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Life Centers Blog

For Unto Us an [Unexpected] Child is Born

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glory-to-the-newborn-king-insta

“You will give birth to a son.”

“How can this be, since I am still a virgin?”

You’ve read the story many times—probably every Christmas since you can remember. It can start to seem tired and cliché—an old tale without much current application.

The story has become expected. We know how it starts, how it ends, and the surprises just aren’t surprising anymore. But let me tell you, there is nothing expected about this story.

Every day at Life Centers, women walk through our doors and discover that they are pregnant. To them, this news is surprising and it can even be shocking. Our culture has termed these pregnancies “unexpected.”

Mary’s pregnancy was unexpected, too. There’s nothing more unexpected than a virgin giving birth! It’s easy to forget that, because we’ve come to expect the virgin birth. We know that God planned for Jesus to be born before the beginning of time. Was Mary’s pregnancy unexpected? To her, yes. To God? It certainly was not.

This is the truth we share with the women who come to our centers. She may think the baby she carries inside is unexpected, but we know that God expected and planned for this particular baby at this particular time. Ephesians 1:4 says “For He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world,” and Psalm 139:13 says, “You knit me together in my mother’s womb.”

I wonder if Mary ever understood the prophecy Isaiah wrote thousands of years before Jesus’ birth: “For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Her unplanned pregnancy was planned before time began.

It’s a beautiful reminder. What the world sees as unexpected and unplanned, God sees as planned, expected, desired, and important. And He gives us the ability to see the same way.

For unto us a child is born.

Merry Christmas.  

A Picture of Life

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ultrasound-picture

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. At Life Centers, we know that a picture can be worth a life.

Life Centers provides ultrasounds at no cost to women who come into our centers considering abortion. When women look at the screen and see their baby, it changes everything. The reality and truth of life wash over them, and realization visible dawns on their faces as they grasp the beauty of the life they carry.

After the ultrasound, women shared with us how the ultrasound helped them.

“This can change your mind about your decisions.”

“Seeing the baby made my decision easier.”

“I am happy now that I have seen and accept the new baby and I definitely want to parent.”

“My baby is alive and has a heartbeat!”

“I really have a baby inside of me.”

Eight weeks into a pregnancy, it’s hard to comprehend all the changes and all the implications. It’s hard to imagine that little person really exists. Seeing the baby on the screen, being able to download the image and share it on their phones, it changes everything.

It is a privilege to use these machines to show mothers and fathers, grandparents and aunts and uncles and great grandparents, the existence of life, and help them understand its value.

Have you ever been present for an ultrasound? What did you think of the experience? Comment below!

Why Baby Bundles?

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Three out of four women who have had abortions say they chose abortion because they couldn’t afford to care for their baby. Three out of five women who have had abortions already had one child at the time.

These are startling statistics, and they raise an important question. How do we offer women hope when these are the circumstances they are dealing with? These women aren’t seeking abortion because they believe the baby inside them is not yet a human. Instead, they are seeking abortion because they believe they have no ability to give a child (or another child) a good life, and they believe there are no other options.

This is the gap Life Centers fills, between fear and hope. When a woman walks into one of our centers, she receives a pregnancy test and compassionate counseling services at no charge. But it doesn’t end there. Life Centers builds a relationship and trust with each woman throughout her pregnancy. Each woman who has a positive pregnancy test also receives a ticket for a Baby Bundle, a kit that contains all of the necessary items to care for a newborn baby. A month before her baby is born, she can come and receive the Baby Bundle, full of diapers, wipes, formula, blankets, clothes, and other supplies. As her baby grows, the mother can return to our Life Centers locations and receive larger clothes and diapers.

There are many parts to play in the fight for life. At Life Centers, the need that burdens us is the physical and material struggle many mothers in the Indianapolis area face on a daily basis. More and more, our ministry focuses on providing for those material needs as a means to saving the lives of the mothers’ unborn babies. As they receive these supplies, these mothers receive hope and gain the confidence to choose life for their babies.

This year, Life Centers participated in Giving Tuesday by raising money for Baby Bundles. $60 pays for one Baby Bundle, and provides a mother with hope and confidence. Giving Tuesday is over for the year, but the need for hope is never-ending. Thank you to everyone who participated in Giving Tuesday. If you are still interested in giving a Baby Bundle, you can! Visit lifecenters.com/give and choose “BabyBundles” as your designation.

Adoption: A beautiful plan

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“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

This is Rachel Lehr’s life verse, and with good reason.

Rachel had a chance of not being born at all. Her birth mom became pregnant at age 18, and her boyfriend pressured her to have an abortion. Her aunt found out about the situation and offered Rachel’s birth mom help and a place to stay. Because of her aunt’s kindness, Rachel’s birth mom chose to carry Rachel and disregard the father’s pressure to have an abortion.

While living with her aunt, Rachel’s birth mom decided the best future for Rachel was to place her with an adoptive family, so she and her aunt started the process of looking for the right family. Her aunt called a Christian organization to find out if they knew of anyone interested in adopting. The organization didn’t typically organize that type of connection, but they said they would keep their ears open.

In another part of the country, a couple was searching for a baby to adopt. They called a Christian organization to see if they knew of any women who were interested in placing their babies for adoption.

It was the same organization at the perfect time. Rachel was born soon after, and the couple went to adopt her.

“It’s the biggest sacrifice a birth mom can make to place a baby they have carried for nine months,” Rachel said. “[She’s giving her baby] a chance at life and everything it has to bring, even if she can’t be the one to raise the child.”

Rachel says she doesn’t regret being adopted at all. She loves her parents and is grateful for the opportunities she has had. “It’s extremely courageous and the most sacrificial, loving thing if you realize that you’re in a situation where you can’t provide and you realize other people can, to give life and then place [the baby] in a family. It’s incredible.”

Rachel believes her adoption has greatly impacted her spiritual journey. She says she’s been adopted twice—once by her parents and once by God. Experiencing adoption in her family has given her confidence in her salvation and a special understanding of how God loves and cares for His children.

Rachel is now a center director at Life Centers and is passionate about helping women who are in similar situations to the one her birth-mother experienced. She shares her adoption story to give hope and help women understand what adoption is really like when they’re facing pregnancy decisions.

“There’s a difference between what we see on the news and what we see in the experiences of other people,” Rachel said. She wants people to understand that most adoption stories are wonderful. Moms get to choose the family they place their baby with, and the mother has the power to decide how much contact she has with the baby after that. It isn’t anything like foster care—legal adoption places the baby with a family forever. By sharing her story, Rachel hopes to help more people understand the beauty of adoption.

As National Adoption Month comes to a close with the end of November, Rachel’s story is a reminder not only of the power of adoption but also of the beauty of God’s faithfulness as He works out His plan in the lives of all of His children for good and not for evil. This Thanksgiving, may we give thanks for the work He does in us, and for the adoption we experience as recipients of salvation.

 

 

Baby Showers: Just parties? Or are they more?

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Jasmine and Victoria had never met, but they had a lot in common. Jasmine had three little boys and was pregnant with a baby girl. Victoria had three little girls and was pregnant with a baby boy. They lived two blocks from each other and they both visited Life Centers during their pregnancies.

Because they each already had three children, a fourth child would stretch their resources very thin. Both Jasmine and Victoria were concerned about their ability to care for a new baby. Both women chose life after visiting Life Centers, but how would they get the initial resources necessary to care for another infant?

Answer: a baby shower. Some women who come to Life Centers have a support system in place that will help them as they care for their babies. But other women, like Jasmine and Victoria, don’t have the type of community around them that is able to rally around and help with all the extra things a new baby requires.

In those instances, Life Centers often facilitates baby showers planned by volunteers to help bridge the gap. A Small Group from College Park Church was able to plan a combined shower for Jasmine and Victoria. Both women received many gifts for their babies—from Pack ‘n Plays and strollers to diapers and books.

And they received much more than baby gifts. One of the volunteers put it this way, “In the counseling room, we have a counselor-type relationship with these women. But at a baby shower, we are able to be friends and form transparent, open and deeper relationships.” The Small Group throwing the shower was able to pray with both the mothers and their babies’ fathers (who wanted to come too!), and also share with them about the Bible through a Bible game.

The grandmother of one of the unborn babies sent a text during the shower, “You all have truly blessed my family with your thoughtfulness. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

Jasmine said she felt understood and not judged, and Victoria expressed thankfulness for the help and support.

Why baby showers? Because helping women choose life extends far beyond the counseling room. Baby showers are part of a greater effort to create a culture that values and celebrates life; that rallies around it and rejoices in it.

Are you interested in throwing a baby shower for a Life Centers mom? Click here for more information.

Jasmine opens a gift for her baby girl

Jasmine opens a gift for her baby girl.

Victoria admires an outfit for her baby boy

Victoria admires an outfit for her baby boy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Divine Appointment

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A woman walked into one of our centers the other day looking sad and discouraged. She was there for baby supplies, but she also mentioned to a staff member that she doesn’t believe in God. If He existed, she said, the sad circumstances she was dealing with regarding a family member wouldn’t have happened.

It’s the million-dollar theological question. Why do bad things happen to good people? A theoretical answer wasn’t going to cut it.

It just so happened that a volunteer in the center that day had experienced the same set of life circumstances. She was able to share with the woman about how God’s love sustained her through the situation and how His faithfulness was revealed.

Coincidence?

We could call it a coincidence every time a client comes into a center with a problem and the perfect volunteer is ready to speak the exact truth needed in that exact moment. We could. But that would be totally outside the bounds of believability.

Instead, we call it what it truly is: a divine appointment.

Every day women walk into our centers, and every day it is not a coincidence. God is working. He is using the details of our stories to reach these women in their details, to show them that He is for them, that He loves them, that they are not alone. It is our privilege to watch Him as He creates beautiful appointments that are far from coincidental.

It’s not a coincidence that you are reading this blog, either. Will you consider joining us at Life Centers? We need more volunteers to be present in our centers, ready to participate in divine appointments. Your story matters, and God can use it to make a difference.

Click here to learn more about volunteering with Life Centers.

A New Direction

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Imagine you’re in a canoe, rowing with the current down a river. Imagine the current is strong and you’re not really doing much work to paddle toward the direction you’re headed.  

Now imagine you want to change directions. It takes quite an effort to even get the canoe pointed upstream. As you begin rowing, you find your progress is hampered by the current that is now flowing against you.

baby feet

It’s not easy to change direction in life, either. The direction you’re headed is probably full of difficulty and challenge and heartache, but how much more struggle would you encounter if you tried to change direction mid-stream? 

A woman came into one of our centers last week already knowing she was pregnant. She had had an abortion before, and when she came in she said, “I don’t want to do that again.” She told the staff she knew she wanted to have her baby and she couldn’t imagine having another abortion.  

It sounds like the same story you’ve heard before, but don’t miss the beauty here. She has made a choice. She has chosen to give her baby life. And she has made a change from her past. She has formed a new trajectory. 

That isn’t easy. Don’t misunderstand—there is nothing easy or simple about having an abortion, and it is an agonizing choice. But equally difficult is the choice to walk into one of our centers and make a different decision than the one you have made before.  

It’s our goal at Life Centers to make that decision for life as easy as possible. We are blessed in our centers to see this kind of life-change happen every day. Babies are saved, and their mothers’ lives are transformed.

Do you have an example of a time you changed directions in life? We’d love to hear about it! Please comment below.

One Question Away: Part One

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This is part of a series of blog articles written by Brittany Sherrill for Life Centers.

“They tell you, ‘it’s a simple medical procedure, you’ll be fine and get on with your life,’ and I wanted to believe the lie. But I knew that day as a 15-year-old my life would never be the same.” Walking out of the clinic, Machelle was hit with the weight of the decision she’d made, one she knew could never be undone. She had allowed someone to take a life.

The months following were consumed with trying to forget, but nothing could erase the guilt. Drugs, alcohol, relationships – she wondered if what she did with her life even mattered anymore, until she learned she was pregnant again at 16. “When you have an abortion, you think to yourself, ‘I’ll never do that again. But there I was at sixteen without a supportive family and honestly, I considered it. I considered another abortion, but I just couldn’t do it again.’”

Born a month after her seventeenth birthday, her son became her absolute joy. She was a young mom, but loved her son more than life itself. As time went on, a young gentleman at work started inviting her to church. He would ask people around the office every week and didn’t even seem to mind when people said no – it was weird. But, his persistence eventually paid off, and Machelle and her son attended church with him one week.

Walking in, everything was new, different. The people were nice and appeared so “put together” – and there she was, a young mom with no ring on her finger. At the end of the service, the pastor asked if anyone would like to come and receive Christ as Savior. Already a little nervous, Machelle was stunned when the man who’d invited her turned and asked if she’d like to go forward. Uh – no. No, she would not like to go forward. She went to pick up her son when church was over, and she was greeted with smiles, excitement, and lots of Sunday School papers. At her sweet son’s request, they returned the following Sunday.

Many Sundays later, Machelle was convicted by the gospel and knew she needed to accept Christ as Savior. She fought to sit quietly through the altar call like normal, but couldn’t get it off her mind. Before she could leave, an older couple came and asked again if she’d like to accept Christ as Savior, saying, “We think you might want to receive Christ today.” At that moment, Machelle knew it was God tugging on her heart; she prayed and accepted Christ as her Savior that day. Immediately, all of her sins had been forgiven – even the abortion she’d been trying to forget. Christ forgave it all.

Don’t be afraid to ask loving questions; you never know – they may be one question away from knowing forgiveness in Christ. May God be honored for His redemptive, healing work in this young mother’s life!

Machelle’s story doesn’t end there – God has more work to do through her beautiful testimony of redemption! Tune in for One Question Away: Part Two coming soon.

An Ancient Story of Hope

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This is Part One of a series of blog articles written by Brittany Sherrill for Life Centers. 

Pregnant, and her husband had been off to war for months. What would everyone think? What would her husband say? He would have every right to divorce her. And then where would she go, with a baby? How she wished she could just do that one day over again! She sent word to the king about her pregnancy after their visit, wondering how on earth they were going to cover this up. Weeks later, she heard the king had brought her husband home from war – her heart froze with fear. No, no, he wouldn’t be able to tell about the pregnancy yet. Even if her husband just came home for a short visit with her, they could fix this so that he never had to know of her unfaithfulness. But he was too loyal to his country, too honorable of a man – he didn’t want to enjoy a visit home with his family when his fellow soldiers were still on the front lines. He was sent back to the battle, his visit to the king unable to produce the intended, deceptive purpose of covering up their adultery.

What were they going to do now? She waited and waited, but her pregnancy was becoming obvious. She was beginning to fear being discovered for all that had happened, when she received a letter and her heart sunk. Her husband, Uriah, was dead. A mighty man of valor to the king was dead. Weeks of mourning followed, but there was a deeper guilt and shame behind them – her husband never knew of her unfaithfulness, and she was never able to make it right with him; her developing pregnancy was a constant reminder of that. They would never know restitution. Mourning certainly was appropriate. After a time, the king sent for her to become his wife, and she joined his house in marriage.

Bathsheba was the wife of a respected man in the community. David was “a man after God’s own heart”. In 2 Samuel 11 and 12, one of the more well-known accounts of Israel’s most famous king, these two committed adultery and tried to cover up the consequences, resulting in the death of Uriah, Bathsheba’s honorable husband and David’s honorable soldier. And God chose for Jesus Christ to be born out of the line of David and Bathsheba through their second son, Solomon. Praise God that He forgives sinners! His forgiving nature is seen on display thousands of years ago just as we can see it today in our own lives and in the lives of those who come in contact with Life Centers. No matter our situation, no matter our choices, there is hope.

“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us.”
            ~
Psalm 103:11-12, ESV

What Our Clients are Saying

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What Our Clients are Saying
With every young woman (and man) that comes through our door, we seek to provide hope and compassion. We provide free services such as pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, counseling and much more. Why? For reasons like these. Here are some recent exit survey responses from those that were strongly considering abortion when they came into our centers.

How did your visit today help with your decision?

  • “Decided keeping baby is best.”
  • “I feel more informed.”
  • “I saw something that changed my life today!”
  • “I don’t think I can go through with abortion.”
  • “Seeing baby’s heartbeat makes it seem ‘more real’.”
  • “Made me feel good about the baby.”
  • “All the positive support and attitudes from the staff. Also amazing stories from the staff.”
  • “It allowed me to see what is important and what I need to do in the future.”
  • “I may have twins!”
  • “Very helpful to know that I am doing right and will continue.”
  • “I love my child so much already!”

Love and compassion provide a way for life! Thank you for your support.

We chooseLife Centerscompassion