Good morning and happy Thursday morning. You know when it is 5 a.m it is me, Suzanne, emailing our amazing team but Rachel and I have talked over and over about this email because this is a powerful yet painful email to write because we want to share a story about yesterday out on that holy ground across from the Marietta PP and we have so much more to share as well so let me say a few things and lead into this story that I pray everyone reads and even though this was an hour long at least conversation, praying to fit into one paragraph, but first….
1. We have 14 new Marietta 40 Days for Life 365 family members! GLORY TO GOD and may God richly, richly bless you for your time, investment and joining our family. We love you all and we thank God for you all more than you will ever know! Yesterday, Wednesday late morning several of our amazing new Marietta 40 Days for Life family/team members were already outside praying and loving big and well and being such a beautiful compassionate presence! Thank you to Julian (we have had the privilege of knowing Julian for several years now and so thankful for him) and Anna with her girls Mary and Claire (we are always BLOWN AWAY by parents like Anna and Dan West and his wife and kiddos AND MANY MORE OF YOU that bring your kids! What a beautiful witness not only to the PP clients and to the community but what a beautiful way to raise up kids exemplifying compassionate action like that! GOD BLESS YOU PARENTS DOING THAT! HEROES and we plan to share with HQ hoping this will be spotlighted as such a beautiful example of parenting with Jesus’ very heart living out tangibly how to love big and well!) and not done yet also thank you to wonderful Denise who moved here from Florida AND get this, she is just diving into to GA life by joining Marietta 40 Days for Life and she was outside yesterday and so humbled thinking when someone first moves somewhere there is so much to do and Denise is such a beautiful example of diving into being God’s Heart! WOW!
2. Special thank you to our Marla Jones for continuing to journey with Jakayla who chose life outside the Marietta PP months ago and who our team had a shower for a few weeks ago (that so many invested in to make such a special day for Jakayla and her family!) as Marla just gave Jakayla a crib this week and Jakayla was so so impacted! What a witness to the love of Jesus Marla is to Jakayla! And Marla and Lisa and Nicole M have made beautiful goodie bags to give to PP clients like our sweet Ellie has and we are just so thankful for the heart of our Marietta 40 Days for Life 365 family.
3. Remember Ann H and Dan West and family gave a woman hope and such love a couple weeks ago that she chose life and without their presence outside she would have kept her abortion appointment but because of their loving presence and loving words this woman was empowered and loved into a life decision AND now connected with a prc thanks to them all! AND speaking of women loved into life decisions, Ann and Rachel continue to stay in touch with V who chose life last Friday and how V shared how Ann’s words reminded V of her grandma and how V felt so loved and again loved into a life decision.
4. Getting close to sharing an important testimony from yesterday but a few reminders and that is that we will be doing another Sidewalk Advocates for Life training. Holy cow this SAFL training (SAFL have done all the work…literally thanks to FBCW paying for us to have wonderful Daniel to do audio visual for us and SAFL providing this comprehensive training) is so comprehensive and the feedback has been tremendous and thank you to our huge attendance for this training of almost 50 of our Marietta family members in attendance and get this….27 YES 27 churches represented…Can we all stop and fall to our knees and praise and thank Messiah Jesus! AND THANK YOU ALL OF YOU! YOU ALL ARE SO AMAZING, SO FAITHFUL, SO INVESTED, SO LOVING! THANK YOU! WE will be doing another training again soon! And thank you to all who came early and donated food and thank you to Chick Fil A for their generous donation of 50 box lunches!
Ok, thank you for enduring through a long winded but so important email and will try and condense the hour long conversation with “D” outside the Marietta PP yesterday into a short paragraph so just know a lot is being left out but trying to give the major points of what God did and this compelling story about what 40 Days for Life is all about and that is THE POWER OF PRESENCE AND THE ESSENTIAL NATURE OF PRESENCE…
Rachel and I were running a little late yesterday for our 11 am prayer and sidewalk counseling time slot outside the Marietta PP. Our faithful Wednesday team is always there Wednesday mornings and remember we had many new people, see above, there this Wednesday morning and thank you all! Thank you Laraine and the Snyders and Robin G and Peter B and Carla L and Rebecca always there on Wednesdays and the beautiful, compassionate posters you always have! Also remember we will equip everyone with their own posters to keep forever if you do not have a poster already. Posters are essential and the goal is always to have a message of hope and love that is inviting to the PP clients to show that we are there to help and love.
So…Rachel and I see a woman right in eye shot walking out of PP as we are walking up, so we start calling out to her and waving her over…..Cannot emphasize enough how God uses calling out to in kindness and waving PP clients to come over with a huge smile on our faces as that literally was what God used in this situation and in many situations and Jakayala who chose life and her sister said the only reason they came over to talk with us all those months ago was because of kind smiles and kind invitations with waving them over to come talk so wave people to come talk to you as you kindly call out to them and always wave down cars to roll down their windows to talk with you-Carla L is our incredible example of this! 😉
So we are waving D to come over and talk with us and kindly calling out and she comes over. Little did we know until the end of the conversation that she was coming over to actually yell at us for being out there but that is not what happened….so she came over and we started talking and sharing why we were out there and one thing led to another and D starts crying…we mean crying…tears dropping onto her cheeks and then onto her hands and onto the piece of paper we had given her that she was holding. I would like to give exact quotes but after an hour conversation not sure we can remember exact quotes but these words we are about to share are pretty much exact quotes…..As we listened to her, she said the most heartfelt in deep sorrow words that will haunt us forever. D said, “where were you guys two weeks ago? Why weren’t you out here two weeks ago. I did not want to have an abortion. I had hoped someone would be outside to stop me but no one was here and I felt so alone and like I had no choice. I just moved here from Ohio and I felt like I had no one to help me. I did not want to have an abortion. I wish I had not. Where were you guys two weeks ago.”
Ok…pausing for a moment…the depth of sorrow in her voice still haunts me…She was not condemning us for not being there two weeks ago when she drove into that strip mall where PP to have an abortion although it can sound like that out of the context of that conversation but rather she was crying uncontrollably and saying these words with such painful regret and longing that she wished she had not aborted but felt like she was alone and had no choice AND of course, Rachel and I were instantly thinking why weren’t we there two weeks ago…..The reality all the more hit us what we already know and that is that being there is everything….You don’t need a PhD in sidewalk counseling…just being there is everything. 40 Days for Life emphasizes the power of being present and of course they emphasize that because that is truly God’s Heart and boy being present is everything…..I don’t know where we were two weeks ago and that will haunt us probably until Jesus takes us home but we do know that God allowed us the privilege and joy and yes haunting sorrow at the same time of meeting this new friend that we already love so much and we are going to breakfast with her and her oldest daughter tomorrow and yes, we will be connecting her with post abortion healing and our goal is to introduce her to more new friends to get plugged in in GA and to never feel alone and helpless again. D regrets her abortion in a way that is so painful we are left haunted and we are full of regret that for some reason we were not there two weeks ago when she so desperately was looking for another option but felt she had no choice BUT we know for D and for us there is always redemption and we pray this story lets you all know that your presence is mightily used and we will move heaven and earth to fill every hour outside of that death mill until it closes and we humbly thank each of you for your presence and humbly ask each of you if you could each ask your churches to help us fill 7 am to 7pm weekly.
I did not do a very good job of telling this powerful story from yesterday and it is hard for me to even write about as my heart is so heavy in so many ways….haunted…..Thankful God allowed us to meet D and now call her a friend….but haunted that she felt so hopeless and alone two weeks ago…what a picture of the reality of how so many precious women and men feel and how so many have no desire to have an abortion but feel like no other choice. We thank God for YOU ALL and please know that we may not know every story of every PP client but know that the fact that you are out there means that there are many D’s that chose life just because you were out there and you may never know it. You all love well and we thank God for each of you and hoping this story makes sense. YOUR PRESENCE HAS SAVED MORE LIVES THAN YOU WILL EVER REALIZE! You all are a part of a kingdom work that is like no other and we will never ever be able to thank you all for how you show up and pray…Presence and prayer ….God moves mountains through each of you!
We love you all! Hope this makes sense. OUr hearts are so heavy over D’s story but at the same time no accident God allowed our team to be out there yesterday and no accident with tears dripping and streaming down her face she had the courage to share. She said she had initially come over to “fuss” at us for being there but realized she needed a safe place to be able to fall apart and share her pain. Praise God for the privilege of being on that holy ground that despite being so far away from PP across the parking lot, that is no obstacle for God and He still brings women and men to come talk to us. Thank you for your loving and inviting presence!
YOU ALL ARE HEROES! Love you all