Seeing Life

It is hard to believe exactly one year ago at this time I was writing my annual Human Trafficking Awareness post while living in an aftercare home for young girls and boys rescued from the brothels in India.

My eyes were opened while living in that home.  It was in that home God highlighted the issue of the value of life.

I say this because many people from all backgrounds would argue that the lives of those children I grew to love while in India should have never existed.

In our world there is an argument about the idea that a life brought into adverse circumstances should not be a life at all.

I know this argument because I used to fall silent when I heard the comments.  “That child won’t have much of a life at all, why didn’t they use birth control.”  “Those parents are irresponsible those poor children are going to suffer, why were they born?”  “That abortion saved that child from growing up without stability.”

In the silence is where my heart wrestled with what I knew to be true; that every life has value.  The reason for the wrestling match in my heart is because I could understand never wanting to see people suffer.  I used to think if suffering can be stopped before it starts, it definitely should be!

I understand these arguments in a different light after going through my own experience of suffering.  Suffering has a way of turning our worst into God’s best.  To keep people from suffering is an injustice in itself.

My heart still breaks for those children I lived with last year at this time.  Their wounds are wide open, gushing pain and suffering.  I learned in that home: the wounds they possess do not affect the value they possess.  Their value was determined for them before they were born into brothels.  Anything they have gone through and things they are yet to go through will never change the value of their life.

God didn’t wait to see how we handled this life before He chose us to be His own, He chose us before we were born, still in our mother’s womb.  He did the same with these precious children.

God created our lives for a purpose and with value.  Do we believe that in our hearts?

So often I think we fight for causes because we are covering up the pain that comes from the lack of purpose or value we feel in our own lives.  We want to feel significant, we want to prove our life has value so we do something, we fight something.  Meanwhile, the cross and empty grave prove our significance and value.  Jesus fought and won our biggest battle for us so we could hold onto His victory.  Any battle we now face, we face holding onto God’s victorious hand.

The injustice of human trafficking can feel overwhelming because it does have so many aspects.  Yet we face this injustice with God’s victory.  He is fighting for each life impacted in one way or another by slavery.

He is also fighting for you.  You cannot give someone something you do not have.  If you struggle to find value in your own life, how can you possibly tell someone who is held captive, trapped in misery, that their live has value and purpose?

Let the reason you “do something” about human trafficking be embracing and professing the value and purpose God places on every life before they are ever born into any set of circumstances in this world.

Little Disclaimer: Since being home I have felt my passion to do something about human trafficking fade away. I had/have a hard time understanding this as I believe God is the one who put that passion in my heart to begin with.  As I write this post, I see so clearly how God wants my passion for “doing something” to be motivated by His heart not my sight.  It is easy for me to see a need and fill it, yet God has called me to see life and proclaim it valuable.

There was a time in my life, more recent than I would like to admit, that I struggled knowing and believing the value my life held.  When I read the following verse in John every lie I believed about the value of my life was washed away: children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.  John 1:13.  I am more than my parents plan for a family, I am God’s plan.  You are God’s plan and so are all of those children that melted my heart in India.

Currently, God has me in a season where I find myself constantly confronted with the question: Do you believe this life is valuable?  I am learning the value of life in ways I never have.  God is not taking these passions away; He is simply strengthening them in Him.  It is not a simple process but it is necessary and I am thankful that in this new season, His love remains.

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Last Year At This Time

Lately every day I have found myself saying the following:

Last year at this time I was….

In Amsterdam

In India

In Spain

and so on and so on.

If I really think about it I guess I have always struggled living in the here and now.  Instead, my thoughts drift to the past or hope for the future.

There is nothing wrong with remembering the past and planning for the future, however there is something we cannot miss about the here and now.

I am entering this new year with almost a sense of grief leaving behind everything this past year held for me.

This was the year I was able to live in a country I call home.  This was the year I received a front row seat to the amazing works God was doing in the lives of people God entrusted to me to minister His love, healing, and grace to.  This was the year I found myself really understanding and living out true obedience to our Lord and Savior.  This was the year I found myself fully relying on God in a way I never have before, ultimately bringing me much closer to Him.  This was the year I found myself so close to God’s broken heart.  This was the year I saw God provide for me in ways that I could never imagine possible.  This was the year I learned what a step of faith looks like, personally.  This was the year I understood what standing firm in God’s truth really means.  This was the year I met the man I have been waiting for…for a really long time!  This was the year I cried more tears than usual but also laughed more joyfully than usual.  This was the year God brought me to a job where I get to learn the value of life and use the talents and gifts He has given me for His glory.

There is an almost overwhelming sadness knowing that this year is going to be completely different from last year.  Part of me wants to go back.  Yet another part of me wants to embrace the here and now.

That is the part of me I am really embracing as I start this new year.  Maybe this new season of my life will be one where the BIG things of last year will not exist.  I have decided I am completely content with that.  In fact, I am excited for that because if there is one thing I have learned these past couple of months, it is that we cannot live for these BIG moments.  We must live for all of the little moments in between.  Any BIG thing is not the end, it is truly only the beginning.

So as I reflect on the BIG moments of 2016 I look forward with excitement for the true ending with God in Heaven one day.

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 3:14