Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Way Out

This is my daughter. 
 I pray for her everyday.  I pray that she would come to know Jesus.  I pray that she would love Him with all her heart.  I pray that she has a long happy life and that she avoids all the mistakes that her mommy made.  Most recently, I pray that God would protect her from this wicked, cruel, fallen world in which we live.

My reason
I have recently started volunteering at an organization, here in Memphis, that provides rehabilitation for women in the sex-for-sale industry.  This includes everything from dancing to street prostitution to human trafficking.  I have just begun this journey and it has opened my eyes in a whole new way to the need this world has for a hero, for Jesus.  

Some Facts
Human trafficking is here in Memphis.  Not only is it here in Memphis, we are actually on a path that a lot of traffickers take that includes St. Louis, New Orleans, Dallas, Atlanta, Miami and MEMPHIS.

Some of the hot spots in our area, according to police, are:  Lamar, Memphis Airport, Sam Cooper at Tillman, North Memphis due to the amount of illegal immigrants, the Downtown bus station, and the one that surprised me the most Wolfchase Galleria.

The average age of girls that Memphis police see are between the ages of 14-16.

My Thoughts
This is in our backyard.  It was much easier for me when I had my head in the sand.  Now these women stay with me constantly.  My heart aches for them and my prayers are filled with their names.  I have learned that most prostitution starts with trafficking.  Most of the women we see on the streets now started as 12-14 year old little girls.  Most of them were sexually abused at home and some even put out on the streets by their own family.  A lot of them had to run away from home because the abuse was so bad.  Once they were on the streets they were being beaten and raped every night.  When approached my a man, a pimp, who offered a place to stay, food to eat, and protection from the brutal attacks, what choice does a 12-14 year old girl have?  By the time these girls are old enough to look for a way out, there is not enough of them left to know that they are worth saving.  

Knowing these women has taught me so much.  I have learned that they are just like me.  They have dreams, hopes, children.  They want to be a good mother and provide a stable home.  They just don't know how.  They want to believe that they are loved and valued, but it is hard when the whole world that they have ever known has shown them otherwise.  

I have learned that women coming out of the sex-for-sale industry honestly do not know or believe that God cares about them.  My first bible study with the women at A Way Out, I saw a girl hear and believe for the first time that God made her wonderful and loves her.  Her eyes filled with tears and she could hardly speak.  I cried the whole way home that night.  I was overwhelmed with emotions of sadness for where these girls have been but also with so much hope and joy for the hero they have found.

My Hope
 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.  God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.  I Corinthians 10:13

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God: to comfort all who mourn: to grant to those who mourn in Zion - to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.  They shall build up the ancient ruins: they shall raise up the former devastations: they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastaions of many generations.  Isaiah 61:1-4

Jesus is not only our hope, he is our HERO!  He came to save this wicked, cruel, fallen world.  So, when I get freaked out and wish I could put my head back in the sand, I remember that yes this is a fallen world but we have a hero and a rescuer.  I can rest in that.


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

What Do They See?

What kind of Jesus do people see when they look at you?

We have lived in Memphis for over a year now, and it has been life changing/heart changing for me!

A few years ago I would have jumped on the bandwagon and been all about showing up for a Chick-fil-a appreciation day.  Now, all I can think about is what kind of message is the religious community sending to the LGBT community?

When we claim that we are Jesus followers, we are stepping into the role of representing Jesus to all we know and see.  Are we showing them the Jesus of John 8, that forgives and shows kindness and love to the woman committing adultery? Are we showing people the Jesus of Matthew 4 that call His disciples, which were not the religious men of the day by far?  Are we showing Luke 23, that shows forgiveness and grace to the thief on the cross?

It breaks my heart to think what it must have felt like for anybody in the LGBT community to drive by and see the line at Chick-fil-a today.  It breaks my heart because to them, I am sure, it was not a line supporting freedom of speech.  It was a line that represented hatred towards them.  I am sure this is not true of all the people that supported Chick-fil-a today, but ask yourself, "Were you really there to support Cathy's freedom of speech, or were you there to show how much to disagree with homosexuality?"  If your answer is the latter, then look to the Bible and ask yourself who you look more like, Jesus or the Pharisees?

As, Jesus followers, we need to love people the way He did and does.  He never accepted sin but He also never showed such hatred toward people.