“I’m done with pregnancy center work,” the Client Services Manager of a pregnancy center told me at one of our training seminars. “I cannot bear the pain when the children that I see on our ultrasound screen are aborted. That is a rare pain that I don’t know how to process.”
One of the leading causes of burnout in pregnancy center work comes when clients choose abortion despite our loving efforts to help them chose life. The enemy uses these deaths to speak nasty messages into our heart like – This child died because of you! You need to quit because what you are doing isn’t working. Just give up!
All over the life-affirming movement, leadership constantly touts the “number of lives saved” through their efforts. While the accuracy of these numbers is rarely verified, these comments shift the praise of supporters to the individual ministry versus God who actually does the lifesaving work through us.
Spouting an ongoing “census” of the amount of lives saved through an organization can be out of God’s will for our ministry efforts unless we are very specific about giving Him the glory. For example, here are two ways to share the message of the impact of life-saving efforts:
- The Woman’s Pregnancy Center saved 1,427 children from abortion
- God used The Woman’s Pregnancy Center to save 1,427 children from abortion
The first statement credits the individual ministry and gives them the glory for saving lives. The second gives God all the glory for lives saved and builds additional credibility for the individual ministry as a Godly effort. After all, we all want to be used by God.
Matthew 6:18-20 exposes a truth that perhaps we should not be featuring exact numbers when it comes to lives saved – So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. . .
Here’s another problem with life-affirming statistics – if these numbers are not tangibly verified by baby photos, names, or birth certificates, etc., they can be very misleading and even construed as false. If a ministry helps rescue one from abortion but ignores the needs of forty others who are aborted, they are not necessarily as fruitful as they possibly could be.
We simply should never take God’s fruit as our own. If we take the personal credit for saving lives, then we also become responsible for every life lost to abortion. When God receives the full credit for lives saved, He also assumes responsibility for the lives lost to abortion.
God cares more than we know, as shown in John 1:2-4 – He (Jesus) was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.
Before we were even born, Jeremiah 1:5 reveals God knew all about the ministry fruit our reconciliation with Him would produce – Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…
Because He created everything, God knows every life that He conceives. He knows their past, present and future. He creates children that He knows will be aborted. Therefore God also knows how He will use that child’s death to His good.
My child was lost in a horrific and painful way through abortion. Since healing my heart and helping me forgive myself for the role I played in my child’s death, God has used me extensively with abortion-vulnerable individuals. He also has used me in helping others who have chosen abortion find His healing. When I walked into that abortion clinic, He knew how He was going to use me to spare many the fate of abortion.
In my early ministry years, I would struggle with those I spoke with who chose abortion. Deep grief would overwhelm me after I discovered a child I had worked to save was in heaven. I felt I had failed God. There were many times when I did not hear back from those I spoke with about abortion and assumed the worst. I’ve tangibly grieved children only to discover later that the child I was mourning was very much alive!
Conversely, many whom I spoke with outlined they would not abort because of the information they had learned during our time together. I would jump around and celebrate those changed hearts with Godly joy. If I later learn they had aborted, my joy turns to deep sorrow. I would once again seek God’s confirmation that I was still effective for Him.
These were the moments when God was building my complete faith in Him for the work ahead. Peace would come over my grieving heart. Then I could release the burden for that child’s life back to God. Mark 5:34 discloses what happens in these circumstances – He (Jesus) said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
Often women leave abortion clinics in the “relief” stage of their abortion experience. Knowing that relief is often temporary, I always worked to plant seeds of compassion into their hearts in final conversations like, “I’m glad you called and let me know what happened. Always know that if you ever feel some of the emotional elements we discussed like grief, anger or guilt, I’m always here to help.”
Many days I pray for God to send more of His people into this ministry effort. There should be 10,000 pregnancy centers versus 2,000 in the USA. As He did with Gideon’s forces in the book of Judges, God keeps our numbers quite small. Judges 7:2 reveals why – The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel will boast against me saying, “My own strength has saved me.”
The fruit of an aborted child that we worked to save rests in heaven. Even if they choose death, our efforts to help their parents are NEVER in vain. God sees our efforts even if the world does not. Nothing we do for God can ever be lost or unproductive. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 outlines this truth – For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.