Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Little Less Talk and A Lot More Action

I did a short stint as a counselor in a crisis pregnancy center way back in the day. I went through extensive training, attended debates hosted by the local University and read every book I could find from both sides of the issue. I also spent hours upon hours hashing out the details involved with friends who had chosen abortions. What I came away with was this: I still believed, as I do today, that abortion ends a life and harms women. I also believed then and now that each person has to choose what to do with their life and then live with their choices, good, bad or indifferent. The biggest thing I came away with from that experience though was this. Picketing peoples homes and offices while showing pictures of aborted babies (count me OUT on this one, then and now) will rarely if ever change a persons heart or mind. Usually, it just throws gasoline on an already smoldering fire. This is the story of my journey through that fire.

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 ...



15 comments:

Lily Robinson said...

Oh man! I can't believe you left me hanging like this! OK, you've got my attention...

Mrs4444 said...

Wow, what a story! My husband would kill me, too. There's that "Whatsoever you do..." thing, but wow. I don't know if I could do that. I look forward to reading the rest of this; don't be afraid to send me an email to let me know when you post.

And BTW--You are a SWEETHEART! I am humbled by the fact that you put my button in your sidebar like that. Thank you!

Sarah said...

Now I know how you could do what you did. You're a special person. It's an honor to have met you.

Anonymous said...

and the rest of the story.....

Kate said...

What a story and what an amazing thing to do.

Boomer Pie said...

No matter how your story ends, you showed tremendous courage and compassion. http://www.boomerpie.com/

Mama Zen said...

No matter where this story goes next, you are already amazing!

MindyBB said...

Wow, Bob mad- that's bad that's like Lain being mad!

This makes my heart ache and long for those women...ACHE! This was an example of something Christ would have done... Thank you for shining your little light to that woman.

Oklahoma Granny said...

I am very much interested in reading the rest of your story. What a blessing you were to this woman and her child.

plainolebob said...

Marla, on the wings of angels......
I have an idea.......you sneak you
BIG LOVE AN BIG HUGS

Nicole said...

Continue....you're killing me.

Andrea said...

wow - living your faith, even when it's not convenient. what a concept! :-) i'm really interested in hearing the rest of the story...

Marla said...

Lily ~ Sorry about that. I am traveling and typing as fast as my two fingers will allow. lol

Mrs4444 ~ Don't tell your husband about my blog. He may not let us play together anymore. :-)

Sarah ~ Oh, I am definately "special". :-)

Kate, Boomer & Mama ~ It was an amazing thing to be a part of.

Mindy ~ Wanna go feed street people with me next week. It'll be "fun". Don't tell Lain! LOL

Ok Granny ~ They were a blessing to us.

Bob ~ You are so dang sweet all the time I think I'm getting a cavity from your comments. :-)

Nicole! You're here!! Let the party begin, folks!

Andrea ~ Is it ever convenient? :-)

Sharnanigans said...

wow - where is the rest of story - - what an admirable admirable thing to do...

Marla said...

Keeping reading Sharnanigans, it's there and thank you for stopping by!!