As an advocate, I only want to be a positive influence on all my clients.
We all have been tried in our positions attempting to do so. Often times wondering if our words and efforts have fallen on deaf ears. Or better yet were they mere seeds sown to grow and prosper later? I wanted to ensure that I was the right candidate for this position. Making certain that I was able to be effective in representing our cause in the Pro-Life arena.
After that encounter, I prayed and asked God to show me if this is truly where I should be and remain. As a relatively new member to the Stanton family, it was imperative for me to know.
Our jobs are too important to not be the right fit.
During my next shift I received a phone call. A quiet, sullen voice responded to my greeting with, "to be honest I don't know how you can help me..." Little did I realize at that moment the call for help was actually to be my call as well. It would inspire and encourage me as an answer to my prayer.
My caller was only 19 years of age, in her second trimester of pregnancy. She was horribly afraid and confused. She needed someone to talk to and to listen. I was amazed when she began to share her story. The girl immediately captured my heart.
She shared with me her pain, fear and feelings of abandonment. She asked for nothing but, only wanted to be heard by someone.
To feel like she mattered.
I felt a stirring inside of me; as if God was telling me, "this call is for you too". I learned her name was Annie*; she had come from a broken family and she was ill. This sweet girl shared her story and began to open up to me. "How very blessed am I," I thought, "to be entrusted with something so very sacred as her very personal and private struggle."
Annie had moved out at a young age of only 15. I too had found myself alone at a young age after the death of my parent. The baby's father was absent, yet made constant threats to take her unborn child away from her as soon as it was born. He deemed her unfit due to her health issues.
Then, she shared something with me that truly hit a chord and I knew right then and there she was my answer to prayer. She shared through her tears that she has cancer. Cancer. A word that I had known all too well. Not only was it cancer but, it was the cancer type that I had also suffered from.
I felt a tear well up as I listened to her cry. All those familiar fears that I once had allowed me to become connected with her emotions. I knew how she felt. I really did. I explained to her that I had suffered from the same disease.
She told me that she had been diagnosed in April. I raised an eyebrow, as I too had been diagnosed the very same day and month but, several years prior. She was silent and then responded, "I never in a million years thought that I would be talking to someone who knew how I felt" and she began to cry harder.
But a cry of release.
I wanted to reach through the phone and hold on to her. As she explained more about what she was going through, I realized how much I was able to reach out to her and offer support. I was able to make sense of some of the information she had been given about the cancer. I was able to sort of unravel the threads of confusing and terrifying information that had formed a giant knot around her mind and heart.
She was not able to take her radiation or surgery due to the fact that she had decided to carry her baby and breast feed after its birth. How strong and brave this girl was, I thought. She was putting herself second to the life of her child and all at only age 19? She had a long road ahead of her, she was terrified and wanted someone just to tell her she was going to be okay. To offer some kind of encouragement, to be there for her.
I realized then that my own personal experience of hell going through cancer - alone - including all the pain, suffering, tears and agony were all made worth it in that single moment with Annie.
To be able to offer my gift of hope, friendship, love and support to another who was suffering.
My testimony was not for nothing.
I knew then and there that I was in the right place.
Exactly where I was supposed to be.
At the very right time.
Later, I would meet Annie and bring her to the center, there she would be offered much through our many available resources. Upon her arrival she was given a chance to choose a "Pamper Me Basket" of goodies put together for our moms to be to show them how special they are. She immediately began to cry and wrapped her arms around me.
She stated through her tears that it was the first time that someone had actually reached out to her with kindness.
Many of our baskets are made by and donated by "Mountain Top Moms" through our local Lake Gregory Community Church. She was given maternity clothes she so badly needed. Maternity clothes that were donated by supportive, caring individuals in our community. She only owned a couple items for herself.
She was able to experience the full gauntlet of what our "Friendship Room" had to offer by being supplied with numerous baby items. Again all items being donated with love and compassion by others for this purpose.
During our phone conversation I had asked her what she currently had already for her baby. She told me all that she had was two pairs of baby socks.
Through the generous donations of our supporters we were able to offer this amazing young woman everything from baby clothes, blankets, wipes on up to a crib for the baby to sleep in. She left our center with hope that she so badly was in need of that day.
But, my answered prayer was not to stop just there. Once Annie was taken home, she insisted that I come inside to meet her grandmother (her only true support at the time). She wanted her to see all that she was given and from whence it had come.
I figured I would only be there a few minutes. A few minutes turned into three hours. I was greeted by her grandmother, her estranged mother and a multitude of brothers and sisters. The three ladies and I sat down. I explained all Annie had been given, along with a game plan we had put into place for her to help out.
As I spoke, I noticed the tears in Annie's eyes. I could feel her pain of not having her mother's involvement and support whatsoever in her plight. I again could relate to this, as I had lost my own mother and her support at such an early age when I so needed it. Without skipping a beat I found myself ministering to the mother. Reaching out to her with love and kindness, only to find out that she too was hurting and in exceptional need.
She shared her story; a story that Annie had not heard placed into a perspective in which she could understand until now. We spoke of ways to encourage and lift up their relationship and to build and not to break it down. Tears were streaming down both of their faces. We worked out ways for them to communicate via a journal system and they made promises to each other to give each other the gift of their time.
As I sat and spoke to them I noticed her younger sister was watching me the entire time. She had gotten up and gone in and out of the room a few times. She returned with a few items and seemed to be making something with them. When I was done with my talk, I attempted to get up. The young girl approached me and before I could stand, wrapped her arms around me and hugged me tightly. I was totally in awe. I had never met her before. In my hand she placed a drawing she had just made for me, a pink foam cross, a twist tie flower and a friendship bead bracelet that was hers. She wanted me to have all these items as a gift.
I looked down at the picture to see the precious image that she drew. She drew three sunflowers in separate pots. There next to them she drew a girl, with a big smile holding a watering can, watering the first potted flower. I asked her who the girl was. She looked up at me with a warm smile and declared, "That's you!"
In a moment I heard in my heart of hearts, "You are exactly where you needed to be!"
On my way home I had tears of joy in my eyes. I was reminded of my prayer and the precious way in which it had been answered. I was grateful to know then that I was able to be a part of this cause, to know that I was part of the many who tend to the seeds that are sown in the lives of others every day.
As this story is read I pray it be of encouragement and remind us all we are exactly where we need to be!
"Today God blessed me with a very good miracle, people think that one person can't do anything - but one person can change a life!"
Journal entry written in her baby's book on the day we met - by Annie (my new dear friend and client).
Kelly HornClient Advocate, Stanton Mountain PRC
*name changed to protect client's privacy