An exercise which I’ve found to be important to any team I have the opportunity to work with (boards and staffs) is to ask a simple question: For any client or patient who walks in your door, what do you wish her life to look like in five years?
From there, we start writing on the white board. Ideas flow. “We want her to know she made a great choice in choosing life,” “We want her to be a woman of faith,” “We want her to be self-sufficient,” “We want her child or children to be growing up in a safe, loving environment.”
Obviously, this brainstorming session isn’t limited to those responses. We could go on and on.
It’s a fascinating exercise because it allows us to think beyond the next program or initiative. We’re allowed to consider, “How can we influence her life (and his, by the way) in a positive, productive, powerful way?”
The starting point
But before a client or patient can begin this five-year journey (five years, by the way, is a random time frame—just to get us thinking), it is often vital that she or he begins at a clear starting point, an understanding that launches any of us in the right direction.
The starting point is almost always faith, whether our client or patient realizes it.
Yes, an atheist can choose life. But even the atheist must have some sort of faith which believes choosing life—with all its challenges—is a better decision than making what many would call the “easy” choice to simply end the pregnancy and get on with life.
Most who come to us, however, at least somewhat believe there is a God who has a stake in their lives, who cares for them. With these, where do we begin?
Just one thing
If we are to be successful in reaching these who believe in God at some level, we have a simple, challenging task: Give them a small seed of faith they can latch onto. A mustard-seed faith if you will.
They need to know God is for them.
That’s it. So many believe God is against them. Perhaps they’ve been dealt a bad hand with their environment and blame God. Or they have been terribly mistreated. Honestly, for many we see, it just doesn’t look like God is for them at all.
Or it may be that past decisions lead them to believe God is judging them, finding them wanting and ready to drop the hammer (in the form of an unexpected pregnancy).
For each of these individuals, it is part of our mission to guide them toward believing that, regardless of what they see, God is for them. God is giving them an incredible opportunity to bring a new life into this world to make their world and this world a better place.
We want them to see they are actually chosen by God to do something great, should they take on the calling they’ve been given. Whether through adoption or parenting, they have a mighty role in changing history.
In short, this unexpected pregnancy, which seems like such a burden, is something quite different. When seen through the lens of faith, what appears to be a terrible predicament is actually God reaching down and saying, “I chose you for something great. Seize the opportunity because I am with you.”
I wish we could all write a perfect script to effectively communicate these thoughts so those we see could easily grasp them. We can’t. What one person must hear is the very phrase another would run from.
Instead, we must listen. A lot. We must find our client or patient’s back story and be empathetic enough to truly hear their heart as it cries out for hope.
When we truly understand where they are and where they’ve been, we will find the words to express, “I know it may not look like it right now, but as crazy as this sounds, perhaps God is with you. Perhaps this is the moment in your life where your story is about to take an amazing turn toward something better than you can imagine.”
The heart of who we are
At our core, this is what we do. We look at the movie script of someone’s life and see where God is choosing the broken person, the victim, the downtrodden, or even the rising young professional with the world at her feet who faces a crisis which threatens to destroy it all . . . and giving her an incredible opportunity to be a hero in her own story.
This new story begins when we offer the possibility that God is with her. Because once she believes this truth, hope rises.
We are, in essence, assistants to our clients in writing their new life story. A story which can lead to joy, accomplishment, and a legacy for others to follow. Some of these stories are re-written in five years, some in just months and others may take longer.
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We never know what the ending will be. But we do know, when we start with “God is for you,” we’re on the right track.