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On-the-Job Training

January 2006
By: Shauna Amick
I FINALLY CAN RELATE TO THE EMOTIONS OUR CLIENTS GO THROUGH WHILE DEALING WITH THEIR OWN INDIVIDUAL CRISES. I AM EXPERIENCING MY OWN CRISIS PREGNANCY.

Desiring to defend helpless babies, I became a volunteer at my local crisis pregnancy center four years ago. I received excellent training from the center's director, a gifted counselor who taught her volunteers the value of each baby's mother as well. She shared the importance of looking into a woman's eyes, rather than staring at her growing belly, so that each mother would recognize that her life is just as precious as her child's life.

It didn't take long for me to realize that involvement at the center included more than saving the lives of unborn babies. We were also witnessing the saving of lives spiritually through spreading the Gospel of eternal life.

THE LORD HAS USED THIS EXPERIENCE TO STRENGTHEN MY MARRIAGE, ENLARGE MY HEART FOR ABORTION-VULNERABLE WOMEN, AND INCREASE MY FAITH IN HIM.

As the years went by, my passion for the sanctity of human life increased significantly. I prayed that the things that break the heart of God would break my heart. He gave me a love for our clients that was truly beyond my own heart's capabilities, yet one concern remained. Though I could comprehend the emotions involved in a crisis pregnancy in theory, I still could not internalize the feelings that prompted a woman to choose abortion.

Now God has given me the gift of some very personal . My third child has been diagnosed with a congenital heart defect and the possibility of Down syndrome while still in my womb. At first, I was overwhelmed with feelings of fear and desperation. During the height of my heartbreak, doctors and friends suggested that I "had a big decision to make" and I might not want to "continue the pregnancy."

I learned that approximately 90 percent of women in my situation choose abortion. Indeed, I am experiencing my own crisis pregnancy. My husband and I have felt first hand an onslaught of outside pressure to terminate what the world considers an imperfect child. I believe that I finally can relate to the emotions our clients go through while dealing with their own individual crises.

I praise God that my feelings of helplessness and hopelessness have been quickly replaced with a powerful combination of faith, assurance, and hope as God floods my mind with Scripture. He truly is gifting me with His peace that surpasses all understanding, and is guarding my heart and mind through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7). Knowing the deceitfulness of my own heart (Jeremiah 17:9), I am so grateful that I am not left alone to define the concept of what a "perfect" life is. God has provided plenty of guidance in that area through His Word.

God also has equipped my husband and me with His strength so that we can face this challenging season in confidence through prayer and the fellowship of other believers. It has been both humbling and liberating to remember that He is our Potter, and we are His clay (Isaiah 64:8). My unborn baby is His perfect design, exactly the way He intended, and completely whole and precious in His eyes and ours (Isaiah 45:9-11).

While writing these words I feel such comfort in knowing that God's ways are above my ways, and His thoughts are higher than my thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9), especially since I am months away from delivering my child. I have been able to trade a third trimester full of fear and worry for a very tangible appreciation of the true meaning of the sanctity of human life. The One who made all the difference, of course, is Jesus. Whereas the "thief" may have seen my baby's diagnosis as an opportunity to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10), the Lord has used this experience to strengthen my marriage, enlarge my heart for abortion-vulnerable women, and increase my faith in Him. God truly does work all things together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).

What an honor to think that we, as pregnancy center volunteers and staff, can be used by God to give our clients the same gifts He has given me during this time of conflict. God has provided us with all of the tools that we need in order to empower our clients in the truth, so that they will no longer feel helpless or hopeless. By introducing them to Jesus Christ and allowing them to see Him in us, we can show them that they do not need to be fearful or alone anymore.

Let us not place the sharing of our testimonies last on the list of our intake forms. Granted, not everyone will have the experience of her own crisis pregnancy to share with her clients, but every counselor can be a powerful witness to the transforming love of Jesus. When that witness is given and our clients accept God's gift of salvation, we take back some of the power that has been granted to the principalities of this age (Ephesians 6:12), thereby lifting the veil that has been constructed around the issue of abortion. At the moment defenseless babies are saved, their mothers are able to see the value of their own lives, and God's great commission is fulfilled (Matthew 28:19-20).

Editor's note: Sarah Hope Amick was born June 13, 2005, as diagnosed, with a heart defect and Down syndrome. She had successful open-heart surgery six weeks later and came home from the hospital in September. Please pray for her and her parents.

Shauna Amick is Director of Abstinence Education at Care Net in Manchester, New Hampshire. She can be reached at CPCManchester@fcgnetworks.net.

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