Sometimes I forget that my reality is not everyone’s reality. I forget that even if I don’t have everything I think I need, want or deserve, I have been blessed with freedom that allows me to rule over my dignity and my body. I have not been forced to give up my childhood and become a sexual object or forced to satisfy someone else’s desires that are rooted in lust and selfishness. But sadly, on average, 16 girls and boys are abruptly deprived of this freedom in my own city each day.
Even though these kids are forced to live that reality –nightmare is a more fitting word to it- in the past 10 months, walking with International Justice Mission and trying to obtain justice for these kids, I have learned these things:
Each of us, in one way or another, can be part of the solution! We just need to find the best way to do it. You might have a clear call from God to help give your time and your talents, as I did when I joined IJM. Maybe you can financially support someone that is doing that (if you are interested in doing this please contact me: I have a number of missionary friends that could use your support). Or maybe you can pray for freedom and justice (this is powerful! Don´t underestimated the power of prayer).
Knowing more than you do or than you want to know can be painful and facing reality can lead you to overthink, get frustrated, cry, and make all problems seem too big. It can even lead you to despair. But I have learned that it is ok! Those are the first steps: acknowledging the problem and feeling something that, later, would move you to action! – It is way better than having a numb brain/heart.
Just remember, being exposed to the cruel reality of sexual violence against children can bring out the best of you, but it can also bring out the worst! I have been down that road. I had to face the worst of me while I tried to feel superior climbing my own ego and prejudice, while I fought for justice, while I prayed for restoration, while I learned to see myself in the eyes of the oppressed, while God made me new again.
Unbelievably as it might seem, peace will come our way when we most need it. It can come in advance to prepare us to face what we think we can’t face, or it might come after a long process needed to put all the pieces of our heart together once again.
Snapshots are one of my favorite ways to remember life! Yet, there are moments, words and tears that we can’t photograph. However “He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name”! (Psalm 147:4)
“These three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” says 1 Corinthians 13:13. If we can’t love them, who will? If we can’t show them that a life with joy is possible, how will they face tomorrow?
If we love the least of these! (The song below will better explain this though)
Come on Andrea! Is this post going to be over soon? Yes, it will! Thanks for bearing with me while I try to process all the things I’ve faced in 2013!
Everything I have written might not have a proper grammar connector for each paragraph, but if you look close enough you will find a secret message. Yes, it is an acrostic! And it says… SEEK JUSTICE! (Thanks Hilary, my amazing new roommate, for the idea). Every one of you, friends, family and subscribers on this blog have been part of this journey where I have learned to SEEK JUSTICE – even if that meant that I needed it to face the not so shiny side of justice and freedom. YOU ALL HAVE WALKED THIS PATH WITH ME -and I am so thankful for that!
Love and Merry Christmas!