Seven months ago, a young mom with significant struggles went to Charlotte’s busiest abortion center intent on destroying her child. Her own mother, Patti, accompanied her with profound sorrow. Her daughter, Ella, was grappling with a host of traumatic issues. There was no way a baby could enter the tumult. However, Patti professed to love God. She knew abortion was wrong, but felt in the terrible circumstances, it was the lesser of evils.
The women responded to my pleas and agreed to come on the HELP Monroe Pregnancy Center RV parked in front of the abortion center. They would look at the baby’s beating heart on the mobile ultrasound unit before making the decision to abort.
The family situation was so severe that Patti sat down and immediately collapsed in inconsolable sobbing. She had done all she knew to do to help her daughter, but to no apparent avail. Ella listened to Patti’s anguished cries, stone-faced.
“How does that make you feel?”I asked, turning to Ella.
“Bad,” she said, looking down.
What followed was a miracle.
As I probed into the situation, asking questions, it became apparent that God was opening a door for me to share the hope and truth of the Gospel. Both women listened, at times with their eyes full of tears. I have followed God for over thirty years. I believe more strongly than ever that there is no hope here on Earth without Jesus. No matter how wretched a mess we have made of our lives, God can and will redeem out of the ashes. I know this from experience.
I also believe that God’s word is clear. Jesus will return on a day none of us expect. It could be tomorrow. None of us are assured another minute of life. If the Bible is true, and I have staked my life on it, then there is a dire outcome for those who are without Christ when that moment comes. If Jesus is not our Lord and we have not submitted our lives to Him, we are doomed to an eternity of suffering and torment without Him.
If I share the Gospel, and believe my hearer has fully understood, a deep urgency presses me to offer the opportunity for that person to profess faith in Jesus right then and there. Tomorrow, it may be too late. I almost always extend an invitation to that person to submit their lives to the Lord.
So after sharing the Gospel, Ella now began crying torrents of tears, and expressing sorrow after sorrow of how she had lived, how she had wandered from God, and how deeply she had hurt her mother. She begged forgiveness from her mother, and from God. And then she asked Jesus if He would take over, be her Lord, and strengthen her.
She later described that moment as the most peace she had ever known.
Did everything change in a flash? Sadly…no.
The struggles and troubles of her world quickly invaded that peace. There were a few victories in Christ, but many defeats.
Fast forward to the baby shower. Our Cities4Life Shower coordinator, Sara, with the help of another counselor, Liz, who has mentored Ella, brought a truckload of gifts. A full two years of everything the baby would need. It filled the woman’s living room.
I was blessed to have time alone with Ella after the gifts were all unwrapped. She walked outside, alone, feeling the burden of her situation crushing her again. God prompted me to go…speak with her. I talked with her about how a profession of faith is like a seed. The Bible describes how that seed can fall on rocky ground, and not take root, or be shriveled away in the heat of trials of life. But seed that falls on fertile ground and is watered and nourished by the word of God, prayer, fellowship with strong believers, and obedience will grow and become a mighty tree of faith.
She told me that what happened on the RV all those months ago was sincere, real. She wanted Jesus, but as the Bible says, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. Her demeanor and spirit seemed to change when I painted the positive vision of what her ultimate goals and her mother’s goals were. She agreed they were the same, though the way they hoped to achieve them was often flawed and different. With the optimistic vision of what could be in the Lord, I sensed a flicker of renewed HOPE. We prayed together and I reminded her that she had tried things her way for a lifetime, leading to the terrible struggles. Was she ready to try it God’s way? Was she ready to allow that seed of faith to be nourished?
We are not called for the results of evangelism. We ARE called to bear the message of hope and life as best we can. I have seen professions of faith bloom into abundant life of following Christ, and I have seen some wither and seemingly die. Still, I know that God has called us to be prepared to give an answer to the hope we have within us. Jesus is the only answer I know and it is His name I proclaim each time He opens a door for me to do so.
Despite all Ella faced, and all the times she stumbled away from God in those seven months, one thing was unwavering. She chose life for her child as she knew Jesus would have her do, and she would do her best to love and raise her son. This victory belongs to the Lord…but there is great joy and privilege in being allowed to play a part in that miracle.
Ella’s grandmother clutched my hand as we prepared to leave. “I want to thank you all and your ministry. Not for all the gifts…but for being there. For saving my great grandson’s life.” She recognized that as good as tangible help is nothing is more important than speaking the truth. That’s something we strive to do everyday at the local abortion centers.
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*names changed for privacy