My coworkers and I sat in our offices as the cries of an expecting mother pierced through the building. We didn’t need to be in the counseling room to understand her sobs: this pregnancy wasn’t planned, nor was it wanted. We all felt the weight of what those two pink lines on the pregnancy test meant as her wails intensified. A beloved staff member sat with this client in her shock and pain, remaining with her through her tears and her panic. Standing near the adjoining wall to the counseling room, the remainder of the staff gathered together to do the only thing we knew to do: we prayed.
I remember when I began volunteering at Choices Clinic back in 2016. I had an idea of what the work at a pregnancy clinic entailed. It was a lovely thought, clear cut and awfully naïve. I knew about the group classes, the Blessing Center and the baby bottle campaigns. I realized Choices existed to help women with unplanned pregnancies, explaining all of their choices and showing them the love and hope of Jesus.
But what does that look like practically from day to day in the clinic?
That day, as we listened to the wails heard through the wall, it looked like a staff member sitting with a woman in her pain. At that moment, no words would suffice. Being the hands and feet of Jesus meant meeting a woman where she was in her distress, and staying in that place with her for a time. Not rushing her through the emotions, nor leaving her there, either. It meant recognizing she was a human with a soul who needed to be met right where she was in that moment.
When the Crisis Pregnancy Center rebranded as Choices Clinic of Laurel, we wanted to be the first choice when facing an unplanned pregnancy. We also didn’t want the negative connotation of associating the word “crisis” with pregnancy. Furthermore, we don’t make the choice for you here at Choices. No, we’re not here to make the decision for the women who walk through our doors. We are here to empower women as they learn about all of their options, all while sharing Biblical truths and love with them. You’re not just a statistic at Choices Clinic. We agree with the sentiments of Bob Goff in his book Everybody, Always when he states: “People don’t grow where they are informed; they grow where they’re loved and accepted.” We take the time to meet with each client, listening to her story, discovering what it is that brought her through our doors. We then present her options with this pregnancy, explaining each option in detail. No, we don’t perform or refer for abortions, but we do provide abortion education, as many women aren’t familiar with what a chemical abortion or a surgical abortion procedure entails. We also talk to women about their choice to parent, as well as present them with the choice of adoption. Yes, we here at Choices Clinic identify as pro-life, but we also know one cannot “force” an opinion on anyone expecting them to simply understand your perspective. We can obediently speak truth into the lives of these women, investing in the relationship while building rapport and trust. But ultimately, the “results” aren’t up to us. We’re called to obedience, investing in these relationships no matter what decision is made, and the rest is up to God. We can rest in the truth that, through our weakness, Christ is made strong.
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
Through many hours of peer counseling, hard conversations, and ceaseless prayer, the cries rooted in fear by this overwhelmed woman were replaced with the cries of new life by her baby girl. Tears turned from mourning to rejoicing. A story turned from remorse to redemption; this is God’s goodness. We’re honored to witness God’s forgiveness, grace, and faithfulness in whatever form that may look like here at Choices; and in this case, from cries of wailing to cries of wonder.
Written by Mackenzie Hurt, Outreach Coordinator