I (Lorin) have served women who are at risk and in-recovery from human trafficking for years. You would think that after all of this time, their stories would seem similar or that the time spent together would become predictable. However that has not been the case at all. Every single woman I have served is unique -- her circumstances, her journey, her personality, how she views the world, how she views herself. Each of them says the most beautiful and profound things during our time together, things that stay with me forever.
Often as they are talking, I get to be just a mirror -- to listen, love and to help remind them of their beauty and worth. We celebrate all of the victories (small and large) in their lives. Sometimes these victories are external, like getting out of the hospital, landing a new job or regaining custody of their children. But these victories can often be internal, like believing that they don’t have to be defined by their past, or deciding that they actually like who they see in the mirror. I love hearing what is going on in their lives and reflecting back to them the beauty & strength that I see displayed in their words and stories.
One afternoon, I was cutting hair for one of the ladies in a housing program that we partner with. She shared something that was so powerful as she was recounting some early years of her life laced with gangs and violence. At one point as she was sharing about how bad things got on the streets, she told me something I will never forget: “Sometimes you have to hit the ground really hard to look UP.” This statement carried such weight, I had to stop cutting her hair for a moment to take it in. For her this was a moment of transformation, a moment that she knew that she needed to turn away from the decisions she was making that were bringing her nothing but a life of darkness, and that she knew that God was her lifeline. "Looking up" meant that her burdens could become light, her true identity, worth & beauty reclaimed. So amazing. So incredibly powerful. It was the beginning of a new journey --one where she was no longer walking a fine, dangerous line with her life, but now walking in the new.
This whole conversation reminded me of a verse in the Bible that has been near to my heart ever since I began serving women. Psalm 34:5 says, "Those who look to HIM are radiant- their faces are never covered in shame." This concept was so powerfully on display in my friend's life that day in front of me. When she was willing to look up, to look to God for her identity, for help, for direction, for love, there was no place for shame... only radiance reflected because He restores. This allowed her to begin shining brightly and beautifully no matter what had happened to her or what she had done. This radiance reflects in so many of the women we serve- a lightness in their smile, a glow in their eyes and a new peace in their hearts no matter what they have faced... and it is my absolute JOY to behold. Thank you for helping to make this possible.