Once upon a time (AKA. before I had kids) I worked in a crisis pregnancy center as a receptionist and a lay counselor. From as far back as I can remember, I’ve had a heart for the hurting, especially for women and babies, so this job was a perfect fit for me. That little clinic was such a wonderful place to work. It ran (and still does to this day) on God’s grace and the love of all the employees and volunteers who dedicate their time to being the hands and feet of Jesus. We prayed to be a blessing to the clients who walked in, and most of all, to make a lasting impression on them.
I often witnessed God at work in that clinic, but one particular incident stands out in my mind all these years later. There was a client, a young woman, who came in looking as if the weight of the world was on her shoulders. Her shoulders literally drooped, and her countenance was sad and withdrawn. She came in to confirm her pregnancy—the test was positive—and to discuss her options. Our counselor, a sweet older lady, talked with her, answered her questions, and prayed with her. I didn’t know the specifics of the client’s situation, but I imagined it wasn’t good. Once she left the clinic, all we could do was pray and wait for God to change her heart.
And change her heart, He did. :)
The following week when I welcomed a woman into the clinic, I thought she looked familiar. It took me a minute before I realized it was the same client, except that she looked nothing like the woman from the previous week. This woman had walked in with her head held high, a purpose in her steps, and a genuine smile on her face. I asked one of the nurses if this was indeed the same client, and she confirmed it was. With the support of her counselor, the woman had decided to keep her baby and was coming in for her first prenatal appointment. Wow, what a transformation! It was truly a privilege to witness God change her heart and save a life.
I love reading stories where characters have “heart changes” because these are the kinds of characters we can relate to and root for. As an author, I want to write stories about growth, which means I have to put my characters in difficult situations because (unfortunately) those times push us to grow. This is what I did in my latest release, Love’s Choice, a novella set in the First Street Church Kindle World.
Here’s the blurb:
Missy Clark left small-town life and her first love when she went away to college. Five years later, she returns to Sweet Grove with a secret that’s sure to tarnish her reputation.
Nate Dawson never stopped loving Missy when she left home. Answered prayers have brought her back into his life, but the consequences she bears may destroy their future.
Can these high school sweethearts regain the innocence of the past and find hope and healing in the Lord to move forward?
This book was inspired in part by my experiences working at the crisis pregnancy clinic. I put poor Missy through the ringer in this story, but I also provided a childhood friend, Nate, to support her. They both experience heart changes as they grow closer to one another and to the Lord. I just love their sweet relationship.
Here’s an excerpt from Love’s Choice that highlights their closeness:
When they pulled up to her house, Nate stopped her before she exited the vehicle. With his hand wrapped around hers, he confessed, “There’s something I want to talk to you about.”
Missy pursed her lips in concern. “Is everything okay?”
He took a deep breath, unsure of where to start. “You know how you couldn’t decide on which couple to choose from the adoption binder? Maybe it’s because you already have the perfect couple right in front of you.”
“What do you mean, Nate?”
“Us. You and me, Missy. We can raise the baby together.”
“What?” She looked at him like he was crazy. “I can’t ask you to do that. You’re supposed to have your own family one day. You can’t take care of one that’s not yours.”
“But I want to. I want to be there for you and Mini Miss.”
With her hands resting on her round belly, she stared out the front windshield. Yellow, red, and orange leaves from the tree lining the sidewalk fell onto the hood of the truck. The moment was still and silent except for the rushing wind outside. When she finally faced him, her eyes were moist. “Nate, today was an amazing day. I never expected to be so accepted by the people at church. And now, you—you’re like all the best toppings on top of my favorite flavor of frozen yogurt. You have truly shown me what a real friend is. And I’m so, so grateful, but I—”
“No more buts.” Feeling impatient, Nate cut her off. “I care about you, Missy.”
“I know you do. But I don’t want your pity, Nate, or anyone else to pity you. I don’t want you to resent me or the baby one day for taking your life away.”
“You wouldn’t be. You and Mini Miss would be adding to it.” He brought her hand to his lips and placed a kiss on it. “I love you, both of you.”
Her eyes widened. She shook her head and pulled her hand back. “I love you, too, which is why I have to say no.”
With those words, she slipped out of the truck and hurried quickly into the house. As the front door closed, Nate had the sinking feeling he just lost his best friend.
What difficult circumstance have you grown from? How did God change your heart through it? Please comment below and let me know. I look forward to reading your answers.
Giveaway: I’d like to give away one digital copy of Love’s Choice. One winner will be randomly chosen from the comments below. The giveaway will remain open until midnight on Sunday, December 10th.
Hi Liwen, I am enjoying reading your stories. Thanks for sharing your story, I imagine working in a crisis pregnancy centre would be an emotionally tough experience. Going through my parents divorce, mum’s remarriage and moving our family to a new city to live taught me the value of looking at the bigger picture and relying on God.
Thank you so much, Wemble! I love your perspective on what you learned from all the changes you went through. Thank you for sharing.
This is such a sweet testimony! Thank you for sharing it, and letting God use you to help make a difference in someone’s life. In high school I struggled with self worth and depression. Through consistently reading His Word, prayer, and the help of others, I was finally able to refocus my thoughts on WHOSE I was and who I am in Him. It wasn’t a quick change, but is something that I still have to continually choose to keep my focus on His Word and on Him. I know I am better for struggling through it, and I have been able to turn and help others who are struggling also.
That is such a wonderful testimony! Thank you for sharing. It’s amazing how God can take the hard things in our lives and use them for good.
Alexa Verde says
This is an inspirational story! Thank you so much for sharing it, Liwen, and congratulations on your new release!
Thanks so much, Alexa! :)
That´s a tough story. I don´t think I have lived anything similar…
Congratulations on the new book.
Thank you, Priscila! :)
Margaret Nelson says
Something that made me grow was moving to Hong Kong and learning Cantonese!
Oh wow, I know you lived in HK, but I didn’t know you learned the language, too! That’s amazing, Margaret. My hubby is Cantonese and it took me a decade to understand most of what his family says (I haven’t been brave enough to speak it though).
Nancy Luebke says
What a wonderful sharing, of saving 1 life. I worked with our local Pro-life group witch had a birthline with it. It gave support to those who chose life. We had a 24/7 phone line that helped with that. We even got a few who chose adoption and helped them find christian organizations that would help with that. But the lord lead me to address the question about what happens after an abortion, mentally. I am a mother of two who lost three babies between them. There is a cycle of grief after each one. What women are not told, after you decide and abort that baby, you go through a similar grief cycle but this one includes their decision to end a life. I ended up writing an article about dealing with grief and those loses.Thanks again for sharing that story. In my case, the lord used my losses to help others, that ended up helping me.
Oh wow, what wonderful work you did with your group, Nancy! Thanks for sharing your experiences. Yes, we had a post-abortion support group at the clinic to address the grief you talk about. I’m sorry to hear about your losses. That is so hard. I have lost one myself. God bless you.
Winnie Thomas says
This sounds like a wonderful story. Thanks for your post and the giveaway.
Thanks, Winnie! :)
Sherri G says
What a great story you shared. You must have experienced both ups and downs working there. Your new release sounds like a winner to me!
Definitely many ups! :) Thank you for stopping by, Sherri!
I love stories like this! I can’t wait to read it.
Oh yay! I hope you like it, Amy. :)
The story sounds interesting. Thanks for writing!
Thanks for stopping by, Diana! :)
Narelle Atkins says
Hi Liwen, thanks for sharing your inspiring story with us. :)
It was my pleasure! Thanks for reading, Narelle.
I loved this story.
Oh, I’m so glad!! Thank you for letting me know. <3