For Nothing is Impossible with God

It was another full day at the Visitation Mission. All of our appointments arrived for the afternoon, and the phones were ringing at a steady interval. I just finished a call when the doorbell rang. I walked to the front entrance and opened the door to find three young women standing timidly on the front step. “Is this the Sisters of Life?” One asked. I smiled, nodded, and prepared my heart for what I sensed was a Divine appointment. She continued, “We just came from Planned Parenthood. I found your brochure there and wanted to learn more about your program.” Though in wonder at how our brochure got there, I quickly invited them in, grabbed some cookies and tea, and sat down ready to listen.

Amy was three months pregnant. The father of the baby told her to get an abortion. He wanted nothing to do with her or the baby. Her family and friends told her it was “her choice,” a response that only made her feel increasingly overwhelmed, unsupported, and alone. Though she said it wasn’t what her heart wanted, she felt abortion was the only option and scheduled an appointment. The day arrived, and as she got ready that morning she said a little prayer, “God, if you don’t want me to do this, you have to give me a sign.” A few hours later she found herself sitting restlessly in the waiting room of Planned Parenthood and tried to distract herself by looking at the brochures. Drawn to one in particular, she read it and began to cry. Her heart was filled with certainty it was God’s answer to her prayer. She quickly stuffed it in her purse, grabbed her two friends waiting outside, and hopped on a bus determined to get to the address listed on the back of the brochure. Through a miracle of God’s grace a Sisters of Life pregnancy brochure found its way into the rack at Planned Parenthood ready to present Amy with a way out.

The afternoon passed quickly as Amy spoke about her fears, the pressures she felt to have an abortion, the challenges of continuing the pregnancy, and her dreams. At one point she looked at me and sighed, content and grateful to have the weight of the past three months out on the table. Then I asked her, “What is your heart telling you to do?” She looked at me and thought for a moment. “Keep the baby,” she said with quiet sincerity. Light filled her eyes and a beautiful smile stretched across her face. Full of conviction she looked me in the eyes and said, “My life is not over. I just have to let go and let God. I am keeping this baby.”

It was a new beginning for Amy. She graduated from high school in the spring, gave birth to a beautiful baby boy at the end of the summer, and began college that fall. Like a stone skipping across the water, Amy’s faith in God allowed her to meet each challenge she encountered in those months with joy and ease. I encountered the same spirit I imagine filled Our Blessed Mother. Amy’s ‘yes’ was a brilliant echo of what Mary gave to the Angel Gabriel as she stood before God’s invitation to new life as a poor, unwed teenager. Like Mary, Amy believed she would be upheld by God’s grace and though her situation wasn’t ideal or easy, she didn’t have to live or act out of fear. She stepped with faith into God’s world of possibility – a new horizon animated by the hope that “nothing will be impossible with God” (Lk.1:37).

St. Frances de Sales said “the soul which is preoccupied with fear isolates itself in its weakness.” When fear dominates us, we make decisions leading us to abandon and betray our hearts and the true good that we seek. We may find ourselves in circumstances that make us feel helpless, vulnerable, frustrated or inconvenienced. Yet, through Christ’s sacrifice for us, we are offered a way of hope, peace, new life, truth, beauty, and goodness. In a word: redemption.

St. Paul tells us, “do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom. 12:2). The grace of redemption requires us to renew our minds and hearts with God’s vision and economy – a market in which we exchange our fears for love, our weakness for His grace, and our sins and shame for His mercy. We tap into this reality as we live from our hearts, where God waits patiently to meet us. Here we find a stairway to Divine life, and the courage we need to live, not just survive. In the words of St. Therese, “to live in Love is to banish all fear.” Let us join her, and Amy, in living in a way true to the sacred dignity we possess as children of God, rooted in the grace of redemption where life is abundant and our joy is complete.