On July 5, 2023, I experienced one of the most triumphant days of my life. The Pregnancy Care Center opened a second location in Lebanon, Tenn., offering counseling and medical services to women in my community. I have had a front-row seat for almost five years to witness both God’s miraculous provision and the great amount of work it takes to get to the ribbon cutting of such an essential ministry. And I was forever changed in the process.
Seek and ye shall find
In 2019, the state of Alabama passed a bill that banned all abortions, and it rose to national news. My community group at church, most of us parents of small children, began to ask questions about the women who face unplanned pregnancies in our community: What would they do if that became the law in Tennessee? Where would they go? How could we find them? What did they need? How could we serve them?
We didn’t know the answers, so we started a search to find them, not knowing that we were just a few years away from the monumental Dobbs decision that would change the abortion landscape forever.
My friends and I eventually ended up at the Pregnancy Care Center in the neighboring community of Old Hickory, Tenn,. and were thrilled with what we saw and heard. We also found out that they had been praying about a second location and specifically about Lebanon. The director wondered aloud if Lebanon would support a PCC.
At that point, I confidently said, yes. I always have and always will believe there are good, God-fearing people eager to do His work. They just have to be asked. And so we got to work.
At the same time, we began to pray. When you ask God to use you, to help you serve vulnerable people, and to help you find partners in ministry, He will! But they may not be who you expect. They may not hold all of your same theological viewpoints, and their life experiences may not be anything like yours. Yet, if you share the same love of God and commitment to service, compassion and integrity, you can work together to glorify Christ.
Over the course of the next five years, 37 churches, of a variety of denominations and backgrounds, partnered together to support the Pregnancy Care Center. And I’ve not even mentioned the individual donors who give generously of their time and resources.
Last year’s banquet raised more than $150,000 toward this ministry, including support from local businesses that helped underwrite the event.
A local United Methodist church is allowing us to use a historic building for storage and classroom space. The building also holds a Catholic ministry that helps families get back on their feet.
The Psalm 139 Project donated a new ultrasound machine and covered the cost for the training of those who will use it. The funds from this machine were provided by a grant from the state of Tennessee at the direction of Gov. Bill Lee and the Tennessee state legislature.
And when we had twice the amount of volunteers and staff ready to be trained, the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board stepped up to cover the cost of the additional training.
Your community defines your calling
My husband and I serve in the town where I was raised and my family has lived for generations. I have marveled at how the life my grandparents, cousins, parents and I lived with integrity in decades past was utilized by God in this story. Because of God’s grace toward us, I had a starting point for many of the doors the PCC needed to walk through or the calls we needed to make in order to open a new location.
How might your quiet obedience to God today lay a foundation for something that God wants to do in the future, maybe in ways you will never see? Your faithfulness can be turned to fruitfulness if God so desires.
If God is calling you into something, He’s already there, preparing you for the good works ahead of you. I sat across the table from so many people who said, “I have been praying for this.”
And if you aren’t sure what God is calling you to in this season of life, open your front door. Visit your local park. Call your neighborhood’s school. There are needs within arms’ reach, and you are uniquely situated to meet them.
Pro-life is whole life
If you think pro-life ministry is just about saving babies, then you are missing out on some of the most miraculous and life-changing work – and not just for those you serve, but in your own heart.
The Pregnancy Care Center is not just pro-life; they are pro-abundant life. They want to see families transformed and generations impacted, and they have! They treat men and women with dignity no matter their circumstances. They provide hope when things sound hopeless. They meet critical physical needs in Jesus’ name, and they walk with individuals and families into new and better chapters.
God is rescuing lives, in physical ways and spiritual ways, through pregnancy resource centers across the country, and He is inviting us to participate in His work. Maybe you were like me. I had been pro-life in my thinking, and in the voting booth. But God was calling me to so much more.
My experience with the Pregnancy Care Center has led me to worship. It has expanded my understanding of God’s love, made me marvel at His sovereignty, challenged my small ideas about how He works, and increased the joy I have found in a life of full surrender to Him. I pray that many others will take a similar step of faith toward serving their community.
by Jill Waggoner
as originally published in the Baptist Press