Monday, July 20, 2009

What I Thought Was a Great Idea

Have you ever had what you thought was a great idea?

For me, it all started back in 2000. That’s when I had what I thought was a great idea.

But let me back up and tell you how I came upon this great idea.

I had been a writer for more than ten years, writing for magazines—mostly Christian ones—and for compilation books. I was having a pretty good go of it, with more than a hundred articles in magazines and my work in four books at the time. But I had always wanted to write books. I had an occasional idea, but none had yet come to fruition.

Meanwhile, in my off time, I did charitable work, including sitting on the Board of Directors of a small-town pregnancy center. It was interesting and fulfilling work, but it had its own frustrations.

I remember one day riding home from Bible study with a friend when I mentioned the pregnancy center and the work we were doing there—providing material, emotional, and spiritual support for people in unplanned pregnancies. All our services were free. As I talked, I noticed my friend got strangely quiet. Then I realized she always got strangely quiet when I talked about the pregnancy center. So I asked her what was up.

Driving along, she stared out her side window, her lips pressed into a thin line. It took her a while to find the words. Finally she hissed, “I won’t support that place!”

Surprised, I asked, “Why not?”

“Because I believe abortion is wrong,” she spit, “and that place refers women for abortion!”

I just wanted to bury my face in my hands and shake my head. “No we don’t,” I told her. “We will help women carry their baby. We’ll help with material needs, like giving them maternity clothes, and baby clothes and furniture, and diapers. We’ll give them free pregnancy tests and help them get medical help. We’ll help them place it for adoption if that’s what they want. We’ll talk with them about sexual integrity. We’ll even talk with them about abortion. But our center will not help them obtain one—we won’t refer anyone for abortion.”

She shook her head. It seemed whatever I was saying about the pregnancy center, she wasn’t buying it. Finally she said, “Well, you’re just helping those little girls be promiscuous!”


That was my first encounter with how some people view pregnancy centers. It sure opened my eyes.

So, as a writer, what did I want to do? Of course I thought I’d write about it.

Wouldn’t it be great, I thought, if I could tell some of the true stories that come out of pregnancy centers? I thought I could collect stories and write a compilation book, like those Chicken Soup for the Soul books. True stories! Heart-warming. Hopeful. Inspiring. Tear-jerking, because that’s what the true stories are. Stories that make you want to cheer! Or hug someone. Or hang your head and cry.

I thought if I compiled a book filled with true stories, then I could tell the world of the wonderful work that was happening inside these pregnancy centers.

I thought the pregnancy center people would be thrilled to have their story told. I thought Christians would be excited to hear of the wonderful Christian work being done so quietly there.

I thought the pregnancy centers would be behind me. I thought the Christians would be behind me. I thought Christian publishers would love the idea.

I thought it was a great idea.

I had another think coming.

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