After a recent event in Texas where I was speaking, a wonderful woman approached me, flanked by her two daughters.
Both daughters appeared to be in their 20s, and having talked to both of them earlier, I knew a bit of about their lives. Both were successful; one in business and one in Christian ministry. What I didn’t know was the back story.
When they and their mother came up to me afterward, it was the mother who spoke first. “She,” the mom said as she nodded to her right, “She is the result of a crisis pregnancy. It was in 1986.”
“I went to a crisis pregnancy center then,” the mom continued. “They helped me and because of that, she was born. I wasn’t married, but they brought me through it.”
Both girls were smiling now. The older one, the result of the pregnancy, was so proud. Her mom later married, and the younger daughter then came along.
Our moment together went by quicker than I wanted. There were others in line to say hello and I didn’t get permission to tell names and places. All I know are first names, as we only had a couple of minutes.
What I do know is this: Their story is our story. And while we see attacks on our work in Illinois and California and in different pockets throughout this country, no one can take away what we are seeing with our own eyes.
In Texas that night, I saw lives changed—and a life likely saved—by the work we did. Their story is an eternal one. One upon which God smiles.
Thirty years ago, God took a broken and afraid young woman and found people who would help her, people who would take her by the hand and say in essence, “We are with you.”
Because of those people, this young lady gave life to her child. Her child, now 29 or 30, is changing other lives for the better. If we ever wonder what the Kingdom of God will be like in its fullness—and I can’t describe it perfectly—it will have people just like her. Trust me in this.
This young woman—a direct result of our work—has a sister who appears to be every bit a picture of Jesus’ love as well. That’s two lives.
As for mom, she is married and successful not only in the world’s eyes, but in carrying a heart for the Lord as well.
This is exactly what happens when we go to work every morning. We never know when the next amazing opportunity will walk in our door. The opportunity may present itself as a woman seeking abortion, or as a young lady who tells us she is ready to have a baby when we see no means of support for her. We don’t know.
I asked the mother if she had gone back to talk to those at the pregnancy center she originally found. “You need to tell them your story,” I said.
“I think I might,” she told me with a smile.
Good. Stories like hers are worth telling again and again. Because sometimes, we need to look long-term and see what we’ve been a part of.
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On that same night, another woman and her husband approached me. “Do you remember me?” She asked. Before she could get her first name out, I remembered. Twenty plus years earlier, Tara was a college student and one of the most faithful volunteers where I was serving as executive director. Now, more than two decades later, she and her husband have planted a church a thousand miles away from the pregnancy help center where she once served, but they are still in the ministry through their support.
And the next day? I walked into a pregnancy help clinic in California, and the first face I would see was that of Christy, another of “my” volunteers from the same time period, back in the early 90s. More than 2,000 miles from where she served in Auburn, Ala., she continues the work.
Long-term stuff. And an incredible picture of why we are truly changing this culture.
Our people stay in it. We roll up our sleeves and remain committed in different ways, because this is not a job or even a profession; it’s a calling.
And our “results,” such as the mom and daughters I met in Texas, grow into amazing tributes to the God who created them.
Right now, our centers are being attacked; we know this. Right now, our culture is in upheaval on so many fronts. But we look at the long term, and we are already seeing long-term results.
These results are only growing. We are turning the corner toward a culture that celebrates life. That time is coming, and it gets closer every day when we open our doors.