So I spent one Saturday on the sidewalks in front abortion clinic pregnant. The following week my husband and I left town for a vacation. While on our vacation, I suffered a devastating miscarriage. Upon returning to town, my husband and I took a few weeks off from the sidewalks. We weren’t quite sure we could handle it. But two Saturdays ago, I returned to the sidewalks. It was a rough day on the sidewalks, but probably not for the reasons you think. I learned a hard lesson. Let me explain.
One of the most difficult things I’ve had to continually face in the three years I’ve been out on the sidewalks is how to relate to the escorts. During my 1st year or so out there, I struggled and failed in many ways in regards to them. I even repented and sought forgiveness from one escort I had shoved in retaliation to her shoving me. She laughed in my face. But let me set the stage for those of you who have not encountered the escorts on the sidewalks. Most of the time most of the escorts do not even speak to us, which is a more recent trend and is actually better than the alternative, which consists of them belittling, degrading, yelling, and mocking the sidewalk counselors and our beliefs. In addition to the verbal assaults we have endured, they typically stomp on our feet, shove, push, and elbow (to the neck even) us as we sought to peacefully talk to women considering abortions. But despite all of this, I sought to have some sort of friendship with any of the escorts who were willing. There was really only a very few who were willing. My thinking was this: I work with, socialize with, and am related to others who do not share my beliefs on religion, abortion, politics, etc. I basically sought to treat them as I would any coworker friend with whom I do not agree. I’ve tried to hold to that philosophy, with great difficulty, throughout my stint on the sidewalks. I’ve even shared that strategy with others at trainings. I was determined to make this strategy work. I did not and still do not quite understand how I am to relate to the escorts.
Despite my awkward friendship with them, I came to care deeply for them. But during the last few months, it has gotten more and more difficult to maintain any kind of civil relationship with any of the escorts. And at this point, there were really only three that I considered friends (K, P, and F). My weird and sometimes tumultuous friendship with K has always had its many ups and downs, mostly downs these days. P has always been really nice while keeping her distance. But I have always had a pretty good-as-it-can-be friendship with F, who is a friendly, fun-loving young lady. She and I have always had great conversations.
This brings me to the reason for this blog posting. On my 1st Saturday back on the sidewalks, I was surprised and excited (despite her escorting status) to see her. The last time I had spoken to her a few months ago, she was heading off to do volunteer work up in the Northeast somewhere. I walked across the street to see her and hug her neck. Well, our friendly reunion quickly turned sour. After a few minutes of catching up, F said she wanted to ask me a question, a question she had never asked anyone with my beliefs. I responded positively, so she trudged ahead. She basically asked me what my take on homosexuality is. Now here’s a bit of information you need to set the stage for this conversation. F is gay, and, while seeking to talk about the Lord Jesus Christ in conversations, I had deliberately avoided the issue of homosexuality. But here it was hitting me in the face. I sought to respectfully and gently explain what the whole of the Bible says about homosexuality and immorality in general. Despite this, my response did not go over well with F. Not only did it not go over well, she immediately accused me of devaluing and degrading her as a person. I was shocked and hurt by her response. I challenged her by asking her when I had ever treated her as if she had no value or as if I did not care about her. She did not have a response to my question mainly because by God’s grace I had not treated her that way. But she continued to accuse me of these types of things, which I just indicated were false accusations. I was instantly deflated and discouraged, and it was a heart-breaking experience for me. I had really liked and cared about F. But in the end, she lied about me just like all the other escorts. During this whole conversation with F, P was right there with us. By the end of my morning on the sidewalks, I was not speaking to F, P, or K. What discouragement!
Pretty much immediately after my conversation with F, I went and talked to A, a fellow sidewalk counselor about it. A had previously come to hold to a different philosophy than I had had in regards to the escorts. I told him everything that had transpired. He kindly reiterated his approach with the escorts to me. The Lord showed me the truth in what he was saying. I cannot befriend escorts; I cannot treat them as I treat others in my life with whom I disagree. No one else in my life leads women to death; no one else in my life openly mocks the Bible and Christ Jesus himself; no one else in my life spews hate towards me; no one else in my life lies about me. “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of the sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers.” Psalms 1.1 Although by God’s grace I have not “walked in the counsel of the wicked,” I had sought out some sort of friendship with mockers, sinners, and what the Word calls the wicked. But the Word says blessed is the man who does NOT do those things. Despite the deep care and affection that I have for these escorts, there is a great chasm between the escorts and the sidewalk counselors, a great chasm that cannot be mended by my philosophies and approaches. It is a chasm that can only be healed by the Lord Jesus Christ. And until the Lord moves on their hearts, which I hope and pray is soon, to show them their deep need of him, no friendship or companionship can be found; there is no common ground to be found. This has been a hard, disappointing, and yet beneficial lesson for me to learn. Praise the Lord for his grace in my life!