Choose Life is a lifesaver, and not just the tiny babies that are it’s mission to save. In my case, the opportunity to volunteer there and to pour life into a ministry that wasn’t about me was a life raft that I so desperately needed.
How It All Began
I started volunteering at Choose Life’s pregnancy test center in December 2011. But I’ve actually had some involvement with them off and on since I was a teenager. In December they advertised on Facebook that they were looking for a volunteer receptionist one a week for four hours.
I wasn’t working at the time and was looking for constructive things to fill my time and to add some structure and stability to my life.
I saw the request for receptionist and thought: I can do that; I can answer a phone and work a front office counter.
I started receptioning each week and loved it! It was simple office tasks — answering the phone, scheduling appointments, giving and receiving clients their paperwork, and getting their files ready for their appointment. My weekly four-hour shift became one of the highlights of my week!
All of us that volunteer there on Friday are sociable and friendly, so we have a good time chatting and sharing. I consider each of the ladies there with me each week a friend. Two of the women live on my street! Is that not crazy?!? We didn’t even know each other before, and through Choose Life I met two of my neighbors!
One of the women was in a graduate class with me at UAH a few years ago — the world is so much smaller than we know. With the other, I’ve had lunch several times, her daughter has babysat for me, and she’s part of a Bible study at my house on Saturday mornings.
Another volunteer sews, and we’ve swapped some knitting and sewing stories and tips. One of the girls is pregnant so we had a small shower for her with gifts and food.
Several of us like coffee with lotsa cream so we share in that too. It’s been so fun to come together each week with a common purpose and be just a small cog in God’s giant wheel.
When I interviewed for receptionist, the ladies in charge of the pregnancy test center recommended I go through counselor training which was coming up in March. When I went there, I had no interest in counseling. But the counseling training, they said, would make me a better receptionist and educate me on their ministries. I kept an open mind about it, and when March came around I signed up.
Even during the training I made it clear that I wasn’t sure I wanted to counsel, but that I wanted to be a better receptionist.
The counselor training and the sister counseling sessions, where I shadowed counselors in the room with real clients, made a huge impression on me, and I got the counseling bug. So now in addition to receptionist one a day week, I’m currently counseling one day a week and fill in as needed when someone needs to be out.
Counseling is a little intimidating but God overcomes whatever fear is there. Sometimes people just need to be loved and heard. They just need someone to talk to and someone to say an encouraging word.
My counselor training has made me more confident in sharing my faith and my testimony and in asking others about theirs. It’s made a remarkable difference both inside and outside the counseling room.
What We Do
The boys know that mommy works (for free) at Choose Life. I’ve tried to explain what it was we do in a way they can get it. When a woman thinks she might be pregnant we can do a free test to see if she’s pregnant and talk to her about any questions or concerns she has. We can show her an ultrasound picture of her baby and show her the heartbeat and help her get in with a doctor and other places that can help her get all the things she needs for the baby.
One morning Caden asked if Choose Life was where you go to choose what kind of life you were going to have. I laughed and explained that it was called Choose Life because we want the women who come there to choose life for their baby and to choose life for themselves, the kind of life that only comes through Christ, “life abundant and free.” So in that sense I guess it kinda is where you go to choose your life.
It’s been a great help to me and I hope I’ve been of use there. I pray each time I’m there that I be broken, spilled out and used up.
Broken and spilled out
Just for love of you, Jesus
My most precious treasure
Lavished on thee
Broken and spilled out
And poured at your feet
In sweet abandon
Let me be spilled out
And used up for Thee
–Lyrics, Steve Green