Harmony Ierley, photo available at www.hh76.com/photocd
In May 2005 a local high school track star, "Julie," walked through our center's door. Upon the news of a positive pregnancy test, all Julie wanted was to do was what she knew best—run. Run from the reality of her unplanned pregnancy and get an abortion.
I felt God urging me to let His Word be my words to her, using a verse I had been memorizing, Hebrews 12:1-2a, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a , let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith."
As volunteers and staff members at CPCs, we are His "" helping women faced with unplanned pregnancies. Not only are we called to let His Word dwell in us, but also to allow it to flow to our clients. I needed to share God's Word and allow Him to reach Julie in a way relevant to her.
I grabbed a blank sheet of paper and, because my three-year-old can draw better than I can, I prayed and pleaded for help. Then, I let God be my guide, taking it one step at a time.
STEP 1: Drawing a stick figure of Julie with me next to her, I said, "The minute you walked through our center's door, you were no longer alone. Think of me like I'm your coach, to help, support, and encourage you."
STEP 2: While drawing a cross at the top of the page, I shared Jeremiah 29:11. This was like the track on which she ran; it was marked out for her. The race ahead was not about speed, but perseverance and endurance. She did not want to later regret quickly made or uninformed decisions.
STEP 3: Placing about five hurdles in the middle of the paper, I explained the track of life is not always smooth. There are hurdles to jump, but in this race she wasn't going over them alone.
I FELT GOD URGING
ME TO LET HIS
WORD BE MY
WORDS TO HER,
USING A VERSE I HAD
STEP 4: Drawing a present to the far right hand side, I explained it represented a blessing for her from God, the gift of life she was carrying.
STEP 5: I wrote the word TEST on the board of the first hurdle representing one that she had already cleared. She was still standing.
STEP 6: I asked Julie about the baby's father, her family and her friends to learn the roles they would play in her decision. Those who would be supportive of her continuing her pregnancy, I drew alongside the track as her supporters/cheerleaders. I discussed the value of distancing herself from those who may hinder her from reaching the finish line.
STEP 7: Writing each concern she had about continuing the pregnancy on a different hurdle, I assured her that God would be with her every step if she simply turned to Him.
STEP 8: "Take each hurdle one at a time," I told her. Brainstorming ways to make it over, I wrote ideas around the hurdle along with local agencies that would be beneficial.
In closing, I reminded her that with God all things are possible. I handed her my drawing so she could take it home and refer to it. I said, "I know you have what it takes to reach the finish line."
It was clear to me that day what God wanted her to know, but I had to wonder: Did her hurdles lead to the termination of her baby's life? Did sin entangle her causing her to stumble, leaving her hurt? Or did she fix her eyes on Jesus and run with perseverance the race marked out for her? Before I had answers to those questions, a move to another state required that I leave the CPC.
A year later, during a visit back to town, I happened to pick up the local newspaper, only to see Julie's picture—not on the sports page, as one would expect, but in the educational news, announcing she was graduating salutatorian of her class. Now was my time to learn what had happened.
Because she had given her consent to follow-up, I proceeded to call her. When she answered I said, "Hi Julie, this is Katie. Do you remember me?" She replied, "Of course I do," followed by an uncomfortable silence. I told her I called to congratulate her on her school accomplishment. She thanked me and went on to say she was going to commute to the local university in the fall, and through grants and scholarships her entire education was paid in full. She and her boyfriend were now "just good friends." And in November, she gave birth to a baby boy, Anthony, whom she is parenting with help from her parents and the baby's father. She ended the call with saying she had no regrets. "It was definitely a race worth running."
God's Word empowered me, helping Julie see her situation with hope and a promise, making a positive plan for her baby's future. As we stand on the front line for God in the battlefield for life, we are protected by the armor of God. All we need to do is be properly clothed—remembering, all Scripture is God-breathed and beneficial for teaching and admonishing our clients with all wisdom.
The Word of God is sustaining and does not return void. When I opened my mail yesterday, a picture of precious Anthony fell from a card that read, "I greatly appreciate all that you've done for me. I don't believe my life would have turned out the same if it weren't for you. My baby is my world now, and I look forward to each and every day with him. It was truly a blessing! I will keep you updated on us."
The next time you walk into the counseling room, I encourage you to pass on the baton of truth and life using Scripture, so nobody leaves the race a loser.
Katie Wolfe was involved with the Women's Resource Center in Findlay, Ohio, and the Central Indiana Crisis Pregnancy Center. Currently she serves with Stepping Stones in Danville, Indiana.