What does it mean to be made in the image of God? How does this fact affect the way we work in our chosen vocations? As a pregnancy center director I see daily evidence of how not understanding our worth in God’s eyes tends to put people on the path to destructive habits and decisions in their lives. It is part of my job to make sure that this trend is reversed in the lives of my clients.
One of the most amazing parts of my job is seeing the outcome of a pregnancy that God ordained. This is equally true of out of wedlock pregnancies as it is for those that happen inside a marriage. The trick is as a Christian to not condone the sin of sex outside of marriage while still celebrating a baby that was formed in the image of God. In Genesis 1:26-27 we read “Then God said, Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Nowhere in these verses do we see that God only created those who were born inside a legal marriage as being made in His image. Why do we see so many pregnancies outside of marriage? Might I suggest that it is because people do not understand what it means to be made in God’s image? Sadly, most of the clients I see do not believe in God at all. They are blinded to this amazing truth.
One of my favorite passages in the Bible is Psalm 139:13-16 “For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.” What a powerful truth this is. God has put His master craftsmanship into each and every one of us.
The real work of my ministry surprisingly, is to show our precious clients their worth to God. I love to quote Jeremiah 29:11 where it states “For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” My clients don’t feel they have much hope or any real future much of the time. This is a sad fact for me to deal with.
My very vocation was given to me by God. On paper I’m not a good hire for an executive director of a pregnancy center. I have not yet earned a college degree and I do not have any leadership positions in my work background. I did not even want to apply for this job. I knew I was under qualified and was unwilling to put myself in a position to fail. I believe because of this, God would not let me sleep during this period of my life. Sleep deprivation is not something I enjoy. He made me toss and turn as I considered what applying to this job would mean for my life. My husband was also after me to not be a “Jonah”. I did not appreciate the tag team between God and my husband. Long story short, I applied knowing full well I would not get the job. The joke was on me. Two and a half years later I’m still questioning this outcome. The most amazing thing is that I know I was made for this purpose. The knowledge that God brought me to this position and He plans to see me through it gives me great hope. That is the kind of hope I want to offer my clients. Another quote I like from the Bible is “but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong" 1 Corinthians 1:27. I may be wrong, but I believe this verse to be about people like me. On paper I don’t look good, but to God I’m chosen and made for a great purpose. This is a truth that could set many, if not all, of my clients free if they could just believe it and move forward in the truth of what God has made them to be.
As a Christian I know there is no question that I’m made in the image of God. The Evangelical Dictionary of Theology states, “The Bible answers the question of the nature of humanity by pointing to the imago Dei. That humanity by creation uniquely bears the image of God is a fundamental biblical doctrine”. We know this to be true. This is also a truth that I can impart in my vocation. My prayer is that God will let me see the fruit of this when I can see clients come to know Jesus Christ as their Savior and to see Him bring healing and change in their lives. That would be the most amazing outcome of this God-given vocation.