Last fall my pastor preached a sermon series based on Steven Furtick’s book, Greater. The commitments I made as a result of what I heard completely changed the direction of my life. God seemed to be telling me that it was time for me to take a bold step and start writing.
You can ask anyone who knows me, I always wanted to be a writer. They would also tell you that I always ran from writing. After a lot of prayer and discussion, I decided to quit nursing school, open my computer, and start writing.
A part of the writing process involves learning the craft. I began reading books, articles, and blogs about how to write well and how to navigate the publishing world. Everything I read told me I needed a strong platform. I began to network with other writers. I wanted to learn from their experiences. I discovered a world of young Christian women who are writing books and blogs about issues that I had no idea existed. I began to shift how I blog. I started sharing some of my story and talking about the things God was teaching me.
About the same time, one of my friends asked me to join her on a mission trip. As I prepared to go to Thailand, I prayed that God would use the trip to make a lasting impact on my life. I did not want it to be a splash in the bucket event. I expected change. I did not, however, expect to be upended. All summer I worked through the things I saw and learned. I searched for how they practically applied to my life. I found the answer in Louisville, Kentucky.
About a month after returning from Bangkok, John and I took the students from our church to M-Fuge, a youth mission camp. Students work for five days with local ministries, putting hands and feet to their love for Christ. As I served alongside twenty beautiful teenager girls, I realized that the work I did in Thailand also needed to be done in my backyard. I started to form an idea. I want to mobilize women in my community to find their passions and serve others.
Throughout the summer I continued to read books by the bloggers I discovered. Each book spoke to me, but one book opened my eyes to two extremely different but powerful ideas. Rachel Held Evans discusses the deeper meaning behind the notorious Proverbs 31 Woman in her book, A Year in Biblical Womanhood.
She explains that the Hebrew words for the wife of noble character are eshet chayi which means “woman of valor.” As a result of her findings, Evans makes it a point to celebrate Women of Valor on her blog. These women come from all backgrounds. The common thread is that they are making a difference within their individual contexts. The juxtaposed lesson I learned revolved around the Texts of Terror.
The texts of terror include the dark stories of women in the Bible who were forgotten, abused, and even killed. Evans shared that each year it is a Jewish tradition to remember one of these women, the daughter of Jephthah. I thought about the women of valor I know. I thought about the terror filled stories that are never heard. I began to ask God how I should respond.
A few weeks ago, John and Andy went on a backpacking trip. I had a lot of free time to cook what I wanted, stay up as late as I wanted, and watch what I wanted. The first night I decided to catch up on my blog reading. I came across an article written for The Gospel Coalition about human trafficking. I was aware of many of the facts. However, many of the statistics were new to me. One shook me so violently I nearly vomited.
The average age a teen enters the sex trade in the U.S. is 12 to 14-year-old. According to, children exploited through prostitution report they typically are given a quota by their trafficker/pimp of 10 to 15 buyers per night, though some service providers report girls having been sold to as many as 45 buyers in a night at peak demand times, such as during a sports event or convention.
Utilizing a conservative estimate, a domestic minor sex trafficking victim who is rented for sex acts with five different men per night, for five nights per week, for an average of five years, would be raped by 6,000 buyers during the course of her victimization through prostitution.
~ Joe Carter, 9 Things You Should Know About Human Trafficking
Six thousand times? I cannot fathom the horror!
I decided everyone needed to know these facts. I opened my Facebook page and began to write a post. I concluded it saying, Who will rise up? Who will stand up and be the next Martin Luther King, Jr., a voice for freedom and justice? My heart pounded with the enormity of the problem. I was about to push post when God whispered a profound question to my heart.
Why not you?
Thus began a wrestling match with God. Who me? I am uneducated, unknown, a nobody? God reminded me that my arguments were not new. Moses uttered the same words as he stood before a burning bush thousands of years ago.
I tried a new angle.
I don’t want to. I don’t want a life obsessed by a cause. I don’t want a life consumed with a single purpose. I don’t want to make enemies. I don’t want to live in conflict. I don’t want to risk my life. I want to sit on my back deck with John and watch my future grandchildren play. I want peace and quiet.
I was appalled by my reaction. I always imagined that if God called me I would answer Him with the eagerness of Isaiah. “Here I am LORD! Send Me!” (Isaiah 6:8) I assumed my heart was inclined to listen and respond to God just like young Samuel, “Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:10).
In truth, my heart was full of pride. I was self-righteous and judged others for the very thing I was doing. I knelt before God and asked Him to change my heart.
A few days later the movie Amazing Grace came on TV. I knew the movie’s premise but had never seen it. As I watched the story of William Wilberforce unfold, I realized he was everything I did not want to be. He was a man impassioned for a cause. He was consumed by a single purpose. He was willing to make enemies, to live in conflict, to risk not only his career but his life.
I also discovered the way he wanted to the kind of life I did. He wanted to sit on the wet grass in his backyard and worship God while studying the intricacies of a spider web. He wanted a life of peace and quiet. He, too, wrestled with God before submitting to His call.
What was God saying to me? Did He really want me to be to start working wholeheartedly to eradicate human trafficking? What about other issues- poverty, hunger, AIDS, war. Why not those? What about people’s need for spiritual freedom? Was God really asking me to be the next Martin Luther King, Jr.? I continued to pray, trying to piece together what God was saying and doing.
I knew without a doubt that God called me to write my story. I knew God wanted me to use my blog as a forum. I knew God wanted me to become more involved in the issues going on in our world. I knew He wanted to use my trips to Thailand and Louisville. I knew He wanted me to work with women to make an impact on my community. I still did not know how I should respond to the books I read.
I continued to wrestle with God. Eventually, I grew tired and stopped fighting and demanding. Instead, I sat quietly at His feet and listened. And of course, that is when He spoke. He showed me a small piece of how He was threading each of these things into the tapestry of my life. Here is what I heard:
I have a story to tell, but it is not the only story that needs to be told. There are stories of valor as well as tales of terror that need to be heard. I need to look for these stories. When I find them, I can ask the questions that will uncover the depth of their stories. I can listen. When I am done listening, I can write. I can write the stories of men, women, and children. I can write the stories of churches and ministries. I can use my platform to amplify my voice and theirs. I can gather an army of committed women to work with the ministries in my community and around the world. As I serve, I can ask questions. I can listen. I can write. I can respond by giving my life away to tell one more story.
I may not be the next Martin Luther King, Jr., but I can use my voice to tell stories for the cause of freedom.