Guest Post by Cindie Thomas
Two years ago my Pastor asked me to attend a luncheon a local church was hosting for a Crisis Pregnancy Center. I readily agreed to go, as I wanted to hear the center’s director speak. The pro-life movement had tugged on my heart for a long time. Maybe this would be my time to get involved. As I listened to Andrea, I felt God calling me to volunteer.
As a Life Coach for women my desire is to see women live the life God intends for them. But what could I offer a pregnant woman in crisis? How could God use me, an ordinary person, to do His extraordinary work? I went through the training, shadowing for a month before I counseled women alone. I loved being there, and as I learned to model the love of Jesus and share His love with women, layers of my own life began to peel away. I found my heart softening toward these young girls who came in pregnant and scared, and I loved being able to offer them tangible help through counseling and a program that helps them earn needed items by watching videos on child care and other important life issues.
Our Center is in the heart of the city where some of the local prostitutes, many of whom drug addicted, also live. Our day at the center always begins with prayer and daily we pray for the girls Andrea knows by name. Some of these, she told me when I first began working there, would occasionally come in for a bottle of water or to use the bathroom, and sometimes were just in need of a clean shirt and a kind word.
I had been working there about a year when Marie came in. She had been an addict for 10 years. I remember looking at her for the first time and realizing that underneath the layers of dirt there was a young woman who was someone’s daughter, and she was hurting. The Free Line Dictionary defines compassion as “deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it.” That is honestly what I felt that day. The sadness in her eyes haunted me and I desperately wanted to be able to help her.
The day she came in she was dirty and high on crack, and tears were streaming down her cheeks. She had been hurt emotionally by the man with whom she lived, and came in needing some love. As I walked over to her, she grabbed my hand and said “Pray with me…I need you to pray with me.” I took hold of her hand and I prayed and then I hugged her and told her that Jesus loved her and I did too. I wanted to get her some food and a cold drink, but she left as quickly as she had come in.
One year later, Marie is in a Christian rehab facility for women. She has been clean for 90 days, praise God, and I visit her weekly. She is my Facebook friend and sends me sweet messages and I am blessed beyond measure to see God at work in her life.
The God who is working in her life has worked in my life as well. I look at the women on the street with new eyes. My heart breaks for their hurt. You can’t pray with or for others without their pain impacting you. One thing I have truly learned: the things that break God’s heart must also break ours.
Frederick Boehner says it well: “Compassion is sometimes the fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else’s skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too.”
We have to be able to see that when we peel away the layers we all have a story, and it is by sharing our stories that we better understand the nature of our Heavenly Father.
Cindie Thomas is a wife, mother of three young adults and Gram to five amazing grandchildren. She is a life coach, writer, and speaker who longs to minister to women who are struggling and want to find contentment in their lives. http://musingsfromthegram.typepad.com/a_circle_of_three/
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