“You’re the ones that have taken the frightened, uncertain, and you care for them, you counsel them, and you give them the gospel right there in the building. You give them the abundantly more that Jesus came to give us.”, Natalie Brumfield says in her keynote address to attendees of Care Net’s 2023 National Conference in Mobile, Alabama.

The conference theme was “Abundantly More” based on Ephesians 3:20, and true to our theme, it was Care Net’s biggest conference ever. More than 1,600 Pregnancy Center staff and volunteers gathered to sharpen their skills to reach out with Christ’s compassion to women and men considering abortion. Watch and hear Natalie’s story of love, advocacy for life, family, and her calling into this good work. 

Watch the full keynote: Natalie Brumfield

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More about Natalie

Natalie has been the Bound4LIFE Birmingham Chapter Leader since 2008. She is married to Matthew Brumfield and they enjoy being foster parents, pursing adoption and praying for babies to fill their home. She works as a curriculum writer and children’s director for the children’s ministry, as well as, the foster care and adoption liaison at her local church in Birmingham, Alabama. She’s on the leadership team for the Birmingham Prayer Furnace as a prayer leader and serves as a weekly counselor for Sav-A-Life, a local pregnancy test center. Natalie longs to teach and provoke the hearts of the next generation for Jesus’ righteousness, intercession, and justice!

Portions of what follows are excerpts from Natalie Brumfields’ keynote address to attendees of Care Net’s 2023 National Conference in Mobile, Alabama. Watch the above video for the full message. 

I’ve been volunteering at my local pregnancy resource center since I was 25 years old and I’m 40 years old now. And so again, that’s why I say I’m you. You’re me. And it’s such an honor to speak to my people today. You are exactly the person, the peers that I’ve dreamed of encouraging since I began in pregnancy resource care because I know the burnout. I’ve been a part of the long hours, the day after day of really draining and emotional work that truly stays on that line of life and death.

Every moment and your conference theme abundantly more of God is prophetically picked for you for this hour abundantly more of God. It’s the more of Jesus that he’s doing through you. Again, never doubt it, just like the verse says. And he’s doing so much more than you get to see. Most of the time you are their advocate, the mothers, the fathers, and the children””outside of their immediate family. Your kindness, your words, your eye contact, and your care are what will advocate to the heart of God’s people on the edge of this decision. And I found that outside of the home, there’s hardly a holier space than the pregnancy resource building for the deeply personal advocation for the preciousness of life. You are the up close and breathing help they’re reaching out for in this hour of uncertainty, abundantly more is what I call revival in you, in your everyday work, or the part of revival in family, do you know that? You are the revival and family?

You’re the ones that have taken the frightened, and uncertain, and you care for them, you counsel them, and you give them the gospel right there in the building. You give them the abundantly more that Jesus came to give us. And from that place of revival, a family is born both in this spirit and of course with the birth of the babies. I wrote a children’s book about adoption and God’s language over family for my own children The House That Love Built. As I was preparing for this day, I knew so much of the language of that book was speaking about what God’s love builds is about each one of you, what you do every single day, his love through you is building abundantly more than you could dream up.

And that’s what God’s love is, right? It’s abundantly more. So if you’ll allow me to tell you a little bit of our personal story, I’ve actually never told this story publicly before because it’s so sacred to my heart, I’m going to cry. And that’s not because I’m pregnant. I’m a crier. Raise your hand if you’re a crier. Oh, good. There’s actually a lot of you. Nice. That surprised me. Yay. Yeah. It’s just a story of how incredible people like you were a part of the beginning of my family. I’ll have you imagine the Lord showing you the extraordinary, the abundantly more that he is building through your obedience on the front line. He is building his house through your yes through you, his instrument of love. He builds the backstory. I was 25 years old when I was seriously involved in pro-life efforts like leading.

I was leading a peer group called Bound for Life, Birmingham Bound for Life International is in Washington DC. And so we have these chapters all throughout the United States. And so I was leading in the Birmingham area. And so we pray for the ending. It’s a grassroots prayer movement for the ending of abortion, an increase of adoption, and a spiritual awakening in government and our culture. So I’d been asked to come and speak on our local Christian radio station, WDJC for the anniversary of Roy Wade. And so one of the leaders in my church actually heard the interview on the radio that day and he came up and found me and he said, “Natalie, you would be really great at counseling in a pregnancy resource center.” I was shocked. I was like, you mean I could counsel women? They would let me do that. I was young. I didn’t even know that they had counselors within the pregnancy resource center.

And you see, I was used to praying out on the sidewalk in front of abortion centers. So the idea that I could be in a building where women came and men came to a safe place for help and love and support in their pregnancy, and I could counsel and pray for them, give them the gospel, it blew me away. I didn’t know it was a possibility. So that’s what I did. I found my local pregnancy resource center which is here, by the way, shout out to Save a Life. I love y’all. And signed up for the two-week training with the excellent Care Net Resource Program to be a counselor. It was then that the Lord began to show me the miracles, the mothers, the fathers, the mentors, the classes, and the available resources that truly were answers to my prayers for family. I constantly saw hope in this place.

It’s a beautiful city on a hill in stark contrast to what I was witnessing on the sidewalk of Planned Parenthood. It was a breath of fresh air. So fast forward five years and I’m 30 years old and I’m a newlywed. God gave me my husband that year, and my husband and I were getting licensed to be foster care parents while I worked full-time at our church as children’s director. And then I’m still volunteering at our crisis, our pregnancy resource center once a week and leading the monthly peer meetings in front of the abortion center. So we were busy foster care and adoption, just so you know, were always something I wanted to do since I was a very little girl. I found out what an orphan was when I was five years old, and it completely impacted me and changed my life and started learning about the foster care program in America.

And I couldn’t wait to adopt one day. So it was never a question of if I would, it was when I would. And so my husband knew when we were friends before we got married that I wanted to do that right away. So we were married in November of 2012. In January of 2012, we were actually leading our first foster care training group and getting trained to be foster parents. The only thing is they make you wait a year. If you’re going to be married, you have to wait a year before they’ll actually let you foster. So we took the classes and then we had to wait for our anniversary to see any children. Alabama has that law and it’s a good law. You need to be settled in your marriage before you bring in children. So cumulatively, we had fostered three little girls on the course of this first couple of years, but no long-term placements yet the state of Alabama said we had no parental experience, so we could only receive babies, women, you know how funny that is?

Okay, they think babies are easier, but because God is good, we did not receive any babies. We prepared a nursery in our home, a pullout nursery, and our first child in care was seven years old, which it was very scary. So we’ll just call her Grace to protect her name. But Grace showed up that day and I was unpacking her suitcase and she looked at me and said, are you really a foster mama? And I realized at that moment I looked like a babysitter. And so I was like, can I tell you something? I was like, you are a first child. And so that’s why I seemed nervous. And so she was like, it’s okay. I’ll tell you what to do. And she did. She sure did. It was really funny. And she really did. She started our walk in foster care with so much grace and we loved her, and we got to see her reunited with her biological family, which was super exciting.

So like I said, we had just three short-term placements of three little girls over that course that first year, but no long-term placements. Then there came this call about a four-year-old little boy. We would be his fifth home in care in his short little life, and he needed to go home without any children because of his trauma and behavioral needs. Now this is the Lord, listen to this. We were the only foster-parent household in the state of Alabama without children at that time. So we were it. So God matched us with him. And because of the severity of his trauma from moving so many times, if we agreed to foster him, then we were required to agree to adopt him as well because his play therapist said his need for permanency was vital in order for him to succeed as an adult. And so right.

And they were like, well, you can meet him first and then decide. And my husband and I were like, no, we’re going to meet with God. We’re going to ask the Lord before we lay eyes on him and God’s answer is going to be our answer. And so our tradition is we pray separately about that. So before we laid eyes on him, we prayed separately and asked God if this was our son. We both had confirmation that this was our firstborn son, older than our marriage and knit into our storyline by God himself. And unlike traditional adoption which many people think about first with foster care, you have two things going on. You’re fostering this child until they’re reunited with their biological family, which is what we were believing for. We love the restoration of family. We love restoration, we love revival, and family. And then the second is until parental rights are terminated by the judge, and in our case as our social workers, parental rights were terminated within a year for our son’s case. But at the very beginning of fostering our son, I had the honor of meeting his biological mother in a planned visit at a pizza Hutt. So I was super nervous. I dressed, racking up in his cutest jeans and boots and a brand-new shirt. He looked so handsome and held on and he held onto me so tight. I’ll never forget that day in a sweet little four-year-old voice. He told me he wanted to throw up before we got out of the van.

So we took a minute and I held him and I prayed over him until his time, he felt better. We walked in and waited anxiously for my first visit. But Braxton had been through these visits for most of his life. He clung to me and I held him like he was one year old and not four. When I met his biological mother and her boyfriend, it was much more natural than I thought. She was skeptical of Braxton being in another home, and I totally sympathized with her. Then she looked at me after a little while of me asking her how she was doing, how she was feeling, and filling her in on how Braxton came to us. And she said, are you a counselor or something? I’ve never seen him so calm with anyone. And my first gut response was, no, I’m not a counselor. I work in kids ministry.

But after the visit when the nurse had worn off, I thought to myself and I smiled. I was like, wow, yeah, I am a counselor at the Pregnancy Resource Center. Just from that small amount of time, she could feel that she recognized the love and the advocacy for her and her son. It amazed me. It was later that I understood that through these rare short meetups that you’ll have, you learn so much history that the Department of Human Resources will never be able to have on record or tell you to fill in a lot of gaps and holes. It was one of these meetups that his biological mother asked me for my email, and then she wrote to ask me if my husband and I would adopt Braxton because she knew we really, truly loved him, and that was such an honor from the Lord.

And over the course of these visits, this is how we found out that not only was Braxton, our miracle firstborn son, it was a miracle that he was ever born. Turns out that his biological mother, four years before who didn’t even live near the pregnancy center where I volunteered, decided to come to the exact one where I counsel to get a free pregnancy test. My friends, my friends that I volunteered with every week, loved on her, gave her the gospel, and gave her an ultrasound where she first laid eyes on Braxton and it changed everything. She was abortion minded, but because of the gospel being told to her, the care, and the council, she chose life. Yeah. And because there are people like you who despite hard days of constantly walking people through the decision of life or death, Braxton is alive. His biological mother has salvation, and my husband and I received our firstborn son. My son and his biological mother’s womb came into the clinic and both were saved. The mother and the baby, I call that revival. I call that the abundantly more that God weaves into our stories.

Isn’t it like God to build like that in the very place where we advocate for life, for salvation, for discipleship? The Lord gave me a son and I didn’t even know it until years later. So let’s read his word again after that testimony. Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imaginations. He will outdo them all for his miraculous power, which constantly energizes you. Ephesians 3:20. So my prayer for you, as we leave this conference, is that his miraculous power would constantly energize you. You would be up on this stage receiving honor for your 30 years.

You hear testimonies like this, and at least for me, it makes me ache to see it again, to happen, to see it up close in my own life. I’ll be like, oh, I want that. When I was praying and preparing for this keynote, the Lord so clearly spoke to me to tell you, fasten yourself to this testimony. It’s yours for the taking. It’s probably already happened and you didn’t even know it. It’s a vision for testimonies yet to be born that will come through your obedience. There’s a quote by one of my spiritual fathers and mentors, Lou Engle that I’ll share with you. He says it all the time. He said, God never fastens your soul to a dead-end dream.

He’s faithful to complete it. Your weekly toll of disappointments, the women still walking confusion after your guidance and counsel, the men not showing up for the well-planned out, mentorship, fatherhood programs, the women not calling you back with your follow-up calls or showing up for the ultrasounds despite your determination, your kindness, your generosity, the Lord is building something he wastes. Nothing you offer to him, nothing you offer in his name. You are the house that loves himself and he will fill it. Now, because I’m a list person and I’m a takeaway and remember it person, I’d love to give you guys three takeaways that I’ve learned on this journey with the Lord that I feel like could be some beacons of light on your hard days. Okay, so just three. Number one, remember your calling. We must remember, I want you all to think back to that day when you were called and you put a stake in the ground.

There will be seasons and times of difficulties. We will want to quit, give up, lose hope, but we must be able to pull back to that day. And remember, God called us to this and he’s faithful to complete it. My stake in the ground was when I was seven years old, my daddy got saved in the eighties on a business trip, and a business partner gave him the gospel in a hotel room. My daddy got on his knees and received Jesus. I was one year old. And then because he was an NFL football player, before there was this movement called Promise Keepers. Does anyone remember Promise Keepers? My daddy was on fire. So promise keepers came along and Lou Ingle, who’s now my spiritual father and mentor, was a part of that group and called men to these extravagant vows with the Lord. And one of them was for the ending of abortion.

So my daddy would go and pray and bring other men to pray in front of the abortion centers. And I don’t mean like yell, he didn’t hold signs. My daddy was an intercessor. And he would stand on the other side of the road with his beautiful head bowed and he would just pray. And so one day when I was seven, I asked, I’m like, daddy, can I go with you? And he goes, it’s not going to be any fun, Natalie. You’re not going to like it. And I said I want to be with you. And so he let me come. And so I was seven years old holding my daddy’s hand and watching women walk into the abortion center by themselves. And my daddy looked at me and he said, Natalie, your voice matters to God. And this miracle happened and I believed him. And so me and my daddy, we would just stand and pray for these women going in and out of the abortion center that day.

And that was my stake in the ground. All of a sudden, I was an Esther, seven years old, and Esther and my daddy was my Mordecai that said, my voice mattered to God. And yours does too every day. That’s what you’re doing when you are inside the Pregnancy Resource Center. So again, remember your calling. Remember the day when there was a stake in the ground that changed everything? Pray it, talk about it with the Lord, it’ll bring refreshment. Number two, rely on the Holy Spirit. We must daily be led by the Spirit. We must hear from the great advocate as we do this work. He is the comforter. He is the teacher. We need to lean into him before we walk in the door. Otherwise, we’re operating in our own strength that can and will learn to lead to burnout or possibly worse in genuine empathy.

When I first got to meet Braxton’s biological mother, she felt the comforter. She felt his counsel, not me. I was leaning into him and he was faithful to minister to her. So rely on the Holy Spirit. Number three, the last one, rests in his sovereignty. You can pour so much into this that you can get overwhelmed or even disappointed in the outcomes you see sometimes we can lose sight that God is ultimately in control, not us. I was 25 years old when I started counseling at a pregnancy center. I was 32 years old when we received Braxton. And I don’t think it was until I was 32 years old that I really discovered the work that God was doing behind the scenes simply because He is who he is. He is sovereign. We live our life and work and worship towards him and we can rest knowing He, not us is enough. Remember your calling. What’s your stake in the ground? Rely on the Holy Spirit. He wants to work through you. He wants you to rest. And three rest in his sovereignty. He’s in control. He’s going to build through your yes. There is nothing wasted that you give every single day. So as we end, I’m just going to pray over you guys and then I’m going to ask, I’m going to boldly ask if you’ll stand, because I really feel like the Lord just wants to put a blessing over you.

Jesus, I thank you for this army, this army of your builders, the ones who build and don’t ask about the cost, the ones who pursue your love so they can pour it out on others. Lord, I thank you for the anointing upon their lives to give what you have given them. I thank you for the discipleship and the long hours that you have empowered inside of them to keep going for the one that you’ve placed in front of them, for the men, for the women, for the babies, for your revival and family. That is the hope. You are the hope, Lord, but you are spreading your hope through them. And Father, I pray number 6:24-26 over them, that the Lord bless them and keep them. That the Lord make his face shine on them and be gracious to them. The Lord turned his face toward them and gave them peace. In Jesus’ name, amen.