In my last post I described to you my Monday kind of life. Today I’d like to give you a slice of my Wednesday life.
Wednesdays, as some of you know, are my days to volunteer at our crisis pregnancy center. Today two women were waiting as I arrived. With them was a baby and a toddler, both the children of one of the women. Since she was a new client I handed her the requisite paperwork to complete while I retrieved the correct size diapers and clothes that she needed for the baby. In retrospect I’m not sure she could read, at least not very well, because her friend “helped” her fill out the form and still it took her nearly half an hour to provide the most basic of information: name, address, children’s names, etc.
She requested clothes for her toddler as well, a sweet, quiet little girl with a dirty face, no shoes, and unkempt hair. We only have clothes up to size 24 months, I told her sadly. Our other counselor recommended a church in a neighboring town that offers a benevolence ministry once a week and I looked up the dates and times for her.
I asked the women if they attended church. They (of course) answered affirmatively but then upon further conversation confessed that, actually, no, they did not, at least not in a long while. I shared the gospel though neither of them looked me in the eye nor gave any indication they were listening or paying any attention whatsoever. The baby, however, smiled and kicked.
The mom asked for a baby bed, saying the baby was currently sleeping in the bed with her. I offered the option of completing a series of bible studies in exchange for a baby bed. Surprisingly she agreed. I hope she will do them. Maybe her friend will do them with her.
I had two other clients today, one a new client who knew she was pregnant but needed an official proof of pregnancy form in order to apply for government assistance. My last client I know by name because she and her husband and three small children come in for diapers regularly. They are a sweet, God fearing family who are needy. I don’t know much of their story except that they are Hispanic and love the Lord. I am glad they do come in once a month or so because it’s fun to see the baby grow and change. They shake my hand when they leave and they thank me with big smiles and broken English and the kids laugh at my “Adios!”
I sometimes feel slightly deceptive when I tell people I volunteer at the pregnancy center, not because I am in any way embarrassed by our work here but because they often assume we are then on the front lines of the fight for the unborn. It is true: we are passionate about the sanctity of life. We do occasionally have the abortion minded client and we pray for more to come to us for the truth. Yes, Lord, send us more!
However, my clients today represent the majority of what we do: provide diapers and clothes and pregnancy tests. And we are glad to do so, thankful for these cups of cold water that we are able to offer freely in Jesus’ name.
I’ve served women across racial and socioeconomic lines, young affluent women, women who speak no English whatsoever, women escaping terrible and abusive situations, women choosing to remain in terrible and abusive situations. Women whose husbands are in prison, women whose husbands are illegal, women who have no husband and have no idea who or where the father of her child may be. I’ve held babies who were handicapped, smiled and laughed with children who were filthy and smelled, and discussed the problem of evil and God’s sovereignty with a woman whose life bore the marks of the former causing her to doubt the latter.
These are conversations I would never have had apart from my work here at the center. I do not tell you these things for your admiration or appreciation. I confess them to you because I know my selfishness and my tendency to ignore those different from me.
My Wednesday life gives me a peek into the real lives and real struggles of real women and it reminds me again of the real gospel and that it is for real life. I’ve made this point before but I need to remember it again: most of what we evangelicals argue and worry about, whether it be complementarianism or Calvinism, these arguments have no bearing on these women’s lives. They need diapers. And clothes. And hope.
No doubt I am alone in this but here’s a newsflash: sometimes social media depresses me. I see the jockeying for influence and links and followers and I get caught up in the frenzy and I find myself wanting to appear smart and opinionated and deep and wise. I know myself better than that but, still, I get sucked into a social media tailspin and I get frustrated and angry and depressed because my voice seems so small and it feels like no one cares about what I have to say and what I have to say seems rather dumb when there are so many smarter and with greater influence and it depresses me and…then…then I talk to a 25 year old woman who can’t read. Her children have no clothes. Her baby has no bed. And I remember all over again the realness of the need and the realness of the gospel and the realness of my privilege to serve her in the name of my Savior who loves me.