They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep. Psalm 107:23-24
Since first reading that in Oswald Chamber's My Utmost for His Highest, I have found it a great challenge in my faith to step away from the shallow waters and be willing to launch out into the deep. Today, I was itching for that chance.
It is week three of my internship at the pregnancy center. Before today, I had sat in on three client sessions. Two were positive and wanted to carry, a third was negative. Not really hard stuff. Not difficult. You just share in their joy and give them information about our resources. While that's part of why I am there, it is not part of why I am there. I received my schedule for next month this morning. I will officially begin counseling on August 11. That is my first shift (so if you are thinking of me between 10-1, pray for me). I realized though that I am really not prepared to counsel an abortion-minded client. Hence this morning's prayer, "God, please bring someone who wants an abortion." After all, that's why the entire clinic is there!
Our first client this morning was Spanish-speaking, so I answered phones. Our second was obviously pregnant, only seven weeks away from her due date, just needing a positive test. (Yes, I know, it's weird). The lead counselor's native language is Spanish and she told me, "I have a hard time with the English speakers so if you want to talk to her, please do." Well, I can't counsel on my own yet, but God was paving the way for client number 3.
She is my age, just a few months older, and by our calculations, is five weeks pregnant. She wanted us to give her an abortion. It wasn't even, "Well, I'll have to think about it." No, it was, "Give me the abortion pill please, I can't have this baby." The lead counselor deferred to me, and, after a brief moment of thinking, "Oh my goodness! I have to change her mind!!!! WHAT DO I DO?!" I found comfort in one thing alone, "Jessica, just give her truth." That's what God reminded me of as I flew around the clinic talking to nurses trying to figure out some of the side effects of the abortion pill (which are many).
The lead counselor barely spoke at all, only redirecting back to our training when the room grew silent. In that visit, all of my years of interest in pregnancy and child development (I used to want to be an OB, for those who did not know that about me) came rushing back. I was able to explain ectopic pregnancies and explain the risks of the abortion pill, all the while helping her understand that we were concerned about her (which we are) not just her baby. An hour went by and there were tears as she realized that this was not a simple solution. There was no, "Just take this pill and it will all be better" option. Either way, her life would change.
I moved from the chair to the couch beside her, holding the box of tissues as she cried. I cradled a fetal model en utero as I explained why the pill wouldn't fix an ectopic pregnancy and how an ectopic could kill her. We encouraged her to wait for an ultrasound, told her that her baby's heart would have started beating... today. We assured her that she still has options. She still has choices, and still has time, even if she eventually does get an abortion.
She left still leaning strongly toward abortion, and, oddly enough, I wasn't discouraged. Don't hate me for that. It's simply the truth. God works in their hearts, we can't. I read her evaluation form and one thing brought confirmation. When asked if she would refer family or friends to us, she said yes. That, to me, is a big deal. This girl is not a Christian, fully agrees with abortion, and we dealt with her in a way that made her feel loved and respected, not condemned or looked down upon.
It was yet another door I have seen God open in the past couple days. Literally, in the last few days, He has begun answering the cries of my ministry heart. Yesterday, I received an e-mail offering a freelance editing job for 2011. The beautiful thing about freelancing is I can do it whenever. Then, this morning, I have my first abortion-minded client, and it wasn't even like I got to observe, God gave me the opportunity to counsel with a senior counselor supervising. That never happens! He put all of my worries at ease. Then, to top it all off, I get this e-mail today, from the young adult group I am associated with:
If you've ever asked yourself these questions (or similar ones): "Is she really homeless?"; "If I give him a dollar will it go towards drugs?"; "God's word says to provide for those in need, but how?"; then come to the interest meeting on Sunday, July 25th at 6:00pm in the Green Room (downstairs). We'll be looking at God's heart for the homeless and developing a practical way to share Christ's love throughout Silver Spring.
Now THAT's what I am talking about. A proactive outreach to those we are called to reach. This group is amazing, and I am so grateful to be part of this ministry. They developed an outreach to a bunch of skater kids in the city. They saw an opportunity (http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post.cgi?id=6515) and chose to use it. Three days, THREE DAYS after reading that article, they had a ministry group at that park sharing the Gospel with those kids. That's what we are called to do, and I am proud of them for stepping up to the plate and answering that call.
Fact is, doors sit open in front of us every day, but they open both ways. On one end, God may lead someone to us through an open door. On the reverse, He may lead us to someone. We don't have to work at a place like a pregnancy center to reach out to people. The world is all around us, not locked away in a cage for us to visit every now and then. We live in it, and it's time we start impacting it. Pray for God to open a door, and He will.