Heartbreak and Hope: One Year of Sidewalk Advocacy

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The air is thick and heavy. The North Carolina humidity plays a part in that, but here—in this place—there’s something else that accompanies the heaviness. A weightiness. A presence. A tension.

Something that feels…wrong. 

An abortion facility has that kind of effect. 

A Place of Heartbreak

In July of 2018, GPCC’s sidewalk advocates stepped foot on the property beside the Greensboro abortion facility for the first time. Although they were fully trained and equipped, there was still a note of uncertainty. 

What would happen out here?

As the days and weeks turned into months, and as the summer heat melted into chilly, frosty mornings, we realized that our presence in that place was more than just a volunteer role or something to do for a few hours. 

It was war. 

And this war was filled with heartbreak. 

The kind of heartbreak you experience when fathers, mothers, and sisters stand outside the building and weep for the unborn grandchild or sibling whose life just ended behind closed doors.

The kind of heartbreak you know when abortion escorts yell curses at you and make obscene gestures while walking women inside.

The kind of heartbreak you feel while you watch a man drop off his girlfriend and sit in his car playing games on his phone while his son or daughter’s life is being violently ended.

The kind of heartbreak when a woman chooses life only to experience a miscarriage a few short weeks later.

The kind of heartbreak you have when you’ve offered a woman everything she needs in order to choose life–and she chooses death anyway.

The discouragement runs deep and plants seeds of doubt in our hearts and minds. Are we making a difference? Does anyone hear us? How long will we be laughed at, mistreated, and ignored?

Does it even matter?

A Place of Hope

The angry roots of doubt threaten to take up permanent residence within us. But at the exact moment when we are most tempted to give in or give up, something happens. 

We remember.

We remember the moment when that one mother walked out of the abortion facility, locked eyes with us, and smiled. Her baby’s life would not end that day.

We remember the slow and steady friendships we’ve been forging—week after week—with some of the abortion volunteers. 

We remember the moms who stepped onto our mobile unit and saw a steady, strong heartbeat for the first time. We remember their tears, and how we cried with them. 

We remember the grieving moms who came back to us after their abortions because they believed us when we said we would still care for them, even if they didn’t choose life. 

We remember the pastors and church members whose eyes were opened to abortion for the first time as they joined the Love Life prayer walks.

We remember the man who pulled into the driveway just so he could thank us for our presence and tell us that his son was alive because of the hope we’d offered. 

And we remember the 1,711 women who saw our mobile unit, heard our offers for help, and now know that there are real choices in Greensboro other than abortion. 

We’d be lying to ourselves and everyone else if we said this road has been easy. But when we say that every moment has been worth it, well—nothing could be more true. 

A Place of Suffering

We believe with our whole hearts that, even if we only saw one woman choose life, our time at the abortion facility would be well-spent. 

But do you know what else we believe? We believe that if we never saw a single woman change her mind—if we never saw even one life saved—that the discouragement, sadness, and suffering would still be worth it. We would still be there.

And here’s why.

As Christians, we know and believe that Jesus is with us in our suffering. In fact, to experience suffering is to experience fellowship with Christ (Philippians 1:29; Romans 8:17). On the topic of suffering and enduring difficult hardship, author John Piper says this:

“So I take it to be a biblical truth that the more earnest we become about being the salt of the earth and the light of the world and reaching the unreached peoples of the world, and exposing the works of darkness, and loosing the bonds of sin and Satan, the more we will suffer.”1

In other words: if we suffer and hurt as a result of our obedience to Christ, then we are doing something right. 

When we struggle and endure, we do so because obedience to Christ equals fellowship with Christ. 

When we recognize that obedience to Christ is our primary goal, that makes the changed minds and saved lives so much sweeter. We learn to view those victories not as something we deserve or that God owes us in exchange for our “hard work”; instead, we view those victories as precious gifts and expressions of God’s grace. 

A Place to Serve

We have 22 active sidewalk advocates, and we are able to be there 3 days a week. 

The abortion facility is open 6 days a week. 

Please consider what role you can play in bringing an end to abortion in Greensboro. If you would like to learn more about sidewalk advocacy, we invite you to attend our next Sidewalk Advocate Training on Monday, August 12, from 5:30-8:30 pm. We are looking for both women and men to serve as advocates. You can sign up for this training by clicking here

We wait in anticipation for the day when we will go to that abortion facility and see a building that has shut down forever because Christians showed up and refused to leave. 

Light is breaking through the darkness of that place, and we are humbled to be a part of it. 

And when we consider that the sufferings of today are not worth comparing with the future promised to us?

That makes every moment truly, undeniably, and wholeheartedly worth it.

Mary Holloman is the Communications Coordinator at GPCC. You can follow more of her work at maryholloman.com. 

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