A few weeks ago, I was having a rough evening and was very much in need of encouragement. A friend of mine was also going through a rough time and could have used the same thing. Late into the night, I was reading over the daily pro-life articles. I wasn’t paying much attention and was about to head off to bed when I came to one of the last articles. It was about a sidewalk counselor named Julia, who had some very interesting methods – unconventional methods, even – for reaching out to women in need who are thinking of abortion.
To hear the story and the methods of a girl who was around my age and doing so much for the unborn was just what I needed. I shared the link with my friend, and it definitely cheered him up. Also, the article mentioned a bit about Julia, including her first and last name and the fact that she is the co-founder of the Students for Life of America on the University of Arkansas campus. With this information, I sought Julia out on Facebook, and she accepted my friend request right away.
Julia’s daily flux of pro-life posts, comments, articles, and statuses alone are an inspiration for me. It is also very encouraging to know that there are others using social media to speak out for the unborn. Julia also gives updates about her work – about unborn children who have been saved, and sometimes about those who have not been saved. Whatever the tone and whatever the news, I’ve noticed that Julia turns to her faith in God.
When I was asking Julia questions, she mentioned that the glory did not belong to her, but to God. For what she has done, Julia says it is not out of her own merit, but through God. She herself says, “Trust me, nothing I do or accomplish is through my merit. Each person has the ability to do incredible acts of service, to change our world, if only they say ‘yes’ to God.”
One of the questions I asked Julia was what inspired her pro-life work. She answered in one word: “love.” Julia once again mentioned God, and said that “God has blessed me tremendously with the ability to love. ” She went on to further explain that through love, she has the understanding and the ability to help those she comes across who may be seeking abortion, and that “it is only because of love that I am able to approach them. It is only because of love that I am able to connect with them. It is only because of love that they are able to trust me with such a huge situation in their live to the point of sharing details with me, a perfect stranger.”
With such an answer, Julia is speaking out to and reaching all of us, I believe, by her example, reminding pro-lifers that we need to approach women in need with love in order to help them. She also mentions something I’m sure many of us have come across: people questioning and becoming angry with our efforts. They might not see what we are doing because they do not have the love inside them.
Julia also relates love to the whole experience of being a sidewalk counselor, as she stands outside trying to talk to and help women. She mentions that while people who don’t understand such efforts, or become angry about them, may accuse sidewalk helpers of harassing women, Julia has never met a woman who thought she was being harassed. It was because the unmistakable love showed through. “Even if a man or woman does not want love from us, they recognize it. They know it is there. Many women have even said ‘thank you for doing this’ even if they won’t stop and talk to you. They know we are there out of love because love is unmistakable, you can’t hide it.”
When I asked Julia what advice she had, she elaborated on the importance of simply being ourselves. This is very important when it comes to sidewalk counseling, because as Julia points out, people want to talk to you. Babies are saved from abortion because you are there outside the clinic to just talk to these people.
Julia is a sidewalk counselor; I am not. For those who may not be, Julia reminds us to find our skills and gifts, whatever they may be, and use them to promote life. As she says it, “[i]f you figure out what skills, talents, resources, and gifts you have to offer, then you can find ways to help that you’ll be excited about.”
Julia and I have also talked about how we are two young people part of the pro-life generation, and how more and more young people are becoming involved in the movement.
The pro-life generation can and IS making a significant difference. Think about it: the older pro-lifer might feel anxious about bringing up abortion in the work place for fear of being fired. They’ve been trained by the adult world to be politically correct at least in some areas of their lives. Yet, the younger generation has the freedom to casually and kindly bring up abortion around a table of friends at McDonalds.
She also relates us being young to how it helps her as a sidewalk counselor.
For the scared girl our age, we are a safe face in a sea of pressure and fear about her pregnancy. She needs us. Are we going to give up on her? No, she’s one of us. And that is the young pro-lifer’s way of thinking: she’s one of us and I’m not going to leave her behind.
Despite all of the efforts from the pro-life movement, babies are still aborted. Julia says that the only real defeat though is giving up, and she again ties it all back to the love of the pro-life movement.
Because abortion is the total absence of love, we can only combat it with love. When you love others to the best of your abilities, then defeat is never possible. If you love a woman as much as you can, if you help her in every way you can, and she still chooses abortion? Well, love her anyway. Keep loving. Because you never know if one day that love is going to keep her from aborting again, or if that love and kindness will lead her to post-abortive healing, you never know if that love will inspire her to help someone else in an unplanned pregnancy.
Julia also had a good point about loving the babies affected by abortion.
Be there for the babies too. Maybe no one else in the whole world loves them, but you do. You love them enough to go through hardship trying to save their lives. Maybe you’ll be the only person in the entire world besides the woman and the abortionist who knows that baby existed. Love that baby because maybe this child might only be alive on this earth for a short time.
Overall, Julia mentions that we must combat defeat with love, which is also her inspiration.
Love is the most powerful weapon we have. People spit upon us, they curse us, they slander us, they try to deter us in every manner because they want us to give up. They want us to feel defeated. They want us to feel useless, worthless, and powerless to stop abortion. But we are none of those things. We are lovers. We are lovers who love no matter how defeated we feel because she’s worth it.
The last question I had for Julia was what her hopes and plans for the future were.
My hope for the future is to be part of abolishing the greatest injustice in human history. My plan is to never be silent. I’ll be out on the sidewalks helping. I’ll be on Facebook posting the truth. I’ll be writing my college class papers on the greatest genocide the world has seen. I’ll be learning from other pro-lifers and following in their footsteps. I’ll try to pass on my passion and experience to others. I’ll love, and I’ll never quit.