Hungry for God; Starving for Time


The Art of Hard Conversations

I had a hard conversation this week. 

I don’t like hard conversations. They scare me. 

But that day I’d made the mistake of reading my friend Lori Roeleveld’s new book, The Art of Hard Conversations early that morning. In Chapter 2, she describes two types of conversationalists – the Hawk and the Turtle. The Hawk swoops into a discussion with an opinion, fact, or mandate. The Turtle tucks its head into its shell whenever anything conversationally-frightening appears. Like the Hawk, it may have an opinion, but it hesitates to share it for fear of being judged or misunderstood. 

I tend to be a Turtle. I’d rather keep the peace at all costs, even when doing so could cause harm in the long run. 

It’s hard to be an effective Christian, however, if you’re a Turtle. The Bible says a lot about sharing our faith with others, and, usually, this requires saying something – out loud. 

So that day, with Lori’s gentle challenge to speak up and out when the Lord prompts us, even though it might be scary, I drove past the abortion clinic down the street from my office. I’ve prayed a lot of prayers over that facility. 

In answer to my (and many others’) prayers, God has raised up a ministry, A Moment of Hope. This almost all-volunteer organization helps women with unplanned pregnancies choose life for their babies. It connects them with medical care as well as financial, emotional, and spiritual support. 

Earlier that morning, my husband and I had pulled a Christmas card off the top of the stack of cards we received last month. The card was from A Moment of Hope. 

We prayed God’s blessings on the ministry, asking him to use it to save babies’ lives and lead mothers to a saving knowledge of Jesus. “Please, Lord,” I prayed, “don’t let any babies die this week at Planned Parenthood.” 

As I drove past the facility on my way in to work, guess what I saw? Yep. A team of Moment of Hope volunteers assembling to pray in the right of way near the abortion clinic. 

Must be an abortion day, I thought. I’m so glad we prayed for the ministry. That’s when the Holy Spirit nudged me. You should tell them them you prayed for them, he said. It will encourage to know they’re not the only ones who care, and that others are also praying for the unborn babies and their mothers. 

But Lord, I responded. (Hint: It’s never good when you begin a prayer with “But Lord.”) I can’t stop and tell them that. It’s kinda scary. And awkward. And I don’t recognize any of the volunteers. They’re busy. And besides, I’ve already driven past them. I’d have to turn around and go back. 

Then turn around and go back, the Lord said. They’re out here at eight o’clock in the morning and the temperature’s below freezing. And they’re probably feeling a little scared, too. They need encouragement. 

So I turned around. 

“Hi, I’m Lori Hatcher. My husband and I are friends of A Moment of Hope,” I blurted out to the team of people standing beside the driveway. “Every morning we pray for someone who sent us a Christmas card, and today we prayed for y’all. We asked God not to allow any babies to die at this facility this week. Keep up the good work. You’re not the only ones that care.” 

I don’t know why it was so hard to speak a word of encouragement to those kind-hearted people, but it was. I didn’t know what was going on in the volunteers’ hearts that morning, as they stood by the roadside in 20-degree weather, but God did. He sent me to remind them that they’re not the only ones who care about unborn babies and frightened mothers.

Later that day, I received an email from a worker at A Moment of Hope. This is what it said: 

Hi Mrs. Hatcher, 

Thanks so much for circling back this morning to tell the group y'all were praying. It is very encouraging to us. 

 I wanted to let y'all know the Lord answered in a remarkable way! Two mothers stopped and talked. One decided to skip her abortion appointment to learn about options. The other talked with me about having a Pregnancy Care Team (our new initiative to pair a mother who has chosen life with ladies from a local church to mentor and befriend and throw baby shower) instead of going into Planned Parenthood to schedule an abortion. 

The hand of God on her life is so evident. Numerous people and situations have deterred her from this abortion. By the end of our conversation she was talking like she is going to keep her baby!! Please pray that both these ladies will carry their children to term. Please express our gratitude for the prayer and concern! 

Wow. Just wow. 

That young mother wasn’t the only one seeing God’s hand all over the events of the day. From Lori Roeleveld’s book, to AMOH’s Christmas card, to my husband’s and my prayer, to the volunteers outside the clinic, to God’s prompt to stop and encourage them, to  the young mothers who were open to an abortion alternative. God worked mightily that day through more than one hard conversation. 

So how about you? Are you a Turtle when it comes to hard conversations? If you are, I hope my story will encourage you to speak up and speak out the next time you feel the Lord prompting you. I can assure you, you’ll be glad you did. 

And if you could use some coaching, I encourage you to read Lori Roeleveld’s new book, The Art of Hard Conversations. Releasing on February 19, it's available for preorder from Amazon. It’s a must read for anyone who wants to make a difference in your home, your church, and in the world.

Read it. Apply it. Then watch to see what God does in and through you.

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  1. When I know a hard conversation is coming, I ask God for guidance, wisdom, discern and revelation. :-)

    1. Oh yes. Never, never, never, approach a hard conversation without LOTS of prayer. Thanks for chiming in, Melissa.

  2. Tears in my eyes this morning as I read about your experience.

    1. Oh, Phyllis, me too! I continue to marvel at how God orchestrates the events of our lives to accomplish HIS will. Thanks for reading, today!


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