I received a call early one morning. It was from the crisis pregnancy centers director. There was a woman in my town scheduled for an abortion in a matter of hours. She had called in, wanting to talk to someone before she went through with the procedure. Would I go speak with her?
As I drove the few, short miles west to meet Ann Baker (not her real name), I prayed for the wisdom to really listen and the right words to say. I wasn’t interested in convincing anyone about anything. I was more concerned about seeing someone hurting and finding the best way to be there for them. This was exactly the attitude that had kept me from remaining long in the center’s office but it was the only one that I could live with and have a clear conscience.
When I finally arrived at my destination, I found a woman, almost thirty years old, holding a very thin, unhealthy looking one year old baby boy. Ann carried her baby out to my car, where we sat and talked for a very short twenty minutes. She explained that she had already had multiple abortions before delivering the son she now held on her lap. She didn’t really want to have another abortion but felt there were no other options. She was a drug addict who prostituted for drug money. The man who owned the house I was parked in front of had agreed she could sleep in his car in exchange for sex. I felt sick to my stomach. How could this be true in the town where I lived? As I sat and listened to Ann tell her story, I prayed to God for an answer. That’s when this thought went through my mind.
“People say they are Christians everyday. BE a Christian.”
I knew what I had to do. I told Ann, if the only problem she was facing in going through with her pregnancy was food and shelter, she could come live with us. I told her I was married with three little boys and we could rearrange rooms so she and her little son would have their own room. I also explained, we wanted nothing in return other than to see her and her children healthy and able to stand on their own. I was honest about our house rules: no drugs, no men, no drinking or smoking inside. What she did outside the house was her business. I was not going to be her mother or her warden. What she did in my house would be my business, however. Ann looked at me like a scared rabbit. She said she would think about it and got out of my car. As I watched her walk back into the house, I felt my heart sink deep into the pit of my stomach.
Driving home, I just knew I had said all the wrong things in all the wrong ways. I really wanted to BE what I said I believed, I just wasn’t sure what that should look like. Thirty minutes after arriving home, the phone rang. It was Ann. If I was really serious about what I said, she and her boy would move in. Could she come over and talk about a few things first? I said yes, gave her my address and hung up the phone shaking. I immediately called my husband and told him what I had done. He was not happy to say the least. For the next fifteen minutes we went round and round, having our own private abortion debate.
“I don’t want some strange drug addict moving into our home. Marla, be serious! What about the boys?”
“Bob, the boys will be fine. Are we Christians or not? I don’t want to beat people up who are different from me hoping to change their mind. I want to be the one that is different and really love people right where they are. Please understand!”
Bob stood firm and said “NO!” in a very clear and definite way that could not be mistaken for a maybe. Before I could argue my next point, as if I had one, Ann knocked on our front door. I quickly ended the conversation with my fuming husband and ran to answer the door.
As Ann and I sat and talked she asked me some very direct questions, some which made me laugh out loud.
“Are you in some kind of cult and you're going to try to brainwash me?”
“No, Ann, we are not in some kind of cult and we hadn’t planned on brainwashing you. Were you hoping to be brainwashed?” I don’t think she laughed at that, if I recall correctly.
“So what do you get out of this?”
“ We get to see you and your children happy and healthy. That’s really it, I suppose. Isn’t that enough?” She didn’t answer.
Ann and her son spent the entire day at our house, just hanging out, eating lunch, playing in the backyard and starting dinner. I had a wonderful day with them other than the nagging thought of the awful dilemma I had created. Bob would be home any minute. I didn’t have a clue what to do.
To Be Continued ...