Sunday, 17 January 2021

How Pregnancy Help Centers Change Lives, One Blessing at a Time

The young father and mother were clearly exasperated with their child. “Oh, come on,” they complained. “Can’t you just cooperate? Why do you have to be such a troublemaker?”

You’d think they were dealing with a toddler’s temper tantrum—but they were talking to their unborn child’s image on the ultrasound screen. Baby’s egregious sin was she wouldn’t turn the way they wanted her to.

Even before she was born, this baby was given a negative label by her parents. They already saw her as a source of difficulty, not joy.

On a different occasion, I helped a couple who brought their two young children with them to their pregnancy options consultation. The boy, about five, was sweet-natured and helpful toward his younger sister. He put toys away after the session without being asked.

Despite the boy’s good attitude, his mother continually addressed him with a sharp tongue and disdainful attitude. It seemed he could do no right in her eyes. 

As I witnessed this toxic pattern, my heart ached for this boy. I couldn’t let the opportunity pass to let him know he was appreciated, so I told him, “Thank you for being such a good helper and being so kind to your sister.” 

Then I turned to the mother and said, “What a fine son you have!”

After the family left, I prayed for them. I asked God to help this boy keep his sweet disposition and not give way to discouragement and bitterness. I asked Him to open this mother’s eyes so she could recognize the treasure she had in each of her children.

Numerous times, I’ve been able to bless young infants whose mothers have left the room to leave a sample for their pregnancy test. 

You are not an accident. The Lord Jesus made you on purpose. He loves you. May you come to know and love and serve Him with all your heart. 

It’s a simple act of faith, but a profound one. Words and acts of blessing are absent in so many of the lives of those we serve, while curses abound.

Every time a woman or couple or family comes into a pregnancy help center, we have an opportunity to speak life and blessing over their lives. We have the privilege of coming before the throne of God and asking Him to deliver our clients (and their children) from the hurtful, sinful patterns we witness in their words and actions.

In other words, we have the opportunity to reverse the curse in their lives.

In their well-known classic, The Blessing, authors John Trent and Gary Smalley explain the great significance of parents demonstrating unconditional love and acceptance to their children with their words and actions. They describe five elements of the blessing: meaningful touch, spoken words, attaching high value, picturing a special future, and active commitment.

Many of the young parents we encounter never received the blessing from their own mothers and fathers. Perhaps the only touch they received was violent or sexual. Perhaps they never heard an affirming word or received any hope for their future. Perhaps the only attention they got was when they were being yelled at.

So they suffer from wounds of rejection and betrayal, unconsciously passing on the same pain to their children that they experienced while growing up.

Do our quiet prayers and brief blessings really make a difference? Yes, they do.

Years ago, I ran across a statistic which indicated that, for every negative thing spoken, it takes eight positive remarks to make up for it. I don’t know how this was measured, but my own experience tells me something different.

Early in our marriage, I recall my husband offering me a simple, sincere compliment regarding my tidiness: “You have a way of going into a room and making it all better.”

I knew that Scott wasn’t flattering me; I’ve always been a pretty organized person. But since the day he made that specific, positive remark, I’ve never doubted my ability to bring order where the law of entropy has had its way. 

I am confident in that skill because someone used words to confirm my capability. I only needed to hear it once. 

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver,” Solomon writes (Proverbs 25:11). In another proverb, he says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits (Proverbs 18:21).”

What we say to—and about—our clients matters a great deal. Our words are powerful, and so are our actions.

Tweet This: What we say to—and about—our clients matters a great deal. Our words are powerful, and so are our actions. @susannemaynes #prolife

We may be the only ones speaking blessing over a particular person or family—but that’s enough to make a difference.

We have the opportunity to bless our clients and their families by means of the five elements which Trent and Smalley describe. We can ask permission to give a hug, or offer a compliment. We can praise the good choices our clients make, and help them look forward to the future. We can be there for them even if no one else is.

We can look for opportunities to bless their children in the same way.

People come through our doors for help and support as they face an unplanned pregnancy, but God wants to do so much more in their lives than rescue the life of their preborn child. 

He wants to break curses, establish blessing, and redeem family lines—and we get to participate in His great work.

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Susanne Maynes

Susanne Maynes is an author, speaker, and biblical counselor who served at a pregnancy help center for ten years. She blogs about church & culture and spiritual growth at SusanneMaynes.comHer educational devotional, Unleashing Your Courageous Compassion: 40 Reflections on Rescuing the Unborn, uplifts and strengthens the pregnancy help community. Susanne is currently pursuing a Master of Theological Studies degree at Regent University.


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