“I went to [another women’s clinic], but it was not at all like my visit here,” Lachelle* told the nurse at a recent appointment. She was here for testing and treatment for an STI and had recently been to another clinic that provided sexual health services.

The nurse asked Lachelle to tell her more. “I felt like a number. No one even looked me in the eye. Here you treat me different. I feel like you really care about me.”

Lachelle stumbled on a fundamental truth: We are different.

When a woman or man visits Care Net’s clinic or participates in one of our programs, they are never “just a number.” Each is a unique reflection of God, created for His purpose, with special gifts and their own calling. And every person is loved by God, just as they are.

As staff start each morning at our clinic, we can speculate about the people we’ll be seeing later that day. From experience, we know most of the women who contact us for pregnancy testing were not planning to become pregnant. Some are overwhelmed and need help working through their options; some don’t feel they have any options. Most have never spent much time thinking about how they would handle an unexpected pregnancy.

The women who come for STI testing could be here because they heard it’s important to be tested. But most schedule an appointment because they fear they’ve been exposed. And that means many of them scared and have a lot of questions—not just about their health, but about whether they rushed into a physical relationship, and have compromised their health and their emotional and sexual integrity.

No matter why a woman comes to us, what she faces or where she’s at physically, emotionally and spiritually, she needs to feel cared for, accepted, and free from judgment. We can’t do this work without first committing our hearts to love and care for every person, just as Christ does. Women like Lachelle won’t care what we say or what services or resources we offer if they don’t find love and acceptance at the heart of it.

Thank you for being part of a different kind of experience for women like Lachelle and showing the love of Christ to every person we see.

*name changed