Finding Redemption: Part 1

You would have thought I was committing a crime the way I wandered into the store late last night. Of all the hours to be awake and all the places to go grocery shopping. I wandered the aisles in my winter coat and sweatpants, as if to raise a middle finger to the superstore I always avoid and to the brokenness I’ve seen through the exploitation of souls so pure and feminine. This place is a far cry from the dusty roads and painful stories of sweet cherub faces I’ve greeted over the last two weeks. My mind boggled and spun as the stories relapsed in my mind.

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A Revelation of Beauty & Exploit

The last month of research has been a reminder of the brokenness in the world but mostly of a God who loves and longs to fully redeem. It pricked at my own heart in a personal way as God pulled out wounds I thought were long healed. Because of this, I feel connected to the stories I’ve heard in a way that only my God can bring about. He has not had a lack of imagination when revealing His stunning beauty to me as He pursues with the fullness of His love, so evident in every whisper to my heart.

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It is heavy to carry any of this knowledge of a broken world that exploits purity, honor, and beauty in exchange for self-indulgence at the expense of life. I would think, that the knowledge of it would shut the heart down for good.; that the knowledge of the oppression of the feminine and the innocent would cut my heart off for good. However, it’s been a process of getting closer to the opposite. Getting closer to victory in the relentless pursuit of the restoration of the innocent heart, and seeing that hope too in the horrors that are reality today across the globe.

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It is difficult, I have found, to not respond to the sexual exploitation of people a number of common ways: anger and hopelessness, overwhelm leading to apathy, shutting down completely. However, as I study the work others are doing in the fight against the death of innocence, I find myself more alive in the knowledge of true hope and victory.

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Her Story – My Story – Ours

The thoughts pound around in my heart. The things I’ve avoided for so many years because I’m afraid to release. My own tale of relational oppression, the one that I let run rampant in my heart for far too many years after its release, the words that come out of my bloody heart in the midst of my darker days. The part of my past that bleeds into the stories I heart of the exploited heart. Why does this come up when surrounded by horrors beyond fathoming. Yet, today, the “not enough” spoken over me in the past (while seemingly ages away from the horrors I hear from the hearts of dear innocents) is revealed as a root of so many pains scrubbed into the existence of men who buy and women who sell. This message of unworthiness & deep wounded brokenness now keep me moving toward freedom for people whose stories of horror and survival run so much deeper in the veins and bloodstream than mine ever has.

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Cracked Marble Hearts

It seems so recent, that darkest time two years ago now, realizing my heart was worn down and marble cold and unbreakable, I’d made sure of that. I had decided years before that I would hide certain things from God and that I would go it alone. The letter I wrote to God in my desperation that day was the tip of an iceberg that could melt for no one but eventually Him. One of the main things I vowed in my heart to withhold was relationship, of any kind. I was shut down and stone cold, reeking of hardened independence from wounds I dared not speak of for fear that they would become real again.

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On the outside, it seemed like I had it together, and I thought I was fine on my own. The marble shell I’d placed around my heart was keeping out most of the pain, and also everything else good that can come with fully grieved hurts. However, I was still wounded at the core and that pain still bled out every so often.

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The Invitation

“I cannot possibly be dealing with this still.” I would think as I shoved the wounded thoughts back down. I can’t possibly be hurting from something lost nearly 6 full years ago. I didn’t want to give him the satisfaction and didn’t want to give God what He had been asking for so long. “Until you can accept only my love you won’t be able to fully receive love from others…” It wasn’t a threat, it was simply an invitation to wholeness. I didn’t know what to do with it, because intimacy seemed too vulnerable. God would lead me there and then leave me.

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I didn’t want to admit it, but I was so lost. Here I was, a child of God, holy and set apart, and I was undone.

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To be continued…

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