Friday, January 25, 2013

Hands and feet.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love.
~Martin Luther King Jr.

 
 Disclaimer:
I started this post five days ago and I struggled with where it was going. I walked away from my laptop and tried several times later to write some more. My emotions, and the new passion within my heart to share this message, was burning within me. Each time I tried to write, I just got aggravated at where it was going.  It kept changing and turning and going all over the place. I prayed last night about needing to delete it or trying to finish it today. I prayed for God to put it all together the way that only He can.

This is what transpired...

I hope you stay and read it all the way through.


 
A week or so ago,
I had the opportunity and privelege of doing my first book review.

A sweet facebook/blogger friend of mine had just released her first book and she needed a few people to do a book review on it.

I was elated (stupidly excited is more like it) when she suggested I be one of those people.

Little did I know,
that her book would open my eyes to a world I did not see.

One of my favorite quotes is by James Bryce.

He writes...
"The worth of a book is to be measured by what you can carry away from it."

After reading this book,
I carried away eyes stretched open and a heart wanting to see a change in this world.

A desperately needed change.

The author is Elora Ramirez and her book is titled Come Alive.

It's one girl's story of her life as a prostitute in the dark plague that is sex trafficking.

Otherwise known as human trafficking.

No matter how you put it, the darkness is still there.

I had heard about sex trafficking before, through a couple of ministries,
but I honestly thought that it was abroad, in other countries.

I had no idea,
none,
 that human trafficking was so big in our home country,
the United States.


Sex trafficking is defined as...

Sexual slavery or forced sexual slavery is the organized coercion of unwilling people into different sexual practices.

and

Human trafficking is the illegal trade of human beings, mainly for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor.


Although Come Alive is a fictional story,
 it is based on a real human being trapped in a very real horror.

It is one girl's real life story.

It's the story of a seventeen year old girl being forced to sell herself out of her home,
 by her own father.

My heart ached with every page that I read and there were moments where I cried so hard that I nearly lost my breath.

How could I not know these things were happening?

Since reading this book,
my prayers have been different.

You see...
those girls,
those precious girls,
that are forced to live a life like that,
are the girls next door to you and me.

The twelve year old that plays in the streets on her bike.
The fourteen year old that shops at the mall with her friends on the weekend.
The seventeen year old that will graduate this coming May.

Those are the faces of these girls.

I can't help but recognize those faces as a mother of two teenage girls.

My heart can't help but break for those innocent lives.

My soul can't help but cry out to the God who saves and delivers and restores.

My mind can't help but wonder why my eyes have stayed closed shut to such a horror.

It has made me think hard about other things that I have allowed myself not to see.
Things that I would rather not know are there.

Is it easier for me just to not see it at all?

Does it feel better if I don't know?

My closed eyes and heart that don't want to see or feel,
do not make things like this go away.

They still exist.
It still hurts and steals the lives of many young girls and women.

Many things, that we choose not to see, still exist.

Just like passing by the homeless guy holding the cardboard sign up at the intersection on the highway, with my window up, hoping the glass shields my view, preventing me from making eye contact...
won't feed him a meal that day, give him shelter for the night, show him Love, or make his desperation go away.

My questioning of the woman in the short skirt standing on the corner waiting for her next "appointment", won't free her from the horror she feels she has no other choice but to live or help her see her worth in Christ.

Snubbing my nose to the person sitting next to me at church, just because I feel my Christian walk is a level slight above theirs, won't fill the hole that seems to grow in the Body of Christ or get His work done.

My point here is...
that everyone has a story.
A story being written by God.

Everyone.
The girl trapped in sex trafficking. The woman on the street corner. The guy at the intersection.
The person sitting elbow to elbow to you at church.

Not one is the same as another.

Mine is different than yours and yours is different than mine.

There's nothing wrong with that.

What's wrong is that we close our eyes to what we should be seeing in one another and open them to the things that are simply not for our judgement.

His instructions were specific...


John 13:34
So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.

1 John 3:17
If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion--how can God's love be in that person?

Psalm 82:3
Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed.


I saw a quote the other day on a website of an organization trying to end human trafficking, that read,

"No child wakes up and decides to become a prostitute that day."

These words drove me to tears.

No one wakes up and decides to be a prostitute.
 It is the result of a life acting out of desperation.

No one wakes up and decides to be homeless.
 It is the result of a life acting out of desperation.

No one wakes up and decides to be full of hate.
It is the result of a life acting out of desperation.

You see...
we have all been in a place of desperation.

All of us.

Maybe different circumstances, but the same desperation.

We ALL need a Savior to save us from our desperate situations.

He has called us out to be His hands and feet.

So that people may see Him in the flesh.

As my blogger friend Holley Gerth wrote yesterday...

"We need Jesus with skin on."

She goes on to explain...

In other words, the needs of our hearts are going to get met one way or another. When it comes to our struggles, God intended for them to get met in relationships. We need "Jesus with skin on". If that doesn’t happen, we’re going to fill the void in ways that are not his best for us."


I've started a a couple of new things since reading Come Alive.
It's definitely awakened my Spirit and opened my eyes and heart.


1.  I've begun to pray for the world's young people and their families. 

I'm praying for openness and safety within their home so that young people will begin to feel safe enough to talk to their parents and parents will begin to talk to their children. Many teenage girls caught up in sex trafficking live at home and their parents have no idea.  My prayer is that
Love spring forth within their homes preventing hidden secrets and healing the hearts of our young people. My prayer is for that momma to love her child fearlessly and get involved with them even if that child screams for independence. Too much is too harmful. Mommas, hold your children close, don't force them to grow up too fast. For in everything there is a season.


2.  I've begun to remind myself where I was at one point in my life.

I was once alone and destitute in my sin and the life I was living out of desperation.  I remind myself this each and every time I come in contact with a stranger. I remind myself that they too need the same Savior that I need.  I remind myself that He died for me and them. I remind myself that His grace is sufficient, more than enough, and it doesn't stop with me. It's eternal, everlasting, free flowing. I remind myself that His love for me and them is no different. I've taken Him out of the box that I've labeled "just for me" and begun to share Him with complete strangers.  Because He is theirs too, and I think sometimes I believe He is just all mine for the taking. That is so far from the truth. He is mine for the sharing. He is the Gospel that He has called us to go out and show to the world. He is the Love that He has called us to give.  He is. And there is nothing missing from Him. Nothing. I don't have to wrap Him up in a prettier bow or wait for the perfect time to share Him.

He said,
 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
(Matthew 28:19)

He made it very simple saying therefore go.

The Hebrew meaning of "go" is to walk, depart, proceed.

I giggled when I looked up the word "therefore".
It means for that or for this reason.
The word therefore refers to something already stated.

The words "He said" is what is stated before.

The reason why we should "go" is because He said so!

(How many mommas just read that and said a loud "Amen!" ?)

So yeah...just go. Go! GO!
Because He said so!


3. I've asked God to open my eyes to every opportunity to love on someone.

To be His hands and feet in a way that I never have before.

The thing is,  hands and feet were created for action.
Our hands help us do daily things and our feet get us to wherever we are going.

To be the hands and feet of Jesus requires action.

I know that we get nervous to talk to others or think that if we don't walk away from someone and they be saved, then our job is not done.

But saving is not our job.

It's Christ's job to save.
It's our job to LOVE.

To share God with someone because He is love.
That's it. Share the Love.

Just love on someone. Anyone.

Another voice inside our head tells us, "Don't get involved. Don't be nosey."

Let me tell you, that someone is screaming on the inside of themselves for someone like you to get involved, to be nosey, to love enough to ask questions...bringing Light to their dark place.

Get involved with someone today.

Tell the cashier how nice her hair looks today. Ask her how her day is going.

Start a conversation with the person sitting next to you at church on Sunday, "The weather is gorgeous today. What are your plans after church?" 

Keep a pack of peanut butter crackers and a bottled water in your minivan, so that when you pass by the man at the intersection on the highway, you can roll down your window, make eye contact with him and hand him a snack and some water, saying "God bless you" or "Jesus loves you" or "I'm praying for your provision".

So many times I rush around my day, too busy-busy with my eyes closed to those around me,
who really need to see Jesus with skin on.

Do I dare tell my Father one day when I stand before Him,
 that I didn't love on His child, my neighbor, because I was just "too busy"?

I have to remind myself, that Jesus is never too busy for me.
He never turns a blind eye.
He never stops loving me because of my circumstance or my appearance or my lack of.

Instead...

He fills in that lack with Himself.
He opens my eyes to my own ignorance.
He loves me with a force that cannot be tamed or stopped.

His love changes me, making me new.
His love wraps me up and protects me from the wickedness of this world.
His love makes me feel worth something.

What would happen if we love fearlessly like that today?
What if we were to love someone today with a love like His and they be changed?

What if we were to actually use our hands and feet
to be His hands and feet?

What if we loved today like our Father loves us?
Without question.
Without bashing.
Without an alterior motive.

Be it.
Be the Hands and Feet of Jesus!


Lord, open our eyes to see the hurting
and the passion to use our hands and feet to be Your Light!
Cause our hearts to burst open with compassion!


Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me your love for humanity
Give me your arms for the broken hearted
Ones that are far beyond my reach.
Give me your heart for the ones forgotten
Give me your eyes so I can see.

~~Brandon Heath-Give Me Your Eyes


Proverbs 25:5
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
for You are the God of my salvation,
for You I wait all the day.


Isaiah 49:9
Saying to those who are bound, 'Go forth,' To those who are in darkness, 'Show yourselves.' Along the roads they will feed, And their pasture will be on all bare heights.   They will not hunger or thirst, Nor will the scorching heat or sun strike them down ; For He who has compassion on them will lead them And will guide them to springs of water.



The facts about homelessness:

Between 2.3 and 3.5 million people experience homelessness.

58% are living in shelters and 42% are not sheltered.
These include children.

A homeless child or a runaway has a 75% more chance of becoming a prostitute or a victim of human trafficking than a child living at home.

Resources:
http://www.endhomelessness.org/content/general/detail/2161
http://www.nationalhomeless.org/factsheets/How_Many.html
http://www.homelesschildrenamerica.org/


The facts about human trafficking:

The average age of trafficking victims is 12 years old.
There are more slaves in the world today than at any other point in human history,
with an estimated 27 million in bondage across the globe.
Men, women, and children are being exploited for manual and sexual labor against their will.
Every thirty seconds, someone is forced into this type of bondage—modern slavery.

 As the world’s fastest growing criminal industry, it affects every nation across the globe.

Resources:
http://love146.org/love-story
http://www.thea21campaign.org/

 







 
 



 
 


 





















 












 


1 comment:

  1. I've been hearing a lot about human trafficking lately on our christian radio station and like you I thought it was only in other countries. With two daughters; one the age they often are taken in by predators it makes my stomach turn. Yes, the hands and feet. Physically doing something to love someone who "thinks" they are unlovable. Aren't we all? I always tell my girls,"You have no idea what people are dealing with behind closed doors. You don't know if they feel loved or protected. You don't know so you have to love them and respond like Christ." Thank you for the post blogger friend.

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