In February, we held our annual banquet which was an exciting time of celebrating. Dr. John Bruchalski gave an excellent keynote address and we had a surprise performance from a beautifully talented Christian music artist, Caitlin Jane. Our client testimony with baby Noah brought tears and celebration and of course the food was delicious!
The night of the banquet, everyone in attendance was excited to hear all the wonderful things God is doing at the center. Most of us thought it was just another fundraising event which would raise awareness, friends, and finances. What most of us didn't know was that sitting as a guest at the banquet was Mariah, who is 18, beautiful, smart, and funny. Mariah was also a client at the Shirley Grace Pregnancy Center and was 8 weeks pregnant.
Mariah had been coming to the center regularly attending parenting classes through our Partners Program and very much wanting to be the best mom she could be. She was taking her prenatal vitamins and in the truest part of her heart she wanted to carry the baby she was pregnant with. She would come into the center and get support time and time again. Occasionally though, she would say things like, "I really want this baby, but others think I should abort". Mariah did not want to let anyone down, so she would teeter back and forth on carrying or aborting.
Mariah finally gave into the pressure and fear and scheduled an abortion.
The abortion was scheduled for the day after the banquet, so we invited Mariah to the banquet in hopes she would have the chance to hear another client's testimony who had chosen life a year earlier and was not one bit regretful as she held her one year old.
"I went to the banquet and heard the story of another client and I was bawling crying. I am so glad I went," was Mariah's response the night of the banquet. That night, amongst hundreds of people sat one girl who needed to hear the hope God gives in the midst of unplanned circumstances.
The Bible says we overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. One client's testimony gave hope to Mariah's heart.
The very next day, we were surprised to find out that Mariah and her boyfriend Greg did follow through with the abortion appointment and drove a couple hours away the day following the banquet, but as Mariah sat in that clinic and hours passed by and she was getting ready to proceed with the abortion, she realized she couldn't do it. Mariah left the clinic still pregnant and full of courage. Greg, her boyfriend, was still undecided.
That very night they both showed up to our Caitlin Jane benefit concert and hear the song "Unborn" (youtube it if you have never heard it!). As both Mariah and Greg opened up their hearts to the Lord in church and tears flooded their eyes, and as they received support from others, they made the decision to both choose life for their little one and this time not turn back.
"Being in the church, hearing from other guys and God changed Greg's mind," Mariah said. That very same weekend Mariah told us how a random stranger came to them and told them to read Jeremiah 33:3 which says:
"Call to me and I will answer you. I'll tell you marvelous and wondrous things you could never figure out on your own."
The courage it took to walk out of that abortion clinic, the steadfast pursuing of God straight to the hearts of Mariah and Greg encourages me that no matter which way they turned, as they called out, God answered and showed them marvelous things...
*Thank you, Mari Quillen, for writing this beautiful testimony. To find out more about the Shirley Grace Pregnancy Center and the incredible outreach they have to women and families, please check out their website: http://www.sgpregnancycenter.com/