Life Centers Blog
The following is a real text message that was sent to a volunteer at one of our centers from a client. This client had been dealing with the pain of abortion and was introduced to our post-abortion recovery program, SOAR, spiritually oriented abortion recovery. It is completely humbling.
I’m thinking of how I will never find the words to be able to tell you how truly thankful I am for you. God’s love shines so brightly through you and it cut through the darkest places of my mind and heart. Places so dark, I didn’t even know they were there. And I didn’t even know how sad I was until that sadness was stripped away, little by little, all because you cared enough to introduce me to SOAR. And you cared enough to love me through the worst, ugliest, messiest moments of my life. And love like that can only come from Jesus. It has shown me how I’m supposed to love others.
Thank you for letting His love break through the walls that I had built around my heart. Thank you for the ability to laugh so hard I cry. Thank you for letting me be unapologetically myself. And for proving time and time again that you will always be there. I think of all of this every time I put a little more effort in to each day. It sounds so dumb, but I shower more. I pluck my eyebrows. I brush my teeth every day. I started flossing. All of this is so normal to most people, but I had stopped caring. And now I care again. I feel like there is a fire inside of me where there was once only ashes. I want to do better and be better, and live a life that shines for God like yours does. Thank you for being you. I truly mean that.”
For more information on SOAR, visit https://lifecenters.com/learn-more/services/post-abortion/.
Especially when you’re expected to put 100% firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone else and you’re an independent person. It doesn’t come naturally to many of us. We like to control everything. Too often we’d rather take matters into our own hands, handle it ourselves, and take all responsibility rather than let someone else have the opportunity to mess things up. Sometimes, and I mean sometimes, it’s okay to do those things if we need to and we are able.
But we can’t do it all. We just can’t. For some, that’s hard to accept, but we have Jesus for that. Aren’t we supposed to trust Him with our whole hearts? Yet, it’s still so hard to “let go and let God” at times. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
Sounds easy enough, but so many of us (myself included) struggle with turning things over to God. He is the one we should trust more than anyone in the world. After all, no one loves us more. He tells us He will take care of us, He will make our paths straight. It is His word. We have to have faith, because faith IS trusting in God.
We were reminded of this trust when a client came to one of our centers recently to take a pregnancy test.
She had circled “undecided” on her paperwork under the statement, “If my pregnancy test is positive, I am considering: (circle one).” When she went back to the counseling room with a volunteer, she began to open up and talk to the volunteer about her life and the situation she might be in.
This young girl is a Christian with a lot of family support. In the fall, she has plans to attend college. This client recently broke up with her boyfriend of six years, who she thought she was going to marry. After the break up, she visited an old friend and they had unprotected sex.
The counseling segment had come to a close and it was time to take a pregnancy test. As they stood in the bathroom waiting for the test to be complete, two faint pink lines appeared. The client confirmed the test read positive, and panic started taking over. She had gotten pregnant while visiting her friend.
Back in the counseling room, it was obvious to the volunteer this client was upset and in shock. The girl indicated she might want to have an abortion, so the volunteer asked if she could share her own personal story of abortion with her. When she agreed, the volunteer told the young client, “After years of asking myself why I made that decision twice, I found the reason was actually quite simple. I refused to trust God. Because I couldn’t see how things would work out, I took things into my own hands.” The volunteer then explained that God is a big God, and He will make a way for us when we can’t see one for ourselves. The volunteer then shared with the client, “We don’t know how many children God will bless us with. After I had two abortions, I never had any children.”
Something resonated with that young girl. Tears streamed down her face sympathizing with the volunteer. As they prayed together, the client wept, so much so, the top of her shirt was wet from tears. When she left the center that day, her mind was made up. She circled “parenting” on her exit paperwork.
It’s so easy for us to focus on the “now” when we are in unforeseen situations, but God is thinking ahead. God wants us to have a full and abundant life, He only asks that we believe in Him and trust Him.
“Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.” Isaiah 26:4
You’ve heard it time and time again, “God has a plan.” You may have even heard stories from people who had created a grand, detailed plan for their life, but quickly realized God had something else in mind for them.
It’s usually unexpected.
It’s usually not popular.
But in the end, it’s worth it.
This was the case for one of Life Centers’ center directors. For several years, it had been on Beth’s* heart to donate a kidney to someone in need. She had a friend who donated a kidney a few years ago, and she immediately knew, “This is something I could do. I can see myself doing this.” Years went by, and the opportunity never presented itself for Beth to donate, but the feeling of wanting to help someone in that capacity never went away. God had put this on her heart, and she knew it.
Recently, her son was scrolling through Instagram and saw a post one of his friends made about their dad, Mark* needing a kidney. Not knowing his mom had always wanted to help someone in this way, he mentioned this to her because Mark was an old family acquaintance. Beth’s son and Mark’s son played sports together years ago, and that was the extent of their relationship. Not long after Beth’s son told her the news, she read the story in the Indy Star about Mark needing a kidney.
She felt God’s tug on her heart urging her to act. She thought, “Well, why not at least see if I’m a match.” Beth had blood work done, days went by, and she finally received the phone call. She wasn’t a match. The nurse on the other end of the phone said, “Even though you aren’t a match, you could still help him.” Then the nurse proceeded to tell her about the Paired Kidney Exchange program. She told Beth that she and Mark could enter the program together as a pair, and this program would search for cases throughout the United States where the donor in each pair is compatible with the recipient in another pair (or multiple pairs). By exchanging donors, a compatible match for both recipients can be found.
After pushback from her family, (Beth’s kids worried about their mom, Beth’s husband worried about his wife) Beth agreed. This was bigger than her. She knew it. Her kids knew it. Her husband knew it, and they didn’t want to interfere with God’s plan. Beth explained, “Why wouldn’t I? Why wouldn’t I help someone have an abundant life?”
Beth endured 6 months of evaluations before she was entered into the program in May as Mark’s “pair.” Mark could not have entered this program without someone pairing with him. When Beth decided to do this, she was very careful with whom she told. She didn’t want accolades. She didn’t want the attention. “It was God, not me,” Beth said. Without Mark knowing who his pair was, he was entered into the Paired Kidney Exchange program with Beth.
Two months had passed. Beth and her family sold and bought a house in July, and she gets the call. Beth is told she and Mark have been matched; surgery is in two weeks. Two weeks. For Beth, this may not have been the ideal time to undergo surgery. She was moving her family into a new house, and packing up their old one, but it was God’s ideal time. “God asked me to do one thing, just one thing, so I did it. It didn’t matter if it worked with my timeline, I knew God would take care of the details. I just had to say yes to Him.”
Because Beth said “yes” to God, 18 lives were changed. Nine people in grave need of a kidney were donated one through the chain Beth and Mark were a part of. “This was God’s orchestration,” said Beth. There’s no other way to explain it.
Beth’s kidney went to a young woman in New York City. Mark’s kidney came from a man in Maryland.
Today, Mark knows it was Beth who paired with him to be able to enter this life saving program. Had she not, Mark could still be waiting for a match. Beth agreed to meet Mark at the family’s request. They are in close contact today and will forever be intertwined through this beautiful orchestration God fulfilled.
Has God shown you a plan for your life that took you by surprise? Share it in the comments below!
*Names have been changed
Abortion minded. That is what Allie* circled as she filled out her paperwork after she walked into one of our pregnancy centers. Allie had already been to a different center in town, but made an appointment with one of our centers afterward. They had confirmed her pregnancy with an ultrasound.
For a young, single girl, what a heavy weight to be carrying around. I can only imagine her fear of the unknown, anxiety, and confusion toward the life altering choice she would soon have to make since her test came back with two pink lines.
When Allie went back to the counseling room with the Center Director, Lesley*, they began discussing her three options: parenting, adoption, and abortion. After the director finished going into detail about each of her options, she could tell Allie was really struggling. Lesley felt a nudge from the Lord to tell Allie about her own story; a story of abortion at a young age. She could tell Allie was listening and very engaged.
In that room their connection continued to strengthen. Allie told Lesley she thinks God has been trying to talk to her. Recently, Allie was in a room where she noticed the Ten Commandments on a rug. All of the commandments were covered and could not easily be read. All but one. “Thou Shall Not Kill.”
Do you have goosebumps yet? That is powerful. That is God.
Allie got it. She could see that God was talking to her. He knew she was planning on ending the life of her unborn child.
After praying together, their counseling session came to an end. Lesley left the room to schedule Allie’s ultrasound. After going over the details of the scheduled appointment, Allie left. Back in her office, Lesley noticed a note on her desk. It said, “God brought me to you. I’ve made my decision, I’m keeping my baby.”
Allie chose life in the counseling room that day. Being able to connect with Lesley and hearing her story, Allie was given what she needed to choose life for her baby.
God was working through the placement of the Ten Commandments on the rug that day. God was working through Lesley as she told Allie her own story of abortion. God was and is working. Have you experienced a hidden, or not so hidden message from God? Please share your story in the comments section below.
*Names have been changed
What do you think of when you think about Life Centers? The free pregnancy tests? The counseling services? The ultrasounds?
Do you think about support services? Don’t worry, most people don’t. But that is starting to change.
When Life Centers started more than thirty years ago, the biggest need we filled was pregnancy tests. They were expensive, making it difficult for young, single women to acquire them. By providing free pregnancy tests, Life Centers was able to build a connection with these young women and build a bridge that would allow us to share the Gospel.
Today, Life Centers still provides free pregnancy tests, but they aren’t as needed as they once were. Most drug stores now sell pregnancy tests for a few dollars, allowing women to get the tests and do them at home. So how does Life Centers create opportunities to reach these women, since the pregnancy tests are no longer needed as much? What need are we meeting and how are we showing the Gospel in tangible ways to these young women?
Through support services.
Support services is the category Life Centers has created in our ministry for all of the supplies we provide to the women who come to our centers. From toys and books, to shoes and onesies, to diapers and formula, this is a huge part of the ministry we provide.
You may have heard before that three out of four women who have had abortions list “lack of finances” as a reason for the abortion. By providing support services, Life Centers is able to lower this number, one life at a time, giving women the confidence they need to choose life.
One specific support service we provide is a Baby Bundle, which contains diapers, formula, clothing, and blankets for a new baby. Each woman who comes in and has a positive pregnancy test receives a voucher for one of these Baby Bundles, which she can redeem near the end of her pregnancy. Throughout the next months after the baby is born, the mother can then bring the clothes back when her baby has outgrown them and trade them for clothes in the proper sizes.
This model of offering service is important because it allows Life Centers to build a relationship with the women who come to our centers. We support her throughout her pregnancy, and we continue to support her afterward as her child grows. We are there for her and for her children. Life Centers doesn’t care only about whether she chooses life; we care about helping her and her child succeed in life afterward.
Do you have items you are able to donate to the support services ministry of Life Centers? No donation is too small! Every blanket and every ounce of formula helps. If you are interested in donating items, you can drop them off at any Life Centers location, including the Administration Office. Do you need help transporting it? We can help with that. Or do you have a question about whether an item you have can be donated? We can answer that. Call us at 317-280-2635.
January 22nd is the 44th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision on Roe v. Wade, a landmark decision that extended the 14th amendment to include a woman’s right to have an abortion.
It’s tempting to become discouraged. After all, it’s been 44 years since Roe. v. Wade, and we still haven’t seen it reversed. More and more, the topic of abortion is being sidelined in the public square, and people look past it to something more exotic or more recently divisive. Abortion has become an issue many people in our culture take for granted as decided, and now only want to mainstream it as perfectly normal. Just last month, actress Lena Dunham said, “Something I’ve thought about a lot is the fact that there is stigma around abortion. Now I can say that I still haven’t had an abortion, but I wish I had.”
You probably read that quote and wished you were more shocked. It’s not surprising anymore to find that people don’t value life. But as tempting as it is to give in to discouragement, we must not. We must continue to celebrate and defend life because we serve the Creator of Life.
Have you heard about Shiprah and Puah? They were midwives to the Hebrew people during the captivity in Egypt. The Pharaoh was worried that the Hebrew people would revolt against the Egyptians, so he decided to institute population control. He told Shiprah and Puah to kill any baby boys born to the Hebrew women, although they could keep the girls. Exodus 1:17 says, “But the midwives feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live.”
Did you catch that? Shiprah and Puah defied the cultural norm, and the command of Pharaoh. They refused to do what was expected because they feared God more than the king of Egypt.
We are called to nothing less today. Do we fear God more than cultural expectations? Do we offer love where there is hate, and comfort where there is sadness? Do we champion life where there is death and speak truth where there are lies?
This January, may we support, encourage, and defend life wherever we find it, and may we fear God more than we fear man.
Are you looking for a practical way to encourage life in your community? Visit the Life Centers volunteer page for more information about how you can get involved with the Life Centers ministry.
Life Centers has a very small paid staff. This model of operating helps us get a lot of bang for every buck that is donated to us. It also means the ministry can’t function without many faithful volunteers.
At Life Centers, we are blessed to have a committed, compassionate group of volunteers who donate their time every week to counsel women in our centers, perform ultrasounds, answer phones, file paperwork, and assemble baby bundles, among many other tasks.
It’s not an easy job, being a Life Centers volunteer. Women come in with hard stories and broken hearts, searching for some kind of hope. Our volunteers are on the front lines, working to provide that hope, along with compassion and the love of Jesus Christ. It can be draining, but each one of our volunteers would say it is also extremely rewarding.
Two volunteers shared that their experience being counselors was very encouraging to them. There’s nothing like being able to share hope with these girls, they said. They love being able to watch the Lord work so clearly in the lives of the women they meet. They see what they call “divine appointments” every day, when women come in at just the right time to meet with a volunteer who has just the right experience to be able to understand and speak life in the situation.
One Life Centers volunteer had been looking for a way to serve for a while when she realized she could volunteer at Life Centers. “I thought, ‘this is something I can do,’” she said.
And while the volunteers are encouraged by their opportunities to share with clients who come to the centers, it is the clients themselves who are probably most blessed. One client shared in a comment recently that she “felt like she was talking to her mom,” when she was with her volunteer counselor. She felt safe and understood and encouraged. What a gift that volunteer was able to give her, just by being there to listen and speak with her!
As we enter 2017, Life Centers is in need of many more volunteers to keep up with the number of clients who visit our centers. Would you be interested in volunteering with us? You bring unique talents and gifts to the work, and we need your voice. Please click the button below for more information about volunteering with Life Centers.
We talk a lot at Life Centers about the services we provide to new and expectant mothers. We offer pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, diapers, wipes, formula, clothing, and counseling.
But what about the women and men who have already had abortions, and are now dealing with the aftermath?
That’s why Life Centers has the soar (spiritually oriented abortion recovery) ministry. Previously called G.R.A.C.E., soar is our newly rebranded ministry to people who are post-abortive. The program includes a support-group style study of the book Forgiven and Set Free by Linda Cochrane and culminates in a weekend retreat.
There is much argument, politicization, and conversation surrounding abortion. Often, the conversation can get bogged down in “pro-life” versus “pro-choice”. At Life Centers, our goal is to push beyond the labels and focus on the real needs in our community. Women need help. Those who are pregnant need guidance and material support. And those women and men who have already gone through abortions need more than the silence they so often find.
Led by women (and men in the men’s study) who are themselves post-abortive, soar reaches beyond the silence. Some who go through the program have not spoken of their abortions for 20 years or more. Soar is the first step toward finding healing and forgiveness.
Our leaders deal with the real issues surrounding abortion—the denial, the stress and anxiety, the deep depression, and the relationship issues, among many other things. They offer compassion and acceptance and help the women and men understand that their past does not define them and that they can truly be free from the weight they have been carrying. Through the study, participants find hope in the forgiveness God offers, and peace to live fully.
“After carrying around this burden for five years, I sought out help from Life Centers,” said Danielle, a soar participant. “Some days the guilt and shame were more than I could handle. Soar gave me hope when I had none. Soar helped me see Jesus when I believed He had left me. It helped me fully understand God’s true love and forgiveness.”
Soar programs operate in many churches around Indianapolis, and there is always opportunity for more programs to be started! If you are interested in starting this ministry in your church, or if you would like to be a participant in the program, email Machelle Montgomery at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’ve already announced that Janet Parshall will be our speaker at the 2017 Life Centers Celebration of Life Banquet. But who is Janet Parshall? Why is her presence at the Life Centers banquet so exciting and important?
Janet Parshall is a radio personality and an outspoken Christian conservative in the public square. Her radio talk show, In the Market with Janet Parshall, airs on Moody Radio.
Janet is a prolific author and a respected speaker. She presents a unique and thoroughly Christian perspective on culture, and brings her past experience to bear on her interpretation of current events.
Present Bush appointed Janet to be a public delegate of the United States at the 49th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in 2005. Though Janet has had much experience around politics, she presents her opinions wisely, keeping personal bias to herself and offering counsel and interpretation based on biblical thinking. Janet has been an outspoken advocate for life for many years.
Janet is married to Craig Parshall, Senior Vice President and General Counsel for the National Religious Broadcasters. They have two children, the late Samuel R. Parshall, and Sarah Parshall Perry.
Life Centers is delighted to have such a strong advocate for life and for Christianity in America as our Banquet speaker this year. If you would like to hear Janet Parshall on Moody Radio, visit her radio website: In the Market with Janet Parshall.
The 2017 Celebration of Life Banquet will be April 27th at the J.W. Marriott in downtown Indianapolis. Registration details will be coming soon!
“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.