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Thursday, 02 April 2020
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The fruits of our labor Artem Kovalev/Unsplash

The fruits of our labor

The thirty-five-year-old black-haired woman stepped into view. I hadn’t seen her in nearly nine years. A decade ago, “Kay” came into True Care Women’s Resource Center where I work, pregnant, scared, and considering abortion. 

Kay’s story

She lived out-of-state and had been in town visiting friends and family. Learning our patient had experienced two previous abortions, the advocate provided her a copy of Her Choice to Heal. We learned much later that book and a Bible spoke to Kay’s heart and soul. 

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She continued her pregnancy despite the unexpected death of the child’s father. Now, here she was, ten years later, after returning to town, falling in love again, and marrying, publicly expressing her desire to follow Jesus through baptism. 

True Care’s president and I witnessed this beautiful act, and, afterward, received hugs from this new daughter of God and her own precious daughter. Kay showed us the two books she still possessed, the ones that led her to choose life, both for her child and for herself in a relationship with Christ.

Bloom where you are planted

Rarely do we get to witness such a transformation, to experience a patient story come full circle. Yet, the seeds we plant, with a Gospel presentation, the gift of a book, the love and encouragement we shower, can and do take root. We may not know this side of Heaven how fully many of our clients bloom, but when we know in full as we are fully known, I imagine the joy we’ll experience will overflow as we meet many of the women we’ve served face-to-face once again.

Bloom – that was the theme of a recent women’s conference I attended. Special guests Amy Ford and Jessica Russo from Embrace Grace encouraged us to do just that. Our mission field is just outside the walls of our church, be that our pregnancy center, our local homeless shelter, our neighborhood, even our own family. 

Amy Ford of Embrace Grace with Love Boxes/Gayle Irwin

Christ calls us to serve, and He provides the opportunities to do so. He even said that He came to serve and not be served (see Matthew 20:28), and He asks the same of us. He encourages His followers to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world, and He provides not only the opportunities, but the strength and talent to fulfill those calls. 

Service, salt, and light are exactly what Embrace Grace embodies. Within what is known as Love Boxes, pregnant women find gifts especially for them and their unborn child: a onesie; a journal; a book; and a note. Those notes begin, “Dear Brave Girl,” and each is completed by a Christ-following woman. Those of us at the conference put together more than 100 Love Boxes, each with a handwritten note. 

Assembling Love Boxes/Gayle Irwin

As I composed my message of encouragement, I thought about the women True Care and other pregnancy centers serve: the 15-year-old whose parents are pushing her to abort; the 19-year-old afraid to lose her college scholarship because she’s pregnant; the 21-year-old whose boyfriend threatens to leave her if she doesn’t abort; the 25-year-old who plans to parent but is scared she won’t be a good mom because her own family is so dysfunctional. 

Each needs to know she is a “brave girl.” 

Writing Encouraging Notes for Love Boxes/Gayle Irwin

The fruits of our labor

Not everyone will respond positively to our encouragement, whether in verbal or written form. Not all women want to hear the Gospel. Sometimes the fruit of our labor appears shriveled and unproductive. But, then, one, just one, changes from abortion-minded or determined, to continuing her pregnancy. 

Tweet This: Not everyone will respond positively to our encouragement... But then just one changes from abortion-minded to continuing her pregnancy.

And, just as Jesus rejoiced at the one lost sheep returning to the fold, so we, too, rejoice when a woman chooses life for her baby ... and for herself.

Fruit grew from the planting in Kay’s heart ten years ago when she left True Care undecided about her pregnancy. Over the years, she began to bloom.  As I watched her come up out of the water, I rejoiced and clapped my hands along with those in the room. She bloomed from one encounter at a pregnancy center, and she has flourished through God’s love and grace after returning to His fold, just like that lost sheep.  

May we continue to plant the seeds of love, compassion, encouragement, and prayer, trusting God to bless the fruits of our labor.

Gayle Irwin

Gayle M. Irwin is human and pet life advocate and an award-winning author and freelance writer. She is a contributor to seven Chicken Soup for the Soul books and the author of many inspirational pet books and stories for children and adults. Her first novel, a clean, contemporary pet rescue romance titled Rescue Road, released November 8, 2019. She subtly weaves important life and faith lessons within the lines and pages of her stories. As Patient Resources Director for True Care Women’s Resource Center in Casper, Wyoming, for ten years, Gayle oversees the volunteer program, writes patient stories for the organization’s newsletter, creates blog and social media posts for the center, and serves as a patient advocate when needed. Learn more about her writing endeavors and read her pet blog at her website: www.gaylemirwin.com.

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