It's hard, when you pour time and energy into something to really completely surrender. Must be what Abraham felt like offering up Isaac.
"You want me to give up my son? My son- whom I have spent years raising, years teaching right from wrong, years training, nurturing, developing, praying for and working with- that son? If You were just going to kill him off, why did I even bother?!"
If I were Abraham, that's what Abraham would have thought. That's what I have been thinking over the past couple days.
In June, I began counseling at a local crisis pregnancy center. In that time, I have had some easy cases- women who come in ecstatic because they are pregnant. Wham bam out the door they go. No big issues. I have had a couple abortion-determined clients who came in already well decided. Then there is this one. This one who, by confession of the staff, is one of the hardest cases we have had. This one, who has weasled her way into my heart and soul and it is killing me to let her go.
The first appointment usually lasts 45 minutes, and they don't usually contact us again. My first appointment with Sarah was 3 hours long, and we have talked for a couple hours since. She is still leaning toward abortion, and it is taking all of my willpower to not just straight up tell her "don't do it." She had a follow up ultrasound scheduled for today, and I had planned on going.
I felt as if everything was lining up as an 'all systems go' for me to go to the ultrasound. It was a half day at school today; I didn't have to report for jury duty. So much was going my way, except for this nagging feeling that I was wrong. I was wrong to want to be there with her. Wrong for having a list of 'things to discuss' with her. Yet, how could I not be involved. It was a gut-wrenching predicament. Would I do more harm than good by showing up for this ultrasound? Finally, I decided to write a letter to Sarah, telling her how much God loves her, how much He wants to shower His grace on her and pleading with her to seek His heart in this.
I drove it to the center and she hadn't yet arrived. I dropped it off with the nurse and slipped over to the other side to pray. A few minutes later, I returned, the nurse mouthed "She's here. She's in the bathroom." I slipped out the front door, said a quick prayer and fought off tears of surrender as I got into my car.
The accuser of the brethren had snuck into my car while I was inside. "You failed. You know she is going to abort. It's over. All of that work. All of that prayer. All of those hours. God didn't hear you. It doesn't matter. You wasted your time." The battle raged for a few minutes. My heart cried out that he was wrong. I just knew he had to be wrong. He was, and is (as always).
After reaching a dangerous point of brokenness (like my eyes need windshield wipers) I heard a question posed by the director of the pregnancy center. "Whose ministry is this, anyway?" She hadn't asked me that question; she was sharing a story about one of her first counseling experiences. She had been frustrated because a client wasn't listening to her. My situation differed in that my client was listening to me. I was simply running out of time. Still, the question God asked me was, "Jessica, whose ministry is this anyway?"
I can't change her heart. No matter how much I plead, threaten (not that I threaten), or stuff with facts, I can do nothing. She did not need me at that sonogram appointment; she needed Him, and He was there. In the form of nurses and counselors on shift, He was there. It has never been my job to save her, but it has been my job to love her.
It is my job to fulfill the calling of Christ on my life in whatever ministry He has given me. Today that was letting Sarah go and knowing that I had done everything I could to be a channel for God's grace on her life. Tomorrow it will be to go to school and be an example for my students and then going to work and getting the paperwork done. That's it. Just be faithful. That's all He asks of us. Sometimes that is not so much an action. Sometimes it is just simply standing back, letting go and allowing God to take it from here.