The young woman ignored the “pro-choice” crowd as they tried to prevent her from coming to us on the sidewalk of the abortion center. She walked straight to our sidewalk counselor, Denise, and told her, “I need help. I cannot do it. I have no food, and no gas to get home…but I cannot do it. I cannot kill my baby.”
When she had entered the abortion center that morning, she had heard one of our counselors call out, “What would God have you do?” She knew the answer. She was not walking with God, but she knew what He would think of her killing her unborn child. So she left the abortion center. Her other children waited with her sister in the car as she approached Denise.
Denise put her arm around “Tea” and walked her to the Help Monroe pregnancy Center mobile ultrasound unit. She called me over and whispered to me, “This mom has significant needs. Can you counsel her?” The needs were indeed significant. However, nothing justifies abortion, and as I sat down with the young mother and talked about her struggles, she admitted she knew abortion was wrong.
She claimed to know God and maintained that she was a “good person” but that her struggles were severe. She was correct about the struggles. They were severe. I empathized and listened, carefully writing down the obstacles she faced. I told her our ministry would help her. But I also quickly dismantled the notion that she was a good person before God if she was ready to kill the baby He had created as a blessing.
This perfect segue into the Gospel could not be ignored. It is not loving or honest to let anyone believe Jesus is their Lord if they are living a life in defiance of His clear commands. She was unmarried with other children. In fact, those children in the car did not want her to kill their sibling, but they understood times were hard.
She had traveled ten hours from her small hometown to abort her child in my city. She was out of money, with little gas left, and her kids and she had not had any food in over a day. Her sister was also in the car, waiting as Tea talked with me on the mobile ultrasound unit.
She listened intently as I shared the Gospel. She recognized that she had wandered far from God. She admitted He had not been the Lord of her life. SHE had been her own god, doing what she wanted without regard to God’s commandments. But now, she was weary of living in defiance of what her tired soul knew was the truth. She could not kill her baby.
When she saw her baby on the ultrasound, she fell in love. When she heard the truth of the Gospel and what it means for Jesus to be Lord, she wept as she asked to submit her life to Him now. We collected all the information we needed to appoint her a Love Life mentor…though she was from Mississippi. We had no churches as yet committed to being a House of Refuge to help women from that area. While still on the mobile ultrasound bus, I texted Sara, our Love Life director of the Mentorship program in our area. I told her where Tea lived and told her we needed a church in Mississippi willing to help as soon as possible. Sara told me she was “on it.”
Before Tea headed back to Mississippi, Love Life gave me permission to buy her gas and groceries. While in the grocery store, Tea was bouncing with joy. As we discussed what had happened when she turned to God, she said she felt relief, delight, and peace. We talked about the amazing grace and mercy of God and what a life submitted to Jesus can be. Her sister, pushing the grocery cart, said, “I want this. I want to dedicate my life to Jesus too.”
Both women told me as they loaded the car and handed the food to the kids in the back seat that they would tell the children all they had learned about God today. They would tell the father of the unborn baby as well.
A few hours later, I was eating dinner when I got a text from Tea. She was going to run out of gas in about 40 miles, four hours from home. I turned to my husband, lamenting my idiocy in not buying them a gas card. Why had it not occurred to me that one tank of gas would not last ten hours? What on earth could I do to help them now, six hours away?
At that moment, the phone rang. A pastor from Mississippi was calling me, connected by Sara. He thought he was calling Tea. I told him who I was and of Tea’s predicament. He told me he would call Tea and not to worry. They would help her somehow.
When I got off the phone, after giving him Tea’s number, my phone rang again. Our Love Life missionary in Alabama, Shaylene, was calling me. She had followed my posts on FB asking for connections in Mississippi, had spoken with a pastor she knew, the very pastor Sara had connected with to help Tea. Shaylene had been put in contact with Tea by the very pastor that both she and Sara knew! Shaylene lived in the very town on Tea’s trip home where she would run out of gas. The pastor from the church in Mississippi, ready and willing to walk alongside Tea, would reimburse Shaylene to meet Tea and buy her gas to get her home.
The details of this incredible miracle are too convoluted and complex for me to explain. I do not even fully understand how this miracle evolved. But this I DO know. God knew it all, long before we did. He knew what was needed, and His plan was already in place. The Church was ready and willing, and while I had no idea how to intercede, GOD DID.
Tea made it home safely. On the drive, her children heard all about the power of God to transform darkness to light, evil to righteousness. They heard about sin, the penalty for sin, the need for repentance, and the atoning death of Jesus to pay the penalty we deserve. They heard about His resurrection and how He proved He was God, and had the power to overcome death and sin. They heard about the need to submit their lives to Him, with faith that His sacrifice was sufficient to set them free from the cycle of rebellion against God and the terrible penalty of eternal separation from Him.
Tea and her sister now understand what it means to live knowing Jesus as truly Lord. A church in a little town in Mississippi is ready to walk with this new child of God. This pregnancy will result not only in the new birth of a precious child…but of a family newly dedicated to Jesus.
The need for churches in every city to be Houses of Refuge for moms like Tea is critical. If our desire is to transform a culture of death to a culture of life, we must be willing to do two things. Speak the truth of who Jesus is, the transformative power of trusting Him, and what living for Him entails. Secondly, provide tangible help for desperate needs.
“but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.”