How Pro-Life Activism Became Personal Again
In 2002, I found myself in an all-day training session to become a peer counselor at my local crisis pregnancy center. Looking back, I have no idea how I even knew about the opportunity. Perhaps I heard something about it from my church or by word of mouth, but I was there, listening. As I listened to all the possible scenarios the center finds itself ministering in and heard about the immense need for caring and compassionate counselors, something clicked. This was my calling! I was getting a minor in psychology, so of course my 21-year-old self thought that made me an expert on all things counseling. I knew this was what I was meant to do.
Because I was in college, I was assigned to the moms and babies room, where material assistance is provided for mothers who have chosen life for their babies. Every Thursday night, I would go up the stairs above a little Italian restaurant in a Winn-Dixie shopping center and spend two hours volunteering. I would fold baby clothes, read pamphlets and articles, and spend time getting to know these precious pregnant moms. I had so much to learn.
I wasn’t quite the counseling gem that I had imagined myself to be. One client was making conversation and asked if I had any children. My reply was, “Oh, no, of course not. I’m still in college and I’m not even married!” She was also in college and not married. Open mouth, insert foot. She took my comment with grace, but I still shudder when I think about it. Clearly, God had much to teach me about ministering to the vulnerable.
About a year passed, and I had to leave Tallahassee and the center that I had grown to love. I was getting married, and we were moving to Kentucky for my husband to go to seminary. Life got busy there, and I immediately began working and never gave the pregnancy center much thought. A year and a half later, we wound up back in Tallahassee for my husband to take a job in ministry. I was still working full time and within a few months, we were pregnant with our first child. It was an incredible surprise because we had reason to believe that pregnancy would not come easy for us. Our son was born with what we understood to be major complications, so that took all our time and energy. Again, no thought was given to the pregnancy center.
As we saw God’s miraculous healing hand over our son’s life, we decided to try to have another baby. This was the proof of what we initially thought: getting pregnant was no simple task. While I was in the phase of begging God for another baby, it seemed that everyone around me was getting pregnant effortlessly. I started remembering my time at the pregnancy center and began to feel angry. Here I was, trying to follow Jesus with all my heart, and yet there was this incredible longing that wasn’t being fulfilled.
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