In every career, words matter. In fact, the Bible reminds us in Proverbs 18:2 that “death and life are in the power of the tongue.” This has proved especially true in Marquetta Peyton’s field of work.
“The Bible says pray continuously and that is definitely what I have to do, because I don’t want to speak the wrong thing to the girl that is going to push her away. But I want to be able to say the right thing, whatever that is, that the Lord desires her to hear,” Peyton said.
After surrendering her heart to Jesus many years ago, Peyton felt the Lord call her into nursing.
“The Lord just kept calling me to minister to women and children,” Peyton said. Peyton lived out that calling to serve by volunteering in Shannon Road Baptist Church’s children’s ministry, where she is now honored to lead as children’s director.
That wasn’t all that God had planned, though. Peyton and her husband also felt called to adopt. Having two biological children of their own, they began looking to adopt just one child. They were thus surprised when God opened the door to bring two boys into their family.
“We just got a bigger kitchen table,” Peyton said.
What she didn’t know at the time was how God would use her story at Hope of the Delta, which is a Christ-based pregnancy center in Pine Bluff with a mission “to serve Jesus Christ by empowering men and women to choose spiritual life for themselves, physical life for their babies and abundant life for their families,” according to their website.
“I became under conviction that the Lord wanted me to serve at Hope of the Delta, but I had never had an abortion myself and so I didn’t understand that calling,” Peyton said. “So, I continued to pray about it and actually kind of pushed it away for several years, and then it just kept rising up, rising up. The Lord kept bringing it to my mind, kept bringing it to my heart. Finally, one day, I just submitted.”
After going in for an interview, she was asked to begin teaching women’s education courses during the evenings about pregnancy and taking care of children. While leading these classes on Shannon Road Baptist Church’s campus, she was contacted about becoming a nurse for the pregnancy center.
“I remember telling my husband this is a no-brainer; God has been calling me to this my entire Christian life, and it’s time,” Peyton said.
Nevertheless, she prayed about the offer for several weeks until God gave her an answer one Sunday morning. “We left church and I told my husband I received my answer today,” Peyton said. “And my husband said, ‘I know you did.’”
That day, her calling was confirmed.
As nurse manager at Hope of the Delta, the Lord has given Peyton the unique opportunity to interact with mothers on a daily basis, some of whom are considering life and death decisions. In these vital encounters, Peyton is able to depend on the Lord for “strength, wisdom, guidance and love” to share with every woman who walks in for an ultrasound.
“We gather together every morning at Hope of the Delta and pray as a staff and any volunteers that may want to come and join us that’ll be at the center that day. We pray starting every day for approximately thirty minutes,” Peyton said. “That’s how we begin our day.”
It’s this emphasis on prayer that has empowered Peyton with the light of Jesus to intervene in some of the darkest situations the mothers who walk into Hope of the Delta are placed in.
“I get to see before the mother sees, so I see what’s in the womb before she does,” Peyton said.
One day, a young woman came in for an ultrasound, already planning to terminate the pregnancy. “I saw that there were twins, and it broke my heart because I didn’t know how to tell her…[when] she was wanting to have an abortion with one,” Peyton said. “As I was doing what I needed to do for the ultrasound, I just began to ask the Lord, please just give me the right words to tell her this.”
After seeing the ultrasound, the young woman asked if she was carrying twins. When Peyton confirmed, the new mother of two began to question what she was going to do. That’s when the Lord gave Peyton a simple yet life-changing sentence, as He reminded her exactly what she and her husband had to do when welcoming their two adopted boys into their family.
Peyton said, “you’re going to build a bigger kitchen table, because that’s all you need. For another mouth, you just need another place for them to sit.” And build a bigger table, the young woman would, reversing her decision to have an abortion that afternoon.
“She is still a close friend of mine today. I love her children. The day they were born, I was there at the hospital with her,” Peyton said.
It’s moments like these that stick with Peyton and make her realize why God gave her two such unique callings earlier in life. For her, living out God’s callings upon her life come down to seeking the Lord’s guidance, reading His word consistently, staying in continual prayer, remembering that listening is a big portion of prayer and always being obedient when God says to go.
“I’ve been taught to be a servant of God and not just a bystander. I believe with all my heart the Lord has called me to walk out my life with Him,” Peyton said.
This faith keeps her walking in step with her Savior. This attitude keeps her heart stirring for Jesus.
“My heart’s desire is to serve the Lord…that is the most important thing in my life – Him, Jesus Christ,” Peyton said.