Sunday, March 10, 2013

this is a story of how God is real.


I was thinking about this story the other day and how it really was one of the worst/best things that's ever happened to me, and I don't think I ever told you guys.  This is a story of how God is real.

Last summer I went on my second Justice Ride, now of course a seasoned pro at doing pro-life outreach (hah--not. I'm always learning).  Thing is, I'd only ever done outreach on college campuses before.  In July, little more than a week after returning from Europe, I took off again to do a week of outreach in major cities in the midwest.  Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Chicago, Cleveland, Pittsburgh--a city a day.  Lots of long days and long drives.  Anyway it was different from anything I've ever done before, because seriously you wouldn't imagine the different reactions you get on the street rather than from college students.  We were hitting an entirely different demographic.

So in Indianapolis there's this main square with a monument in the middle, and four streets that converge on the square and form a sort of traffic circle around the monument, if you get what I mean.  We were allowed that space in the middle for our work, so that's where we set up and such, but thanks to the good ol' freedom of speech, we were able to spread out onto the surrounding sidewalks to talk to people/hand out brochures/point people toward the display in the center.  I ended up on a corner by myself, stopping people that passed me to hand them information and talk.  I was right by Starbucks (you can imagine how thrilled that made people).

Of course we always get a little hostility, but things were going normally at first.  Then I guess some guy who I had handed a brochure to dropped it, and someone else picked it up.  This someone was a dude really just hanging out on that street corner with a couple of his buddies and a guy that looked homeless--kind of a rough-looking lot that I normally would try to avoid.  Not today.  The man came up to me waving the brochure in my face, really upset that we used a Martin Luther King Jr. quote ("all men are created equal") in it.  He thought we were totally abusing it and using it out of context, and then he walked away.  I followed him and explained that I knew Dr. King was saying it about the civil rights movement, but that we used it because the same concept applied with the unborn being created equal.

Well.

He was exceedingly upset at first, telling me I shouldn't be here, all that jazz.  But that was nothing compared to his friend.  As man #2 came up cussing up a storm and with his heated "discussion," man #1 calmed down.  Turns out man #1 was like "Hey you're allowed to be out here protesting whatever you want.  It's just not doing any good this way.  You'd be more likely to get your point across if you go burn down abortion clinics, yup."  Uhm, what part of pro-life didn't you understand?  But man #2...geez I don't even know what he all he said.  A lot of calling me a religious bigot (I had said nothing about religion) and avoiding my questions when I actually tried to talk about the issue sensibly and denouncing my logic and calling me stupid and a lot of worse things and quite generally trying to bully me.  It was really....mean.

I stayed super calm.  I kind of have to.  People tend to be really surprised at the fact that people who they disagree so adamantly with will still be polite to them.  So I am.  But inside I was really shaken up.  I've encountered a lot of cussing and flipping off and people coming to knock over my signs or yell at me or laugh in my face.  But this was the first time I was honestly close to tears, standing in front of that Starbucks in Indianapolis trying to talk to a man about something I believe in with all my heart and receiving only insults in return.

At some point, for part of it, another lady on the Justice Ride came up to bring me lunch, and she stood and talked with the guys with me for awhile.  I'm ever so grateful.  But she left, and the men just kept chiming in with new things to say.  Man #2 was rude as ever, wouldn't let me talk, emphasized how utterly dumb I was to try to force my religious belief on others, and--oh what was it that he kept saying?  He kept asking what I would do with a woman if abortion was illegalized and she had one anyway.  I don't make the laws.  I don't know what would happen.  But he kept saying that I would have them killed so it was basically a life for a life and I was like WHAT this has nothing to do with the actual fact that abortion is wrong.

A woman walked by towards the end of the conversation, up in my face.  Her voice was shaking, I think with rage, though she was terribly quiet.  She said, "Jesus told me you shouldn't be here.  Jesus told me you're wrong."  I was like "...um."  Some more about me being an ignorant religious bigot probably, how I was going to grow up and realize my mistakes and regret this, and as she walked away she said quite bitterly, "It's a shame really.  You're so beautiful.  You'd grow up to be such a beautiful intelligent girl."  Then she was gone.

I wanted to cry.

You can't insult me like that.  You can't insult my God like that.

I had to go back to man #1 who was really the only one left still interested in talking, and he was much nicer at this point.  He actually apologized on behalf of the others for yelling at me.  We didn't see eye-to-eye (he still thought I should burn down abortion clinics and I said we'd have to agree to disagree), but I thanked him for being polite about it.  I was still more shaken up coming away from that conversation than I have ever been.  What really astounds me looking back at it was the amount of sheer hate.  From man #2, from that woman who passed by.  Like, wow Satan was trying hard.

I walked across the square to a sidewalk on the other side to take a break and eat my lunch with a friend.  I was in the middle of telling her about that conversation when a man came up behind me where I was sitting on the ground.  He looked at me and said, "I don't really know all of what was going on over there, but you did a good job."  I was really surprised.  Like, sure I had been standing by Starbucks and there were plenty of people around.  But...yeah.  "Oh, you heard that?"  He said he hadn't been able to hear much but a lot of yelling and name-calling coming from the other side, and he was curious as to what their argument actually was.  I told him, and he just shook his head and was like "They don't even know what they're talking about."  And then again just said that he'd come over to tell me I'd done well.  I felt like I failed getting anything across that entire conversation.  He followed me to encourage me after one of the worst experiences I've had in pro-life work, ever.  It was all I could do to thank him before he was gone.

And yes, I watched him all the way as he walked down the sidewalk to see if he would disappear into thin air, because I swear he might have been an angel.

So that's my story of how God is real.  Oh, Satan might be trying hard.  But really?  He's got nothing in the end.  It's amazing how such an awful conversation could be so quickly turned into something that was so encouraging and humbling--like, other people could hear how ridiculous those men sounded talking to me, because yes, they did.  And God was using that.  And that guy being willing to say a kind word...yeah.  It was crazy.  Crazy good.

I'm off this week to Florida (away from all that cold white stuff, although those photos are a bit late in coming), to do pro-life outreach on college campuses down there during spring break. See you all when I get back. :) xx, Jenn

17 comments:

  1. That is such a good story. I'm so glad you have that to go back and look to. You are an amazing example to me with the way you weren't afraid to stand up for your beliefs, even in the face of fierce opposition. And the way you repaid evil with good is so inspiring to me. I hope I can be more like you in that way :)
    Thanks for sharing this!
    -mal ;)

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  2. Jenn this is just incredible. I was tearing up and wanting very much to hit guy #2 for shouting at you :) But isn't our God great? Isn't it amazing the way He shows Himself real time and time again? And always just at moment when we need the most to know how real He is. So proud of the way you handled the situation, dear girl. That takes courage and self-control for sure. Keep advocating and sharing...because you don't know down the road when those words will come back and change a life.

    Hugs,

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  3. Wow,amazing. This is something I wouldn't mind getting into that. I've always wanted to do something ministry related and tha sounds like a great thing to do in my youth.

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  4. Amazingly incredible!

    p.s. thank-you for the incredibly sweet comment on my blog! it meant so much!

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  5. This is an amazing story. I love how God sends us encouragement when we're feeling our worst. Our God is so awesome!

    It's wonderful that you stand up for your beliefs. The fact that you were able to stay calm and nice when someone was insulting you is huge. I'll pray for you as you head to your next outreach! (I should really see if there are any pro-life outreaches in my area--I'd love to get into something like that).

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  6. I don't normally comment, but I read your blog :)
    Anyway, I'm very politically active (whether it be gun/marriage/abortion rallies, or even tea party rallies) and I love your stand. You go girl! This is amazing!

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  7. First of all, I want to thank you for taking a stand. That is what takes the most courage. Thank you for sharing this, it blessed the socks off of me. And God is flippin' amazing!

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  8. WOW. Jenn, you astound us all. You're so brave and obedient, and we could all use some "Jenn attitude" in our lives! xo

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  9. This is incredible Jenn! So awesome that you stood your ground and stayed calm amidst all of that...I know it takes a lot of courage! Have an amazing time in Florida...I know that God's gonna use you in crazy ways down there!! You'll have to let me know how it goes when you get back :)

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  10. I'm so proud of you Jenn! This is amazing, I'm sorry that you had to listen to all their filth, but I'm also glad that you were there to plant these seeds. Have a wonderful time in Florida darling!

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  11. This is incredibly good. Thank you so much for sharing your faith experiences with us!

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  12. I'm so terrible at commenting, but woooow this is powerful. Isn't it amazing how God works?! And gosh, you have so much more guts than I would ever had. I would just be standing there crying if something like that happened to me, haha. SO so so proud of you <3

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  13. WOW. This is an amazing story. I think it's incredibly wonderful that you're getting opportunities to do this and stand up for what you believe in. You are incredibly brave. I would be so scared and probably burst into tears. Praise God for using you. Who knows, just your example of standing there calmly and the words that you said may have encouraged many people who passed by. Perhaps people will remember you and seek God.
    Yes. God is so kind. He brings those people to encourage when we need it most. "thank you Jesus!" Keep up the good work, Jenn. And stay safe! :))
    Blessings, friend!

    -Madi

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  14. Oh wow...gosh, this is amazing.
    I don't think I could have ever done that, I so admire you for what you did! :)

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  15. this is such a late comment (somehow i'm not following your blog?) but I am SO so proud of you, girl! I wouldn't have been bold enough to stand there and do that by myself. :) It makes me a little sad that this happened in my own city, but it happens everywhere I guess. You go girl...such an inspiration! :)

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