James 1:27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.
Pure is defined as “free of any contamination.” Undefiled is defined as “free from stain or blemish and having no faults.” How rare are these traits in our world. Yet, “religion before God” can exist in these ways…
I’m the Clinic Director and Lead Sonographer at Riverside Life Services (RLS), a non-profit organization that has been providing free medical care and counseling to women in need for over 40 years. I’d like to share with you about experiencing the Kingdom of God in some women’s greatest times of trouble.
Women come through our doors every single day in great times of trouble. Girls come to us who are struggling to conceive, are drug addicted, escaping domestic violence, running from a life of trafficking, confused by their mental illness, pained by a history of abuse, had a miscarriage, or lost a baby by choice and have no one by their side. Everyday we see daughters who are broken and in need of hope.
Unfortunately, this list captures the reality that many women live in today. It may not be you, your female relative, or friend…but in your community there are countless women facing these challenges.
In response to the infinite needs in our community, each morning, Monday through Friday we open our doors, hands and hearts to our Lord, His Kingdom, His Glory and His People. We rest in these Kingdom truths: Every day is different. Every life is unique. Every story is real. And every heart is His.
“You are altogether beautiful, my darling, there is no flaw in you.” Song of Solomon 4:7 ESV
Every year we notice our numbers of unique clients doubling. Increasing numbers of women living in a world that tells them they are flawed, unloved, unclean, and unworthy come for help.
We believe our numbers double not because of more pregnancies, but rather more women hear about a place that is set apart from the cruel world they have been blatantly and subconsciously rejected and hurt by.
In truth, we believe God consistently shows Himself to the women who come seeking and asking for help. They experience the Kingdom when they are received by an accepting smile, share their secrets with caring listeners, and receive a multitude of services without paying a thing.
We see the lost, heart-broken, and grieved often re-connect with a light they may have known in their past. In most cases, the women we meet are drawn to a light they may have never known but begin to feel the warmth of.
At RLS, our staff and volunteers (including me) are broken and desperately in need of a Savior. Because of our need for Christ, in turn, we walk with those in need.
“The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.” 1 Timothy 1:15
One day in particular, a girl sat in front of me, her face in her hands, tears streaming down after having an abortion. She said to me, “How long will I feel like this? Will I ever be happy again?” This was a year after we saw her 20 week old baby on the ultrasound screen. A year after her boyfriend said he loved someone else. A year after those closest to her rejected her after hearing her plea for help. An eerie part of my job is knowing that I am one of the last people to ever see a child alive. And as I sit with girls just like this, I see yet another life in need of resuscitation.
Sometimes I struggle to get to work, sometimes I wonder how God can use someone as broken as me, sometimes it feels like the enemy has a constant target on my back, sometimes I cry after work, sometimes I cry with our girls and sometimes I wonder how much longer I can do this. But for each crushing moment I see and hear, I am presented with a multitude of God’s graces and mercies. I access these gifts by stepping into a real expression of worship through service in the presence of the Lord. Though my insecurities and faults are many, He says I’m worthy…He says He will use me.
RLS runs by a union of donors, Board Members, staff and volunteers joining forces in a unified demonstration and expression of worship to a God who asks us simply to serve. Simply to walk. Simply to worship. Simply to trust. The work of the messenger is to allow the space for the Father to use His worker to reach His child. We know God can use many forms to reach His children but how beautiful it is to use a mere child to reach another child. That is Kingdom.
“Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.” Hebrews 2:14-17 ESV
THE MESSAGE. THE MESSIAH.
Pure and undefiled… Orphans and widows… Unspotted and the world…
Jesus revealed the Kingdom by being the Kingdom on earth as He walked with the broken, the hurting, the prostitutes, the lame, the hungry, the rejected, the needy, the homeless and the fatherless. We too must walk in His footsteps with His beloved people, His chosen people. What may be unseen to this world, is seen by the One who created it and created us. And that’s a beautiful vision to be invited into.
“So the last will be first, and the first last.” Matthew 20:16 ESV
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Chelsea Ingalls is the Clinic Director and Lead Sonographer at Riverside Life Services in Southern California. She has an insatiable passion for Christ and a beautiful gift of mercy. God uses Chelsea to encourage, teach, counsel, and care for His lost and hurting daughters. Find out more about RLS here: http://www.riversidelifeservices.org/