Adapted from a seminar given May 7, 1994 by Karen Black. When you stand out on that sidewalk, you are not counseling that child. If the child could answer you and respond, the child would not choose abortion. However, you're not talking to the baby, you're talking to its mother.
1. WE HAVE TO CHANGE THE WAY WE THINK
As a pro-lifer, what is the first word that comes to your mind when you hear the word "abortion"? Death? Kill? Baby? Fear? Sorrow? Pain? Anger?
What words come to mind when you hear the word "abortionist"? Killer? Hate? Murderer? Money? Lost?
How about when you think of the woman that has chosen to end her pregnancy with abortion? Uninformed? Desperate? Lost? Scared? Pressured? Sorrow? Hardhearted? Lied-to? Selfish?
These are obviously the word associations of a person who thinks pro-life. But I'd like you to put away your pro-life thinking for just a moment and try to think pro-choice. So, thinking pro-choice, what is the first word that comes to your mind if you hear the word "abortion"? Choice? Rights? Freedom? Solution? It's-my-body? Equality?
Now again, thinking pro-choice, what is the first word that comes to your mind when you hear the word "abortionist"? Savior? Doctor? Hero? Helper? Friend? Provider?
And again, thinking pro-choice, what do you think of when you think of the woman that has chosen an abortion? Scared? Solution? Pressure? Problem? Anger?
You may notice that it is not as easy to come up with the pro-choice responses. The average pro-lifer often realizes, "Wait a minute, I don't know how to think pro-choice."
I did that exercise for a couple of reasons. One, is to show you something you already know: pro-life is over here, and pro-choice is over there, and never the two shall meet. We can't have a half live baby and a half dead baby, or a half injured woman and a half safe woman. There is nothing about abortion that pro-life and pro-choice can agree on. And, secondly, I want you to realize that, as pro-lifers, the first thing that comes to our mind when we think about abortion, usually, is the baby. That's what we think of most. And I want to encourage you in that, and please understand what I'm saying here. Praise God, I want you to remain pro-life. Hold onto your pro-life convictions and your pro-life motivation. But, to the very best of your ability, begin, as well as you can, to start thinking pro-choice.
You're Not Counseling the Baby -- You're Counseling the Woman
When you stand out on that sidewalk, you are not counseling that child. If the child could answer you and respond, the child would not choose abortion. However, you're not talking to the baby, you're talking to its mother. If she wants to go and have that abortion, she is going to do it. Unless you were to kidnap a woman and keep her for the duration of her pregnancy, which we cannot do, she is free to have that abortion. We cannot take her choice away.
I do not believe that any woman has the moral right to choose to take the life of her child. However, the law of our land says that she does have a legal right to an abortion, and we can't change that. The only thing that we can change is ourselves. The only thinking that we can change is our own.
Many of us have pro-choice friends. We've been working on them for years, and they're still pro-choice. When a woman passes you on that sidewalk (and if you've been out there, I don't have to tell you), you don't have two or three years, or two or three hours. If you have two or three seconds, it's a luxury. You don't have time to change her from a pro-choice thinker to a pro-life thinker. You need to change your thinking.
When you step out on the sidewalk, try to leave your pro-life thinking at home, which is pro-baby, and start thinking pro-choice, which is pro-woman, because that's who you're talking to.
Now, the bottom line is that we fight this because of what happens to the children, and, yes, I do care about the woman. But, ultimately, I realize that that's how we need to reach the women in order to save the children. So, to the best of your ability, if you want to save that child, push that child to the recesses of your mind and start that process. It will begin to flow.
You are not there to take away her choice, and I even tell them that. You are there to lovingly, kindly, and compassionately encourage her to change her choice. There's a vast difference in that.
If a woman thinks that her choice is threatened, you've got an angry woman on your hands. She doesn't realize that, many times, you're actually the one who is protecting her right to choose. We're the ones that have the choice. They're going to offer her abortion. That's the only thing they will offer. We will offer her an alternative; we will offer her a choice.
Whether you ever step foot on the sidewalk or not, you can glean things from this handbook to take to your place of employment, your neighborhood, your school campus, wherever -- because we all run into women that are considering abortion, and the Lord will make sure that you hear about them. He'll bring them across your path. And the same principles that you apply on the sidewalk can apply at any time and in any way to encourage such a woman to choose life.
She'll Never Listen to You If You Do Not First Win Her Over
Our first objective in sidewalk counseling, or in our place of employment, when this woman says, "You know, I'm pregnant, and I'm having an abortion," is to win her to yourself. The main reason for this is so that she'll stop and receive your literature or talk to you so that you'll have a chance to let her know that you care about her and that there are alternatives. Remember that you are walking into her private life. It's not like being in a crisis pregnancy center where you're in control and she's walking into your domain. You're out there walking into her private life, where she perhaps has not even told her very best friend what's going on, and she's gone to another town or another city so no one will find out. And we're there, and it's real hard to walk into that situation, and we have to present ourselves in a certain way in order to win her over.
Let's do another exercise. Think for a moment: How would the average pro-choice person describe the average pro-life activist? Ignorant? Fanatic? Cult member? A nut? Religious right? Zealot? Rabid?
Gosh, we're a nice group, aren't we?
Violent? Radical? Militant? Confrontational? Anti-choicers? Judgmental? If you've been out there, you've heard all these.
Unloving? Uncaring? All those things. That's why we give our life to this -- I mean, after all!
Well, I know you're probably sitting there and you're saying, "I'm not like that -- that's just what the media projects, or that's what they say we are, but it doesn't mean that it's true."
And I know a lot of pro-lifers, and I know that it simply is not true. But sometimes I have stood back and observed, and I have seen pro-lifers that I know and that I love become overwhelmed at the moment. They may say something that was absolutely not the wrong thing to say, but said it in such a way, out of emotion, that it came across the wrong way.
If our objective is to win someone to ourselves, would any of those emotions and qualities that I just listed win anybody? And I'm not saying that we do that. What I'm saying is that sometimes, if we're not very careful, an attitude will come across. We have to be sensitive to that at all times. Particularly out there.
Be Sensitive to Her Situation
A woman coming for an abortion is at an all-time emotional high. It's not a real fun day for her. She's confused. She's upset. We don't know what has just happened in her life. We don't know how the man in this situation fits in. We don't know the problems and the heartaches that she has at home. And, if you look at her the wrong way, she'll burst into tears or she'll be angry or she will run from you. On the other hand, if you treat her in a right way, and she has an absence of love and compassion in her life, she will migrate to you.
Just be careful of what you project out there. Because I know what's in your hearts, but you need to make sure that that comes out in a proper way.
2. STOP AND ASK YOURSELF WHY AM I OUT THERE?
Right now, as you're reading this, would be a good time to just search your own heart. Ask yourself, "Why do I want to sidewalk counsel?" If you have been out there on the sidewalk, you know very well that it's not a real fun place to be. Somebody asked me one time to come to her city and "give a pep rally" to sidewalk counselors. I can't do that. What am I going to say? You're going to have fun out there? It's going to be a ball? No. It's not fun. It can be gut-wrenching. And your feet hurt, your back hurts, and you get friendly little hand signals all day. But it's not supposed to be fun. It may be the hardest thing you'll ever do. But it's also the most rewarding thing. When you've got that beautiful little baby in your arms and you know that, even though that day that it took to encourage that mom to choose life for that child may have been stressful, it was worth every single moment of it.
Now is the time to just be honest with yourself before the Lord and say, "Why am I out there?"
I had someone confess to me not too long ago that she felt she was out there for all the wrong reasons. But then, once she got that right between her and the Lord, things started flowing like never before, and she has seen tremendous numbers of children saved that she hadn't seen before.
Ask yourself, are you out there because you want to save babies? That's good, that's wonderful. That's a good reason. Are you out there because you want to obey God when He says, "Don't stand back and let the innocent die"? That, too, is a good reason.
Unless You're There for the Woman, You Will Never Be Truly Effective
But I want to tell you, that if you're not out there because you care about the moms, you will never become a truly effective sidewalk counselor. It won't happen. You may see a few babies saved here and there, and praise God! But let's not settle for that.
The world does not settle for mediocrity. Why should we? You see these charts all the time of salesmen that are trying to get better and better and better and higher and higher up on the chart. And I think we should do that too. Let's not settle for one or five or ten babies. Let's see thousands and thousands of children's lives spared and women's lives touched by the glory of God. And if our heart's attitude can make a difference, then let's be honest before the Lord.
We're Not There to Pass Judgment on Her Circumstances
We need to remember when we go out there that her situation, the circumstances of that pregnancy, is none of our business. We're not her Holy Spirit. We're not there to condemn her or to pass judgment on her, but rather to extend the love of Christ to someone that's hurting, who has bought a lie, who may have nothing but pressure, pressure, pressure in her life to abort. She may not have one person encouraging her to choose life.
We need to meet her where the Lord meets us -- in our sins, in our failures and shortcomings -- and extend that love to her. In the Bible description of the woman at the well, Jesus didn't walk up to her and hit her upside the head with the Bible. He gave her what she needed, which was the Living Water. And the good Samaritan, as he knelt down over the man in the ditch, he didn't stand there and point his finger at him and preach to him and say if he had lived a different lifestyle, he might not be in this ditch. He knelt down and he bound up his wounds. And we, as the Body of Christ, need to be willing to do that.
Corinthians 13 says "Love does not behave itself unseemly. Love is always polite and courteous. Love is never violent. Love is never rough. Love is never brutal. Love doesn't go around and say ugly things." And I know, sometimes, you just can't take it any longer. And the reasons that these girls use!! Sometimes I have a real struggle with respecting my gender when I see selfish woman after selfish woman after selfish woman go in there for abortions day after day after day. But I had to give that to the Lord. I had to lay that down at His feet.
We Are Called to Love Even Our Enemies
We need to remember to extend that love to the clinic personnel, to the pro-aborts, and to the abortionists themselves.
We have a tremendous problem in Atlanta right now with pro-aborts every day, at every mill. They meet us there. They are there at 4:45, 5 o'clock every morning. They're very faithful. And I kept praying them away. Until the Lord rebuked me for that, and I was reading in Timothy that He may very well be sending them to us, because we're the only ones that have the light and the truth for them.
We all know the stories of the clinic directors and the abortionists that have quit because some pro-lifer extended the love of Christ to them.
We need to be aware of that responsibility at all times. I'm not saying that we should never stand back and rebuke evil. There is a time when we need to stand out there and proclaim the truth of Christ that our nation is on its way to Hell because of this awful slaughter of innocent children. There is a time to preach. But in the context of sidewalk counseling, when we're trying to reach that woman, we must be very careful about what comes out of our mouths.
Be Wary of an Attitude of Condemnation Towards the Woman Who Chooses Abortion
What's in the heart comes out of the mouth. It'll come out in our facial expressions and our tone of voice and our body language. And, I want to ask you, just between you and the Lord, do you struggle extending love to the women that go into abortion clinics?
I spoke to one woman recently who has been out there for years, and she said, "I still can't get it out of me." She has a disgust and a hatred for the woman that goes in for an abortion. It is a wall that stands between her and that woman, and it blocks the flow of the Holy Spirit. Be honest before the Lord and search your own heart. Ask yourself if you hold any condemnation for the aborted woman.
I have to confess that I probably held more condemnation than anybody. I couldn't fathom how a woman could take the life of her child. I couldn't understand that. I lost my first pregnancy. My doctor had been pumping me full of hormones and everything he could, and at the same time I lay in bed trying to desperately hold onto my child, my neighbor went and had an illegal abortion and aborted her beautiful, healthy child.
And it did something to me. A root of bitterness began entangling my heart, and
I held a great deal of judgment for the aborted woman. The Lord had to take care of that and get rid of that for me.
I thank and praise God I've never experienced abortion firsthand, but I have counseled posted-aborted women for years. God used those years of post-abortion counseling to break my heart for these women and to understand.
I have a tape that I wish you could hear, although it is a little difficult to listen to. If you have experienced abortion first-hand, this is not to make you experience any more grief or any pain. If you have experienced abortion, I encourage you to, please, seek out your healing for that. If you have come to know the Lord since then, He has delivered you from that and has forgiven you, but it's totally different for you to forgive yourself. You need to go through the programs and restorations to be healed and restored and become profitable in this because of the very thing that you have been a part of.
My tape is of a woman that gave permission to be taped during her post-abortion counseling. This was four years after she had aborted her child, and she is just beginning the grieving process. This is what women experience in abortion. If you could hear the tape, you would hear the loud wailing of a woman experiencing intense anguish, profound grief and loss, crying loudly and intensely, almost like an infant.
That tape goes on and on and on and on. When I did post-abortion counseling, women would wail and wail and wail and wail. Excuse themselves just long enough to vomit and then go back.
And what I'm saying to you is that if you want to save the life of these children, you need to turn off the cries of the children and think about the cries of this woman. Because if you don't, it will get in your way.
Now, at that moment that she's standing in front of you, she is not at that point of aftermath. The one who's standing in front of you is an arrogant, willful woman that says, "I am going to choose."
She doesn't care about that child. We need to understand: if she cared about that child, she wouldn't be there. And remember that you're not counseling that child, you're counseling that woman. To the very best of your ability, if you want to save the life of that child and spare that mom, turn off the cries of the children and remember this tape. Ingrain it on your heart and your mind, and you will be able to reach her.
3. ABORTION IS NOTHING LESS THAN A BATTLE BETWEEN GOOD AND EVIL
Abortion is not a woman's issue. It's not a political issue. It's got nothing to do with choice. It's a battle between good and evil. Bottom line.
Satan has been, since the beginning of time, trying to destroy women and children. All through Biblical history, he's been doing that. And he's been successful many times.
Don't Go Out Spiritually Unprepared
The battle is between good and evil, and we need to become spiritually wise and spiritually prepared. You can't go out there unprepared. You cannot just walk out on the sidewalk. You're walking right into the enemy's camp. You're walking into legions of angels of evil. And you and I are no match for the Devil, not in ourselves, not the way we are.
It's true that we, as heirs to the throne of God, have been given power, in the Name of Jesus, to cast down principalities and powers of the air. And we have been given weapons of warfare, and we've been given armor for the battle. But we've got to put it on if we're going to use it.
There's that song, "We're marching into the enemy's camp, laying our weapons down, shedding our armor as we go, leaving it on the ground." And I've seen that happen. I've done it. I've been at home, I've been on my knees and prepared and ready to go out, and I step on that sidewalk, I drop all my armor and act like an idiot. Then I wonder why I get shot out of the battle.
We've got to keep our armor on, and we've got to stay prepared at all times. Remember who we are. There's a fine balance out there, remembering who we are. We are children of God, heirs to the throne of God. But watch out for spiritual arrogance out there. We need to remember the strength of our enemy and call upon the Lord in His strength at all times.
We always say, "We're soldiers of the cross," and if we use that analogy to soldiers in the armed forces: They go to boot camp, they learn how to be good soldiers, they are given protective armor, protective wear, they're given weapons of their warfare. They then go out in the name and the authority of the United States government. But they have to use what's given to them. They have to exercise those things. It doesn't do them any good if they leave all of their things in the barracks. Be mindful of that. Never go down to a killing center without spending time on your knees.
When my car hits 14th Street in Atlanta, I pray on my armor piece by piece. Do everything that you can to keep that armor on all day and keep in that spirit of prayer, that spirit of urgency.
Remember That It's the Lord's Battle
When I say "spirit of urgency," we need to understand the urgency of the hour. However, we also need to understand that it's God's battle and not take on too much. At one time I'd asked the Lord, "Lord help me to see what You see." And that was a mistake. My stomach went up into my chest and my chest went up into my throat. I cried constantly. I had massive headaches. I couldn't stand it. I'd wake up in the morning crying. I'd drive down there crying. I'd cry all day. I'd go home crying. At one time, my host family just didn't know what to do with me. I was crying constantly. And I had to ask the Lord to stop that. Because we cannot, in our physical body, bear what the Lord sees in the womb and what's happening.
So ask the Lord to give you a place. You will run an emotional gamut out there between horrifying realization of what's going on to downright indifference and being numb. And then, at some point, you will reach this medium, where you'll be able to do what you do and still maintain your sanity and your mental health.
We need to be prepared at all times. Robert Mesner says, "A prepared messenger is more important than a prepared message." Now, if being a prepared messenger is important, how much more so for us, because our message is life and death? So, be prepared at all times. Second Corinthians 10:3-4 says, "Although we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty in God for pulling down of strongholds."
Maintain an Attitude of Prayer and Praise
Be in a spirit of prayer at all times. Prayer and fasting. We need to fast. If you go out once a week, then pray and fast. If you go out every day, you'll waste away if you fast all your life. But find a time when you can fast and pray, because the Lord will speak to you, and you'll gain strength and power that you wouldn't have otherwise.
Be in a spirit of praise. God said He meets us in our praise. We need to always be praising Him at all times because Christ does have the victory. We do have the victory in Christ Jesus.
Don't Let Satan Cause Divisions
And also, stay united. We need to be very careful, because Satan will get inside, and we've seen it in the pro-life movement. He gets inside, and he conquers and divides from within. He brings discouragement and deception among the Body of Christ, and that is from the pit of Hell. Any of us that have had any part of that need to confess that before the Lord and not have a part of it any more. I know the Body of Christ, and we're all a bunch of rotten little sinners. We're all capable of it. Be on your guard against it at all times, and remember that we're on the same side. Lift each other up in prayer at all times. Get to know who it is that you sidewalk counsel with and his or her heartaches and burdens, and lift that person up. Make that a point that you love him or her in the Lord, over and above maybe even the brother or sister at church. Because our fellow sidewalk counselors are fighting a battle that nobody else is, and there should be a kindred spirit to each other.
We need to stay united. Stay united with those in pro-life, politically. The crisis pregnancy centers. Sidewalk counselors. Rescuers. Everyone in this fight. Because Satan loves to divide and conquer, and a house divided against itself will not stand.
4. KAREN'S "DO NOT DO" LIST
We need also to remember that part of being a good soldier in this battle, as in any military operation, is not only in knowing what to do but also what not to do, like not to step on land mines and important things like that. Well, everybody knows about Karen Black's "Do Not Do List." It just kind of evolved. That's because anything stupid or ridiculous or obnoxious or ineffective that can be done out on a sidewalk, I've done. So I know all too well.
So when I start saying, "Don't do this," or "Don't do that," nobody's told me about you. These are just things I did, and I was not getting anywhere. These are things that I see done commonly in every city just by virtue of the fact that we are human beings, and this is a very emotional thing that we are fighting.
I'm also not here to say that Karen Black's way of sidewalk counseling is the only way to sidewalk counsel. Please, understand that. I have held children that have been saved by people doing the very things that I say not to do. However, if one child can be saved by using some methods, and a hundred by utilizing alternative techniques, then let's concentrate on the techniques that are the most effective. That just makes good sense.
And then if a child can be saved only by throwing aside these techniques, the Holy Spirit will lead you to do that, and that child will be saved. I myself have stood out there and I've said things that I didn't even know why, in heaven's name, I said that. Where did that come from? That ended up being everything she needed to hear. And then I've never said it since.
So the Lord will lead you to that. But be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit, and take what I have. I'm a different person from you, and we each have different temperaments, different personalities, and different gifts and talents, and the Lord can use each one of us in a different way.
I've seen my friend Joanna out there. I mean, she does everything totally differently than I do. For example, there have been times when I've given up, but Joanna always says, "You don't give up, you don't give up, you keep going, you keep going." Well, there have been lots of days when I've given up. One day, in particular, I just gave up. And I turned around, and Joanna was on her knees, on the sidewalk, begging for the life of that child. I've never done that. And it broke my heart. And that mom chose life for her child.
The Lord will use each of us in a different way. So, please, take what I present to you here, not as a "Gospel According to Karen Black," but as what the Lord has shown me, and take it and use it for yourself. You may not agree with all of it, and that's okay. God will use you. I'm not here to point fingers or condemn anybody else for anything they do. I will not stand out against another pro-lifer and how they reach out to save the lives of children. There are not enough warriors in this battle, and I won't stand out against any of them.
But the following eleven "Do Nots" are things that, in my opinion and my observation, are things that will make your sidewalk Counseling less effective. These are mistakes I feel we need to avoid.
Do Not Bring Signs.
One of the things I want you to understand as you read this, is I'm talking specifically about sidewalk counseling. And in my personal opinion, sidewalk counseling is not picketing. I believe, with all of my heart, they are totally counter- productive.
I am not against picketing. We have picketing in Atlanta. But we reserve the picketing for the mills where we don't have access to the women or we can't reach them at all. And we bring out our signs then, and we do our picketing.
Again, I've held babies that have been saved because someone had a picture of an aborted baby, and she saw that, and she said she couldn't have this abortion. But I personally only know two. Now, you may know more. But don't settle for two. I believe that that same woman, with that tender heart who reacted to a picture, would have reacted also to the words you had to say. And she also would have responded to the literature.
Picket when you can picket, but when you sidewalk counsel, leave your signs at home. Because the average woman has been spending weeks pushing this child to the recesses of her mind so that she can do what she's going to do. She doesn't want to think baby, she doesn't want to look at baby.
Again, what's our first objective? To win her to you, so she'll stop and talk to you and take your literature. Now, if I were coming for an abortion, and you wanted to talk to me, and you were standing there with a big sign of an aborted baby, I would not walk up to you and talk to you. I am not going to stand there, look at the sign and say, "Oh, yeah, that's an abortion, that's what I'm gonna do." No way! I would run from that picture.
And I have seen it over and over again. I've seen a woman look at the signs, take her purse, wrap it around her chest, put her head down, and run in. Very few run away. They run in to what they mistakenly think is their help and people that care about them. They have a hard time with those signs.
I believe that signs close an opportunity of communication, and that is what you are trying to do -- communicate love and help and alternatives to her. Those signs will chase her in, not away.
Again, this advice does not pertain to all circumstances. When you can picket, picket. But when there is an opportunity to reach the woman one-on-one, then sidewalk counsel.
Do Not Bring Crowds.
Don't bring crowds for sidewalk counseling. Again, for picketing, the more people you have, the better. But in sidewalk counseling, it's very intimidating for a woman. She doesn't want to walk up to a crowd of people to talk to them. So, keep the crowds away and have very few. We never have more than three on the sidewalk -- depending on what mill you go to and how the driveways are set up -- so that she doesn't feel like she's being ganged up on. She'll run away. I have even gone out by myself sometimes, when I didn't have anyone to go with me, and that works, too.
She arrives, usually with someone else, and if she speaks to just one counselor , she feels like she has the upper hand. But if two or three people at a time talk to her, the woman will back off. I've seen them, as I stand in the second driveway of Surgi-Center (I mention that mill most of the time because that's where I practically live my life). She's the passenger usually, not always, but usually. I see her look at me, and I'll smile, and she'll smile back. And it's already registered with her that I'm okay and I'm not a threat. I'm not going to harass her. I'm not standing there with a terrible sign; I'm not screaming or yelling at her. She'll park her car, and her heart's already prepared to speak to me and respond to me.
But I've also seen, when I'm standing there with just two other counselors, and I smile, and she'll smile, and she'll look at them, and she'll look down. She'll look again, she rolls up her window, and she puts up her defenses. She's thinking, "They're going to gang up on me."
When there's only one person standing there, half the time she doesn't know who you are. They were asking us if they pay us for parking. They don't even know who we are. But if there's a crowd of people, they know.
So don't have a crowd of people unless you're picketing, and then bring out as many as you can.
Do Not Bring Your Children.
I know sometimes it's real difficult to get child care, but don't bring children sidewalk counseling. For picketing, it's wonderful. I think it's wonderful to see a small child holding a sign and standing for righteousness, and we need to teach our children at a very young age to stand up, because they've got a war ahead of them. And they need to learn to stand up for righteousness.
But sidewalk counseling, they get in the way, God love their little hearts. And mean Satan trips them, knocks them down, does all kinds of things, and Johnny's got to use the bathroom more times than he ever has in his life. I've been out there, and I'm talking to women that are pulling in, and I've turned around and looked for another counselor, and she's across the street putting a Band-Aid on little Johnny's boo-boo, or whatever -- she's just not available. So, leave children at home for sidewalk counseling, because you will not be available to speak to the women.
Do Not Talk Among Yourselves.
You spend hours out there sometimes, and you get tired, and maybe there's a lull in the girls coming, and you start to talk. What happens then is you lose that spirit of prayer, that spirit of urgency. One day at Surgi-Center we were talking, and we had started to laugh. And a woman came out, and she said, "I'm dying inside here! Don't you understand what I'm going through today, and you're out here laughing?" We need to be sensitive to that.
I've had people come up and say, "If this is so all-fired important to you, why don't you act like it?"
So we need to watch at all times that we're not jibber-jabbering and being light-hearted out there because they think that you're not caring about them and you're not really serious about what you're doing.
And also it distracts you. I mean, I don't know where they come from, but they come from everywhere; they come out of the cracks, but they come from somewhere. They get by you if you are talking, and you will miss an opportunity. So keep on each other about that. Use peer pressure, in love, and don't talk among yourselves.
Do Not Run After Her.
Talk about intimidation! Also, if you run after a woman in Atlanta, half the time you're running after her in the dark [because itís so early in the morning], and my friend Sue almost got maced one day! So you have to be very careful. Don't do it. It's intimidation.Be very calm. I know it's hard.
Right now, we are just full of pro-aborts, and I went out there not too long ago, and I just got angry. They were sitting on my rock. How dare they sit on my rock! That's my rock to sit on, and they had taken over. I got there, and I was the only one there, and there were four of them already. And in a couple of hours, there were six pro-aborts. And I thought, "Lord, I'm not going to let them discourage me. I am not going to get full of anxiety out here. I'm here. That's all I can be. You told me to be here, and I'm here. I can't outrun and out-maneuver four women that are allowed on the property, and I'm not." I was walking up and down the front of the sidewalk, and I just sang Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, and I was as calm as a cucumber. And I prayed, "Lord, You want children saved here today -- You're going to have to do it. You do it anyway. I'm going to just keep walking back and forth, and You are going to have to open the doors. If there is a woman that's going to come here today who would listen if I had time to talk to her, then You're just going to have to do it."
And He started doing incredible things. I prayed for the spirit of confusion to them. They got distracted. They started talking among each other. They didn't see the girls arriving. And I did. I got to a girl in a cab that pulled up. There was a group of pro-aborts talking here and a group talking there, and they didn't even see me talking to the cab right in front of them. I loaded up the cab driver with literature, and I got it to every one of the girls in there. Then, later on, a couple driving a truck pulled in across the street. And I could tell they didn't know they had gone to the wrong place. They were there asking for directions. While the pro-aborts were still yakking, I went across the street, talked to the couple, and we had two confirmed babies saved that day!
So just relax and do what you can do out there. God's going to do the rest. He's the one that does it anyway.
If you've been out there and have saved any children, you know this already. We have very little to do with those children being saved, other than that we're there and we're available as instruments of God. It is the Holy Spirit of God that sways the hearts of these women. We need to remember that. This is His battle, and we need to rest in Him.
Joanna helped me learn to rest in Him. She would tell me, "Karen, we're there for the women that want the help." And I was taking on the burden of the world. For the most part, the sad fact is, the women aren't going to listen to you. They don't want it. They don't want it. They don't want it. If the Holy Spirit of God cannot sway their hearts, you and I can't. So, do what we can do and be available, and the Lord will see that they get to us.
I've been standing there when there are pro-aborts all over, the door is right in front of the woman, and she can't find the door! It's right there! And she doesn't ask the pro-aborts. She comes and asks me where the door is. God can do that. God can hide a door! He's God.
A few weeks ago, the pro-aborts brought a dog out there to intimidate me, and I have this terrible fear of dogs. I knew it was deliberately to intimidate me. But I just looked at that dog, and I said, "Lord, he's just a dog. I mean, You may have trouble working with my heart, but he's just a dog! Make him love me, Lord." And this dog turned around with these big old sad eyes, looked at me, and the fear went away. So I went up to him and started talking to him, and the dog's owner was a new pro-abort. I had never seen her before. The dog's name was Shasta. You know, you give attention to someone's dog, and it's like giving attention to her baby. And so we got a rapport going.
So, just let God do it, and let the fear and anxiety fall.
Do Not Ask Her a Question.
This applies whether you're counseling a woman on the sidewalk or on the telephone. I get calls all hours of the night, and when you're talking to a woman on the phone and trying to talk her out of an abortion, you only have the words you're speaking and your tone of voice. You have nothing else working for you. You can't show her a baby model. You can't show her any pictures. She can't see your face. You've got your voice and what you say. All she has to do is take that receiver, hang it up, and she's gone. Be very careful what you say. Don't ever ask her questions. Don't, on the sidewalk, ever ask a girl a question. We do this very easily. It just happens. But you ask her a question, you're going to get an answer, and it's going to be the wrong one. And if you only have two or three seconds to talk to her, you can't get back into it again.
Don't ask her if she wants the literature. She'll probably tell you no. Then what do you do? Don't ask her if she wants to go to a crisis pregnancy center unless she's really changed her mind and you've won her over. Otherwise, she'll probably say no. And then you'll fumble around, trying to get hold of the conversation again, and you'll lose her.
You -- as best as you possibly can -- lovingly, kindly, take control. She is a little robot. I've seen them come, and they're in trances. They've got a glaze over their eyes. And they just do what they're told. If you offer them literature, they'll take it, and if a pro-abort comes and says "Gimme that," they'll go, "Okay." They just do it. They don't even think. They're out of it.
They're under a tremendous amount of stress and pressure. So we need to help them know how to think, what to do. And you can do that. You can't boss her around, but you can take control.
There was a friend of mine running a hot line, and he related to me that after he did my seminar, that a woman called up and said, "I don't know what I'm going to do. I don't know if I should do this, or if I should that. I've got this problem, I got that problem. I don't know. Maybe I should have the abortion. Maybe I shouldn't -- "
And he remembered that I said just take control. So he said, "No, ma'am, what you're going to do is you're going to get in your car, you're going to drive over here right now, and we're going to do all that we have to do to help you have this baby." He said there was silence. And she just said, "Oh! Okay!" And she came in and she said, "Thank you for just taking that decision away from me."
Woman after woman after woman that I have counseled for post-abortion emotional trauma has told me, "That choice was too broad." It was too big. It was their biggest enemy. There were no parameters. There were no walls. There were no do-not-do's. God gives us those laws and those rules for our protection, out of love. And when we break through them, there's nothing but destruction and harm.
I've had women say that they felt like a two-year-old playing around a pool with no fence. So, we need to love them enough to say, "I'm going to be that wall for you. I'm going to stand that way out of love, and I'm not going to let you do this because I care about you." But do that in love.
If someone says, "Well I'll let you do whatever you decide," that is a major cop-out. It's easy to back off and let somebody else destroy her life. It takes a lot of emotional time and energy to get involved in someone's life to try to encourage her not to do something destructive.
Please! If I'm ever at a point of despair, and I'm standing on a bridge ready to jump off, please care enough about getting in my life and yank me off that bridge and take away my choice. We need to care about people and get into their lives.
Do Not Keep Talking After She Tells You She's Not Interested.
If someone has gone by you on the sidewalk, and she has taken the literature, and that's all she's done, and she has let you know, either by her body language or that she quickens her pace to get away from you or she actually says, "Get out of my face," get out of her face. Do NOT continue talking. Do NOT continue saying something. It's gone. She has closed you out. It doesn't matter what wonderful words you were going to say, she's not going to receive a bit of it, and you are going to make her angry. Those few little words you were going to say aren't going to change her mind. It's just going to make her mad.
I don't know about the particular mills in your town, but in Atlanta, the women go in, and they come back out. They go in. They come back out. They come back out for paperwork, and they go back in. They come out to check on a toddler in the car. They go in and out. And if I have made her mad the very first time she's gone in, I've closed the door of communication for the other times that she comes out.
If you get literature into her hands, praise God! You have accomplished a great deal. Just shut up and leave it there. Let the literature do what you would have done. Let it say to her what you would have said. I've had woman after woman that has come out -- has still got the literature in her hand. Recently, one woman came out -- had her refund check right in the middle of her literature, and she said, "If I hadn't read it, I would have made the biggest mistake of my life." Women have said that to me over and over again, that same phrase, even. So let that happen.
But I've also seen that when you continue talking after a woman has taken the literature, she says, "I told you, that's enough!" And they take the literature and rip it and throw it on the ground. And you've lost that opportunity. So just back off. If she says, I don't want to talk to you any more, say "Okay, God bless you, honey."
If she has not taken the literature, and she wants you out of her face, back off and get out of the way. If she comes back out again, it's already registered with her, "They're not going to harass me." She's already in, she has already started her paperwork, she's calming down a little bit, and she comes back to you again, thinking, "Well I've gotten through the pro-lifers. That wasn't so bad. They didn't harass me." And her guard's down. And a lot of times, she will come up and ask you for literature. She'll say, "I'm sorry. You know, I didn't treat you very nice." She'll ask you for the literature.
And if she doesn't -- If a woman goes in, does not take the literature, and she comes back out, I still don't approach her, because I know she's got to get by me to get back in. So when she comes out the first time, I just back out and smile, don't say anything. And she'll smile back. And she'll go to her car and do whatever, and as she's on her way back in, I might approach her again. Her anger level is way down, and she'll be far more receptive.
Do Not Interrupt Another Counselor.
This can be a real serious problem sometimes, and I've been guilty of this. But don't interrupt another counselor. She has a very small time frame to get this woman's attention. And you may be standing close enough to hear what's being said, and you may think, "Oh, gosh, I know exactly what I'm going to say about that." But you need to be quiet anyway.
Now, if I have said everything that I know to say and the woman is not leaving, but she's not going in either, many times I have called Joanna over. And I've said, "Joanna, this is so and so. This is her situation. Do you have anything to add?" But make sure that you're invited. And it's true. Joanna may be standing by; if she's not counseling, she not under the pressure right then, and her mind's free to think. And she may have the very thing that woman needs to hear. And even if you don't call someone else over, the other counselor can always walk up to her again herself. But don't interrupt.
Do Not Yell Out, "Don't Kill Your Baby!"
This is a very very common mistake, because it's something inside us that we feel compelled to say. But think about it. What are we trying to do? We are trying to win her over to us so that we can talk to her, and you've just called her a murderer. She is participating in murder, and that, indeed, is the truth. But that is not how we influence friends, and she's not going to respond to that.
Also, don't yell out, "Give your baby up for adoption!" I've seen women put their hands over their head and go "Oh! What kind of woman do you think I am, I'd give my baby away!" And you're saying, "Oh! What kind of woman are you, going to go in to kill it!" You're thinking pro-life. She's thinking pro-choice.
We need to understand how difficult it is for a woman to place her child for adoption. It's very difficult. You have to understand who you're talking to. Now, it's true, not all women going in for an abortion really want to have abortions. A lot of women are pushed into the corner, and they don't want to think it's their only option. But the average aborted woman will confess that, somewhere along the line, she weighed, "baby or me? baby or me?" and the baby lost out. And it was a self-centered, selfish decision in favor of the abortion.
For a woman to go through nine months of pregnancy, give birth, know that it's a little girl or a little boy, know its birth date, maybe secretly named it, and go the rest of her life wondering, "Is it crawling now? Is it walking? Is it healthy? Is it okay?" That's a hard thing to do. That is a mature, loving, adult, caring woman. If she is not able to care for her child herself, and she takes that child, gives it life, and places it in the arms of a loving, caring family, that woman is a wonderful, mature, loving woman. That's not who you're talking to out there!
The woman you're talking to is self-centered and selfish, and she's not about to put herself through that discomfort. So, we need to remember, don't just scream out, "Adoption!" The woman who places her child for adoption is offering a wonderful gift of love, and she's thinking of that child, and its future. That is not what the woman going for an abortion is doing. She's thinking of herself. You're wasting your breath, talking about that baby. Concentrate on her.
Actually, don't yell out anything out there. BECAUSE IT'S REAL HARD TO YELL LOVE!! If you're that far away that she can't hear you and you've got to yell, it won't come out right. Your face screws up. Women, especially, sound like a bunch of screeching hens out there. I've been at Mid-Town, standing down in the driveway, and the counselors are at the top. I know my counselors; they would never scream or yell out anything unkind or unloving. But you can't hear it. It is received by the women as being yelled at. And it turns them off. So, if you're that far away, don't yell. Men can do this a lot better because their voices project. But even then, men should be very careful in what they say.
Do Not Look Unprofessional.
Go out there well groomed. I usually go out, as much as possible, in skirts and blouses. I'm not saying you have to do that, but do look as professional as possible. Not only are we representing Christ out there, but when we're well groomed, people tend to pay more attention to what we say. The following quotation came out of an advertising flier. It has nothing to do with sidewalk counseling, but the message is very applicable to us as sidewalk counselors.
"Each one of us has an image, whether we want one or not. Our image is largely projected by what our clothes say to the world about who we are, what we want, and where we are going. Research shows that appearance is the first thing people evaluate about you. Within seven seconds, people will decide on your competence -- a credibility based on the visual image you present. Only after you have made a favorable visual impression, will people begin to concentrate on your message."
We've got an important message. And if the way we dress makes a difference, then we need to watch how we dress. We need to remember that she's going to walk up to us first, and if we look like something that the cat drug in, we've lost credibility right there. She doesn't listen. Now, she has not left her house saying, "I'm going to pay attention to the one that's well groomed." No. It's just human nature. She walks past the sidewalk counselor and the next person she sees is the receptionist sitting behind the desk. This woman hasn't been standing out in the rain all day. She's got her earrings on. She's got her business suit on. She looks like she knows what she's talking about. And she'll be believed, even though she's going to tell the woman a pack of lies.
We have got to get this woman's attention however we can. It is very important how we dress.
And for you men - If you don't have a beard, shave. Comb your hair. Consider wearing a suit and tie.
And remember that you're representing Christ out there.
Do Not Be Overly Religious.
Please, please, please, pay close attention to what I'm about to say, because I'm misquoted on this one all the time.
When you are sidewalk counseling, don't wear Christian tee-shirts, pro-life tee-shirts, pro-life buttons, or even your baby's feet. Not everyone agrees with me on this.
Wear them picketing all you want. Wear everything you want to wear when you're picketing.
But when you are sidewalk counseling, you should just want to be seen as someone who cares about her. Not a member of a specific church. Not even a pro-lifer. Just a man or a woman that cares about this woman.
The world is hurting, and Christians have lost credibility in the world. And rightfully so. We have not been the salt and light that we should be. We've not been there for a world that's hurting and lost and dying. And we've lost credibility. They don't want to hear about us.
They'll be turned off from us. Just as, if you're well groomed, she might respond to you, if you stand out there looking like a Christian, it turns them off. Instantly turns them off. She thinks, "Oh, you're just one of those religious idiots." And everything you have to say falls to the ground. It shouldn't be that way, but it is. And we need to be aware of the way the world perceives Christians.
Don't stand out there with a Bible in your hands. Now, I have been criticized for this, and people say that I am from the pit of Hell because I am "ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ." I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the hope of salvation. And Jesus is my Lord and Savior. I carry my Bible down there, and I keep it in my car. I've led countless numbers of girls to the Lord in my car at Surgi-Center, after they have chosen life for their children.
If we're going street preaching, then we need our Bibles, and we need our gospel tracts, and we need to be out there, preaching hellfire and brimstone. But when a woman is on her way in for an abortion, our first priority is reaching that woman in order to save the life of that child.
Now, I believe the gospel of Jesus Christ is of more importance than the abortion issue. That is what He came for. That is what He died for. And I believe those children go to be with the Lord, and that those women are faced with an eternity without Christ. I believe that is of utmost importance to the Lord.
But at that moment, we need to reach the urgency of the hour. We need to live the gospel to her and reach her that way.
Let me give you an illustration. We had a man and his wife that came to Surgi-Center. They pulled in, and -- he told me this afterwards -- he told his wife, "If she mentions Jesus, I'm going to slap her in the face." And I didn't know that. She walked by me, I offered her literature, and she refused it. He stopped, and he took it. Then he stood there, and he let me talk and let me talk and let me talk.
And he told me afterwards, "I was waiting and waiting and waiting, because I wanted you to mention Jesus so that I could slap you in the face. But you didn't do it. You kept talking about my wife and your concerns for her physically, mentally and emotionally. And then concerns about me and how this was going to hurt my masculine instincts. And how this was going to damage our marriage and hurt our relationship."
In the middle of that, he stopped me and said, "Wait a minute, I want my wife to hear this." And he went in and he brought her out. And I shared with her, and she chose life for her child. But then she told me that the baby was diagnosed as Down's syndrome, and she said, "We have to be honest. We cannot care for this child." They were in the military, and they were very young. So she decided that they would place the child for adoption.
When I heard that, I just praised God, because the night before I had received a call from someone south of the city who said, "Karen we've adopted three Down's syndrome children; we would love to have another one. Do you have another Down's syndrome child?" I had their name and number on my dashboard. So I brought the couple over to my car, and we exchanged names and numbers. But then cars started coming in. And Sue was across the street, making a whole list of phone calls for me, and there wasn't anybody else to help, and so I excused myself to counsel the other girls that were arriving. I looked over, and they were still standing by my car. And I'd go talk to them for a while, then I'd excuse myself when the next car pulled in. I went back and forth and back and forth, and they never left. That Jesus that they didn't want to hear about was suddenly all they wanted to talk about. And the two of them knelt there in the muddy grass of Surgi-Center and trusted Christ.
I'm not saying "Don't share the gospel of Jesus Christ out there." But, please, understand what's happening. This is a spiritual battle. This is utter darkness. They are people in darkness, going to an even darker place.
Now, if I came to your house at 2:00 a.m., and you were sound asleep, and I turned on this huge spotlight and shined it in your face and started talking to you a mile a minute about something, you couldn't perceive it. You'd be only partially coherent, and the light would be blinding you.
Light can do one of two things: it can light your path, or it can blind you. Yes, do take the light of Jesus Christ out there, but watch your spiritual "dimmer switch." Just turn it up slowly and gently. And help their spiritual hearts and minds to be able to begin to absorb it.
We need to live the gospel of Jesus Christ out there. Some people say, "Well, I'm going out there, and I'm going to do it this way, I'm going to preach to them, I'm going to let them know what I think, and I'm going to come down against evil." Well, you go ahead and continue doing it. And then you look up in your sidewalk counseling diary and see how many children's names are there. I'm sorry, but it's not going to happen. Some people call it compromise. I don't call it compromise. Paul says in I Corinthians 8:22, "I have become all things to all men that I might by all means save some." We have to adjust out there. We have to be able to move with the situation.
Let your light shine, but, as I said, use your spiritual dimmer switch. And concentrate on living the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Lord will give you the opportunity to share the word.
St. Augustine said "Preach the gospel at all times, and, when necessary, use words."
Again, some people are saying, "Oh, well, I'm going to continue." I learned a new saying last summer: "If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got." All of us need to be open to rebuke and open to change.
I went to a seminar not too long ago, on counseling, and someone said, "What do you need that for?" Because, I'm just Karen Black. I'm nobody. And I need all the help I can to learn more and more, to be more effective. The Lord wants especially for us to have a broken and contrite spirit.
Hold On, You're Still Not Ready To Hit the Sidewalks
I've given you some things so far, and you may be saying to yourself, "Okay, I'm going to go out next Saturday (or whenever you're going to go out) and you're saying, I remember Karen Black's seminar, and I've got a new mind set now. I'm trying as best I can to leave my pro-life thinking at home, and I'm trying to think pro-choice. I'm trying to get into the heart of this woman, and I've gotten on my knees and I've confessed my condemnation and my judgment of her. I've asked the Lord for a new heart, a heart of love for her. I'm prayed up, I'm armored up, I'm well groomed, and I'm standing here with a smile on my face and the proper literature in my hand, now what do I do?"
I had one woman tell me that she went out, and she said she was all ready. She got everything ready, she was all prayed up, she had a fistful of literature, and she was standing there. She said a woman walked up the sidewalk, and she smiled, and the woman smiled back, and she thought, "Uh oh." She knew she was in trouble. And she kind of held the literature downward, hoping that the woman wouldn't take it. Well, the woman took it. And she said, "Oh, no no no, Lord, make her go away, make her go away." She didn't know what to do. She realized, "Okay, I did all the right things so far, she took the literature from me, but now what do I do, what do I say?" She never ever expected the woman to respond and take her literature. She was not prepared. The woman had questions she didn't have answers to. And she didn't know what to do. The Lord intervened and brought somebody up alongside of her and helped her out. But we need to be prepared.
What I have said so far has just been to prepare your heart and to prepare your mind and give you a mind set. In the next section I'm going to discuss some of the typical scenarios you will encounter out there, and show you exactly what you can say and do when this girl has that particular problem, and how you can respond to her in love.
5. A GOOD SOLDIER NEEDS THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT
Preferred Literature for Sidewalk Counseling
A. It's Your Turn (Xeroxed onto pink paper)
I didn't like a lot of the sidewalk counseling literature that I saw because it either had a mention of abortion on the front or showed a picture of a baby or whatever, and everybody thinks I'm anti-baby. I'm not. There's a reason. There's a method to my madness.
And the wife of my host family suggested to me the name for this. Women are always saying to me, "You know, it's my turn in life. I've done this, and I've done that for other people. Now it's my turn to look out for myself and my job and my career," They would use that phrase, "It's my turn." So I named it that. In this brochure, the focus is on her. How to protect herself. "It's your turn to protect yourself physically." "It's your turn to think of yourself." "It's your turn to think of yourself mentally, emotionally." It centers on her. This brochure goes along with my method of sidewalk counseling. This brochure has also been translated into Spanish. [See samples attached.]
You'll notice, on the back of "It's Your Turn," I have an 800 number. This is Charlie Wysong's organization, American Rights Coalition, for women to call if they have an injury. American Rights Coalition maintains a 24-hour hotline to a switchboard of pro-life workers in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and they have a nationwide network of physicians, abortion malpractice attorneys and post-abortion counselors. Any woman who calls the number, (800) 634-2224, seeking any kind of medical, legal or emotional help after an abortion, will be directed to someone in her area who will be able to help her.
B. A Brief, Simple List of Local Resources
I also include in it a short list of resources, maternity homes and crisis pregnancy centers and the help that's available in the surrounding areas of Atlanta. And you need to include your own. Don't make it too detailed, or you'll overwhelm her with information. [Ed. note: This information can be arranged in triplicate on an 8-Ĺ" by 11" sheet of paper and then cut to the same width as the 8-week Baby flier, so it will tuck easily inside the "Itís Your Turn" brochure. See sample attached.]C. " Eight-Week Old Developing Baby" and "Did You Know" fliers
I also include a picture of an eight-week old developing fetus, so the woman can see the truth. I believe she also needs to see the truth of abortion, so I also include a "Did You Know."But the pamphlet is joined where it's folded down the middle, and I was seeing that the women were just flipping through the pages, and what they were seeing was just the front and the back, not the part inside. So we slice them open at the fold so they can see what an abortion is, and they get to see the truth. [Ed. note: Iíve never had this problem; in fact, Iíve noticed that the Did You Know flier is usually the first thing people look at, so I use the flier the way it is, not cut apart.]Both the "Eight-Week Baby" flier and "Did You Know" flier are available in several languages from Hayes Publishing Co., Inc., 6304 Hamilton Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio 45224, (513) 681-7559.
D. "Itís Your Choice" gospel tractAs I said before, it is not our main objective to be evangelizing out there, even though the Lord opens the door to that down there more than He does anywhere else. But we also include a tract. Somebody from Alabama gave me the one we use; it's called "It's Your Choice."
Now, I had been including a different gospel tract before, but it leaned very heavily on forgiveness, which, praise God, is a major part of the gospel. But I know women. And they respond, "Oh, I can be forgiven of this, I can do this." This tract, on the other hand, weighs very heavily on the consequences of every decision that we make in life. And I've had three women decide to have their children because they picked up "It's Your Choice" and read that. They never looked at one picture of an aborted baby or read any of the literature. It was because, after reading that tract, they realized that this is a heavy-duty decision with heavy-duty consequences. So I encourage you to use that. Itís published by American Tract Society, P. O. Box 462008, Garland, Texas 95046; (800) 548-7228. The cost is $8 per 100 tracts, plus shipping. Although this particular tract is not available in Spanish, American Tract Society does have a wide selection of Spanish gospel tracts.[Ed. note: Tuck all four items, (a) the resource sheet, (b) the 8-Week Baby flier, (c) the Did You Know flier, and (d) the Itís Your Choice gospel tract, all the way inside the pink Itís Your Turn pamphlet, and be ready to hand this to the woman.]E. "For Men Only" pamphlet
I frequently use the "For Men Only" brochure because it's directed specifically to the man. This brochure is available in English and Spanish from Easton Publishing Company, Inc., P. O. Box 1064, Jefferson City, Missouri 65102 (314) 635-0609). If I have a man and a woman approaching me, and they're coming up the sidewalk, I ignore her. I do not approach her. I approach the man. I put the "For Men Only" over the "It's Your Turn." And I hand this to him. Now, there will be men that will refuse to take it, but most men take it right away because it's got a picture of a guy on the front, and it says, "for men only," and I offer it to them. But if they don't want it, I say, "Well, you're a man, aren't you?" And then they usually take it. Because they're not going to say they're not a man. And I see it happen over and over again. He looks at the two brochures, and one has a picture of a guy and says "for men only." The other one is pink and has flowers, and he'll say, "Here, this is for you." And he gives it to her. He does it for you. So, this is extremely effective, and it works on encouraging the men to be responsible and to help her in a situation.
Other Equipment to Have Ready And How to Use It
A. Picture of "David"
Everybody says, "Oh, Karen's against using pictures of aborted babies." I'm not against using pictures of aborted babies. It's the manner in which the woman receives them. A woman may not respond to seeing a big huge picture shoved in her face. That may close the door of opportunity for her to speak to you, but I believe she needs to see the truth. And so I always carry with me at all times a picture of David, which is a photograph of a decapitated baby aborted at seven months. I suggest that you get it, even if you sidewalk counsel at an abortion clinic that does not kill children this large. Carry this with you. I hide it in my hand on purpose. I do not want her to see it until I have her at the place that I want her to be in the counseling, where I've got her convinced I care about her. Then I will show her the child, and I begin that process of having her transfer her thinking from herself to her child.
When I use the picture of David, I'm very careful with it, and I tell her, "Honey, this is hard to look at, but this is an abortion." I don't say, "Don't go in there and let them chop the baby's arms and legs off and decapitate its head and crush its skull." I say, "Honey, don't do this to yourself." I'm talking about her. "Don't do this to yourself." She's not stupid. She knows what that means. She'll think to herself, "The memory and the realization of this is going to live with me for the rest of my life." When you show her the aborted baby, use it to encourage her to protect her mental health.
Our society as a whole is becoming more and more aware of the fact that we need to protect our mental health. We have recovery groups for alcoholics. Recovery groups for divorce. Recovery groups for this and that, and yes, they help people if those programs include Christ. But it's a long haul. Help her to understand, she needs to think about herself and avoid bringing that enormous grief on herself.
You say, "That's all she's doing, is thinking about herself"? True. She is being self-centered and selfish, and is wrapped up with thinking about herself. And her parents may have been working on her for twenty-plus years to get her to stop thinking about herself -- you are not going to get her to stop thinking about herself all of a sudden out there. Instead, let her think about herself. Encourage her to think about herself.
You say, "Honey, you need to think about yourself. You need to protect yourself!" She'll love it. She wants to hear about herself. You'll have a captive audience. There was a woman on the phone the other night, and she was trying to preface everything that she had to say with, "Well, everybody says I need to think about the baby." I told her, "No. We're not going to talk about the baby. We're going to talk about you. Now, I want you to think about yourself." She instantly calmed down. She instantly wanted to hear everything I had to say about her. And then I worked her into thinking about the baby and how it was going to affect her. Use that phrase and that line of thinking, "in order to protect herself."
Someone once told me, "The government of the United States 'protected me' from making a horrible mistake." Our government is not protecting any of us any more. We need to protect this woman. That's why God gives us the rules He does -- to protect us from ourselves. Because, left alone, each one of us is headed for destruction.
B. High-Quality 12-Week Fetal Model
If you don't have one, get one. This is the 12-week fetal model with the baby's little feet and hands, and it's sucking its thumb, and it's all curled up, and it's cute.
The one I use came from Womanity, 1700 Oak Park Blvd. Annex, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523 (510) 943-6424. They cost $7.50, plus $4 for shipping and handling, but it's very much worth the cost over those little 50-cent pink plastic ones. [Ed. note: A similar fetal model is available from Human Life International, Item No. M157, $3.00, plus $3.50 flat shipping/handling, 7845 Airpark Road, Suite E, Gaithersburg, MD 20879, (301) 670-7884).]
You use this fetal model to endear the mother to the baby, to get her maternal instincts to come back up. You don't say, "It's got little hands and feet and it's sucking its thumb, and you're going to go in and chop its hands and legs off, you terrible, horrible person." If you do that, you've just lost her. She's not going to stand there and talk to you. Now, what she's about to do is truly horrible. However, you're talking to an emotional woman. And you need to make this come alive.
And don't call it a baby. "What!?" you say, "We've been trying for twenty years to get the media and the pro-choice community to say 'baby.'" But they aren't doing it, folks. They haven't been doing it.
Also, when they call it a fetus, they're not lying. They're not wrong. The description of a fetus is a young child. When we leave the embryo stage, we become a fetus, we stay a fetus until we are born, and then we become a newborn. Whether we're born in the sixth month, the seventh month, the eighth month or the ninth month. We need to call it what they call it. Use pro-choice rhetoric. All the time, every opportunity you get. Call it a fetus. Why?
If you get a girl to take your literature, and you begin talking about her, and about the child, and you call this a fetus, which it is, what are you doing? You call it "fetus" over and over and over. If she doesn't stop at that moment and change her mind, but goes inside, then when they start saying "fetus," because they want her to think of something up here in "never-never land," she's already seen it. She's thinking, "Fetus. That's a baby."
She's not stupid. They want her to be stupid. They want her to be empty-headed so that they can put into her what they want her to think and what they want her to believe, and we need to stop treating the women like idiots and tell them the truth. This is a fetus. Call it a fetus. Let her tell herself that that's a baby.
So, when you use these things, always be thinking, "woman woman woman." If I'm going to show her a picture of an aborted baby, how do I present that to her? How do I make her think that I care about her in this situation?
C. American Rights Coalition's "Injury Report"We also have, in Atlanta, Charlie Wysong's "Injury Report" This is a monthly publication available from American Rights Coalition, P. O. Box 487, Chattanooga TN 37401, 1-(800) 634-2224. There is one particular issue that is good for us to use at Surgi-Center because it shows an ambulance taking Katherine Pearce out, who died as a result of an abortion there.
Find out the dirt on your abortionist, because there's plenty of it. Go to the Health Department or to the courthouse or whatever you have to do to track down these public records. Print it up, have your facts well documented and have it look attractive. Be well informed about your abortion mill. These things are a matter of public record. And you should use it out there. Let the women know, tell them, "You have a right to know that an abortion is not safe." And tell her what that particular doctor has been accused of.
Because, if you get a woman to stop and talk to you, the first thing you want to do is to start dispelling the lies about the safety of abortion. Don't use it as a scare tactic, so much as "You know, honey, listen, you need to protect yourself, you need to think about yourself, you need to choose a safe facility. You have a right to know that this is not a safe place to be." And then people say, "Well, where is a safe place to be?" Then you'd better know what the other places in town have done wrong. And then you'd better tell her, "There is no such thing as a safe and legal abortion." There is a legal abortion, but there is no such thing as a safe abortion. Every abortion is a potential danger to her, physically, mentally and emotionally.
But know your facts and know the mill that you're at. You need to know it inside and out.
D. Pamphlet Entitled "Surviving Abortion"
This pamphlet is help for the aborted woman, to give to her afterwards. Do not give it to her going in. If she reads it ahead of time, she will think that she can get over this real easily, and she can't. But I do give it to women after they have had an abortion, coming out.
And, by the way, you need to stay at an abortion clinic long enough to see the whole process. If you don't, you won't be there to see all the women who changed their mind and came back out because you were there. And you're going to end up being discouraged. If you don't have a woman that stops at the time you're talking to her and turn around and leave, you're not going to know about the women who took the literature, went in and read it, and then changed their minds because you gave that to them. Go out and determine that you're going to put in a day. Not an hour or two. Because all that's doing is setting you up for discouragement. You'll do all the work, and you won't receive the fruits of it. So stay out there long enough to see that.
6. GETTING CONTROL OF THE FEARS THAT ARE HOLDING YOU BACK
As you're reading this, you may be saying, "Well, Karen, you make it sound so simple." I know it's not that simple. Especially out there on the sidewalk, it's not easy. Maybe you've never even tried going out on the sidewalk because, deep inside, you're scared to death. And we need to remember, whether it's on the sidewalk, or whether it's violating an injunction, trespassing or whatever it is that you are going to be called upon to do, we need to get control of the spirit of fear. Because, if we don't, it will plague us.
Fear is not an indifferent spirit. You can't overcome it by simply walking away. It will go after you. And it will consume you.
When we had the Easter rescue in Los Angeles back in March of 1989 (and anybody that was there remembers the screaming and the yelling and the crying and all that, the horses and everything) -- well, I wimped out royal. I was scared to death. I do not like pain. At all. I have a very low tolerance for pain. And finally, there was this little girl, about thirteen, fourteen, who was crying, and she took my hand and said, "Will you walk with me, will you walk with me, please?" And I said, "Sure, honey, I'll walk with you." And I walked. While other rescuers were getting their arms twisted for refusing to walk, in order to buy a little more time for the babies, I found an excuse, and I walked.
And I went home, and it bothered me. It bothered me, and it bothered me. And I thought, "Well you little wimp! You were so afraid of letting your arms or your legs get wrenched a little bit, you'd stand back and let them tear the children's arms and legs off." And it bothered me. It plagued me. And I realized that I had let the spirit of fear rule in my life, rather than calling upon what the Lord had for me.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Fear defeats more people than any one thing in the world."
When you stop and think about it, if there's something that you knew you were supposed to do, how many times was it fear that kept you from doing it? We need to put fear in perspective.
I asked the Lord to help me overcome that fear and give me another chance. And, wouldn't you know it, the next Los Angeles rescue was when they brought the numchukas out. And I thought, "Oh, great, Lord. Thanks a lot!" But, you know, God will enable us to do what we need to do if we're looking to Him for it. And, I remember when Michael's arm was broken, and I was sitting close enough to hear it, and it made my stomach turn, and everybody was screaming. And they got me that day. They broke my wrist. God didn't take away the pain. But I praise Him for that opportunity and experience because that day, when my wrist broke, fear broke in my life, too.
There was a Godly principle at work. You'd think I'd be more afraid of police than ever and more afraid of pain than ever. It didn't work that way. The Lord says that when we resist Satan, he will flee from us. And I think that if there's anything that Satan is putting in our life, if you will turn around and face it with the power of God, Satan will flee from you.
We've got to remember that someday we're going look at him narrowly, and we're going to say, "That's who we've been afraid of, all this time? That little weasel?" We need to put it in perspective.
The First Giant of Fear -- Intimidation
Bruce Wilkinson's teaching seminar has a segment in it that says that there are two types of giants of fear. One is intimidation, and that is always the result of other people that we are afraid of. In our circumstance, it may be pro-aborts, clinic personnel, police officers, the woman herself. We need to understand, that's carnal. That's called the fear of man, and that's carnal. "Fear is the respect, honor and awe of someone or something." How dare we have respect, honor and awe for anyone or anything other than the Lord Jesus Christ.
Later on, I went out to Atlanta, and I thought I was totally over this fear thing. Hah! I found out that we need to be careful we don't become arrogant in what we think we've conquered in the Lord.
Although I had pretty much taken care of the fear of pro-aborts, fear of Satan-worshippers, clinic personnel and police officers, I held onto one big fear. And that was of judges. And I mean serious.
I remember the first time I stood there in jail clothes, and you're standing out there in no-man's land. All the seats are back behind you, and the judge is up there in his high, lofty seat, and you've got no place to go. Everybody's looking at you, and your hair's all tweaked out. You look like you just climbed out of a sewer somewhere. I mean, you look like a criminal of all criminals, and, this representing yourself thing is for the birds! I mean, give me the biggest attorney in the world. Get me out of here, I hate this place! I stood there one day. I was sick, making myself nauseated, because I hated it. I thought, "Beat me up, throw me away, throw away the key, anything but this. I cannot stand to be in the courtroom and in front of the judge." I was shaking inside and out.
And I just kind of looked at him, and it's kind of like the Lord was saying "I didn't give you this spirit of fear." And, I thought, "Yeah, Lord." And He said, "You know, you need to get a handle on this. I didn't do this to you. Satan did this to you." And I said, "Yeah, but Lord, do You remember I'm made of dust?" And I felt like the Lord was saying, "Yeah. So is he." The judge. And I started looking at him. And I thought, "Yeah. But he's bigger than I am, Lord." I felt like the Lord was saying, "Yeah. So he's more dust than you are." And I thought, "Oh! Yeah!" And I stood there, and I looked at him and looked at him, and I suddenly realized, "I need to put this in perspective real quick. He's bigger than I am. He's more dust than I am. He's just a giant dirtbag in a black bathrobe!" And it all fell.
Please, please, please. Don't stand before a judge sometime and call him a dirtbag. That's not what I'm saying. I'm not telling you to be disrespectful to the judge. What I'm saying is put things into perspective, and get rid of this fear of man. He's in a black robe, sitting on a wooden bench, and above him is the Judge of all judges and the King of kings in white and shining garments, sitting on a heavenly throne, and that's who we account to. That is who is there for us. Put things into perspective and don't let fear get a hold of us.
The Second Giant of Fear -- Inhibition
The second giant of fear is inhibition, and that's internal fear. We cause ourselves to be afraid. Most of this fear is unfounded, untrue, but extremely effective. In our case, it's effective at keeping us home. And if we get a little bit braver, maybe we'll go out there and we'll be prayer support. We park down the street, we roll up our window, we lock our car door, and we cling to the steering wheel.
Then we get a little bit braver. Maybe we'll walk out on the sidewalk, but we stay 500 yards away, and we cling to the telephone pole.
We need to let it go, and we need to say, "We're going to walk out there as children of God into the enemy's camp, and we're going to stand for righteousness, and we're going to let the Lord do it and let our light shine."
Deuteronomy 20:3 says "Today you are on the verge of battle. Do not let your heart faint. Do not be afraid, and do not tremble or be terrified because our God goes before us." He's the captain of our army, and we can have the victory in Him.
One of the counselors in Atlanta is named Linda, and on her first day to come out, I picked her up in the morning. In Atlanta you have to be out fairly early in the morning because they start arriving at about 5:15. And I picked her up, and we had to stop at the restroom about three or four times on the way because she was so nervous, she had to keep using the ladies' room. And we stood out there, and it was winter, and she was all wrapped up in a coat, and she was shivering and standing by the telephone pole, and she said, "I can't do this. I can't do this." I said, "Sure you can." She said, "No, I can't." I said, "Yes, you can." She said, "No, I can't. I can't do this." And I said, "Okay, okay. Well, just observe or whatever." And I turned around later in the day, and here she is, walking up and down, just giving everybody literature, talking to everybody. She had had her first turnaround the first day. She had stopped a girl in a taxicab, and that girl never got out; she talked to her through the window, and the girl left and never came back. At the end of the day, Linda said, "I can do this! I can do this!" She had gotten a handle on that fear.
7. SPECIFIC SCENARIOS YOU WILL ENCOUNTER WHILE COUNSELING
The Woman Who Doesn't Know That Help Is Available
You're going to have a woman coming for an abortion who really doesn't want it, or on the phone, who really doesn't want it. And she thinks that there is simply no one that cares about her. That there is no help available. Now, you may be an active pro-lifer in your city, but I'll bet you are not fully aware of every single facility and care giver out there, for a woman in a crisis pregnancy. And if you don't know all of them, how is she going to know? She doesn't even know to look in the telephone book for anybody that's available to help her. That's our job. We need to know what's available and know who these people are, know their names, know how to get to them.
Know exactly what they do. Don't tell her that the crisis pregnancy center is going to buy her a house. They're not going to do that. Know the truth. Know what they will offer, what they will do. Because if she gets to a crisis pregnancy center, and you've told her this whole line of things, and they aren't real, everything else you said is going to fall to the floor, too. So be honest, and know what's available, and be ready and willing to take her there immediately.
The Woman Who Has a Spirit of Murder
You're going to have a woman come across your path who simply has a spirit of murder. She can look at your picture of David and say, "So? I don't want the kid." There are even women that ask to see the remains of their children in a jar. Now, if that's the case, do you think she's going to respond to a plea for that child's life? No way! You're wasting your breath. She's looking out for herself! There was a car that pulled into Surgi one time with a license plate, "ME 4 ME," and thatís our society. And if sheís thinking that much about herself and is that indifferent about the baby, then you just have to talk about her.I got one woman to change her mind one time when I told her that I had a friend that lost twenty feet of her bowel from an abortion and has a bag on her side. And she stood up, and she said, "Well! Iím a fashion model. I canít have a bag on my side! Iím out of here!" And she left. And she had her baby. For all the wrong reasons, but she still had it. I donít care why she leaves -- just as long as sheís out of there! That woman had a beautiful little girl, and she is being very dutifully careful to raise her as a fashion model. The child has life, and the woman found out itís a little girl, like all moms do.So, if sheís self-centered and selfish, fine. Play right into it. "Oh, honey, please! Think about yourself. Think about yourself!" You know, thatís what she wants to hear.The Woman Who Can't Take One More Day of Morning Sickness
She may be at that point that she feels she just can't take it any more. She can't handle all the emotional upheaval and the nausea. She wants to be rid of all that, that being incapable of cooking and cleaning and perhaps taking care of other children. But you need to make her start thinking about herself. And keep this in mind: No matter what reason she is using for this abortion, you immediately think, "post abortion." How is this going to affect her later on? This particular scenario?
I had one woman for post-abortion counseling that said she went for an abortion that morning with her friend because they both had severe nausea. They made the appointment the same day. They sat out in the waiting room. She was called in first. She went in, and while she was having her abortion, her friend sat in the waiting room and changed her mind. When she came out, she knew instantly that she had lost out. She was the one who had made the wrong decision. She never saw her friend again after that day. She couldn't bear to look at her. She couldn't be around her. She was invited to the baby shower. She wouldn't go. She has never, to this day, seen that woman or her child. She said she found out that her friend's nausea lifted two weeks later. And all she could say is, "Maybe just two weeks. Maybe two weeks is all I had to endure of this." And she hadn't gone to her doctor for any help at all for her nausea. And so she punishes herself and punishes herself all the time. "I aborted my baby for that reason? Why, you little lousy, terrible ______!!" Her self-esteem was at an all-time low. Any time she catches the flu and gets nauseated, she's flooded with memories of the abortion.
Make her think post abortion. How is this going to affect you later?
Women tell me over and over again, "I felt overwhelmed at the time, and my hormones were crazy; my circumstances were overwhelming." But later on, years down the road, when they try to remember those feelings and those reasons for the abortion, they're so tiny, and they seem so insignificant. They can't bring them any comfort any more.
So, you need to help her to realize, things aren't always going to be this way. It may feel like an eternity right now, but you're not always going to be nauseated, you're not always going to be vomiting. Get her out of the present, and help her. She thinks she thinking of the future. She's not. Get her way beyond it, and paint a picture for her that is hopeful. And think post abortion.
The Woman Whose Child Has a Serious Defect
You're going to have a woman that's going for an abortion, and she's going to tell you the child is malformed. Now, a lot of times they lie. Because they think that you're going to say, "Well that's okay," and back up. And you'd be surprised how many pro-lifers will. You'd be surprised how many so-called pro-lifers think it's okay for a woman to abort in the case of rape, incest or if the child's malformed. They just simply don't understand, or they're ignoring the truth.
But if she tells you the child's malformed, again, think what? Post-abortion, and think pro-woman. Now, in some cases, she may think she is actually doing the baby a favor. But you need to make her think, instead, now, how is this going to affect you later on? Women are made to protect children. If she violates those maternal instincts, she's damaging herself as well as the baby.
I have counseled women that have aborted healthy children and malformed children. And, as much as the healthy child distressed them, it was the malformed one that brought them the most grief. Because women are made to protect children. If you are a parent, you know that if your little child that you love with all your heart gets a broken arm, and you have this little tiny child with a broken arm, it just breaks your heart. You are that much more tender toward them, you that much more careful. And you feel bad and you want to take the pain away, and you're even more protective because your child has been injured. And women that have malformed children that raise them say they feel more protective toward that child.
But the woman who goes and aborts that malformed child? I have had several women who have told me, "I realized later on that all children in the womb are defenseless against an abortionist, but somehow that malformed baby seemed that much more defenseless, and I went and I picked on it. It already had so many strikes against it, and I picked on it, and I let it be harmed and hurt like that." She felt more protective later on of that one and more guilty and more helpless in what she had done.
So, think post-abortion. Tell her, "Honey, you've got to protect your mental health. You have got to protect your maternal instincts in this." And help her understand how she will suffer from aborting a malformed child, even more than a healthy one.
The Woman Who Is a Victim of Rape or Incest
A woman is going to come for an abortion and she will tell you that she has conceived through rape or incest. And we need to understand that society does not realize that a rape victim is the absolute worst candidate for an abortion. Again, because of her mental health. Here is a passage I found about rape and abortion:
"Let me give you a short explanation as to why abortion for rape pregnancy in particular is not a good idea. What are some of the symptoms of rape? The woman feels dirty, guilty, sexually violated, of low self-esteem, angry, fearful, or hateful towards men. She may experience sexual dysfunction. She may feel she has lost control of her life. Now, let's look at the symptoms of abortion. The woman feels dirty, guilty, sexually violated, of low self-esteem, angry, fearful, or hateful towards men. She may experience sexual dysfunction or loss of control of her life."
All the same things. She gets it in a double whammy. And it's been proven, statistically, that if a woman gives life and keeps the child that has been conceived through rape, that she heals from the rape experience much much better and quicker. If a woman has a chubby, little healthy baby in her arms, that child loves away the hurt of that rape and that violation, and she feels victorious over this rapist. Because he's this terrible awful man, and he perpetrated something evil and violent on me, but I turned it around and I made something beautiful and wonderful out of it. I'm better than he is.
But the woman that chooses to end this pregnancy that was conceived through rape feels worse than the rapist, because in all actuality she has been involved in murder. She is violated, victimized once in the rape; then she's violated and victimized the second time from the abortion. Many women say it feels like surgical rape. And they realized, "I was innocent, and I did nothing wrong. I had this violence done to me. And this baby was innocent. At least I could scream or run or claw or something. This child was a victim also. And innocent. And I'm worse than that rapist because I'm a murderer, and I killed that child."
A woman who chooses to end her pregnancy conceived through rape does not heal from her rape experience. She now has two horrifying experiences, and she is victimized twice. So, again, we need to make her think about herself.
And, nearly always, the woman has gone right from the rape experience directly into seeking an abortion. When a woman has conceived from a relationship, she's waiting. The weeks go on. "Is he going to help me? Is he going to stand by me? Is he going to marry me?" The weeks go on, she's got more time to think. But the woman that has been raped, as soon as she finds out she's pregnant, when she's still terrorized and traumatized from the rape, goes right into that abortion.
If a woman has really been raped, you can tell, because she instantly starts crying. Instantly. She's still terrorized. She's still horrified. And she goes in saying, "I'm going to get rid of his kid," but she comes out crying, "I killed my baby."
We need to be there to help her understand. She cannot fathom at that moment that this child has a potential for something wonderful in its life. She only sees that it's his baby. She doesn't look at the other half that's hers, that is made up of her. I keep with me a publication called "Raped and Pregnant." It contains testimonies about some people that have been conceived by rape and the wonderful, productive lives that they have. She does not understand at that moment. So we need to help her come to this understanding, because she cannot think that this child, at the end of this, could be a blessing to her and to society.
The Daughter Brought for an Abortion by Her Parents
You're going to have a woman coming for an abortion that's accompanied by a parent, and if you have been out there long enough, you hate to see it coming. They will surround this little girl like a coat of armor, and it's very hard to get to her. Sometimes I want to bring some feminists out there and let them see just how many of these girls are not exercising their right to choose, but rather Mom and Dad is, or some creep, and her right to choose is being taken away from her. I know circumstances of girls that have been brought in at gun point to abortion clinics. And society is not at all aware of this.
It's very difficult to meet the girl that's being accompanied by a parent. There's many times when I'll break all my sidewalk counseling rules, and I'll yell out to her and let her know she doesn't have to do this, that it's her right to choose, and if her parents aren't going to help her, I will. And I've gotten some girls to come to me, but very few, because the parents will surround them.
But I couldn't reach them, and I couldn't reach them. Because I was doing the same thing towards the parents that I had previously been doing to the women. Just as I used to judge the women seeking abortions -- and the Lord took that out of my life -- in the same way, I was judging the parents. Ooooh! Anger would well up inside of me when I saw them, and that's what came out of me, and I couldn't reach them.
But the Lord uses everything and every occurrence in our lives. And if you don't already know this, I encourage you to share what's happened in your own personal life. Don't hide it. Don't let pride get in the way, because everything in our life is a learning experience.
I received a telephone call from my son one night, to tell me that he had gotten a very close friend's daughter pregnant. And it broke my heart. He's thousands of miles away, and I was out there in Atlanta. I hung up the phone, and I sat down on the stairs. I was staying in someone's basement at the time. And my heart broke. That's not how I wanted to receive my first grandchild. And in the other room, Dobson was playing (the Lord is so good!). And right at that moment, as guilt flowed over me, and I began thinking to myself that I shouldn't have left Los Angeles -- I should have been there with my children -- Dobson was saying that, as Christian parents, we need to stop taking responsibility for our adult children's decisions. And my son said, "Oh, Mom! Don't blame yourself. I never listened to you in a year, so what difference does it make?" But it still bothered me, and my heart was broken.
And one month later, my daughter came out to Georgia, and she sat in front of me one night, very very late, with big fat tears rolling down her face, and she said, "Mama, I'm pregnant." And my heart broke again. And, as I mentioned before, if you're going out to the mills there, and you're going spend time with the Lord -- well, I get up at 3:15 in the morning. And my telephone didn't stop ringing until 1:30. So I didn't have time to absorb it.
And the next morning I did what I do every morning, like a little robot, and I got dressed, drove down to Surgi, pulled in there in the dark, and the very first car that came in was a Mercedes with a mom and dad and a beautiful little blond teenager. She walked by me, and she was already crying, and the mom and dad walked up to me. The mom put her finger in my face and said, "You don't know what it's like to have a child in a crisis pregnancy!" And that's all it took. My waterworks started, and I said, "You're right, I don't know what it's like to have a child in a crisis pregnancy, but I know what it's like to have two children in a crisis pregnancy at the same time. And I don't have a husband. I'm a missionary. I don't have any money. I don't know what I'm going to do. I don't know how I'm going to deal with this! I don't know!" And I was crying and crying and crying.
She put her arm around me and said, "It's okay, honey. It's all right, sweetheart. Stop crying, it's going to be okay. It'll work out. It'll work out." And I looked at her. They were holding hands when they walked down the hill. And I said, "You're right. It will work out. But look at you. You don't have money problems -- you drove in here with a Mercedes. There's love in your relationship -- you're holding hands. You care about your daughter. If I can do this, you can do this." And she looked at her husband and said, "She's right. We can do this." And they called their daughter back, went home, and she had a little girl.
Now, the Lord did not encourage my children to do wrong so that I would have some lesson to learn out there. It's called sin. But the Lord broke my heart for parents. Now I know the hurt. These are supposed to be planned things. These are supposed to be fun things, with weddings and flowers and excitement. And, yes it was. And, praise God, I've got two beautiful grandbaby boys, named Joshua Paul and Nathan Daniel. And with those names, they're going to grow up to be a couple of spit-fires, and they're going to turn the world upside down. God took something that Satan meant for wrong and turned it into good. And I thank and praise God for that.
But I can reach parents now. I can reach parents. And when I talk to them, I focus on them. And I know their hurt and their disappointment. When you talk to parents, look them in the eye and say, "This must hurt you. This must really hurt you. This is disappointing to you." But they need to understand that, as disappointing as this unplanned pregnancy is, it cannot compare with the disappointment and the heartache of losing a grandchild.
Focus on the parents, because they are the ones that are making the decision, and not the girl.
And another thing, if you are an aborted woman reading this, use that. Don't let pride stand in your way. You look her in the face and say, "Honey, I've been there. I know exactly what you're going through, and I made the wrong decision. And I care about you and love you enough to stand in your way and be that wall of protection to you and keep you from making that same mistake."
The Woman who's Afraid of Childbirth
You're going to have a woman coming for an abortion who's afraid of childbirth. And that's fairly common. If you see a woman going in who looks pregnant, you need to make your mind start thinking, "Is she afraid of childbirth?" You would be amazed how many women are terrified of giving birth. If you've gone full-term through a pregnancy, you know what it's like. You go farther and farther into your pregnancy, and the bigger and bigger you get, you think, "Oh, no, that's a physical impossibility. There's no way. I can't give birth." Women get scared.
It's usually one of two things when a woman gets further on. It's often either a broken relationship or she begins to be afraid of childbirth. Know and understand the physiology of childbirth. I was surprised how many women have had children who don't even know what a uterus is or a cervix. So we need to understand it. God knew what He was doing when He designed our bodies. And tell them that. Know the facts. Tell her that her cervix is closed tight as a vice, to keep that child safe and to keep even bacteria out, to keep the child healthy. But when she approaches the end of her pregnancy, her body will change and get ready for that delivery. The cervix becomes like an elastic band and will open. A woman can give birth to a full-term, large baby a lot easier than she can to a small, premature baby, when her cervix is not ready to open. And help her to understand. If a woman's going in for a prostaglandin abortion, she is setting herself up for more pain than she would ever experience from natural delivery at the end of her pregnancy.
If a woman goes late term and she's overdue, and they have to induce labor, they give her a small amount of prostaglandin to induce labor. But a woman is going in for a mid-term or a later term abortion, will be given twelve or thirteen times that amount. That amount of prostaglandin has produced contractions so severe that they have been known to decapitate the child in the womb. Contractions mean pain. She needs to understand the pain that she is subjecting herself to. If she's going in to prevent pain, she needs to run away from there, because that's what she is setting herself up for, more pain.
The Woman Having Medical Problems with Her Pregnancy
If you have a woman that's going for an abortion because she says she has medical problems and the doctor says she's going to die or whatever, that may be a lie also. And there are some women whose lives are in danger during pregnancies for whatever reason. But it's very strange how pro-life doctors always seem to get these women through their pregnancies. They take the time that it requires and the extra care that she requires. And, also, again, think what? Post abortion. The woman needs to understand that God created us to protect children, at the cost of our lives, not the other way around. I heard Joanna use this description once. Tell her, what happens if you're out in the middle of the ocean and you're in a rowboat, and it's sinking, and you've got a three-month-old child in your arms. You've got to throw something overboard so you don't sink. Are you going to throw your child overboard? No! That's what she's doing. If she's having an abortion because her life is in danger, or if she thinks her life is in danger if she continues this pregnancy, she's throwing her baby overboard to save her own life. She will hate herself for that. And I've heard woman after woman say, "I wish I'd died. I wish I'd died! I made my baby suffer so that I would be okay." That devastates her maternal instincts. That is the opposite of how women function. And so she needs to understand that, to protect, again, her mental health.
The Woman Frozen Into Inaction
You're going to have a girl that's come and, she's just frozen. She stops. She's taken the literature. She's listened to you. And, you can tell, she doesn't know what to do. And I always share this, this one little girl, because it hit home to me. Realize that you need to take control. She arrived one day with her father. They parked the car and they walked down the hill, and they stopped at the end of the driveway by the bushes there and Anne had given them literature previously. And they went in, and they came back out, and the girl let me talk to her, and the father let me talk to them. And they were very kind and very courteous. And all the father did was stand there and stroke his daughter's arm, just to keep her calm, keep her quiet. She let me share everything I could share with her. I said everything I knew to say. For a good twenty, thirty minutes. And she went in anyway.
I had stood there and tried so hard to try to talk to her, I started crying, he was crying, and she was crying, and she still went in. And then the next day, they came back, because she had gone in there for testing and counseling. And they came back. Well, I had already said everything I knew to say. I wasn't even going to go up to her again, but the Holy Spirit pushed me up there.
The dad parked the car in the same place, they walked down the driveway, stopped at the same place on the sidewalk by the same bush, and they started all over again. And he did the same thing. He just stood there and stroked her arm. And I said verbatim what I said the day before. Only this time, she wasn't going in. But she wasn't leaving either. She was frozen.
She had spent so much time talking herself into this, it was all she could think. Abortion. Abortion. Abortion. He was crying. She was crying. I was crying. Same as the day before. And then I realized, I needed to take control. I'm not telling you to go out there and touch anybody, but I had already won her over the day before and this day also. I just took her right elbow in my left hand, I looked her in the face, and I said, "Sweetheart, you're not going in there. You're going to go home and have your baby." And I turned her around toward the parking lot. She burst into tears. She threw her arms around her dad's neck, and said, "Take me home! Take me home! I want to have my baby! I want to have my baby!"
I don't know how long she would have stayed there. She was frozen. She couldn't undo that decision. So we need to help them. We need to help them, and tell them lovingly, gently, what they're going to do. If they don't listen to you, they don't listen to you. But if you reach that point in your counseling where you've won her over that much, she'll be grateful for your involvement.
You know what she told me later, months later? I told her how fortunate she was to have a dad stand there and calm her by stroking her arm. And she said, "Yeah, I thought so, at first, too. But I couldn't figure out why I was so angry at him all the time. Then I realized, I didn't want him to do this [stroke my arm], I wanted him to do this [pull me away]. I wanted the decision taken away from me."
So we need to love her enough to take the decision away from her in a loving and gentle way.
The Christian Woman Coming for an Abortion
If you've been out there long enough, I know that you've seen this scenario, and that is the Christian girl coming for an abortion. They pull in there with their Christian bumper stickers that say, "Jesus Christ is my co-pilot" and "I love Jesus." And it's real hard to reach them. They are by far the absolute hardest ones to reach. Because they've gone to their churches already, and they've already been counseled by their pastor. They've been told that, "Under your circumstances, this really is the best thing that you could do."
I had one girl who had a whole list of verses already written out on a piece of paper. They walk in there with their Bibles under their arms, and maybe you don't see it as much in your part of the country as we see it in Atlanta, but you've seen it. They wear "I Love Jesus" buttons. And we have them coming in all the time. It's the Bible belt. Everybody's "saved" in Atlanta. And they don't listen.
This one woman walked up to me. Her bumper sticker said, "Christians aren't perfect, just forgiven." And she came up to me and she said, "You're right. You're right. You're a hundred percent right. It's a baby. It's fully formed. It feels pain. It's murder. But, ain't it wonderful! God forgives everything." And that's the attitude of the church. And, she's right. God does forgive everything, but a lot of women are counting on the Holy Spirit to bring them comfort. But that's not the job of the Holy Spirit.
The Christian woman who has had an abortion needs to allow the Holy Spirit to bring her conviction so that she understands what she did, so that she's repentant, so that she asks forgiveness, so that she's cleansed, so that she's forgiven, so that she's restored. But that's a long process. And she needs to understand ahead of time what she's doing. And you are wasting time talking about that baby!
You know how I said, "don't preach to her"? You go ahead, you get your Bible out, and you preach up a storm to her. Because if you really believe, you perceive, that she really knows the Lord, I believe we have an obligation, as a sister in Christ, to make her accountable for what she's about to do. And you go ahead and preach. And she'll quote more scripture back to you than you probably remember reading in your life. She'll be all prepared.
But I had one girl that changed her mind -- and there are very few, very few -- because I told her, "We've all done something in our life that we regretted, as believers. And we broke fellowship with God. I've done that. And we want to turn back the hands of time and go back to that day and undo it and unmake the decision." And I said, "We break fellowship with the Lord, and there's an awful, awful price to pay for it." She started crying. She looked at her mom. And I said, "Honey, you're going to be down the road from this, and you're going to want to go back and turn back the hands of time, but you're at that crossroads right now. You cannot undo an abortion, but you can prevent it. You cannot undo this, but you can prevent it, this breaking fellowship with God. And she looked at her mom and said, "I can't do it again. I can't do it again." And it wasn't an abortion. It was something else in her life that broke fellowship with the Lord. She said it took her too long to get back.
So you go ahead, and you talk to her about the Lord, and her relationship with the Lord. Don't let her get away with this "easy gospel" -- "God is love love love love love." You make her understand there is an accounting with God. That there is a righteous God that she's going to stand before and be accountable to in this life and encourage her to protect her spiritual health.
A woman going in for an abortion is setting herself up physically, mentally and emotionally. A Christian girl is going to be hung physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. It's going to be devastating for her.
The Pastor Bringing His Wife or Daughter for an Abortion
I don't know if this happens where you live, but in Atlanta we've had numerous pastors bringing their wives and daughters in for an abortion. We had eleven. We've had many more than that, I'm sure, but eleven that I know of. I could blow the lid off a few ministries in Atlanta if I had a mind to.
But it overwhelmed me. I didn't know how to cope with it. I did not know how to deal with it. It grieved me. I was so frustrated!
I had a pastor go in the trunk of his car and take out a fistful of gospel tracts. He was going to go inside and witness and share the gospel with the girls in the waiting room while his daughter was having an abortion!
And I told him, "I'm out here praying that the Holy Spirit will touch their hearts and help them to realize what they're doing, and you go in there, you tell them who you are, and you give them full approval of what they're doing. They'll think, "A preacher can do this. We can do this. It's got to be okay."
I didn't know how to handle it. I've had them stand out there and say, "You're just a woman! I'm a man of God." And he'd get out there and start preaching to me. I'd be in tears. I didn't know how to deal with it.
One day I went there. I just kicked the telephone pole. I started crying and said, "Why me!? Why don't You send out somebody here, some Billy Graham out here, and then maybe they'll listen to him?" It really grieved me. I started praying, "Lord, You have got to show me how to get them out of here."
And then one day, I was standing there with Anne, and it was still dark, and the first car had arrived. Just before it had arrived, I was distraught. I'd had a pastor the day before and so many Christians, I couldn't stand it. I was just totally discouraged. And I said, "Anne, if we have one more Christian, or one more preacher in here, I'm going to lose it." And she said, "How bad you gonna lose it?" And I said, "Real bad." And she said, "Uh oh," and she pointed. And Surgi's got four lanes of one-way traffic coming in. And I saw a car that pulled up, and it was a black car with black tinted windows, and the whole front bumper was full of Christian bumper stickers, and in Georgia you don't have to have a license plate on the front. The license plate that was on the front had a black background with a white cross and in big white letters it said "CLERGY." I said, "That does it!" And as I started marching down to the car, a woman got out of the back seat, took a look at me, and ran in.
I went up and pounded on his tinted windows:
"Is this your car?"
"This says clergy on the front!"
"Yes, ma'am, I'm pastor so-and-so from such-and-such a church."
"What are you doing here!?!"
And I just lost it. I said, "Who was that woman?"
"I don't know."
"You bring some woman to an abortion clinic at 5:30 in the morning and you don't know who she is?"
"Well, I don't know who she is."
There was a teenage boy sitting in the front seat, and he said, "That's his wife." And I wanted to talk to him, and the light was changing, and the traffic was starting to come, and I was losing it. I mean, I was just shaking inside. And I said, "Pull in there!" And he pulled in his car and got as far away as he could towards the back of the parking lot. And as I walked by Anne, and she said, "Kaaaren!" She told me later, "Forget being arrested for trespassing, I thought you were going to be arrested for attempted murder!"
I thought I was, too! By the time I walked from the sidewalk up to the top of that road, I was just shaking, inside and out.
He had rolled his window up again. I pounded on the window again, and he started making these excuses. And I said, "Look, that's why we can't get anywhere in this battle! Not only can we not find men who have the guts to stand up and preach that sin is sin and abortion is murder from their pulpits, we can't get them to come out here for a prayer vigil. We can't even get up and sidewalk counsel because you're in here and you're bringing these women in for the abortions. It's no wonder we can't get anywhere in this battle!"
And he started making this excuse and this excuse, and I said, "Look-look-look-look! I'm not going to talk to you about this any more!" I was so upset, I thought I was going to vomit. And I was shaking so much, the veins were just sticking out of my neck. I said, "You get out of this car right now, you go in there, and you get your wife out, or I'm going across the street and calling LOVE-86 Christian radio. I'm giving them your name and the name of your church and I'm telling them that you're down here getting an abortion for your wife."
He was out of that car in two seconds! He went running down the hill there at Surgi. He was slipping and sliding on the rocks. He brought her back and she slid in the back seat. And I told him, "Don't think you can go slither off to some other mill in this city, because we know where every single one of them are, and she is going to follow you." And Anne got into her van. I said, "Don't think you can come back some other time, because we're here all the time." (And we aren't.) I told him we had every mill covered (and we don't). I said, "You can't do this without us knowing about it. And, furthermore, I'm coming to your church in three months, and she had better still be pregnant!"
You know all that love and compassion and all that sweet stuff I was talking about? Forget it! He doesn't deserve it! You open up with both barrels on him because how dare he call himself a man of God and be out there at a killing center?
It used to be we were about twenty years behind the world in our morality. No more, folks. We're running neck and neck. With immorality, with child killing; we're even a part of it. We're not only a part of this business because of our indifference and our apathy but because we are, as Christian women, aborting our children, and as preachers, taking them for abortions, counseling them for abortions and refusing to speak up for the helpless. God help our spirits, because we need to do something.
But you go ahead. I don't know how else to handle it. Threaten him. What's he going to do? Sue you? Then the whole world knows. "Good! Sue me! I'll tell the whole city of Atlanta why you're suing me!" They're stuck. So chase them out. Do whatever you have to do. But forget the love. They don't deserve it.
8. ENLIST THE HELP OF THOSE WHO DO BUSINESS WITH THE ABORTION CLINIC
When you're out there, use everybody that you can, to get literature into this woman's hands. Use everybody. Use the UPS man when he goes to deliver something. Get him to take in literature. Use the guy that delivers the cokes and the mail man, whoever you can. The copy machine man.
Yes, I know. Your initial reaction is you want to stop them and say, "Do you know what they're doing in there? Do you know that the money they're paying you with has taken the lives of children, and you're feeding your children with blood money?" But don't do that!
Get them on your side. And get them to take literature in for you. This one guy, I was telling him, "Oh, come on, you can do it. You can do it. Just take this whole wad of literature, put it in your briefcase and when you go in, just set it down in there. Take it out. Put it down and forget about it." And he said, "No, no, no, no, no. I can't do it." I said, "Yes, sure you can do that." He said, "Oh, all right! I'll do it!"
So he takes it in and about half an hour later, he comes out all excited, has a business card already in his hand. And he told me, "Take this, please! Call me tonight. I did what you said. I took the literature out. I put it there, and there's a little girl in a yellow sweater, and she's reading it, and she's crying! And I really think she's changing her mind! If she comes out, please call me. Please let me know."
Well, he left, and she came out right behind him. He just missed her. I stopped her and talked to her, and I told her about him. She said, "Please tell him thank you. Please call him and tell him I said thank you. Because, if I hadn't read it, I would have just done it. I would have just done it." So now when he comes, he approaches me and asks me for more literature.
Fill up taxicab drivers. If girls come to your clinic in taxicabs, fill up the cabs with literature. I've got one taxicab driver who will stop from time to time to ask for more. (Now, I think they shouldn't bring them at all, but they do.) But when this driver gets an address that he recognizes as an abortion clinic, he just gives the girls literature. This driver has had three or four girls that said to take them back to the hotel. And so get everybody and use everybody that you can to bring literature in.
9. MEN CAN BE EXTREMELY EFFECTIVE SIDEWALK COUNSELORS
I know, sometimes, men feel ill-equipped out there, and a lot of men don't ever go out because they think, "Well, I'm a man. This is a women's issue, and women don't want to have anything to do with me at that time." And that's true. A lot of women have been abandoned by men at this time in their life, and they'll say the last thing they want to look at is some man. They'll look at you and say, "When's the last time you got pregnant, buster?" They're not real happy with men at this time in their life. They may have been abused by men all their life. They may not have ever had a man genuinely care about them. But you can use this to an advantage in counseling.
Now, I'm a woman. If I'm in a really desperate financial situation (and she may be choosing to have this abortion because she has no money), I would think that a man would have the ability to help me before a woman would, because usually men have the capability of making more money and being more supportive.
Oftentimes, a woman will migrate to a man. I have seen women only respond to male counselors who wouldn't talk to a woman, but they're enamored that a man is giving them attention. And you're not talking about this baby, but you're talking about her.
Even your physical presence brings strength. And if you're quiet and you're calm -- there's nothing like a quiet, calm man to make a woman feel protected and feel like she can trust this person's advice. You might even say, "You know, ma'am, I don't know about the man in your life and your situation, but will you let me step in and help you? Would you let me protect you and make sure that you're well cared for?" But whatever you have to say, talk about her, and talk quietly and softly.
Here's an example of how a male sidewalk counselor was the perfect one to reach a woman in a particular instance.
We were out at Surgi one day, and we used to have a preacher, Preacher Bob, who came out there. And there was a couple there. The woman was already inside, and we were talking to her boyfriend outside. We talked this guy into going in and bringing his girlfriend out, but he didn't wait for us to tell him what to say. Well, I don't know what he said, but obviously it was all the wrong things. She came out all right. He came out running ahead of her, and he was clawed from the top of his forehead, down his face, down his neck and his chest. There were just streams of blood coming down. And then she picked up all those rocks there at Surgi and began throwing them at him, and she was screaming and yelling things at him that I've never even heard in jail! And all of the sidewalk counselors scattered to get away from the rocks. All except Preacher Bob.
Suddenly everything got quiet, and we turned around, and he had both of her hands in his, and she was just sobbing and softly crying. He calmed her completely down, and he reconciled her with her boyfriend, and they chose to leave and have this baby. He was extremely effective out there where a few of the other counselors weren't.
So please, men, don't stay away because you think that you can't be used out there. You could be the missing link for that woman. Stand out there in love. And, also, you can reach the men!
I had one guy that said, "I never even thought about trying to get the man to go back in. I'd stand and talk to them for hours out there." Now he's concentrating on doing that, sending the men back in and bringing the women out.
10. WE'RE NOT CALLED TO BE SUCCESSFUL -- WE'RE CALLED TO BE OBEDIENT
But, remember, male or female, young or old, we can't save every baby. We can't spare every mom, as much as we want to. I had to let that burden go, and I realized I can't save the world, I'm just one woman. And you can't save the world. You can only do the very best that you can with what the Lord has given you.
And as I said before, if the Holy Spirit of God can't sway everyone else, how can you and I do that? But the Lord will use us. And I know that things are rough, and the world is in disarray, but we need to look and realize that, praise God! Our God is still in control. He is a mighty, awesome God, and nothing happens except that it passes through His hand and His approval. Nothing takes Him by surprise, and it shouldn't take us by surprise, either. Let's not be in awe of our circumstances and our new rules and our new regulations and our injunctions or what-have-you. Let us be in awe of our incredible, awesome God.
Don't sing "Our God Is An Awesome God" if you don't believe it. Don't sing it. It's hypocrisy, unless we really believe with all our hearts that He is an awesome, powerful God. He's still the God that parted the Red Sea. He has not lost one iota of His power and His strength. Let's not shrink God into our little molds of what we think He can and cannot do.
And don't give up, don't give up, don't give up. When the battle rages, and the enemy comes in like a flood, praise God! You raise the banner higher, and you remember who we are in Christ Jesus.
And, another thing. If you get an injunction put on you or a bubble zone or F.A.C.E., or whatever, let's not just always assume that it's because the Enemy is in control. God may just be setting up an opportunity for you to prove Him. He wants to do that. He says, "Prove me. Prove me and know that I am mighty. Prove me and know that I am God."
You don't need God as much sitting behind a computer as you do out in that street. You're going to learn to need God in a way that you never did before. And the more that the Enemy sets in the way to trample us, the more we can lean unto Him.
And when they put the injunction on us there in Atlanta, they said we couldn't be within fifty feet of the property line. That put us on the other side of the wall. You can't sidewalk counsel from over there. And we couldn't hand out literature or speak to the girls or anything within fifty feet of the property line. But God told me, "You just obey Me, and the enemy will not triumph over you."
We ignored it. Joanna ignored it. The other counselors ignored it, and we continued day after day after day. The penalty for violating the injunction, when the judge decides to bring you in, is twenty days in jail and a $500 fine, multiplied by how many times you have been written up. One of my counselors, Sue, was brought in and found guilty of violating the injunction and sentenced to five and a half months in jail. She'd been written up seven times. I had been written up sixty-three. That's four and a half years in jail and a $32,000 fine. God said, "You just obey Me, and the enemy will not triumph over you."
This went on for twelve months. I knew what was going on. After a while, God prevailed, and God did miracle after miracle after miracle.
At first, there would be six or seven squad cars out there. And finally they figured out they didn't need all those squad cars for little old me or for Anne or Sue and me. So they just had one squad car, they parked across the street, and they backed in so they could watch. What they started to see was women coming, parking their cars, getting helped. We weren't harassing them. We weren't yelling at them. We weren't running after them. They were voluntarily stopping and talking to us. The officers were close enough to see their facial expressions, see the tears start, put their arms around us, and walk away and never go in. And the police went "WHOOP WHOOP" on their sirens, they started going "thump! thump!" out of both windows, because God was breaking the hearts of the police officers.
They started taking us to lunch and bringing us hot tea when it's cold and iced tea when it's hot, bringing warm clothing.
God can do it. God can sway the hearts of the enemy. And He says He needs to but look upon the enemy, blow on them, and they'll be no more. That's the God that stands behind us and what we do.
So let's just be continuing in what we know is the right thing to do. I have these tea bags, these herb teas, and they have these little sayings on them, and my tea bag the other morning was a quote from Abraham Lincoln, and it says, "Let us have faith that right means might." That God is on our side. That is where the power and the glory will come from. The Lord will send you encouragement.
I was standing out there one day, and I use this because I draw on it many many times. The Lord just sends incredible people my way for encouragement. But one day I was at Mid-Town, and I had not been home for a year, and I missed my family and my children so much, I was broken hearted. And I was going home for the first time. And when it rains in Atlanta, it really rains, and I was drenched. I was always drenched. The wind blows, and my umbrellas are always blowing inside out -- I have skeletons of umbrellas all over the city of Atlanta. And this one morning, my umbrella was already gone, and I was standing there, and my collar was full of rain, my pockets were full of rain, I was drenched to the bone, and Michael, one of the Satan worshippers came by, and he was taunting me and telling me, "You're not going to win this battle, Black." And he took all of his Satanic jewelry and stuck it in my face and said, "He's got BIG plans for you."
And the Lord reminded me of that verse that says, "I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, not plans for evil, but plans for hope and a future." God has His plans for each one of us.
That particular day, there was a woman, and I perceived that she was afraid of childbirth, and I didn't think she would listen to me at all, but as she started to drive in with her car, I said, "Honey, you need to run away from here," but she went in anyway. About thirty minutes later, I was standing out there, and I was saying, "Lord, I'm going home tomorrow, for the first time. I don't want to come back here. Nobody likes me. Nobody cares that I'm out here. It's raining all the time. I'm freezing to death half the time. The rescuers are all in jail. I'm out here by myself. Nobody cares." I was having a major pity party. And I said, "Lord, I need actual, verbal encouragement, or I'm afraid I won't come back."
That woman came running up the sidewalk, and she was dragging her purse. She came running up, and she said, "I'm doing what you said, I'm going to run away from here! I was going to get in my car and go out the back driveway, but God told me to come up here and tell you your labors are not in vain." I talked to her; she didn't know the Lord. He caused her to quote scripture to me. She took me by my shoulders and she shook me and she said, "Do you hear me? Do you hear me? Don't you ever stop doing what you're doing! If you weren't here today, my child would be dead. You don't stop." Her name was April.
God will send encouragement your way.
You expect discouragement. It's not a fun place to be. Satan hates you with every fiber of his evil being. And he isn't going to let you just go out there and let it happen. No way. He's going to be there and fight you every inch of the way. Just stand up, with God's armor, and you face the Enemy.
David went after Goliath. He ran after Goliath! He hit him in the head with the power of God, and he chopped off his head and put it on a stick! We need to run into the Enemy's face with the righteousness and the power of God and not look back. And expect to be discouraged and expect our God to encourage us.
It's not fun to be out there. Your feet hurt and your back hurts. You get your feelings hurt, and people are nasty to you. So what!
No matter what happens to us, it cannot compare with what happens to the women and the children. And we need to get some spiritual sand in our pants. We really do. We're a bunch of little marshmallows, and I may not be speaking to everyone reading this. I know many are not. There are many incredible, godly men and women, and I'm proud to be a part of the body of Christ with such saints, but, nevertheless, each one of us have areas in which we can give more fully to the Lord, more completely, and be more and more of Him and not of ourselves.
Most of all, don't be overwhelmed. As Joanna said, you're there for the woman that wants the help -- you just don't know who she is. You have to approach each woman like that. If she doesn't receive you, let it go. Don't take it home with you. Don't bear that burden. Otherwise, it will render you helpless and unable to continue.
First Corinthians 4:12 says you are only required to be found faithful. Remember that the battle is the Lord's and that we are just to be human instruments in His hand.
I went to a yard sale in Atlanta a long time ago. I saw this man sitting in a chair, hardly able to stand because he was so crippled from arthritis, and his fingers were all gnarled up. He had a photo album there. He was a carpenter. And he showed all of his wonderful "creations," he called them. He had created, over the years, these beautiful pieces of furniture. And I looked at them, and I thought about the photo album I have at home. You also may have a photo album of the babies God has saved through you. God's creations, beautiful little faces. And he was selling his tools. He called them his "faithful tools," and I thought, "What else can they be? They're just tools. They just lay there." And I looked down at them, and one of the tools caught my eye in particular. It was a hammer. It had an old-fashioned wooden handle. It had been used by this creative, gifted carpenter for so many years that the handle was shiny and smooth. And I looked at that, and I looked at him. And I thought, this carpenter, he's standing there with gnarled-up hands and limited power and limited ability. I looked at the hammer. And I thought, I want to be that hammer, I want to be that yielded instrument in the hands of the Carpenter of all carpenters. I want to rest in His hand, and I want to be His power. He creates things that mortal man can never do, and our God's hands aren't gnarled up, and there's no limit to Him.
Let me encourage you to allow yourself to rest in the hand of Almighty God, the Carpenter of carpenters. And, perhaps in time, you and I will shine like that hammer, that instrument. We will shine forth to a lost and dying world.
Karen Black can be reached at:
WOMEN 4 WOMEN
P. O. Box 1971
Duluth, Georgia 30096
This Handbook Produced and Edited by:
Hand of Mercy
1880 S. Redwood St.
Escondido, CA 92025