Friday, September 19, 2014

When Gratitude and Discontent Collide

As of this month I am the mother of two college students.  Both of my girls are attending college locally, so I get to see them each day as they head off to class or to work. (Both also have jobs as of today.)

This season is a bit overwhelming for them because in addition to juggling work and school, they are very aware that choices that they make now will determine the direction of their futures.  Each of my girls has been gifted with a sharp mind, good work habits and enough talent that the possibilities before them seem almost TOO many.  How does a girl decide?  Even my oldest, who knows with certainty that her chosen profession must involve cows, still has a surprising number of career options available to her.  You would think the whole cow requirement would drastically narrow your choices, but this is truly the land of opportunity!

I sympathize with their struggle, I really do.  I am also acutely mindful that such a smorgasbord of possibilities is a gift that is incomprehensible in many parts of the world.  As my daughters wrestle through the options before them, I can't help but think of a passage from the book Forgotten Girls by Kay Marshall Strom and Michelle Rickett.  One of the authors asked a young girl, "What do you want to be when you grow up?"   Initially the girl just answered with a stare.  When she finally answered, her response was a whispered, "I can't be anything."

Ugh.  Each time I picture the scene, I feel I've been kicked in the guts.

While I am grateful for the safe, comfortable life my daughters have enjoyed, I cannot be content with it after reading that story--because that could just as easily be my daughters.  There is NOTHING my family has done to deserve what we have more than that little girl.  I have no answer to why my girls live safe and valued in a culture of abundance while so many girls grow up in cultures that tell them they are worthless and expendable. 

I don't know yet what I am supposed to do with this concoction of overwhelming gratitude and unrelenting discontent that churns in me.    

I do know what I won't do.

I am not going to waste my passion demanding answers from a God who I know from experience is good even when circumstances are horrible.

I am not going to bury my head in the luxurious sand of my comfy North American life, praising God for my blessings while ignoring the ugliness elsewhere.  

I am not going to do nothing.

For now my "something" is to stand with those who are fighting the darkness with the light and hope of the Gospel.  I am standing with She is Safe and their partners in the darkest places through the Run to Rescue Virtual Run.   Will you join me?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

My Story: Moved to action by Transformation Groups

About a year ago a friend invited me to a tea to learn about the work a friend from her church does with She is Safe.

For several years my family had supported efforts to end human trafficking, so my friend thought I would be interested to meet someone who was doing the work in the field. Up until that point, my interest and focus had been on the urgent aspects of anti-slavery--namely rescuing victims and restoring them to wholeness.

Although She is Safe engages actively in rescue and restoration, what really captured my heart and imagination that day was when Katy told about her specific work with She is Safe: Transformation Groups.

It's one thing to rescue a girl from abuse and exploitation, but how much better to prevent the exploitation from ever happening in the first place!

If you were to visit the areas where She is Safe has chosen to focus their efforts, you would see cultures with rampant poverty and over population--cultures in which girl children are viewed as either a burden or a commodity to be sold. Women and girls in these parts of the world are vulnerable to a host of issues that go beyond sex-trafficking.

Transformation Groups engage with women in these cultures at a level to address these issues.  Through these groups the women themselves are empowered in ways that actually prevent trafficking and child marriage from happening in the first place.

Working with partners within the community, She is Safe teaches women about God's love and their value in His eyes.  Through the Transformation Group, women develop job skills, learn financial management, build savings and administer a lending pool as they support one another's success.   These activities are conducted in such a way that the group is self-sustaining.

The beauty of She is Safe's Transformation Group model is that it equips the women to create positive influences in their community and better futures for their children without creating dependency.  Once empowered, these women are often moved to then reach out with the little they have and impact others.  The stories are amazing, and I hope to share some of them as we move towards the event date.

I encourage you to follow the links I have peppered throughout this post, which take you to appropriate pages on the She is Safe website.  Perhaps some other aspect of their work will capture your heart.  That's great!  My prayer is that you will get as excited about this work as I am and be eager to gather a team of runners together and join us virtually the weekend of October 10-12!

If you want to get involved immediately, especially if you are a business who would help by sponsoring this event, please contact me at .