Acts 16:31 NIV—
“They replied, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—
you and your household.’”
“They replied, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved,
and your entire household.’"
Last week we veered off our family members salvations to share about my boss and his wife and how God loves to use the foolish, like me, if our hearts are open. Today is proof how He wants to also use us in many outrageous ways when we are tuned into Him and His leading.
Again, as in last week’s story, we were living in Florida and I had just my 3 boys, Easton still a baby. Soon after moving, I was sure I was pregnant again, but it was only a clever plan God had to get me to begin working in Pro Life again. I’d taken off from volunteering for almost a year after moving to Florida from California. So, since I believed myself to be pregnant again, I searched the yellow pages for an ad that I could tell was a Pro Life clinic offering free pregnancy tests. This was long before a woman could simply buy a kit at the store, which meant you’d have to go to your doctor to find out. That was expensive and it also took longer to find out the results.
As soon as I walked in the door of the clinic, immediately ALL my symptoms disappeared. Then, when it was confirmed I wasn’t pregnant, the counselor began explaining about the life growing inside of me and the value of the baby, when I stopped her to explain I’d been a counselor for many years. That’s when her eyes lit up and she told me they needed volunteers and interestingly, that very evening they were having a meeting for new volunteers. Yes, He’d set me up and that’s when I knew my time off was over, time to get back to doing what I had a passion for.
A few months later, on Thanksgiving morning, something kept urging me to go to the clinic that morning even though it was closed. So I told my husband I’d be back, and drove over, unlocking the doors, then locking them behind me. Just minutes later I heard a knocking on the door and my heart began to beat wildly because the area was seedy and dangerous, so we were warned to never open the door when we were alone. Knowing there were rules, I also knew I’d come for a reason, so I asked the Lord what to do. When I slowly opened the door and peaked out, there stood a very pregnant young woman who was dirty, with loads of old makeup and very little clothing. Instantly I knew why I’d come, and welcomed her in relieved and also excited.
Frankie began telling me why she was there, to get an abortion, so I said to get started I needed to get some information (which is the way we were trained to get them to begin talking about why they felt abortion was their only option). Nothing can ever prepare you to hear the kind of life some women are living through. Frankie’s boyfriend was just sentenced to several years in prison, so by the end of the month, she’d have nowhere to live. The tracks on her arms also showed where her money went from dancing in a gentlemen’s club—yes, very pregnant and still dancing with nothing on 🙁
Letting her talk, once I knew she’d shared everything, I leaned over the desk and asked what she was doing that Sunday; did she have any plans? More than a bit stunned, she said, nothing, so I asked if she’d like to go to church with me and meet my family—telling her how I’d love her to hold my baby and get to know my husband and 2 boys. Puzzled she said, “You’d want me to meet your family?!”
“Of course, you’d love them and they’d love you. Please say you’ll come?”
Though she said she would, when I stood outside and she didn’t show, I thought it had to still be a good idea. We weren’t actually at our church, it was the church who sponsored the Pro Life clinic and was close by, so when it popped into my head, I knew that’s where to invite her. When suddenly I looked up and saw her walking towards us, dressed more than a bit scantily, which made me smile since it was a Baptist church so I knew it would raise more than a few eyebrows.
As she walked up, I stretched my arms forward with my baby boy kicking his feet, all smiles, for her to hold. At that moment I could see everything in her demeanor change. Prior to that, she was hard, cold, and unfeeling. Then, instantly, as my adorable baby smiled and grabbed for her, all of that facade broke away (Easton’s always had that effect on people, even way back then 🙂
While my husband took our older two boys to their classes, I asked her to come with me to put the baby in the nursery, and while I was there I pointed to the newborn room where I said, “That’s the room where you could bring your baby; we can stop by later so you can meet the ladies—they’re all grandmothers and just love to rock the babies through the service so you can have some time to yourself.”
When we walked into the church building, I spotted the clinic’s founder, Barbara, who I had been in awe of from the moment I met her. God used her as an amazing Titus older woman when she trained me to be a Pro Life speaker, which I know prepared me for this ministry.
Long before I saw her, Barbara saw us and was sweeping herself our way with outstretched arms and a huge smile on her face. Coming towards Frankie (not me) she wrapped her arm around her shoulder while turning, and in her very gentle and quiet voice, began to escort her to sit with “us.” Of course, she didn’t know one thing about Frankie nor had we ever come to her church, but just as it had been planned for weeks before, Barbara flowed in the spirit of the Lord.
Frankie sat between Barbara and me, so I was able to watch and learn how beautifully this older woman knew when to say nothing when to wrap an arm around Frankie or to simply hold her hand. Barbara also knew exactly how and what to say when the preacher called for people to come down. Turning to Frankie she whispered, “I know you want to go, but it’s a bit scary, isn’t it? Of course, your heart’s beating so hard, so let me come down with you” as she simply stood up, still holding Frankie’s hand. Once at the altar, Barbara hugged her from behind but left the altar worker to do her part in HIS salvation plans.
At the end of the service, instead of getting up and leaving, we were asked to sit down. Then the curtains behind the pulpit opened, revealing the baptismal—and there stood Frankie, all in white, being baptized! When the curtains shut everyone else stood to leave, but Barbara and her husband didn’t stand, so neither did we. They also didn’t speak, so neither did we, when a few minutes later, there was Frankie, hair wet, wearing a borrowed sweater (that covered what had been exposed, but what I realized no one had been staring at or raising an eyebrow over!)
That’s when I remembered that just before leaving for church, we realized we had no cash to take Frankie out to lunch (and taking her home was too far away). This was prior to people using credit cards and I’m not sure debit cards existed, which meant for us to go out to lunch we needed cash and we didn’t have enough. Yet, this next event in the Lord’s salvation story simply happened as seamlessly as all the rest. As soon as we stood Barbara told Frankie that as a new member of their church, she could invite us to join her for the Sunday luncheon held the last Sunday of the month.
While eating, dozens of members came by to hug Frankie and began inviting her to all sorts of programs she might enjoy coming to, with them, that week. Before Barbara left, she told Frankie she’d meet her early the next morning at the clinic to help her choose some maternity clothes and a baby layette (the crib, clothing, diapers, etc.) she’d need. Then afterward they’d have lunch with their pastor to talk over options for a new job and training if she’d be interested.
That day, Frankie began calling herself Frances and two months later gave birth to a beautiful baby boy who was not addicted to heroin. At the moment she came up out of the water, Frances said she immediately knew she was free from her drug addiction.
Over the years Frances and I kept in touch. Watching her new life kept me in awe (and still does) each and every time I see what God did to help this young woman become someone brand new.
This isn’t the first or last time the Lord led me somewhere to meet someone special for Him. Next week I will share with you an incident that got me into a lot of trouble, and yet, everyone knew He’d chosen someone not only foolish but weak to help a homeless black man find life in Him!
1 Corinthians 1:27 Aramaic Bible in Plain English
“For God has chosen the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and he has chosen the weak of the world to shame the mighty.”