Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Week Two May Make You Weak Too

This Saturday, we will be working at the Food Bank. Having never done this before, I am looking forward to the experience. Although, I seriously hope they don’t put me in charge of anything having to do with meat. Or bread. Or candy. Could you imagine me on this fast being placed in a room full of meat, bread and candy. It would be a scene right out of Willy Wonka I tell ya.

What? I didn't eat any of it. Honestly.

Anyway, as long as all goes well and I don’t completely humiliate myself, I will post pictures on Sunday. Also, Monday night we head down to the City Rescue Mission for another volunteer orientation. I am loving life right now. Oh yes I am!

So, onto week two of The List.

2. Contact your local crisis pregnancy center and invite a pregnant woman to live with your family.

I did it. Yesterday. I called Deaconess Adoption Services here in Oklahoma City and had a grand visit with one of the adoption specialists there. We are signed up and on our way to who knows what. When Trista and I were discussing this decision, she asked if we would be willing to take an underage girl. Truthfully, the thought had not occurred to me before I called but of course I said yes. How exciting would it be to not only provide housing for a young woman but also to mentor her? I am all in baby! Through the years, I have been a birth coach for numerous woman. I really thought those days were over but now, well only time will time.

While we wait, I thought I would share a previous post on this very subject. So, I will. This was first posted 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 ...


Blasé said...

Bob is right.

The problem with religion is that it makes you feel guilty if you're not 'sweating/knocking on doors/running around for the Lord'.

We can't impress God, nor does he 'need' us.

"The Just shall live by 'faith'"

"By Grace, not of works, so nobody can boast"

God is much bigger than our efforts or lack thereof.

Be Thankful, have Faith, be open for his opportunities, and don't try to 'make things happen'.

Brian Miller said...

snap....i like it...a couple years back i took a group of kids and repainted our pregnancy center...i think there is a tentative balance between being and doing and it is judged on the motives by which you do it...do you really care or are you just trying to make yourself feel better or more righteous?

Kristen said...

your leaving me hanging? You are a beautiful soul!!

Glen said...

I have to say I agree with Bob on this one - but the thing is...

The world NEEDS to have some people in it that think differently.

here and there - it needs doers, and you are a doer.

Sonya said...

Although I totally understand his point..if you guys don't help..who will???

I hope you post part 2 soon! lol

Blasé said...

God will take care of his business with or without Marla or any of the rest of us...

Everybody relax

Unknown Mami said...

Marla you are one of a kind and so very wonderful.

Marla said...

You are absolutely right Blasé when you say God will take care of His business with or without Marla or any of the rest of us.

Very good point.

Nicole said...

I want to jump right in, even though this post isn't about your weight, and just say hoooorayy for you on your weight loss!! You must feel so good! Nice work!! And happiest of new years! Nicole

Marla said...

Thanks Nicole! I do feel great. I am so much more focused on being healthy than I have been in a very long time.

Happy New Year to you my sister's friend. (I am not allowed to steal friends. Like I could anyway. Ha!) Maybe I'll get to see you sometime this year at Kel's.

Katie said...

Gaahhh! What did your husband do?!?

In response to BLase- while it mayb e true that God doesnt NEED us to do things such as this, I do think God would appreciate the christian motivation behind your actions.

Keep on keeping on Marla. I think this is a wonderful path you are on.xx

Blasé said...

@Katie Mae

God appreciates you regardless. It's based on his sovereign choice/love through the sacrifice of Jesus.

There are only 2 things listed in the Bible where what we do... "pleases" God.

1. having Faith
2. Giving the 'fruit of our lip'/being thankful

..class dismissed

Sarah said...

I remember that post and I still wonder how you did it then. Now, again? How do you find time to take care of the farm and do the list? I think I should send my mom over to help.

Not So Simply Single said...

I think you are a beautiful soul and keep doing what you are doing. You are an inspiration. You will be fine at the Food Bank, trust me. It's about serving others, not yourself. Make sure you eat what you can before you go, so you won't be hungry!

Blase', if you think sitting on your ass is appropriate for your life...great....(spitting tongue out at Blase')

However, I personally like doing silent good deeds...if I don't tell anyone, then I am not bragging or pretentious. That is how I was raised.

Marla, congratulations on the weight loss...I gave up sugar and wheat 4 months ago and never felt better. It is amazing! I didn't have a bit of pie here and there at the holidays, but didn't scarf a whole piece like usual. It works for me.

Take care you blessed soul!


I don't have to impress God, no, because He knows my heart.

FreeFlying said...

I can't wait to hear the rest! Good for you for trying to respond in a different way. I've been praying so hard lately that God will make my reactions to people different. That I will see them through his eyes. It's inspiring to hear someone else's story and journey with the Lord.

FreeFlying said...

p.s. Don't read tomorrow's post, though. I don't always succeed.

Bette said...

I'm loving this story, but, had to laugh at how you made that abrupt stop.

Dawn said...

My mom recently went and worked at the mission in Tulsa (food bank) and loved it. She wants us all as a family to go soon and help. I think it would be a great idea.

You have such a beautiful, beautiful heart. You are definitely the kind of lady that listens when the Lord wants you to listen.

gayle said...

I really don't know what I would do. My sister in law took a girl in and it caused nothing but problems. She took a ring and some money from them. Then I have known others that took people in and all work out well. Can't wait for you to finish your story! You have a big heart!

Blasé said...

I really don't appreciate LL cussin' at me ...

Gayle, if I've told you once, I've told you a hundred freakin' times......GIT-R-DONE!

Less excuses...and more Action, please!

Far Side of Fifty said...

I went back in the archives and read the part two..you are one of a kind Marla..and you will be fine at the food bank. My parents volunteer at the one in town a couple of days a month..they say with tough times more and more people are coming in..but donations are up too:)

Blasé said...

@Delta Dawn

Sometimes Marla has a "beautiful, beautiful heart"...and then sometimes she needs to be spanked. Trust me, I know...

Silver Strands said...

Yes - God can take care of His own business. But it is usually through others that He does it. I think of times when I've been in need, hurting, etc. My prayers have been intense ... and when they have been answered, it's usually through another mortal that the help has come. Thank God for people like you, Marla, who act on impressions received. Maybe it's right to bring her in, maybe it's not. But one thing is for sure: Ann will know that she is cared about and respected as a person now because of you. I can only imagine her self loathing for how she's had to live. You've given her hope, even if it doesn't work out now.

You are an angel Marla. An angel through and through.