"What are your plans if your test is positive?"
"I'm going to abort," she answers.
You thought you were prepared to counsel the abortion-minded client after taking the pregnancy center volunteer training. Instead of enthusiasm, you feel dread. Perhaps you are pondering questions such as:
What if she thinks I'm just here to save her baby?
What if I say the wrong thing?
What if she walks out?
"What ifs" ambush us with apprehension and self-doubt. is right under our noses. Care Net's Pregnancy Support Center (PSC) training emphasizes that every client is a Divine appointment. A good definition of a Divine appointment is that God is the One who orchestrates every client's visit to the center. This is the secret in which you shift from "I can't" to "I will trust God to work through me" and feel success when she invites you into her decision-making process.
When the significance of a Divine appointment takes root in our hearts, it's no longer about our skills to help the client see the "error in her choice." God sent her to the center for reasons beyond our knowledge and hers. Given that God divinely sent her, anxiety becomes reliance on Him. Therefore, we measure the abortion-minded person through God's eyes, not ours.
As a peer-counselor, I integrated this philosophy with each client, and I discovered some inner principles—both spiritual and practical—which I used as my guide.
Spiritual principles that define every client is a Divine appointment are:
- My fight is not against flesh and blood; therefore, my Divine appointment is not my enemy, nor am I hers (Ephesians 6:12).
- The Enemy of this world blinds the Divine appointment's mind (2 Corinthians 4:4).
- The Truth will set the captives free (Isaiah 61:1).
- I keep in mind the battle belongs to the Lord (2 Chronicles 20:15).
- Genuine Christ-like love is non-judgmental (Matthew 7:1).
Practical principles that define every client is a Divine appointment are:
- As a peer-counselor, I am here to give accurate education to those who want it.
- I am here to cast hope into her crisis.
- Unbeliever is as unbeliever does. Why be surprised by her choice to abort?
- I am a reflection of Christ and might be the only Bible she reads.
Several Divine appointments challenged these principles during my years as a PSC counselor.
Chad called and made an appointment to bring his girlfriend to the center. The three of us entered the counseling room, and I offered them seats. Chad remained standing, rigid as a drill sergeant. "We're going to have an abortion and you're not changing our minds," he said. Dread filled my throat. I shot a prayer to God, regained my inner composer and replied, "I'm not here to change your minds but to offer accurate information so that you both can make choices that are healthy for you, your girlfriend, and your baby. Now what are the reasons you feel abortion is best?"
He relaxed. I relaxed because I knew he and his girlfriend were Divine appointments; therefore, the battle belonged to God.
Later that week, unannounced, Chad stopped by the center. A grin filled his face. His stance bounced with joy, and his eyes gleamed with pride. "We decided to keep the pregnancy," he said. "I just wanted to let you know."
If only he could have heard my thoughts that shouted, "Yes! Amen! Praise the Lord!" However, I didn't want to seem too ecstatic for a victory won. I reached out my hand and grasped his firmly. "Congratulations, Chad. And thanks for allowing me to share with you and your girlfriend." Seven months later, I gazed upon their beautiful miracle of life.
Life and death hung in the balance that afternoon in the counseling room. A non-judgmental attitude toward their thoughts and concerns changed their hearts instead of their minds. The truth concerning their original choice set them free to choose life.
Kim, a walk-in to the center, came in after her appointment with Planned Parenthood. Although she and her fiancé lived together for the last seven years, she felt embarrassed that her family would know she was expecting.
Throughout the remainder of her pregnancy, I listened and learned about her concerns of job, finances, family members, and her faith. Kim shared that our meetings restored a sense of hope, although she vacillated about her child even up to the moment she gave birth. Later she confessed, "It wasn't until I saw my baby's face that I knew I wanted to keep her."
Sally had four abortions prior to coming to the center. She felt a fifth abortion seemed necessary. As I listened, learned, and applied the principles that the Enemy blinds her and, as an unbeliever, her pregnancy is defined by the world's viewpoint, I discovered the "real" reason she wanted to abort.
"I won't be a good mom," she said.
When I explained the cycle of post-abortion syndrome (PAS) and that repeated abortions are common among women with PAS because they don't "feel worthy," her demeanor changed. We discussed her love for children and the kind of mom she would like to be. God's love melted her fear. Sally embraced motherhood.
The Divine appointments God sent my way challenged me to keep my opinions and attitude in check, as I am the only Bible they might read. If my perspective insisted on changing the abortion-minded client's choice in any of these situations, I would have been battling against the client's will to choose. My responsibilities as the peer-counselor were to reflect Christ, to listen, to learn, and with unconditional love to accept each individual regardless of her choice. In doing that, divine miracles transpired.
Nothing is too difficult for our God (Jeremiah 32:17); thus, the Divine appointments God will send you, along with your willingness to see them as God sees them, will change hearts and save lives.
Diane Ramirez worked in the pregnancy support center ministry for twelve years—eight of those as the executive director. She is now a freelance writer and lives in Atascadero, California. Diane can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.