Thursday, August 06, 2009

Two pink lines and the heroes in our midst

The second pink line changes everything.

I volunteer as a counselor at Pregnancy Resource Center. Every week, I talk to women who may be facing an unexpected pregnancy.

These women come from every background, age group, marital status, family type, belief system, and ethnicity. They have two things in common: they are female, and they are sexually active.

We offer free pregnancy tests. As counselors, we use this interaction with a woman to explore other areas of her life (such as relationship violence), to offer assistance and referrals when needed, and to introduce her to the notion of God's love for her and His interest in her life.

Pretty intimate topics to tackle over a cup of urine.

Sometimes women come to us hoping the test is positive, and are disappointed when it is not. Often, they are fearful of the results, and burst into tears when the second pink line makes its appearance.

One young client was in the second category. She and her boyfriend already knew she was pregnant when they came to our office. In fact, they had an appointment at an abortion clinic, but cancelled it at the last minute and came to our office for counsel instead.

As the couple sat in the counseling room with me, he kept his arm around her protectively as she spoke through tears of the reaction she expected from her parents: "They're very conservative Christians... they would throw me out... I don't know what I'd do."

As I listened, I had to fight back my own tears — not tears of fear like my client's, but tears of mourning that the message she'd received from her parents' Christianity was one of harsh judgment rather than one of grace. And this message was louder than the pro-life message they also preached. (I'm not saying that's what her parents taught her; I'm only saying that's what she learned.)

Several years ago, a family we know was in the same situation. The parents had raised their kids in the church, and had taught them about God's love and His provision of Jesus for their sin.

And then one of their teenaged daughters got pregnant.

When the girl fearfully told her mother, the mom knew her own reaction at that moment would determine the tone of their relationship for the rest of their lives. So she opened her arms and wrapped her daughter in a hug that said, "You're still my child."

Exactly as God does when we bring Him our sin.

Both mother and daughter knew things would be different, that this new life would require both of them to change their plans. But that mom followed up her hug of acceptance by sticking by her daughter and helping her in every way possible.

Sometimes, people look at me like I'm some kind of a hero for volunteering a few hours a week with a pro-life organization.

If you ask me, my friend who demonstrated grace to her daughter, and her daughter who demonstrated courage by owning up to her mistake — these women who are living out their beliefs every minute — they are the real heroes.

~~~~~

5 comments:

  1. I agree. I truly hope my girls never get pregnant before marriage but if they do, I hope I've spent a lifetime building into their life so that they know they can come to me. After I kill the kid, I'll help take care of the baby. :)

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  2. Oh, Joe... (shaking head).

    I know you're (mostly) kidding about killing the baby's father. But if that happens, he'll need grace just as much as she will.

    Part of what led my client to think of abortion in the first place was knowing how her parents felt about her boyfriend.

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  3. Pam, I know how long you spent writing, thinking and praying about this entry before you posted it, and how careful you have to be with every word, but I want you to know every word is precious, and every word needed to be shared.

    So many women have no hope and no grace from family and friends to deal with the pain and guilt and suffering that has come and will come as a result of their pregnancies.

    I applaud them for their courage, and you for your love.

    Thank you.

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  4. Logan Nguyen9:06 PM

    Great entry CUF!

    It's very heartbreaking when people come to the conclusion that they'll receive rejection instead of acceptance because the other party is a Christian. It always brings to light the reputation that others may have about Christians, and demands more of us to show our love.

    I'm glad you still volunteer at the PRC!

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  5. Thanks, Logan!

    Yep, I'm still there -- how about you?

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