On our back patio sits a spindly Marigold. It grew from a single seed. After we moved, I transplanted the tender plant three times. This summer blasted it with heat, wind, and more rain than soil can absorb. Still, it grew and bloomed. As a blossom fades, it drops its seed into the surrounding soil, increasing its beauty all the more.
Recently, I met Shirley, a woman living a beautiful life sprung from the seed of God’s love. She took her battered heart, fears, inadequacies, and set them at the feet of Jesus. As a result, our Ever-faithful God held her close, whispered truth, and wove a beautiful life out of her tattered pieces. Now He uses her to bring hope, healing, and a future to women and children across Columbia.
(Gift baskets for the moms–donated by the Columbia MOPS group and modeled by the terrific teen girls that came with me for the tour. Shirley is the woman on the left.)
Shirley is a client specialist for the My Life Clinic—a pro-life crisis pregnancy center. A couple weeks ago she contacted me through the timing of the Holy Spirit. I had already been hoping to contact the local My Life Clinic about doing a fundraiser with some Brave Girl charm necklaces a teen girl and I designed and created. She called the week we were finishing them. Perfect timing. She willingly met with myself and three teen girls. Taking a good amount of time out of her day, she gave us a tour of each room and talked about the clinic’s services.
***Let me take a quick moment to say that My Life offers free quality and compassionate medical services. In addition to medical services, women benefit from pregnancy and parenting classes, one-on-one mentorship, Bible studies, baby items the women can earn, and even abortion recovery groups. They are located across the street from Planned Parenthood and near a local high school. My Life Clinic positioned themselves intentionally to make a difference in the world.
These employees and volunteers walk alongside women seeking hope and healing. Compassionate women and several medical professionals serve at My Life. They are not pushy about what they believe, and they serve women of all walks of faith. However, they are ready and able to share about the transforming love of Jesus.
Originally, I wrote a huge 2,000 word post going into great detail about all their services, each room we saw, and everything they had to offer. But then I realized you could read so much more about their services on their beautiful website or by following them on Facebook.***
As we toured Shirley answered all of the teen girls’ questions. And kudos to them for having excellent ones! One teen asked about the option of adoption. Shirley surprised us with her response. My Life does work with adoption agencies and supports the choice of adoption–yet, she told us that adoption is a very unpopular choice among women today. In our current culture it is much more acceptable to abort than to give a child up for adoption. She said that out of the hundreds of women who come to their clinic and choose life each year, they usually only have one or two choose adoption.
Shirley showed us through her own gentle, kind spirit how they hold open space for women to be vulnerable, to share their pain, to voice their fears. She explained how many women sit right by the door of the consultation room–as if for quick escape. She went on to talk about how as a staff, they approached every interaction with compassion and how they soaked each consultation in prayer. It was amazing to hear about how the Holy Spirit was not only at work through the employees and volunteers at My Life, but also in the hearts of the women who sought help.
Before we left, tears welling in her eyes, Shirley shared about her own experience as a teenager at the My Life Clinic. She openly shared about her own journey through an abusive relationship, contacting the clinic, planning on giving up her son for adoption. She then told us how God spoke truth and confidence into her world at just the right time. He whispered into her heart that being a mom would bring her closer to Him. She chose to keep her son.
Today, God’s redemption is written all over her life from her smile and joy, to the tattoo on her wrist reminding her of God’s love, to the beauty that shapes her heart and life. She is happily married, a mom to two, serving at the clinic that so deeply impacted her life, and finishing a degree in counseling. Her impact on the lives of other women is far reaching as she plants seeds of hope, redemption, and the value of life.
The teen girls and I left energized by the whole experience and deeply moved by the vulnerability of Shirley. I am grateful for the Spirit-filled men and women of the My Life Clinic.
If you live in Columbia, I encourage you to visit the My Life Clinic for yourself. They need volunteers to help in different capacities from organizing the boutique and donating items to mentoring women. Follow them on Facebook and join in their fundraisers.
If you live elsewhere, find out what your community offers as far as crisis pregnancy centers. Pray for ways that you can walk alongside women and truly be pro-life. God will provide the opportunity—trust me.
After a couple weeks of selling our Brave Girl Charm Necklaces at church, we will offer them for sale here. That is if we have any left. After recouping the small costs for supplies, all proceeds will go directly to the My Life Clinic to further their mission of life, love, and compassion.