It’s hard to read. The stories that make my brain hurt and my heart ache. Stories that belong in a horror novel. Stories that make me angry. The brutal reality of these stories is too much to just do nothing. Girls. Women. Enduring horrible things at the hands of those who twist religious ideologies to suit their own base views. Treated like property. It’s enough to leave a soul heaving, begging for reprieve.
Whether it’s the accounts of women enslaved and sold to ISIS soldiers, who rape them and share them with other soldiers, or girls enticed…forced into a life of prostitution, or girls silently wounded at the hands of those they trust or females in general silenced from the pulpit, the stories tell of a grave injustice and they demand me…we…us do something.
Why am I drawn to the issues of rape, child sexual abuse, domestic abuse, prostitution, sex trafficking, and poverty? Why do I spend my “precious” time reading these stories letting them break my heart and ruffle my feathers? Why do I allow these things to bring my warrior spirit alive, roaring, wanting to fight for those that I will probably never meet? Why? Because it’s my spirit bending to the Holy Spirit. I was born with a warrior spirit. FOR A REASON. I was born with a voice. SO I WOULD USE IT. I was set free from the chains of bondage and my own demons. FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS.
I don’t speak to those who know me. Those who tell me they can’t imagine the things I’ve seen, heard and experienced. Those who wrap their arms around me and love me and tell me I am safe. Those who want to protect me from pain and hurt. I speak for the voiceless. I speak for the little girl I was. The little girl with no voice. The little girl who is. The little girl who sits in her room and asks, “Does anybody know who I am? Does anybody care?” I speak because Abba has asked me to speak. I share my intimate pain, my sorrow, my shame because I have been asked to do PRECISELY that.
The problem is I know…I can feel…the pain they face. I know the irrational belief that my body is not my own. I know the fear of walking in the presence of men, afraid that I’ve shown too much, inviting them to violate my body. That if a man wishes to use my body I must submit, because that is what a Holy and Righteous God demands. I know the pain of poverty. The pang of a child going to sleep with nothing to eat. Night after excruciating night. I know the taste of pickles and mayonnaise because that’s all there is to eat. FOR A WEEK. I know the horror of domestic abuse. I know the despair with a pillow tucked over my ears so I can’t hear the screams, the fights, the noises of something I don’t understand, but now know is something so soul-crushing it makes me ache. I know the oppression of silence. I know the confusion when Abba asked me to speak and I said “I have to ask the man of God first.” and the man of God laughed and said, “Who are you?” I know the pain. The pain of being born a girl, becoming a woman and being subject to the whims of men.
BUT I also know love. I know the love of a man who married a girl despite everyone’s objection. Who didn’t know why she did what she did or why she insisted upon running away at the sound of conflict. Who fell apart when she was needed the most. I know the love of a man who respected my dignity and never forced me to do things I couldn’t do. Things that he wanted but would send me reeling into the darkness. Despite our problems, the lack of romantic love, my husband, as my brother in Christ, loved me like no one had loved me before.
I know the love of my Jesus, my Messiah. The one who loved me enough, that he walked with me to the bottom of myself. In the darkest hour, he came off that cross and he stood with me. Never leaving me. Quietly loving me. The one who told me that I was beloved. The one who asked me if I had met the Father.
I know the unending love of Abba. Oh how I know the one who knitted me together in my mother’s womb. The one who gave me a warrior spirit and a momma’s heart. The one who loves the fact that I love seagulls and I hate house cleaning. The one who smiles when I say something silly and listens patiently when I yell at him for whatever reason. The one who opened his arms and held me as I lay weeping. The one who tells me again and again. YOU ARE MY DAUGHTER. Your name is REDEEMED.
I am being called to do something greater than just sit behind a blog and whine about things that bother me. I can feel him pushing me to the edge. To be radically loving and fiercely brave. My story must be told. Not because it’s heartbreaking or it demands justice. It must be told because these girls…women need to know the love that can bring a soul roaring back to life.
I bear the image of my Father. It is HIS work I must do. May I learn to do it well.