Tea ~ Jasmine Pearls
Anyone who knows me well would probably describe me as a passionate, hard-working person. Most would say how great those qualities are and what a strength it is, but in recent months & years, God has revealed what a weakness it can be and what a temptation to take on too much can do.
With the work that God has called me to do with Traffick Free and the issue of human trafficking that I think about on a daily basis, it doesn’t take much for me to feel overwhelmed because the topic itself is overwhelming. I sometimes find it hard to allow myself to experience good or pleasurable things because I know that there are people in the world that have nothing, face disease or oppression constantly, have no home or family or that someone will purchase them for sex and abuse or exploit them later that night. It pains me. Just last week, Greg & I watched The Whistleblower, “A drama based on the experiences of Kathryn Bolkovac, a Nebraska cop who served as a peacekeeper in post-war Bosnia and outed the U.N. for covering up a sex scandal,” as recommended by a friend. *WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT* I was not mentally or emotionally prepared for a scene in which a young girl is sexually violated by a metal pipe because she ran away from her pimp and got caught. And even worse, was to make the other girls held captive watch in horror while they made an example of her. They didn’t even show any part of her body during this scene, the terror and reaction to this act were enough to get the point across.
I had to turn it off. I spent the next 20 minutes sobbing on my husband’s chest while he held me. How can I sleep at night when there are women out there being treated this way at this very moment? I wanted to ask Rachel Lloyd of GEMS in NYC (an amazing organization and program that Traffick Free hopes to incorporate their model into ours when our housing gets up and running) a similar question last year when she came to Chicago for her book release party and our expert panel event. “How do you do this kind of work everyday without taking the weight of it onto your shoulders?” The real challenge is that she lived it. She wrote about her time in “the life” as well as the work she’s doing now to end human trafficking in NYC in her memoir, Girls Like Us, which I am in the middle of reading, and it’s wonderful so far.
The truth is, a year ago I had to really pray about and think through coming on staff with Traffick Free because I know that my temptation is to take the weight of the world on my shoulders. We were involved for 10 months before I made a commitment to a director role because I had to be sure that this was what I wanted to do. It wouldn’t be fair to dip my toe in, have others in leadership rely on me, only to be wishy washy about the whole thing. So how does one deal with heavy issues that can easily become heavy burdens?
“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” ~ Matthew 11:28-30
If you are reading this and are not a follower of Jesus, I don’t know how you do it. I am unable to do life on my own strength. These words in the book of Matthew are a comfort to me as I seek to rest in the Lord. If I wasn’t resting in Him, I wouldn’t be resting at all. I am a work-aholic and my default mode is to carry the burdens of others on myself. In this interview with Moody Radio that I was asked to do this week, I talked about the one and only time I’ve felt compelled to call the National Human Trafficking Hotline (888-3737-888, save it in your cell phone right now and report any suspicious activity) in a small, rural town called Bridgman, Michigan, last fall (not far from where I grew up). One woman commented later on our Facebook page: “I can’t stop thinking about the story of the woman & child in the back seat.” Please listen to the interview to hear the story as well as how I heard about human trafficking 2 years ago and what I’m doing about it. I would love your feedback!
What heavy burdens do you carry that you could give up to the Lord? Please be praying for me about this area of my life. We are not meant to carry and bear the weight of this broken world when Jesus already has. And we are made perfect in weakness. By admitting this weakness, I am made stronger and whole again. Join me in doing the same with your burdens so that we might find rest. And my birthday is next Thursday, support this ministry with a donation as I donate my birthday to Traffick Free!