I thought I recognized her name and the small grainy black and white picture seemed familiar. I looked her up in our files and, sure enough, she was one of my clients, having visited the Crisis Pregnancy Center last spring. It wasn’t the first time I’d seen a client’s name listed in our local paper’s police report but I was shocked and saddened just the same. I remembered her, the hardness in her eyes, her defensive posture as she awaited the test results.
I worry. I had written on the file that I had shared the gospel with her but, while I can remember her fairly vividly, I cannot remember what I said or did or didn’t say. Did I communicate clearly? Will she remember? Did she hear the good news that Jesus is her only hope? That He is my only hope?
In an earlier blog post I mentioned my volunteering at the center and one of you commended me for my bravery in undertaking such ministry. It unsettled me then and it unsettles me now. I do not feel brave. Mostly I feel helpless. The needs are so great, spiritually, physically, linguistically, that I feel helpless before them. This week I had a client come in who spoke no English whatsoever. Me, I speak no Spanish whatsoever. Surely our attempts at communication were comedic to say the least! She had two boys with her, one disabled with a feeding tube and without the use of his arms or hands. I gave her some diapers and some clothes; what more could I do? I pray for her, that she and the boys are warm enough at night and have enough to eat and that somehow, some way, she may know of the love of God in Jesus Christ.
We get a variety of clients but very few that are abortion minded. Most of the work we do involves providing help for the mother and child: clothes, diapers, formula, maternity items, car seats. Most of our clients are very needy and many do not speak English. I have occasionally had opportunity to serve a more affluent client, like the couple who came in wanting information on the abortion pill because the benefits of their friendship, if you catch my meaning, resulted in an unwanted pregnancy. College students, smart, well off, everything going for them except for a careless night of drinking and smoking pot.
It’s easy to get frustrated. Week after week I see women caught in the consequences of their own ill advised choices. Sometimes I feel superior–not to those clients who are genuinely needy but to those who remain in the cycle, making the same poor decisions over and over again. Wise up, I want to say. Can’t you see how stupid this is? I don’t say it, but sometimes I want to.
I forget. I forget that there, but for the grace of God, go I. I forget my own sin and the vast measure of grace and mercy extended to me wholly and completely undeserved. My pride tells me I am smarter and superior to those I seek to serve; the cross tells me I am the greatest of sinners and as such I cannot, I must not, withhold the same measure of grace to my fellow sister. I love the women who come into the center, I do, but I love them best when I love them through the lens of the cross.
One week I was at the center alone, nursing a pounding headache and feeling rotten all the way around. A couple came in; she was pregnant and had heard that we gave baby beds. I took down her information, told her someone would be in touch closer to her delivery date and was about to send them on their merry way. I didn’t feel like talking, period, much less talking about the gospel. It’s shameful to admit but it’s true. Sharing the gospel can be messy and personal and I just was too tired to go there that morning. Except… except for the fact that something (the Spirit?) prompted me to ask them if they were married. They were not and what ensued was a conversation about Jesus being the only hope for any marriage to survive and thrive. Despite myself I ended up sharing the good news that Jesus saves. Later I looked over her file. One question asks the client when she began being sexually active. She had written “12.” I cried.
See, I am not brave. To my shame, sometimes I am even reluctant. I am weak. I am helpless. No amount of diapers or maternity clothes can give these women what they need. Only Jesus can redeem and save. Only the Spirit can open their eyes so that they may see Christ in all His beauty and glory. Yes, Lord. Let it be. May I be a faithful witness humbly and boldly proclaiming Jesus as the way, the truth and the life.
A Hispanic family came in this week. The mom knew no English but her husband did so he and I conversed, he translating Spanish to English for me and English to Spanish for her. I asked him if they attended church and he answered in the affirmative, which isn’t so unusual given we live in the deep South. It’s a rare client, Hispanic or otherwise, that doesn’t claim some degree of religious affiliation. So I asked him if he would say he had a relationship with Jesus. “Oh, yes,” he answered, his smile broad and lighting his whole face. “Is wonderful.”
Yes. Yes, is wonderful indeed. That Jesus Christ would come to earth, God becoming man, to seek and to save lost sinners like me. Behold, what manner of love is this! That God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whosoever would believe would not perish but have eternal life. Is wonderful!