What if the walls could talk?
The following article is written by Rebecca Peters of the Central Alberta Pregnancy Care Centre
What if the walls of the Central Alberta Pregnancy Centre could talk? Those walls have seen and heard a lot – there are so many stories they could tell! Which rooms would you want to know about?
The office walls might seem boring at first, but they would tell you about ideas and dreams for the Centre that started there. They’ve heard about the need for finances and support, needs which were placed before God. The office walls would tell you of answered prayer and proclaim the goodness of God – the praise given when a much needed cheque was delivered. Some of the office walls would whisper about the fear of answering a phone call from a person wanting an abortion and the doubts of “did I say the right thing?” The office walls hear many phone conversations. The client that is only 2 months clean and needs help finding a safe and drug free place to live. Or a previous client that is moving back to town because her husband just left her, she’s pregnant, and she needs help. Those walls could tell you about shared tears and prayers.
The kitchen walls would have much to tell you – they are often shaking with laughter! It is where the staff and volunteers gather together to eat, talk, laugh, and pray. Lives are shared and celebrated within these walls. The kitchen walls encourage relationship – whether you gather there to eat or to stop by the Centre to help with a mail-out – most enter this room as a stranger and leave as a friend.
There are the classroom walls. So much information and knowledge is shared there! From the volunteer training, the walls could tell you about the Biblical basis for the sanctity of human life, how to be a good listener, and how to help a post-abortive client. These walls have heard about the deep shame and regret from abortion. But through the post-abortive group PARE, the walls have seen the tears that bring healing and renewed hope and joy. Some classroom walls could tell you stories of young moms and dads who attend parenting classes – the fears and doubts but also the excitement and celebration of new life.
Then there are the counselling room walls. These walls have been washed with tears and are covered in prayer and love. Oh the battles that have gone on within those walls. Spiritually, emotionally, and mentally, there is a battle for life. Heartbreaking stories of abuse and abandonment and hopelessness. But also stories to celebrate! Stories of renewed hope and healing and new life.
Those Centre walls could tell you real life stories, stories like Melissa’s. *(name changed)
When I was 12, a member of my extended family began sexually abusing me. He convinced me that I must never tell anyone what was happening … so the abuse continued for years, until I became pregnant at 17.
Any hopes I had held on to were shattered – finishing high school, becoming a horse trainer – those seemed impossible now. Even more terrifying was the thought of telling my parents – that I was pregnant, who the father really was, and about the abuse. Because I had been threatened not to tell, at first I made up a story of who the father was. My parents were angry and hurt; I was confused and so scared. None of us knew what to do.
I found the Centre online and made an appointment. I was relieved to have someone to talk to. I was sure that I would have to have an abortion and I spent most of the first appointment crying. I was 17, still in school, I didn’t have a job, my parents were angry, and I didn’t know if I would have a place to live. I saw no hope for supporting myself or a baby. I met with a Centre Client Advocate and my parents talked to someone too. Everyone was so welcoming and we were given so much information on what our options were. I felt supported and cared for.
After that appointment, I felt calmer and I was able to be honest with my parents about who the real father was and what had been going on. It was so upsetting for everyone, but it was also a relief to not have that secret and to know that the abuse would finally be over.
I met with my Client Advocate every week. She gave me support, maternity clothes, information, and things to read to help me make the best decisions for my life. Week by week, my mind and heart were changing and I finally made the decision to keep my baby.
The Centre gave me more than I ever thought I would have for my baby. It was more than just the gifts that they gave, it was the hope and the love. Everyone there helped me to believe that I could do this – not just physically, but mentally and emotionally. They believed in me. It’s what helped me get through those last few months.
Other people helped and supported me too. With the help of some fantastic teachers, I was able to complete high school early. They even had a baby shower for me! I felt so supported.
My mom was with me when I had my beautiful baby girl. I was able to bring her home to live with me at my parents’ home. My daughter is now 14 months old and brings such joy to all of our lives. I am so thankful for her and for the Centre that gave me the courage I needed to have her.
The counselling room walls don’t only hear women’s voices, men share their fears and hopes there too. The questions of “am I enough?” and “how do I be a dad?” are voiced within those walls. For the first time, some of these young men have another man to talk to – to hear encouragement and get advice. With the start of a new Fathering Program, the walls of the counselling rooms and the classrooms will hear even more men talking about how to be dads and have a healthy family.
Perhaps some of the most heartbreaking stories heard within the counselling room walls are those shared during the Steps to Sexual Health Program. These one on one sessions gently walk women and men through their past experiences of sexual abuse, misuse, or trauma. The whole spectrum of emotions are heard and felt – from hurt and anger, to revelation and understanding, and then finally to healing and wholeness and hope.
We are excited about the walls that are up in the new Housing Project! We wonder what they will hear and what stories they will have to tell. Our prayer is that there will be stories of fear being replaced with ones of security and comfort, hurt being replaced with healing and hope, and isolation being replaced with love and family. We know that with God’s redeeming power and love, there will be stories of transformation!
After hearing about the Centre, what part do you connect with? Which walls speak to you? There is a place for you within the walls of the Centre – a place where you are needed and where you can make a difference. Whether it is “behind the scenes” – stuffing envelopes or bringing in a donation. Or whether it is more “hands on” – volunteering to be a Client Advocate or help with the Fathering Program. At the Centre there is an opportunity for you to help – to help transform lives, to save lives and heal hearts.
If you would like more information on how you can serve women and men in our community through the Pregnancy Care Centre or find out how CrossRoads is partnering with the Centre please contact LaurieW@CrossRoadsChurch.ca