We have a client who has been coming to see us since she was 5 months pregnant with her little girl – her little girl is nearly three years old now. She’s gone through all of our parenting class materials, has met with most of our staff, and still comes to see us regularly simply because we are her support system – she’s become family.
Left as an orphan, she’s had to grow up with a hard exterior and learn to protect herself in ways that have served her in the past but are not always helpful now. Gaining her trust is no easy feat but getting to know this young woman and her sweet daughter – and getting to watch them fall into a place of relief when they walk through our doors – is a precious gift to us. Her little girl always makes her rounds to all of our offices to ensure we all get the biggest hugs of our life because she knows how loved, welcomed, and safe she is here.
Earlier this year, our client told us she was pregnant again and was planning on getting an abortion. We talked with her through all of her fears and where she felt stuck and desperate, and she still chose abortion. While we knew this wasn’t the best choice for her, we made sure she knew she was still welcome here, and that we love her unconditionally.
Because we kept her seat at the table open, she came back to us. And she still comes to see us almost every week. She’s pregnant again and is choosing life this time. We don’t ask her or expect her to be who we think she should be – we welcome everything that she is right now so that one day, she can truly know that God is not a forceful God, and He doesn’t run away in disgust, annoyance, or impatience when she shows up at the door.
Her story, like all of ours, is not simple and she’s had to endure hardship that she never should have had to face on her own. But we get to watch God move in her, and her little girl, and her hard exterior is slowly softening. We are confident in God’s faithfulness to her to heal the parts of her that are desperately longing for gentleness.
We’ve decided in the coming months to share stories with this theme in mind: a seat at the table. We are being shown over and again with our clients, with each other, and with ourselves that Jesus meets us this way – He invites our whole selves, imperfect and far from put together, to join Him for dinner at the table. It’s here that we find safety to give Him access to all the parts of ourselves, and it’s in giving Him access that He can touch these parts and bring redemption within us. We know it works. We’re seeing it in the ones who come to see us, and minds and lives are being changed.
By Katelynn Martin