As one who has been peer-counseling for a couple years, I am continually learning and seeing the goodness of God with each client I encounter. Every client we receive is so vastly different. There is no telling who will walk through our doors. Some clients are so broken, they can hardly speak. Others are elated to be pregnant. Many of our clients speak a different language than we do. Most are young and having their first child, a few are older and have grown children. The diversity is beautiful and keeps my ear close to the Holy Spirit.
I am always in a position where I need to hear from the Holy Spirit about how to minister to each client’s heart as well as their practical needs. Some days I feel like it goes really well, other days not so much. Sometimes clients leave feeling better than when they came in, other times it seems as though there is no change in the fear or hopelessness they are experiencing.
Last year in April, I experienced the hardest counseling session to date. A client who spoke very little English came in for a pregnancy test. Distraught over the positive test results, she was unsure of what she would do next. I tried to talk with her about all of her options but the language and cultural barrier made for a very long, difficult session.
Hopelessness was communicated very clearly. She was stuck. She wanted so badly to be a mother but couldn’t do it by herself. She kept telling me “In America, it is okay for a woman to have a baby alone but in my country it is not.” She went back and forth between having an abortion and parenting. She eventually agreed to make an ultrasound appointment for two weeks later with the promise of a translator. She left that day scared and hopeless but planning to return for her ultrasound. When she left, I went into my director’s office and cried. I was so broken over the hopelessness she was experiencing. There was nothing more I could do to change her situation.
Two weeks later she returned. During the ultrasound, we got a see a beautiful 9-week baby dancing all around! She was all smiles and by the end of the appointment decided to keep the baby. We were happy and took it as a win!
Three months later, I received a call from this client telling me she needed to abort because the father would not marry her and she had an appointment for that Saturday. By now, she was 24 weeks. Heartbroken, I spent a significant amount of time on the phone trying to talk through and understand what was going on, but to no avail. With great sadness, I closed out the case as aborted, said one last prayer and moved forward, still trusting that somehow God was taking care of her.In December, a week before Christmas, she and the father, now her husband, stopped by the center with their brand new baby! We shared a long tearful embrace. She let me hold that perfect and beautiful baby boy while she told me all about his birth and her family.I spent the rest of the day in complete awe of the goodness of God. When she left my center the first time, I was broken by the hopelessness. I did all I could but it wasn’t enough. I prayed and God told me not to worry — that He has her in His in hands. I wasn’t sure what that would look like, but I was comforted by His words and trusted His goodness. I was marked that day by His faithfulness.
This experience of His faithfulness is a testimony for me to hold on to when I encounter hopelessness in other counseling sessions. I have had other times when a client’s situation is dark and hopelessness is thick. I do everything I can think of to do and when it doesn’t seem to be enough, I am always reminded of my client’s story. I am reminded that I have done everything I needed and could do and that God is in charge of the rest. In what the world would see as hopeless, I am filled with hope, knowing I can trust in the goodness of God. I’ve seen Him do it once, I am confident He can do it again.