|October 5, 2015 • VOL. 53, NO. 17 • Oakland, CA|
| Respect for Live
Pro-life a way of life for self-described 'Fool for Christ'
As goes most things in my life, I tripped and fell into the pro-life movement. I've always said that God never gently guides me anywhere. He hits me in the head with a two-by-four to lead me in His direction. I'm not a very contemplative person and I carry no college degree. "Fool for Christ" describes me perfectly.
I hated every second of it. What normal 16-year-old wants to talk to a total stranger about her pregnancy problems? I did it anyway and, by the grace of God, I was able to help women keep their babies. In fact, the pregnancy center staff were shocked I had so much success even with the older clientele.
I left pro-life work and went off to college, but at 19, a few things happened that brought me back. One of my roommates got pregnant and asked us what we thought she should do. My two other supposedly pro-life roommates told her to do whatever she felt she needed to do. (That's when I first stumbled into the "I'm personally pro-life" crowd.)
When she asked me, I laid out all of the facts and went into counseling mode. Sadly, I lost that battle. Later, after her abortion, I talked to my friend to make sure she knew I loved her. She said she wished she had listened to me, because I was the only one who had told her the truth. I felt like I should have tried harder. That's when I felt that two-by-four again. I just wasn't where I was supposed to be.
At that point, I left school and tried to find "my calling." I thought being a travel agent sounded fun, and the day I arrived home, I found a "travel agent — no experience necessary" job opening. God had other plans, however, and nine short months later, I bumped into Operation Rescue. Being single, I had a little more time on my hands than most and ended up working in their office. To me, it was the perfect place in the pro-life movement — helping to save babies by sitting in front of a door and not having to talk to anyone. We had sidewalk counselors for that. They were able to reach the girls and change their hearts, and I saw many children who God saved through our prayerful presence. Despite the jail time, it is a special gift to know a person exists simply because you were willing to be there.
Since then, I have held various positions in other pro-life organizations which still afforded me the time to rescue. Of course, life moves on. After meeting and marrying my husband, I "retired" from the rescue movement and started the next chapter in my pro-life "career:" raising the next pro-life generation.
We've gone on to have six kids who are also devoutly Catholic and pro-life. Through pro-life youth movements like "Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust," they've been trained far better than I ever was at their age. It's been wonderful to see them have the confidence to educate people on their own!
I couldn't stay away from the "action," though, and once again, I've fallen into a new role in the activist world when I offered to help Rev. Walter Hoye. My family has been blessed that he lets us help in his amazing efforts. I'm living proof that God can take someone with little knowledge, ability or skill, and give him or her everything needed to make a difference. He can use you, too, if you are willing!
(Joni Durling, event coordinator for the Issues4Life Foundation, will speak Oct. 10 at the Birthright dinner at St. Mary Parish, Walnut Creek.)
Dear friends of Birthright
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