This beautiful mama, L, has been my friend for almost three years. She was one of the first mamas I worked with as a Cities4Life volunteer, and the first one I held a baby shower for with the awesome help of a small group of women from a local church and a fellow counselor. That sweet baby is now two-years old, and this beloved mama is a wonderful mother who is seeking to change her life for that child she loves so dearly. She now owns a car, has a good job, and is about to move into her first apartment. That child was to be aborted when I met L on the sidewalks of the abortion center. The mama admits, "If you all hadn't been there, I would have aborted."
The guy whose biceps are busting in the photo is holding a huge heavy carton of an entire Thanksgiving feast, complete with a near 30-pound turkey. He is Daniel, the director of Cities4Life, the group responsible for training us sidewalk counselors who help people like L. The feast was provided by Common Heart, a fantastic grass-roots ministry with a mission to help the poor. I coordinated the efforts to get the feast for five of the moms we work with to the pick-up spot, and our RV driver, Patrick, picked up the boxes on his way driving the mobile ultrasound RV to the abortion center where the mamas would meet me. (And incidentally, the place where we first met L nearly three years ago, as well as the four other mamas to whom we provided the feast.) Cities4Life utilizes a huge network of people to fulfill our mission: save the lost, be a voice for the voiceless, meet their spiritual and physical needs as best we can, and engage the church to be active in promoting a culture of life through prayer, mentorship, and tangible support.
This mama, S, also was on the verge of aborting when she met another one of our counselors, Chrissy. As she picked up her box filled with the Thanksgiving feast, she told us, "My baby is a miracle. Another one you all saved, and I am so grateful. My whole life changed with this baby, and I would never go back. Thank you for saving my baby!"
"Not us! God! But we were really glad to be used by Him," I told her.
That's our ultrasound nurse, Sherry, behind Daniel. She co-counseled most of the women who picked up their turkey feast today, as well as provided the ultrasound that showed them their babies. HELP Crisis Pregnancy Center in Monroe provides the Mobile Ultrasound RV and nursing support. Sherry is there several days a week on the sidewalks of the abortion center. The love you see so clearly as she talks with the child is the love she reflects every time I see her, every time she speaks to anyone. A truly beautiful follower of Christ.
In between handing out the boxes, I saw two women walking out of the abortion center and up the road. I raced out to talk with them. At first, they didn't want to talk with me. The mama had had the abortion, and didn't want any of our post-abortive literature. Undeterred, I talked with them at length, and the woman finally took my literature. I told her my name and number were on it, and if she ever needed someone to talk to, call me. She leafed through it as I talked about my own life, not knowing Jesus until young adulthood. We talked about sin, about wanting to do good, but never being able to sustain our good intentions. She told me she didn't know if she was going to heaven. I asked her if she wanted to know for sure. She and her friend said they did.
I know they were listening, and I took my time, thinking I had at least twenty more minutes till we reached their bus stop to share the hope we have in Jesus. And then, the 'pro-choice' escort from the clinic drove up.
"Stop harassing women," she said. "Do you want a ride?" (This to the people I was talking with.)
They nodded and got in the car.
Well, at least they had our literature and my name and number. I was so sad I couldn't finish the full Gospel presentation, but I pray somehow God uses the little they received, and magnifies it.
I think Daniel was tired by the time all the mamas had come and gone. He carried all those heavy turkey feasts to their cars for them. My frozen shoulder got me totally off the hook in that department! Daniel works tirelessly for the unborn, and for the mamas bound for destruction at the abortion centers. That is a burden he carries that is much heavier than those turkey feast boxes.
One of the things the mama said who I'd followed up the hill really stuck with me.
"I have a son. He's twelve now. All those people on the sidewalk told me back then they would help me. No one did. I aborted this one. I had to. I have no help."
Now don't get me wrong. I believe strongly in personal responsibility. Should the unmarried woman have been sexually active when she couldn't afford the child she already had? No. Is it ever wise to go outside God's protective and clear commands regarding sexual purity, abstinence outside of marriage, and providing for the vulnerable and innocent, i.e. the unborn? No. I am not excusing terrible choices. However, the cycle of destruction must be stopped. Who will stop it if not me? If not you? All of us can influence in a positive way.
I aborted this one. I had to. I have no help.
That is a battle cry in my eyes.
I thought of the team of people and all those ministries who had made those turkey feasts possible. I thought of all the women who have benefited from the baby showers, the housing assistance, the help with food, clothes, medical concerns, cars, etc..... that Cities4Life has been so instrumental in providing. We cannot do enough without the churches rising en masse towards this task, but that woman's words are still with me.
They told me they would help me. No one did.
Many people criticize those who actively speak and work to end abortion. Do not judge, they say. Many people pray for our nation, for the poor, for the culture that would let a child be ripped apart piece by piece and then sucked violently from the womb, that organ perfectly designed as a place of protection. The prayers end, the criticism is levied, and they have done their duty.
I wonder if that phrase, 'do not judge', is an easy way to be uninvolved in the cultural and moral abyss that makes the slaughter of so many unborn children possible? It sounds so holy and righteous. I guess if you are not the unborn child, it's easier to feel that way. Others declare, "I'll pray for you," while the manifold needs go completely unmet. Again, I am not knocking prayer. Prayer is so essential for God's work, but if it doesn't fuel the desire to meet needs, I wonder if it is sometimes a way to rationalize inaction. If you are praying for God to raise someone to meet a need, consider that you might be that someone.
They told me they would help me. No one did.
All the ministries with links provided in this blog are in need of volunteers, resources, and funding. Please consider how you can help.
Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”
But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?
For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ ...