Tonight, we had the privilege of hearing from Shari Rigby, an actress who is perhaps best known for being in the movie October Baby. She is a pro-life actress who lives in the pro-choice culture of Hollywood. But she was not always who she is now.
And, as she so eloquently said to all of us, “It is only because of Him that we have the stories that we do.”
She began by speaking to us about her son who, like all of us, sometimes struggles to speak up for what he believes in and is tempted to take the easy road of remaining silent. But we must not remain silent. We need to tell our stories of our own experiences of God.
Shari was a teenage mother, she is a post-abortive woman, but most of all, she is a woman loved by God.
When Shari was younger she was a rebellious teenager, who eventually found herself pregnant at the age of sixteen. She had the baby, but as her life continued she eventually found herself pregnant again and had an abortion through the influence of the baby’s father. In the pain she experienced due to her abortion, she cried out to God for help and healing, saying, “Lord, if you really exist, I need you!” and God heard her cry.
She had an initial conversion experience through the man who eventually became her husband. He invited her to church, where she gave her life to Jesus. They opened a coffee shop, and it was there that she was offered a job doing commercials. She realized that God placed her in Hollywood not only to be an actress, but even more so to minister to the many broken women that she has encountered there.
Eventually, she was offered a job in October Baby, the story of an abortion survivor. As she first read the script, she was surprised to find that the part she would be playing was a true reflection of what she had been through in real life. She had a choice of either saying yes to the part, or no. She said yes. And through her experience of reading the script and being in the movie, the Lord continued to heal her heart and even gave her the opportunity to give her personal testimony at the end of the movie.
Everyone in Hollywood told her that it would be career suicide to talk about Jesus and her abortion at the end of the movie. She had the choice to share the Good News of the Savior that had redeemed her life and saved her or not… she said YES. And thank God she did. Her story has touched countless lives, in addition to all of ours this evening.
Shari’s story is unique, and yet it is our story. As we head back to our towns and families and churches after this March for Life, we have choices to make every day: to love the unlovable, to pray for our family members, to serve the poor, and to witness to our faith. Now is the time for us to make a stand to know who we are in Jesus and what we stand for, our lives have to glorify God first. Shari challenged us to take the Jesus approach – to speak truth about the love of Jesus and love every human being we encounter. Let us tell our stories like Jesus did, and we will inspire people to listen. Let us keep saying yes to telling our stories. If we do, countless lives will be touched!