A few years ago, a soft-spoken woman came into our center to explore volunteering opportunities. “Cathy” believed in the life-affirming mission, had some free time, and wanted to help. I could see she had a number of qualifications which would be helpful in ministering to our clients.
Cathy knew the Lord and was familiar with the Bible. She had valuable life experience and a stable home life. She could read and write and cook—advantages which many we serve don’t necessarily enjoy.
We toured the building as I answered questions and described areas where Cathy could lend a hand. Yet, no matter what volunteering opportunities I presented, her answer was the same.
“Oh, I don’t think I could do that.”
Frustrated, I wondered how I could bridge the gap between this well-qualified, but fearful woman and the distressed pregnant girl who needed her.
Cathy didn’t join our team that day, but ultimately, she inspired me to write a book. Unleashing Your Courageous Compassion: 40 Reflections on Rescuing the Unborn is my attempt to invite the sheltered Church Lady (or Church Guy) to follow Jesus into uncharted territory.
In Ezekiel 47, the prophet followed the command to enter the waters flowing from God’s temple, but he didn’t dive in. He walked into ankle-deep water, then thigh-deep, and finally got waist-deep before the river was too deep for wading.
God’s gentle, but irresistible pull to go deeper with him is like walking into a river. As we surrender to serve him more intentionally, we may feel anxious at first—but we don’t want to miss what’s on the opposite side.
Tweet This: Grace & truth meet in #prolife pregnancy help, as we reach those affected by #abortion. @SusanneMaynes
Unleashing Your Courageous Compassion is an invitation for readers to walk into the river of God and be transformed as they cross over to a new landscape. My hope and prayer is that many who are already committed to the life-affirming mission will be refreshed by this book, and that still others would be baptized into a new life of courageous compassion.
Each day’s devotion begins with an original poem and closes with a Scripture and accompanying journaling exercise.
This excerpt from the book is Day 15:
So it has come
in the black-shadowed valley,
facing the giants of
They wait, looming,
silent and indifferent,
as fear strangles my mind
My eyes dart to the stony horizon,
hoping for some
light, some sign of rescue from
Is there no
Holding Out Hope
In compassionate life-affirming ministry, PRCs serve two populations. We help the helpless unborn by reaching out to their distressed mothers. Justice and mercy are two sides of the same coin.
You may have some concerns about taking an uncompromising life-affirming position, wondering if you’ll have to argue that position or talk women out of having an abortion. You may think, "I don’t have the right to tell her what to do."
On the other hand, you may be full of zeal to save lives, eager to educate women about why abortion is wrong.
The responsibility of Christians upholding the life-affirming mission is to come alongside a woman in crisis to offer her emotional support and accurate information. The decision about an unplanned pregnancy is hers to make, not ours.
If she chooses to carry her child to term, a PRC offers her resources. If she chooses to terminate, we show mercy rather than judgment. Being fully life-affirming and compassionate toward those considering abortion isn’t contradictory. In fact, we must be both. The Lord we serve is full of grace and truth (John 1:14).
The woman caught in the crossfire of a pregnancy decision is in a difficult, confusing position. Our culture screams at her, "You have a right to end this pregnancy!" Her conscience and her heart tell her otherwise. But she feels overwhelmed and hopeless, and abortion looks like the only solution.
Because our government has legalized something which God’s law forbids, this woman is forced to play God with her child’s life. How can she make such an enormous decision? Can she control or even predict how her own life will go, let alone her child’s? No woman is wired to handle the devastating responsibility of deciding whether her child should or should not live.
We want to offer support to a woman in the valley of decision so she doesn’t have to damage her soul and body to wiggle out of a tight spot.
Decisions made out of desperation have a way of complicating things further. The best decisions are made from a perspective of hope, not despair. Hope is what we offer: hope to get through a pregnancy, hope to raise a child, hope to pursue dreams, and the biggest hope of all—the hope of eternal life.
We are emissaries of Jesus, full of grace and truth, holding out hope. We ensure that every woman knows she has an Advocate.
To find out more about Susanne Maynes' book, "Unleashing Your Courageous Compassion: 40 Reflections on Rescuing the Unborn," including ordering information, click here.