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Jennifer's Story

My life was headed in a downward spiral, characterized by events that would have cost me everything I ever hoped for. I wasn't living in my full potential or higher calling. I felt complacent and completely masked my frustrations behind alternatives that brought me shallow fullness. Nothing lasted. Nothing seemed very meaningful. I needed a wakeup call. Then, the unthinkable happened, I found out I was pregnant. It was always a consequence hovering over me, yet it didn't seem real. I was going to be a mom. In that moment, I became sober. I determined within myself that there had to be more out of life than this oblivion. 

She would be my reason that gave me no other choice but to change my selfish ways. I wanted to be intentional with her name, much like God's word is intentional. I wanted her to reflect something new; a reality unknown to me. I wanted her childhood to be pure, not tainted by the things that plagued me. I  wanted her to have a fresh start. When I saw the name, Jenesis, it just stood out. It was interpreted as, "a new beginning". That really stood out to me, not  just a beginning but a new one. God spoke to me in that moment. My daughter would become a new creation. The old was passing away, and the  generational curses that would end with me were not being carried over any longer. She was going to be like a fresh  wind in the bloodline. I wanted her eyes and her heart to always be fixed on Him. I wanted her name to reflect my  testimony, which is this: No matter what you have done, whether you are like the prodigal son, or his brother that seemingly did everything right, God can give you a new beginning, a new hope - restoration. If you put your trust in Him, fix your eyes on Him, and step out on faith, there's nothing that He will withhold from you. There's no limit to where He will go to deliver you and make you whole.

Jenesis was a part of me that I was missing. She is the little girl the enemy tried to silence with abuse and isolation. She is my joy that God had to restore. She has given me a fresh start in life. I am better because of her. Life Choices was there for me and my daughter in our greatest time of need.

I felt like I was having the time of my life....I not only lost all of the weight gained during my pregnancy with Jenesis, I was the smallest I'd been since high school. But I was still looking over my shoulder, unsure of God's promises. I was still trying to be in control of certain aspects of my life, not trusting in His timing. I took a risk and got careless, one moment too late. When I realized my mistake, I also discovered I would not endure it alone. This news hit me different, however, because this time I was hit with a tremendous load of shame. All I wanted to do was hide it, hide him. This wasn't how I wanted things to go, but I didn't plan to avoid it either. I just assumed it wouldn't happen, again, and not with someone that would leave me to deal with it by myself. I went through depression and started to shut myself off from those around me. I did not realize how much support I was cutting myself off from. Life Choices helped me get through that tough time until I made the decision to not live in fear anymore. I embraced my child for the first time, and began looking forward to his arrival. Especially finding out I was having a boy, which changed everything for me, because he would be my son of promise - much like Isaac. God gave me dreams about my son, the one I would give birth to one day. I decided his name would be Jadon, as spelled in Nehemiah, which means, "God has answered". His middle name is Aamir, which means, "king or prince". I wanted to declare greatness over my son. I wanted him to know that he is exalted on earth like His father in heaven. Nothing would be impossible for him to accomplish. He was worthy to be here. I may not have felt that way at first, but once I gave birth to him, everything manifested into reality: his beauty, his regal demeanor, and his peaceful nature. He was born within 3 hours of me being at the hospital. He was ready for his grand arrival. I never thought I could love someone so much. He challenges me to keep going, no matter what.    - Jennifer   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Stacie Maze at Wednesday, May 24, 2017 | 0 comments

What shall we do?

 

 

Posted by Stacie Maze at Monday, May 22, 2017 | 0 comments

Beauty in an extra chromosome

March is Trisomy awareness month. Trisomy is a term I was completely unfamiliar with until last June when we found out at 10 weeks pregnant our baby was a boy and that he was diagnosed Trisomy 18. We were told to consider termination because our baby was "incompatible with life" (All the while, my heart and entire body turned inside out). We have struggled with getting pregnant and carrying babies full-term for years. Knowing God is the Giver of Life, we were not about to take his life away on our own. If he was truly "incompatible with life", then my Heavenly Father was going to have to take him home when He was ready.

It wasn't a hard decision to continue the pregnancy, but it was torture knowing that he may pass away any day or at any moment. We lost our baby boy, Eli, at 18 weeks and would give anything to have him with us right now. He would have been born on Jan. 1st, 2017. I don't say this for sympathy, or for anyone to feel sorry for us. I say all this because in this nightmare situation, there is HOPE and another "option" than to terminate a baby's life just because they have an extra chromosome.

There is an OPTION to truly CELEBRATE your baby's life! To enjoy the kicks, to see them squirm on an ultrasound every chance you get, and to hear their heartbeat as much as possible. As heart wrenching as it is to have your baby cremated and to bury a piece of your soul, I (not for one second) do NOT regret continuing my pregnancy and embracing every second with Eli in my belly.

Trisomy 18 was the worst news I've ever been given, but I'm so thankful the Lord gave us Eli (no matter how short his life was). I look forward to the day we get to see him in heaven with our other babes. If someone you know is given the diagnosis of T18 for their baby, please know they have another option other than termination. A life is a life regardless of the number of chromosomes. Of course, this is our story; every mom has individual situations and circumstances with this heartbreaking diagnosis. 

I will always be thankful to be Eli’s mom.

Posted by Stacie Maze at Wednesday, March 22, 2017 | 0 comments

A Word From a Volunteer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 2006 I was living in Chicago and began to feel a desire to volunteer for a women’s ministry. I had no idea what this would look like or where to start so I did a simple search online. I was lead to a pregnancy help center there in Chicago, and immediately it became clear that this was where I was supposed to be. I moved to Memphis in 2009, and some members of my church told me about Life Choices. God had definitely answered my prayer to be able do what I had grown to love- minister to women and teens who feel they have nowhere to turn for help when faced with an unplanned pregnancy. I quickly started volunteering at Life Choices.

Serving as a client advocate at Life Choices is one of the greatest blessings in my life! I get to share in the lives of the women who come to Life Choices. Every client is different, yet they are all anxious, afraid, and undecided. My goal is to always meet each mother where she is. I let her know that here she is in a safe, non-judgmental environment. It is important to listen to the client, not to give her advice. I also educate her and provide information and resources so that she can feel empowered to make a life-affirming decision for herself and her baby. We know that a relationship with Christ is important;  so for those who will allow me, I share the love of God with them and pray for them.

Another aspect of being a client advocate is getting to follow up with our clients after that initial visit. It is an incredible joy to talk with a mother who had seen only one way, yet after her visit with us and our time together, she decided to have her baby and strives to be the best mom she can be!

What keeps me coming to volunteer at Life Choices is that I can encourage a mother and make a difference in her life by sharing hope.

-Cortez Wells

If you would like to volunteer at Life Choices email Shamiah HERE or call us 901-388-1172.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Stacie Maze at Tuesday, February 28, 2017 | 0 comments

Jessica' Story

I found out I was pregnant when I was 15 and a freshman in high school. I didn’t have a car or a job.

My mom heard about Life Choices through a friend and decided to take me there to talk to someone. They talked to me about my options and helped me think about the pros and cons of each one. I knew parenting wouldn’t work. My parents were divorced / remarried and so were the dad’s parents. The baby would have been going between so many people, and we already were not on good terms with each other. Abortion was something that I considered for a little while until I realized it was not something I would not be prepared to handle mentally, emotionally or spiritually. I knew it was wrong, but I wanted a way out. I prayed about it, and God let me know that it wasn’t the answer. I thought more about adoption and the idea started to sound better and better. After talking with my parents we decided that it would be the best thing for everyone, including the baby. Then I started looking at profiles. I’m sure it was only 7 or 8, but it felt like a million. I kept getting these black and white, printed out profiles of couples who already had children. They either had a few of their own already and wanted to adopt, or had already adopted a few, or had their own plus adopted ones. I knew I wanted my baby to be loved and put first, not to say that he wouldn’t have been with the other families, but I wanted to be sure that he would be a top priority and have the best life. I wanted a couple who did not have kids and could not have kids. I wanted him to be someone’s first.

It was only a couple weeks before my due date and I couldn’t decide on anyone, no one felt right. Finally, I was given a last minute submission. It was a large photo album with handwritten captions and real photos of this beautiful couple. As fate would have it, they did not have children and were not able to have children. And even better, they were both adopted. I instantly knew I wanted to meet them. I met with them at Life Choices for the first time and knew right away that they were the ones. The father chose them too, and we were not even speaking at the time. We didn’t even get to meet for a second time like we had planned before I went into labor, but that was okay because I knew I had found the right people. They came to visit me at the hospital and told me stories that just let me know that God was working miracles within our lives that were meant to bring us together. I wasn’t sure at first if I wanted to hold him after he was born. Everyone was scared that I would change my mind, but I knew I couldn’t hurt the adoptive parents like that. No matter how much I wanted to bring him home and love him, I knew it wouldn’t be for the best. I had some time to be alone with him and sang him songs and told him about how he’s going to grow up to be an incredible person because he is such a blessing and he was meant to be here. After, the adoptive parents came into the room and I handed him to them and said, “meet your baby boy”. I’ll never forget the looks on their faces when they held him for the first time. A mixture of panic, happiness, disbelief and thankfulness, that I’m sure they still feel to this day. The first couple of months were some of the hardest months I’ve ever been through. But they sent letters and pictures and I never doubted that I made the right decision.

It’s been 8 years and now we are all closer than ever, and I fulfilled my dream of working at Life Choices so I can help girls like me find light in a dark situation. 

~ Jessica, Life Choices client and now staff member

 

 

Posted by Stacie Maze at Tuesday, November 8, 2016 | 0 comments

Crystal's Story

Crystal was a guest speak at this year's banquet. She is a former client and a wonderful mother. Here is her story as well as a link to her video at the bottom of the page. 

I was a teenage runaway. When I was fifteen, I got pregnant. I thought abortion was my only option. My mother died when I was 7 of breast cancer and my father remarried quickly. I didn’t have time to grieve, so I got caught up in other things. My son’s father is much older than me. I found out I was pregnant in winter of 97. I felt devastated. The only option I knew was to not get pregnant. And if you did, you had an abortion because there was no way you could take care of the baby. So I made an appointment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At that time, the abortion clinic was on Bellevue. There were people outside the clinic. I was sitting in my car because I couldn’t getout. I was crying. There was a lady who came and knocked on my window. She had been watching me battle with myself. She said she could help me, that I could talk about other options, and that I didn’t have to make a decision right then. I talked with her and made an appointment, I think it was a counseling appointment.

I felt afraid. But my appointment was so smooth. They referred me to a gyno who gave me prenatal vitamins and an ultrasound. I had two appointments at Life Choices and that was enough. I didn’t have to terminate a life. I knew if I walked out of the abortion clinic door I would be a killer. But I didn’t have to. I could do this. Life Choices helped me know that I COULD be a mom, what I could do to help my baby. I am so glad I went. It changed my whole life. My son is 18 now. I adore him. I wouldn’t know my dimple faced boy if it weren’t for Life Choices.

I really grew up with Kylan. I had him two months before I turned 16.  His father was supportive through his childhood.  My son has always been loved by both me and his father. His father is incarcerated now, and that has been really hard on Kylan, but he still stays in touch. His dad’s parents were awesome too, his grandmother was a huge part of his life. I had an amazing support system, from his parents, my dad and step-mom and my best friend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I thought it was really important to keep Kylan busy with sports so he had structure and knew how to follow directions. He played football all through his childhood into highschool. He was the starting quarterback in highschool in10th,11thand 12th grade.

Now he is playing football at Arkansas Baptist College in Little Rock. They have a mandatory Bible study every Wednesday that he attends, and he goes to church on his own. He has a solid foundation. I am so proud of him. He has been through a lot, we were always honest with him. He knows I work hard and get a paycheck, but knowing real life has made him a stronger person. He wants to be the man his dad wanted to be, and he wants to be a family man.

The best thing he told me was when I dropped him off at college, he told “Mom, you should be proud of yourself, because you sent your first child to college. I couldn’t have done it without you, without your loving me, being there for me and teaching me.” That alone was worth every tear, heartache and worry I ever had being his mom. I cried like a baby when I took him to college. He is so helpful, he has a heart for the underdog.  He feels that everyone should have love and know love.

~ Crystal, Life Choices' client 19 years ago

  Click HERE to view Crystal's video.
 

 

 

Posted by Stacie Maze at Monday, October 17, 2016 | 0 comments

We Choose 901

We love our city. We believe in Memphis. We fight for our city everyday in fighting for life.

Living in a healthy community is something we should all desire. Where does it start? Well, at Life Choices we think that living in a healthy community means valuing life- all life. What life is more vulnerable than that in the womb?

However, we are not just fighting for that baby’s life… we are fighting for the mom as well. We want her to be healthy in every way- physically, mentally, spiritually, socially, and emotionally. That is why we have programs and support groups for her that are ongoing because her life matters too!

Memphis is a great city to be in right now. There is positive change and growth happening everywhere. We are privileged to be a part of it! We choose 901!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
*All photos are of actual Life Choices' clients and their babies donated by http://www.kylekelleyphotography.com/
 
 
 
 
Posted by Stacie Maze at Thursday, September 1, 2016 | 0 comments

Ashley's Story

If you received our latest Lifeline, then you were introduced to Ashley and Ashton. Ashley came to Life Choices like many of our clients do- alone, scared, and with an appointment for an abortion already scheduled. She went to the abortion clinic and could not go through with terminating her pregnancy, however she was still left with a mountain of struggles before her and facing being a single parent.

During Ashley’s first visit at Life Choices, she had an ultrasound and saw her baby for the first time. This was the confirmation she needed to fight all of the challenges she was facing, and she was happy to fight for her precious son. She agreed to come back for our Bridges and Empowerment meetings led by our Client Services Director, Shamiah. Though her pregnancy was not planned, that did not mean that she could not be the best mom possible! Ashley not only received practical information, help and guidance but also spiritual direction and mentorship at a time when she needed it the most.

Ashley went on to give birth to a beautiful baby boy, Ashton. She loves being his mom! She has a great support system around her and is able to work and attend school.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ashley and Ashton are pictured in these photos. Kyle Kelly of Kyle Kelley Photography graciously donates photo shoots to our clients. Visit her website for more information: http://www.kylekelleyphotography.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Stacie Maze at Wednesday, August 3, 2016 | 0 comments

Empowering our moms

Becoming a parent is a big responsibility. What most parents wish is that their child came with an instruction manual, sorry to inform you, they don’t! Having good, solid support, advice and education is a valuable thing. Life Choices created our Bridges program to provide our clients with some helpful tools to fill up their parenting tool bag. We didn’t have to go far to find some local programs in Memphis to connect our moms with.  These programs educate, uplift and support our moms.

Life Choices developed an in house program called Empowerment. This program is near and dear to me personally. This is a group for our moms to grow, bond and create lifelong friendships with other moms who are going through a similar experience.

 

This program takes a holistic stand point; we understand how important it is for a mom to be healthy in all aspects of her life. We discuss a wide range of topics from self-care and bonding with your baby to baby shower themes. These women have fun and learn a lot along the way. They get pampered once per month by a reflexologist and are educated by top notch professionals, including a licensed Lamaze instructor and an infant care nurse.

Empowerment is not only a place for our moms to learn about themselves and their babies, more importantly it is a place for her to feel free and safe. It becomes like home. In Empowerment we create a family like bond, and each group that comes through Life Choices will always hold a special place in my heart.

~ Shamiah Gillespie, BSW

Client Services Director

 

Posted by Stacie Maze at Wednesday, June 22, 2016 | 0 comments

An Adoption Story

When we were looking for an adoption agency, our top priority was to find one that was Christian in name and practice. We are so grateful that the Lord directed us to Life Choices. The way they care for birth mothers is exemplary, and the opportunity for us to partner with them in life-affirming work has been a great blessing to our family. We continue to be more impressed with Life Choices and thankful for their ministry after every interaction. 

 We were selected by a birth mother in July 2013 and our daughter was born the following month. We've been very encouraged at how the birth mother’s counselors have come alongside our daughter's birth mother and genuinely love her. They were in contact with her almost daily for much of the second half of her pregnancy, and they went above and beyond to help her in a number of ways. She even requested that they be in the delivery room with her because of the level of trust and friendship she felt for them. We've come to see that the counseling for birth mothers continues indefinitely, even after a baby has been placed with an adoptive family. 

 It's been a real joy to hear about the ways our agency has been showing her the love of Christ and providing help for her even to this day. 

 Through Life Choices, we've been able to establish a wonderful relationship with our daughter's birth mother. They have provided wise counsel for us at every step, which means more to us than we can say. Without fail, they've been helpful and kind to both our families that have been joined by adoption.  Before working with Life Choices, we would have been intimidated by the thought of a relationship with our daughter's birth mother. But we're thankful that through Life Choices, God had a more beautiful plan in mind. This Christmas, we initiated a visit with our daughter's birth mother and her other children, and three Life Choices staff came in on a day off to make that possible. We hugged, laughed, cried, and marveled at God's kindness to us in bringing our families together and using the wonderful people at Life Choices as the means to do that.   

~ Josh and Jenn     












Posted by Stacie Maze at Monday, March 21, 2016 | 0 comments

Love with Integrity

With it almost being Valentine's Day, love and relationships are on our minds and everywhere we look.








What a perfect time to celebrate the launch of our new sexual integrity program called Reality Check!

Reality Check equips and empowers youth to make wise choices. Choices that reflect a growing understanding of their value, and demonstrate respect towards themselves and others. The curriculum addresses teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, healthy vs. unhealthy relationships, abuse, and use of media and social media. Each member of the Reality Check team serves as a positive role model who encourages genuine confidence in all students by engaging them with accurate information, dynamic stories, and thought provoking questions and activities.

“I think it was really great. I liked how it was an open discussion and [the speakers] were very honest with us. This really helped me become more aware of the outcomes of having sex and it helped me form my decisions. Awesome presentation.”- Jr. High Student

Reality Check is sponsored by Life Choices of Memphis. Over 300 students in our community have already heard the Reality Check presentaions this school year. 

If you would like to learn more Reality Check and getting it into your school or youth group, email us here or call 901-388-1172.








Posted by Stacie Maze at Monday, February 8, 2016 | 0 comments

Reaching the Frayser Community

Abortion is often anchored around financial insufficiency, education and employment challenges and a lack of stability in the home.  A significant number of women seeking abortion in our community reside in north Memphis, particularly the Frayser community.  Through our collaborative partnership, Christ Community Health Services’ brand new state-of-the-art family healthcare clinic in Frayser has become an outreach point for Life Choices!  

We now have a trained Client Advocate, Kawanza Tenner, meeting women at their precise point of need at the Frayser Clinic.  We are so grateful for those who’ve made it possible for women to have the opportunity to choose and cherish life as we offer women options counseling, adoption counseling, and referral services for both medical and non-medical needs.  Through Life Choices’ work in Frayser, patients will now have opportunities for ultrasound, STI testing and follow-up care to develop a plan for their babies, as well as positive plans for themselves.       

We are continually reassessing how we can best meet the needs of women and their unborn babies in our community. Kawanza being in Frayser is just a part of the vision that God is giving our ministry for the future as we strive to meet the needs of women and their unborn babies.














Posted by Stacie Maze at Monday, February 1, 2016 | 0 comments

Amanda Perry

It has been a joy to celebrate National Adoption Month throughout November. As the month comes to an end today, we want to celebrate a staff member who plays a vital role in every adoption at Life Choices. 

Also, this week is a very special week for her as tomorrow, December 1st, she will celebrate her 22nd anniversary of being on staff at Life Choices!!!


A few months ago, we asked Amanda some questions about herself... here are her answers:

Do you have a favorite story that you like to share from your time at Life Choices? "There are many memories/stories. The one coming to mind right now is the first time I had someone accept Jesus as their Savior. This was about 1992 when I was volunteering to do post-abortion counseling. This meeting was the first of several with this young woman. She asked me a question, 'Would I have gone to hell, if someone had shot me coming out of the abortion clinic?'  I answered with what I think was God given words, 'That depends on what you had done with Jesus before you walked in'.  This young woman was open to listening to the gospel and she chose to accept Jesus as her Lord and Savior!       Another memory that has been repeated many times: Walking along side an adoption birthmother and her family during her labor and delivery. To see the anguish of the pain of birth, the joy of life, and the amazing joy of prayers answered through the birthmother’s sacrifice of her greatest desire for her child’s highest good.  To see a birthmother place her baby into the arms of the adoptive mother is an awesome picture of love."      

What is a surprising fact about you?   "I was definitely a ‘late bloomer’. I was told by a friend 'One is getting older whether or not they are completing their education'.   It was in Fall of 1996 that God sent me back to school to complete my college degree, completing my masters in 2002, and licensure in 2007.      Also,  from age 7 until 17 I picked cotton each fall. It was with this money that I bought my fall clothes. The most I ever picked in one day was 200 lbs – amount of pay - $6.00.  I believe this and other teaching from my family taught me the work ethic I have to this day."  

Amanda plays an incredibly important role on our staff at Life Choices. She selflessly serves our clients and truly exemplifies the love of Christ.

We love you Amanda and are very grateful for your 22 years of service!


Posted by Stacie Maze at Monday, November 30, 2015 | 0 comments

Down Syndrome Awareness Month

My name is Amanda Savage, and I am a mom and a pastor’s wife. Nine years ago, we were facing an unwanted pregnancy diagnosis. 

Still reeling from a somewhat difficult miscarriage, my husband, Andy and I were told our unborn baby had a number of factors indicating he likely had Trisomy 21 also known as Down syndrome. I knew NOTHING about Down syndrome nor did I know anyone who had Down syndrome. I had a friend from college whose little brother had Down syndrome, but I had never met him. In the week that followed, I spent a lot of time crying as I watched my older son and mentally ran down the list of things I thought this child would never be able to do – I was so naïve about Down syndrome. Andy and I spent the rest of my pregnancy praying that God would allow us to have a healthy baby and more specifically, a “normal” baby. 

Cooper was born January 24, 2007, seven weeks before his due date.  Almost immediately, the doctors confirmed what had been suspected by ultrasound, Cooper had Down syndrome. I was scared. Scared because my prayers had not been answered and because I had a baby who needed me in ways that I was unable to comprehend. I was scared I would not love him as much as I loved my other son. I was scared about what this meant for me, for my time, and for my future. I wondered why God had done this to us and I was not happy about being a “special parent” chosen to raise this “special child.” 

But God . . . Even while we remained in the hospital, old friends and new friends came out of the woodwork; relationships God had groomed over the course of our lives. These friends visited us in the hospital bringing monogrammed gifts, food, and a wealth of knowledge and information about Down syndrome. My college friend’s mom visited me in my hospital room on day 2 of Cooper’s life. I will always remember the first words out of her mouth. In an incredibly sincere but also serious tone, she told me, “This is not bad! He will be more like other children than not.” She spent two hours that day telling me about life with Down syndrome and how much her son enriched the lives of their family. Another mom told me how to get involved in early intervention programs and answered all my silly questions, even questions about potty training (Cooper was all of two weeks old and here I was concerned about potty training). These women comforted, loved, and encouraged me in those early days and weeks. When I did not know what to do, what to ask, or where to go, they lovingly directed us. Now Andy and I have the opportunity to do the same for other families. 

 Every October, we celebrate Down Syndrome Awareness Month, and we do our best to educate about Down syndrome. Yet, there is still a lot of work to be done. According to the National Down Syndrome Congress, approximately 6,000 babies are born with Down syndrome each year in the U.S. This is a small percentage compared to the total number of children born each year. As a result, many people have not spent much time around anyone who has Down syndrome. We use whatever opportunities are available to us to help people learn about the talents and abilities of people who have Down syndrome.

Cooper will turn 9 in a few short months, and without hesitation, I can say, this is not bad. I did not ask for Down syndrome and there are moments when I truly dislike that extra, little chromosome. However, Cooper is a much loved and wanted part of our family. My four other boys cannot imagine a life that does not include Cooper. Our crisis pregnancy turned into one of the greatest blessings in our lives and I am so proud of all that he has accomplished and I look forward to all he will accomplish. There is no opportunity that is not available to him, and I thank God daily that I get to be his mom!













Posted by Stacie Maze at Wednesday, October 14, 2015 | 0 comments

How is the TN Government Responding?











I was able to attend a special legislative hearing last week in Nashville that focused on how the state of TN is protecting life and if any abortion facilities in our state are breaking the law.

It was made clear in the meeting that the selling of tissue or body parts of aborted babies is illegal. Department of Health Commissioner Dr. John Dreyzehner  was present was asked several questions by the committee pertaining to how abortion providers report information and how those facilities are inspected. The Commissioner stated that these clinics are inspected or surveyed once every 15 months. They must report on every abortion that takes place within 10 days and also report the method of disposing of the aborted tissue and body parts. 

The meeting really came down to this- how do they know that what is being reported is truthful? 

Surely if someone is breaking the law, they would not willfully fill out a report that discloses their actions and turn it in to the government. 

That prompted Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mt. Juliet, to ask:  "There's really no proof of what they do with those aborted babies, right? You have no follow-up with vendors or anyone ... so you just take their (clinics') word for it, so if they were selling body parts, you would not necessarily know this?" Dreyzehner responded: "If they were breaking the law, we would not necessarily know this. That's correct."   

U.S. Reps. Marsha Blackburn and Diane Black, made an appearance at the hearing to testify about their separate efforts to investigate and defund Planned Parenthood nationally and to urge TN lawmakers to investigate the state's three Planned Parenthood affiliates. These ladies are powerful allies and we need to support and encourage them in every way as they head back to Congress in September and push for their bills that will provide stricter regulations for Planned Parenthood and its federal funding. 

Congressman Backburn gave the following numbers as she addresses the committee: In 2013, Planned Parenthood did 327,653 abortions, 1,880 referrals for adoptions, and 18,684 prenatal services. That is 94.1% abortions, 5.9% for other services. They received 540 million federal dollars. However, no federal money goes to abortions…. It doesn’t add up. I agree.

So, what’s next?  This hearing ended with the acknowledgment that stricter regulations have to be provided around the reports given by abortion providers and how they dispose of aborted tissue and body parts.  Hopefully in TN, we will soon see stronger regulations and inspections of those abortion providers. 

Also, we need to stay informed on what is happening in Congress and with federal funding of Planned Parenthood. Could the money given to PP go to other organizations? Would PP split into two separate entities with one providing prenatal care and the other providing abortions? We are moving in the right direction! People have felt a call to action and are standing for LIFE in our community, state and nation. I applaud the Center for Medical Progress for these videos; I doubt we would be having these conversations without them. If you feel the urge to get involved in some way but don’t know where to start, fill out a form at this link and we can help you get connected. Also, see our CEOs previous blog post.  Please always start with prayer; pray for our local and state leaders.  Pray for our government and legislations. Pray for the abortion providers and for every scared girl who walks through their doors. Also, pray for Pregnancy Medical Clinics, like Life Choices, around the country.     

Cherish Life, 

Stacie Maze

Ministry Relations Director at Life Choices


Posted by Stacie Maze at Tuesday, August 25, 2015 | 0 comments

You watched the video, now what?

A word from our CEO...

Just more bad news…or is this a call to action? 

Your social media accounts, like mine, were probably flooded with the latest view of Planned Parenthood’s disregard for human life – discussing the sale of organs harvested from the bodies of aborted babies.  And, like me, you were sickened as this new layer of secrecy was removed from Planned Parenthood’s public image. 

 But…what do we do with this kind of information?  

As we ‘share’ the latest scandal, is there anything else we can do…anything else we should do?  The Scriptures clearly admonish us, as believers, ‘to know to do good and not do it, is sin’.  Pretty strong words, right?  So…what is ‘good’ and how do we ‘do it’?  Let me offer you a couple of options…opportunities to answer God’s call to action. 

1.  Pray – before anything else, pray.  We all know there is evil in this world, right?  We also know that Christ joins us as we seek God’s help through prayer, right? So, praying to end abortion should be an obvious, right?  

2.  Serve – our community is so blessed to have a variety of ways to serve women who’ve found themselves in an unexpected pregnancy.  Of course, I highly recommend you check out the opportunities available to you at Life Choices!  We have over 75 individuals serving as often as once a week, to one time annually…and everything in between.  Go to lcfriends.org and click on the Get Involved link to see how you can join with us. 

3.  Give – this is probably both the easiest, yet most difficult, thing to do.  There’s just something about turning loose of our hard-earned dollars that makes us hold them even tighter.  Let me encourage you…challenge you…to re-think that strategy.  Become a Life Connector – a person committed to invest at least $50 per month to help us meet the needs of more than 2,500 women each year.  This may be a sacrifice, or really easy…but I challenge you to answer this call to action.  Just go to lcfriends.org and click on one of the Donate Now buttons…I promise – you won’t regret it!   

So…will you answer God’s call to action?  Will you become one of thousands of individuals in our community committed to giving real life-affirming options to young women and their babies?  Go beyond the disgust of those who show the ultimate disrespect for women and their babies…answer God’s call now!  Pray, Serve, Give – take your place with us as we stand in the gap for the unborn.     

~ Sue Parker, CEO     

Posted by Stacie Maze at Thursday, July 16, 2015 | 0 comments

From a Healed Heart on Father's Day


Years ago my girlfriend, now wife, told me she was pregnant and like many men, I panicked.  I wasn’t ready to get married, so in attempt to be supportive, I told her I’d do whatever she thought was best.  While I convinced myself I was being chivalrous, I knew she was scared and considering abortion.   


My lack of assurance didn’t help save my child’s life as I left her to make the decision on her own.     

I’ll never forget the day we arrived at the clinic; I specifically remember parking the vehicle and wanting to leave, but didn’t have the courage.   I was too afraid, too afraid to have a child out of wedlock, too afraid to take responsibility.  The procedure went quick, we were in and out within an hour; there was hardly anybody there.   Immediately afterward I felt at ease, like, we must have made the right decision because it was easy.  That feeling didn’t last long as my girlfriend's physical recovery took several weeks.  Soon after her physical recovery, she slipped into a depression consumed by guilt.  

My anxiety about her health was mounting as I tried to keep it all a secret.  I’ve never been so scared and ashamed of my actions…or lack of.   Out of desperation we went to see a counselor and while his intentions were good, it was terrible experience.  

It was shortly after that, God led us to Life Choices. I will never forget the first time we met with Amanda Perry.  I thought I was making this visit to Life Choices for my girlfriend.  Most of that initial visit was about her expressing where she was with her post-abortion emotions. It was towards the end of that visit when Amanda turned to me, asked me how I was doing, and handed me a brochure titled “Almost a Dad”.   

I immediately broke down as I realized just how bad I was hurting. 

Trying to be courageous for my girlfriend, I was in denial about my own feelings of what we had been thru.  I knew then we were in the right place, right where God wanted us.  I couldn’t attend church for a while out of shame, but the first time I did, my girlfriend asked me to go.  The song, Amazing Grace was performed and I remember feeling God’s grace around us, like a warm blanket. I wept uncontrollably for two hours.  I wept for the grace I felt from God, the grace I could not grant my unborn child.  From there, with Amanda’s help, I began my own journey of forgiveness thru God’s grace.  I met my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and he is Good.  I can’t express the extent of my gratitude towards work being performed at Life Choices.    

 Forgiven 

 

Posted by Stacie Maze at Friday, June 19, 2015 | 0 comments

An Inside Look at Abortion, Part II

It's amazing how '3 years ago' can still seem like yesterday. I can still put myself back on that couch watching The Sixth Man while waiting for the baby to pass. I can still feel the fear of my boyfriend's wrath as he yelled at me about what had happened. And from this newfound mountaintop, I can look down and still see a little girl rocking back and forth beside her bed scared to death that the cosmic battle between God and Satan was coming to an end and having no idea who was going to be victorious. 

It amazes me that I can be so free, yet so deeply scarred.  

What is maybe even more amazing is that in a culture that says perfection is beauty, I have learned to love the scars that keep me from appearing perfect. Before my abortion, I could cover my scars with makeup because they were shallow wounds with inconspicuous marks. But the abortion scar is pretty hideous, very large, and takes a whole lot of heavy duty cosmetics to cover over. And I have found that it's not worth my time and effort. 

People need to know the truth- about abortion and about God’s redemption.   

There are so many times I want to share my journey with others, but what I've found is that the deepest parts of it- the parts that every hurting woman longs to know- are indescribable. As I sit here trying to come up with an analogy to help you understand, I realize that words cannot sufficiently explain the desperation I felt in my moments of deepest misery. I would say that it felt like someone was plucking shards of glass out of the pieces of my heart that were just found in the trash can, but that wouldn't really do it justice. I could say it felt like I was drowning in an ocean while people, including Jesus, looked at me the way tourists look at sharks through a tank at sea world- as if they want to know the mysteries of the deep but to risk the ocean would be too dangerous. But then again, I might also say it felt like absolutely nothing at all...   

But it was those desperate, lonely moments that taught me that God is wholly good. 

Those are the moments that no one else will ever understand. They were terrifying, but they were necessary. Those are the moments that "God was whispering His promises even though I could not hear." Oh, how beautiful it is to remember them!   And sister, if you are at the base of that daunting mountain looking up with tear-stained eyes, believe me when I say that you will not make the trek to the other side alone. There will be times you will feel abandoned, left to die in the mountain's wilderness. There will be other times when your soul hopes for more, but it won't feel like hope. It will feel more like the most barren winter you've ever experienced with the knowledge that spring has to come at some point; you just don’t know when. Most, if not all of the time, you will hate the journey. And I think that's ok because someday you will look back with great thankfulness because you will have finally realized that the journey was the whole point. I wish you could understand that now. But take heart, sister, if you stay in the game, you will be victorious. It's too soon to give up. 

Let Jesus be who He is- your Savior. He IS able to save, even you. And He is coming. Hold on.  

Kayla

Posted by Stacie Maze at Wednesday, June 10, 2015 | 0 comments

An Inside Look at Abortion, Part 1

I remember it being just another ordinary Thursday. I didn’t feel a thing. I knew what I had to do, so I drove to meet him at Planned Parenthood not listening to any music for fear of a lyric changing my mind. We sat in the waiting room for hours as he studied, and I stared blankly at the floor. I couldn’t read a magazine or text anyone because I was too afraid of something changing my mind. There were so many girls in that room. One almost bailed, but her boyfriend brought her back. Another girl was probably fifteen years old and she was with her big, scary dad. Another was a beautiful blonde girl. I wondered what their stories were. I guessed they were all unbelievers, just like me. 

 “Kayla,” the nurse called. I went to have my finger pricked and my blood pressure taken. Back to the waiting room. “Kayla,” the nurse called again. Now for the last ultrasound. She hid the monitor so I couldn’t see, but I’m not really sure why since she asked if I wanted the picture. I just knew she was going to say, “Oh, Kayla, you are too far along. We can’t do it. Sorry.” She didn’t. She did say that it was my last day to take the pill though, so it was a good thing I went in that day. “Yea,” I thought, “good thing.” Back to the waiting room. This time we had to go pay, so he swiped his debit card for $400. 

$400… That was the price he paid to kill our child; I wish that was the only price I paid… 

I was then called into another room with two other girls where they explained what was about to happen. First, they told us how we were to take the pills and pain medication: I would take the first pill there with the doctor and I would take the second one at home by myself. They said there would be blood, but they didn’t say how much. They said it would be like a period. Actually, they said the pill would make me start my period. I wanted to say something to those women. I wanted to let them know that healing would come if they gave their lives to God, but then, if God really was that faithful, why would I not have believed Him for restoration through the pregnancy? So, I remained silent and watched as these hopeless women signed their babies’ lives away… 

 I went into another waiting room and tried to play Words with Friends until they called my name to swallow death’s first pill. “Kayla.” I walked in, sat down, and took that pill without another thought. And it was over. The wall blocking death had been breached, and there was no turning back. I walked out of his office and into another office where the nurse asked if this was my decision. Tears streamed down my face as I muttered, “Yes.” She so genuinely tried to help: “Just enjoy life. Live your life and have kids later. They are so much to handle. You don’t want that now.” She was right. I didn’t want that now. This was the right decision. I walked back where he was waiting and told him we could leave. He hugged me and drove back to school. I drove to Kroger, got my pain meds, and went to Wendy’s for my child’s last meal. I ate inside by myself. I felt weird. I was so anxious about just going home, going to bed and waking up on Friday to finish the job. And so I did. 

I woke up Friday morning and read the pill bottle that said, “Best if taken without food.” Being the perfectionist I am, I took it without food and proceeded to throw up the rest of the morning. Finally, it was time to take those 4 little pink pills… Oh, child, it’s not your fault. It’s mine… I placed the pills in my mouth and turned on The Sixth Man because I needed something light to take my mind off of what I was doing- at least they told me that’s what I should do. Then the pain started. I have never felt pain like that in my life. Waves of cramps were hitting me every minute.  He had come over in the meantime, so we restarted The Sixth Man and waited for our baby to pass. All of the sudden, I felt a rush of blood. My heart was racing as I went into the bathroom. There was so much blood, but nothing I thought was the baby. Back to the couch. 

Then I felt it again, and this time my mind was burned with the image of my 9 week old baby floating lifelessly in a pool of blood. 

I couldn’t force myself to flush the toilet, so I went back in the living room and told him to do it. He took a deep breath, got up and went to finish the job. Later, he told me that he didn’t see the baby, only blood and tissue. 

But I know what I saw, and I will never forget it. My sweet child whom I will never know…  

~ Kayla

at Monday, June 1, 2015 | 0 comments

Another Side to Mother's Day

Motherhood can wear so many faces. I have always described motherhood as a woman taking care of a child from birth until they leave the family home. After the child leaves the home, I know the mother continues “mothering” just in a different role. I also realize that there are numerous types of mothers: biological mothers, foster mothers, adoptive mothers, god-mothers, grandmothers, “fill –in” mothers, and more! Each category includes various duties/roles to fill.  

I personally found in April of 2011, a type of motherhood that I had never expected to play. It was the bereaved mother, the one who outlives her child; her child unexpectedly went to live with Jesus, much sooner than what is “normal.” 

I experienced a miscarriage in January 2010; in August of 2011 (on our 3rd wedding anniversary) excitedly discovered that I was carrying our second child, due April 27, 2011. My husband, Aaron, and I were both in our 30’s when we married, so we were especially happy that our family was expanding. I enjoyed a healthy pregnancy with minimal complaints, and was just shy of 3 weeks from my due date when I went into labor. That is close enough to “full term” that it does not provoke extra concern in the medical world. To end an exciting labor in the middle of a tornado storm, Jackson Emmett was born at high noon, immediately when the generators kicked in after a power outage. It felt like a good movie; he captured our hearts immediately, as cliché as that is.

 There are so many details I can share, but the summary is that Jack stopped breathing at 5 hours old; he was revived, but shortly after went brain dead. We consented to some experimental treatment for a few days. When that treatment failed, we made the decision to “pull the vent.” It sounds so factual, but there were so many fluctuating emotions that whole 5 days. God was beyond gracious to walk with us every step. Every time I relive that week, or tell Jack’s story, I’m repetitively amazed at how, if it had to happen, it happened the best way possible. We were incredibly overwhelmed with such nurturing support and love by many in the darkest days of our lives.

 I remember attempting to calm my whirlwind of emotions and thoughts down enough to really try grasp what I was supposed to be. I was still trying to comprehend the fact that I was a mom. I wasn’t planning on having a baby for a few more weeks. I had just been preparing to go to work that Monday morning Jack was born! When the intensity of the situation started sinking into my brain, I started thinking, “I want to be a good mom; what do good moms do? I’ve got to be the best mom ever to Jack!” I started thinking about how good moms are there for their kids at all the important dates and events in their lives, birthday, “firsts”, school functions, baptism, graduations, weddings, etc. My mind quickly locked when I faced the reality that we were not going to have the blessing of those events in our son’s life. So, I jumped to “Ok, we have been at his birth, and his next event is going to be his death.” As Aaron and I both discussed this, we felt passionate that we must help Jack die as best we could. We knew he didn’t really “need” us, but we felt compelled to be as “have it together/alert”  as possible. It was our child’s important life event we were witnessing. God was so merciful to let us enjoy the blessing of witnessing our precious son’s flight to Jesus. We sang to him, talked to him, tried to describe (through tears) the journey he was to embark upon—one that surpasses any superhero flight! We told him God’s angels were coming soon to fly him to Jesus. 

The height of the beauty meshed with the depth of the pain is indescribable. God’s presence was palpable. 

 

Again, that is just a brief synopsis of our story. God has not blessed us with more children since, and though I will not lie and say that we are never sad, I will say that God has completely carried us in every step of this journey. He has granted us specific grace for each specific need. It has been difficult, but an honor to travel. I recently read a quote that rang true to me, “Being a mother is not about what you gave up to have a child, but what you’ve gained from having one.”  Because of this experience, it has made me much more aware that motherhood encompasses so much more than just “raising a child.” We all react to and process our experiences and emotions differently; sometimes, there simply is NOT the magic word to say to grieving mothers, but I guarantee you, it warms their heart for their child to be acknowledged occasionally. 

As we all know, Mother’s Day can bait myriads of emotions in different women. Mother’s Day is bittersweet for me; although I wish I could experience the joy of daily mothering. I  am so grateful that God chose me to be Jack’s mother. I feel the best way I can honor God and Jack is by walking as close to God as I can. Please consider making time this Mother’s Day to acknowledge someone you know who may not play the traditional motherhood role. A smile, note, text, hug, just a prayer brings more joy and comfort than you can imagine to the grieving mother.




Posted by Stacie Maze at Thursday, May 7, 2015 | 0 comments

Tracy's Story

My boyfriend and I had just ended our relationship, and I moved out on my own. One week later I found out I was pregnant with my now ex-boyfriend’s child. I was alone and couldn’t comprehend the situation that I was in. I did not want anything attaching me to this child’s father; so I felt that abortion was my only option.   

I was at my home alone one night and knew I had to make a plan. I got on my computer and looked up what one would do in a crisis pregnancy in Memphis, and I stumble upon Life Choices’ website. I saw a phone number for a Helpline and immediately called. The lady on the other end of the phone was kind and caring. She made me an appointment for the next day. 

I went to Life Choices the next day with my mind still set on abortion. I met with a client advocate who was also caring and kind. I had an ultrasound. When I saw the baby on the ultrasound I immediately fell in love. I knew then that I would do anything to provide for and take care of that baby.   Now, my son is 5 years old. He is a beautiful kindergartner who thrives in school and tells me he loves me every day. I put myself through nursing school and am now married and working full time.   Looking back, I could have never known how powerful and truly life-changing that day at Life Choices would be for me. I am forever grateful to the staff and to this organization.  

 -Tracy*     

 *Client’s name has been changed for her privacy

Posted by Stacie Maze at Monday, January 12, 2015 | 0 comments