Anyone who has been involved in reaching out at an abortion center knows the feeling of pouring your heart out to an abortion-minded mother. You are certain that God is moving in her heart, but then you watch her walk into the abortion center anyway. Your heart sinks. You wonder should I have said things differently? Did I not say enough?. This was how our team felt last Saturday as we watched Marissa* walk towards the abortion center door after we spoke with her extensively two separate times. But what happened next was such a surprise.
To set the stage, our team arrived at the busiest abortion center in the Southeast at 6:45 am. Saturdays are tough days because the City of Charlotte has decided to make it nearly impossible for us to reach those going into the abortion centers. Some of you heard about how the City has used the COVID-19 crisis as a justification to arrest those who are praying and offering help to abortion-minded women at the abortion center. Like every Saturday, there were 9-10 police officers on site, which makes it difficult to interact with those we are called to reach.
Later in the morning, we noticed a young lady, Marissa, walking dispiritedly toward the door of the abortion center. We called out to her, “Please don’t go in there. We can help you!” But she went in anyway. A few minutes later she walked back out and stood near her car, listening to what was being said. One of our counselors noticed her standing there listening and said, “Please come over and talk to us!” At first, Marissa was a little resistant, but then the counselor offered her one of our brochures. “If nothing else just look at this while you’re waiting”.
Marissa came over to get the pamphlet which led to her sharing her situation that brought her there. She really didn’t want to abort but said she didn’t want her baby to be raised in a bad environment. She also said she believed in God and that He wouldn’t want her to abort. As the counselor tried to get to the heart of why she was there it became evident that God had been speaking to Marissa’s heart but she was doing her best to ignore His voice. The spiritual and emotional battle in her heart was obvious. After the counselor spoke with her at length, enumerating all the reasons to trust God, Marissa shared that she had a close friend that was also encouraging her to chose life. Marissa said, “I’m going to go back to my car and call my friend.”
By this time a plea had been issued on social media streams: “Please pray for ‘M’!” Thousands of faithful Christians were praying for her and her baby. Moments later Marissa walked back over to the sidewalk to talk with our team. Still persuaded that abortion was the best thing for her, Marissa said, “I’m afraid if I don’t have the abortion I might regret it.” And then she said, “I know if I DO have the abortion I will regret it. Either way, I may have regrets.” Our team spoke about regrets and how abortion is certainly a regrettable decision. In God’s providential wisdom, one of the counselors who is post-abortive, and another counselor who had a baby as a young single mom were standing nearby.
Both of these Godly women poured out love and truth on Marissa. As she was taking it all in, it seemed her heart was beginning to embrace the idea of choosing life. Each counselor shared from their perspective: one about the pain and regret of an abortion 25 years prior, and the other about the struggle but joy in raising a child as a young single mom. Marissa paused and contemplated all that she was hearing. After giving her everything we had, we prayed for her and left it in the Lord’s hands. Marissa went back to her car to think. Of course, we were praying and pleading with God that she would just get in her car and drive away.
Our hearts sank as we watched Marissa open her car door and head toward the abortion center. One of our counselors, his voice infused with sorrow, called out one last time “Marissa please you don’t want to go in there!” We expected her to keep walking and ignore our pleas. Instead, we heard one of the most peculiar responses that we’ve ever heard.
“I’m getting a refund!”
Marissa was heading back into the abortion center not to kill her child but to get her money back. You see, one of the first things abortion centers demand when these women check in is their money. They want to have a hook in them so it’s more difficult for them to change their minds. When our team heard Marissa’s response, rejoicing broke out on the sidewalk. The Lord’s truth prevailed and Marissa chose LIFE.
Marissa came back out shortly afterward and pulled out of the parking lot. She went onboard the H.E.L.P. mobile unit where a nurse and counselor were waiting to receive her. Onboard they talked through her struggles and pointed her toward resources. She also got to see the beating heart of her precious little baby. Marissa will be connected with a mentor and a local church as well as resources to meet her needs. We are a Gospel-centered ministry, so we always share the Gospel. Marissa’s heart was wide open. When the Gospel was presented Marissa realized that her good works could not save her. In that moment she called on the name of the Lord to save her. Not only was her baby spared from death, but Marissa’s heart was made new by the power of the Holy Spirit.
God is so gracious to allow us to be a part of stories like this. As a matter of fact, stories like this play out almost every day at the abortion centers in our city. Thank you for your support of this ministry. Whether you support us in prayer, financially, or both you are an important part of Marissa’s story. If you aren’t yet a supporter of Cities4Life, please consider how you could be a part of this life-saving work. There’s little doubt that if our team hadn’t been there then Marissa’s story would be much different. May God bless you as you stand for LIFE.
*name changed for privacy