Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Dealing with sin patterns in my life was never really done until this year.  I mean, I did what are so often considered 'little' sins like telling a white lie or picking on my brother.  However, I never looked deeply into my life allowing God to brush the cobwebs away and show me the parts of myself that I refused to admit were there.  

My addiction to sin wasn't a public one at all.  It was so private that often I was able to convince myself that it wasn't really a problem and that it would only become a problem if I told someone.  So, I sinned on for fourteen years, convincing myself that I didn't have a sin issue that needed to be dealt with.  When this pattern of destruction, brokenness, and shame started, I was 5 years old.  I really had no idea what I was doing and by the time I realized that I was doing something that wouldn't glorify God, I had become an expert in justifying my sins.  

I stumbled upon healing in an effort to rid myself of shame from what I thought was an isolated instance of sin.  A friend pushed me to open up to my mom about this instance.  She said, "shame is not from God. Guilt over sin is, but shame is not.  It's a tool that Satan uses to destroy lives and community."  Those words carried weight with me.  God used those words to spur me on to action.  As I was vulnerable with others in my Christian community, I felt God healing me.  With each word I spoke, it was as if He was shining a bit more light into the darkest, most concealed parts of my soul.

The thing that shame cannot stand against is vulnerability.  If God did not make me absolutely uncomfortable until I told someone the thing about myself that was so private that they would have never found out on their own, I would still be feeling the weight of sin and shame upon my shoulders.  And God has used my vulnerability with my struggles to break the pain of shame and bondage of sin with almost every person I have shared with.  Isn't God faithful? To use something so broken, so messy to heal others.  I am utterly amazed.

I still struggle.  Some days are better than others.  But since God has given me the strength to open up to others in my Christian community, I have accountability.  So often I think that, as a Christian, I am expected to be perfect.  When I am dealing with hard things, I don't want to tell anyone so they don't realize that I'm not perfect.  Newsflash!! A perfect Christian cannot be found on this earth.  So why are we trying to keep up the illusion of being perfect?  This illusion only brings pain and shame.  Being vulnerable with our brokenness allows us to be part of an authentic Christian community that is not perfect, but is continually encouraging its members to become more and more like Jesus.

God is faithful.  And each day, through the struggles I have, He is illuminating the dark parts in order to mold me into a woman more like Him.  Praise God!

Friday, June 14, 2013


“They forget that their hands have any other use than stripping, that their breasts are of any other than to bear the wrenching of the men.  That their nails serve to protect their tender finger tips.  That they can adorn themselves for themselves and not necessarily to attract buyers”
The Truth As It Is, Sanlaap India.

I first learned about sex trafficking when I was 14 years old.  I was looking up Natalie Grant on my computer at home because I liked some of her music. I saw that she was involved in an organization that was trying to combat something called sex trafficking.  I didn't know what it was.... so I looked it up.  Some of my first thoughts were oh my. this cannot be real. People don't really buy and sell people for that. Do they? Girls my age and younger have to do those things for anyone that pays?? I don't want anyone to ever, ever have to do that! I need to help stop this.

Since that day, God has tugged at my heart strings continually over the practice of human trafficking for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation.  I have been able to do projects that allow me to learn more about this practice. Most recently, I wrote a research paper comparing sex trafficking in India to that of the United States for an English class this past fall and was able to share statistics and stories with my classmates.  When I finished my paper, I sat at my desk sobbing... not because I was done with my final at last, but because I was so overwhelmed with the gravity of sex trafficking.  

Although I would never guess that God would somehow tie pieces of my story together (sarcasm), He once again surprised me when He did.  Two things--three if you throw in India--that God has been shaping my heart to care for fit together in the puzzle!  Sex trafficking is actually related to the pandemic of orphans.  

People in the grips of sex trafficking do not have the ability to care for their children due to their current circumstances or die and leave their children as orphans.  Sadly, this is a cycle.  It does not stop there.  Orphans are more vulnerable to traffickers because they have no one to take care of them and thus are impoverished.  Not only can traffickers kidnap orphans easily without anyone necessarily noticing that they are gone, but traffickers can use the poverty these children are experiencing to lure them into their traps.  They promise a better life, but all too soon, these children discover that the promises are full of false hope.  

It is estimated that in the last 30 years, 30 million children have been trafficked and sexually exploited worldwide.

Currently in India, there are an estimated 400,000 children sex workers.  Approximately 200 Indian women and girls are trafficked into sexual exploitation each day.  To put that in perspective, I go to West Virginia University where a typical freshman lecture class is made up of 200 people.  That's a full lecture hall of people forced to perform sexual favors for someone else against their will brought into the 'business' every single day.

This isn't just a third-world country problem.  It's a problem for every country in the world.  And for every state in my country.  Yes, even the great USA faces sex trafficking.  Approximately 300,000 native US children are at risk for being trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation with 100,000 to 150,000 currently in sex slavery.  In addition, an estimated 14,500 to 17,500 foreign children are brought to the United States for sex.  These practices go on right under our noses.

If that doesn't break your heart, I have no idea what will.

In the midst of this heart break, there is a glimpse of hope.  As more and more people are made aware of this issue, we have a chance to combat it.  Caring for orphans is a great step.  When we make sure that they are cared for, we decrease their vulnerability towards being picked up by traffickers.  

When we show those that are susceptible to or have been rescued from sex trafficking God's selfless love, we are showing them hope that is shimmering in the light of God's love.  Despite this, it is hard to not be discouraged when the statistics are apparent.  But I am not afraid.  Even if I do not live to see the abolition of this kind of slavery, I know that it will happen.  God is on the side of those treated unjustly.  

"He will bring justice to the poor of the people; He will save the children of the needy, And will break in pieces the oppressor."  Psalm 72:4 NKJV

Check out these sources to learn more about human trafficking for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation: