Wednesday, January 22, 2014

41 years ago

41 years ago today, abortion was legalized in the United States. Since then it has been estimated that 56 million babies lives have been lost to abortion.

That is roughly 1/5th of the United States population who we will never know..."- Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.).

These words from our President makes my stomach sink: "And we resolve to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies, support maternal and child health, and continue to build safe and healthy communities for all our children. Because this is a country where everyone deserves the same freedom and opportunities to fulfill their dreams."

What about the freedom, opportunities, and dreams of those babies who lost their lives? What about their safety and health? They weren't even given a choice.

An article from "The Dream is Dead" New York civil rights campaign against abortion states:
"In 1963 when Martin Luther King Jr. shared his dream with the nation, he never envisioned an America where ”reproductive justice” would end 56 million innocent human lives... Just as Martin Luther King Jr. boldly spoke to a nation’s conscience on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial over 50 years ago: “Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.”"
(Read more here:

Martin Luther King Jr.'s vision is now stained by the blood of over 56 million who will never be ever to live out his dream.

Genesis 1:26- 28, 31 "Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.  God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground... God saw all that he had made, and it was very good."

Psalm 139:13-16 "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."

Read today's article from Missouri Right to Life's blog post on the march taking place in Washington D.C. today:

Friday, January 17, 2014

Human Trafficking

January is Human Trafficking Awareness month. A couple weeks ago I discovered a paper that I had received at the Mission to the World Global Conference at a seminar on Human Trafficking. On it were lists of books, websites, and resources that can be used to learn and to take action to fight this injustice of slavery that is taking place today.

"Meeting girls ages 12,13, 14 years old had become routine, however sad and horrific. But eleven? Not even a teenager, still very much a child..."Do you have any idea what kind of world we live in? Children are being sold!" I want to yell, perhaps for the more placid ones a vigorous shake of the shoulder. I'm disgusted by their ignorance, by their carefree attitudes." -Rachel Lloyd

I began to read this book by Rachel Lloyd called "Girls like Us" (which you can find at the St. Louis County Library). Rachel was a victim of sex trafficking and she writes this memoir of her healing process as she ministers to girls in NYC, who have also been domestically trafficked, through the organization she founded called GEMS. Her book is in depth and informative about sex trafficking, but also shares story after story of heartbreaking brokenness in the lives of so many young girls through this industry that is degrading to their very humanity. Their stories are similar in that they often come from abusive, broken, and impoverished homes. It begins there, with their views on normal life and love distorted and twisted into lie after lie. Their pimps convincing them that they belong in the life and could never fit in with the outside world, where they would not be taken care of or loved like they are now.
These girls don't escape this life through an instant decision to leave. It takes years and years for them to recover, many of the girls experiencing symptoms of Post traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD). They have learned from a young age of 11,12,13... that their worth comes from selling their bodies, what their pimp says or does to them, and that love involves beatings, rape, etc. In regards to the "good" that the pimps did for the girls, Rachel writes, "...the critical factor is not whether the kindness is legitimate or valid, simply that the victim perceives it to be so. For Danielle, it's her cubic zirconia necklace, for Angelina, it's the chocolate Yoo-hoos; for another girl it's the gift of a Wizard of Oz DVD, for another it's being allowed to sit in the front seat of the car. For some girls, the only kindness is the absence of violence..." This is truly heartbreaking.
There are so many other factors that only aggravate and don't alleviate the issues these girls face. I learned that many girls who are domestically trafficked aren't recognized as acceptable victims, that they are often seen as criminals because that they chose this life of prostitution. They are not receiving the grace, mercy, and justice that they deserve.
There is so much more, that I can hardly wrap my mind around it all but it's a start. This book is a must read.

I want to share just a few resources I found helpful or want to further investigate myself. I want to encourage you to learn, pray, and take action. We must fight against trafficking because it brings so much brokenness in the lives of children and teens who are also made in God's image and deserve to be loved and protected.

Very Young Girls Video clip answering "What is Human Trafficking" Nefarious: Merchant of Souls Documentary
4 Part PBS Documentary on book "Half the Sky"

Terrify No More by Gary A Haugen
These can be found at the St. Louis County Library:
Half the sky : turning oppression into opportunity for women worldwide / Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.*
Love does : discover a secretly incredible life in an ordinary world / Bob Goff.
The road of lost innocence / Somaly Mam with Ruth Marshall.*
Passport through darkness : a true story of danger and second chances / Kimberly L. Smith.
Undaunted : daring to do what God calls you to do / Christine Caine ; [foreword by Max Lucado].
"Girls Like Us" by Rachel Lloyd*
*Recommended after checking it out already

Please leave me a comment if there are books or other resources you'd recommend that I check out!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

No Good Thing Does He Withhold

Psalm 84:11-12 For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!

What a comfort to read and think on those words TODAY. God does not withhold good things from us. Our Father is trustworthy, He is good, He knows us intimately and He doesn't withhold good.

Yet my heart groans and I doubt because I hear the stories of brokenness and hardships my friends, family, co-workers, and patient's face. Things aren't they way they were intended to be. There is a lot of what looks like good being withheld for the time being.

Romans 8:23-28 "And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose."

While the waiting and the hardships we face now may seem like it's too much to bear, we have hope. Hope that we will be redeemed. That we have the help of the Spirit who speaks words to our Father out of our groans and sighs of pain and longing. We can know that, no matter what, God is working all things for our good, for His glory. This is not it, there's so much more to come.

Lord, I often want what I want, now; I want those hard situations to change. What I want is not always what you desire for me at this time. Give me patience, hope, and trust that you know what is ultimately good for me. Enable me to find rest in knowing that you are not withholding good from me. Thank you that you care even for the very smallest of my hurts and everyday struggles. Amen.