Her pursuit for love desperately continued. Just 5 months ago, she surrendered herself to another man. Like the many before him, he left her when she admitted that she was again pregnant. She was alone. She was scared. She was seemingly out of options, so she called the abortion clinic for the FIRST time in her life. A few days later, she had a suction aspiration abortion at 8 weeks pregnant. Her boyfriend soon returned in relief at her decision.

            Now, she sat in our counseling room. The test read positive. She was pregnant again by the same man who left her a few months ago for this very reason. How could she endure another man leaving? How could she endure another abortion? How could she endure another miscarriage? How could she possibly carry another pregnancy in this situation?

            Feeling led by the Holy Spirit, the client advocate entered into the deeper issue behind all these questions by FIRST asking, “Are you a Christian?” The client quietly answered that yes, she was. “Do you feel secure about going to Heaven?” The young woman stopped, really thinking before she answered, “Well, not really. I’ve done so many bad things.” The counselor compassionately shared the good news of the Gospel!

            Heaven is not and will never be dependent on the good deeds we do or don’t do for God. It’s not based on how many times we turn away from God. It’s not about what we do at all, because it’s solely based on what Christ Jesus did, and what he did is DONE. He has permanently solidified our place with God. By accepting this gift, our hearts are claimed by the King of all Kings and changed by His gracious hands.

He loved this client before her FIRST abortion. He loved her before the FIRST pregnancy test. He loved her before the FIRST man left her. He loved her FIRST, and His love has remained unmoved, no matter how far she has drifted away. Our client advocate explained this love, and assured this wandering, fearful Christian that God’s not mad at her. He pursues her. He loves her. He’s ready to forgive and welcome her safely home.

She prayed and settled her salvation!

She chose LIFE for her baby by choosing adoption!

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.

The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

We love because he first loved us.”

The Prisoner's Story

Last Wednesday, our afternoon client advocate waited for her 3 o’clock appointment. Finally the door opened, and the woman calmly filled out her paperwork. She reached the final blank, a question asking for her opinion on abortion as an option. The new client checked “undecided”, and returned her forms to the front desk. After preparing and praying, our client advocate led the woman into the second counseling room, introduced herself, and closed the door. Covered in tattoos, this 27 year old woman unloaded her story, a story which began when she was a new teenager.

                At 14 years old, our client gave birth to her first child, the first of 8 total pregnancies. With this first boyfriend, she shared 6 children. Despite their years together, he never married her. Soon after the birth of their youngest child, our client was arrested and imprisoned for drugs. Through this revelation, she lost her family. Her first love-the father of her children-left her and won sole custody. With no one waiting for her release, our client served her time in prison for four and a half years.

                When she finally left her prison cell, she rekindled a former friendship with another man, who also was recently discharged after a 10 year prison sentence. They quickly surrendered to a sexual relationship. Just 3 months after her prison release, she discovered she was pregnant with his baby. Both her and her new boyfriend sank into disbelief. They were unemployed with looming criminal records, yet now they were going to be parents? No, she couldn’t do that to a child. Adoption was out of the question. She would rather her unborn child die than hand him over to new parents. The choice was clear. In August, with the support of her boyfriend, she had an abortion.

                Now, just a few months later, she was in the same position of a possible pregnancy with the same reasons for an abortion as before. Nothing had changed, except now she was looking for hope. Instead of driving to Planned Parenthood for her answer, she waited. God directed her to the Community Pregnancy Center on a Wednesday afternoon for a pregnancy test appointment.

Sensing the loneliness in the woman before her, our client advocate asked about a relationship with God. The client admitted to a Catholic background, but her fears about God were simple: “I’m too bad to go to Heaven.” The free sex. The pregnancy at 14. The drugs. The prison sentence. The loss of her children. The abortion. She had done “too much”. She had made too many wrong decisions to deserve Heaven. Heaven was for people who got married and went to church and gave money to the poor. It wasn’t for people like her. How could it be? She was “too bad” for God.

                Our client advocate stepped forward into this divine opportunity, explaining the glory and hope of God’s grace. Regardless of this pregnancy test’s result , this client was “too bad”, yet so was the client advocate, so was the executive director, so am I. All of humanity-past, present, and future-ALL fall short of deserving God. We could never make enough right choices, go to enough church services, or give enough money to the poor to ever rightfully earn a relationship with God, but our Merciful Creator intervened anyway! Only through the death of His perfect Son could the churched and the unchurched, the serving and the selfish, the good and the bad be made whole. He accepted the full weight of sin’s punishment, so that this woman in October 2013 could have the option of redemption.

The pregnancy test read positive.

The Client Advocate scheduled an ultrasound.

                A week later, the client returned, and saw a perfectly formed, healthy 8 week old baby.  She was still unemployed. Her jail time didn’t disappear. Her reasons for an abortion just 2 months ago were still prevalent, but as she saw the baby squirming around on the ultrasound’s screen, she smiled. Her circumstances were the same, but it didn’t matter. Of course, to her, it may have been the counseling, or it may have been the ultrasound, but neither could have made such an impact. Her loving King, refusing to quit, pursued, softened, and changed the heart of His treasured creation.

She chose LIFE!

 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”