I wrestled with God all week about what I should write about. I just wanted to write about THIS part of my life, where I was safe and felt safe most days. Where I was loved and free.
But He kept leading me to hard places. No. I’m tired. I’m done with that part of my life. Let’s move on please. I pleaded with Him.
He had that same soft but stern voice: Be still! Trust me! He reminded me that we were in our “arrow season.” He was taking us back to hard places to launch us into greatness. Sometimes we have to sit in uncomfortable, hard places to get where we need to go.
I was in a hard, dark place and I surrendered. I allowed God to do the work… Just trusted him. It was hard but freeing…
My story was born in the dark, but my friend once said, “The stories born in the dark… those stories are the ones that carry the power to restore lives.” I WANT to restore lives. I want other survivors to feel and experience the love and freedom I have.
When I was 9, my aunt took nude pictures of me and sold them. I never understood why she did that, but she did. It didn’t seem wrong to me. I was my aunt, after all. But then she kept wanting to do it over and over and I just wanted it to stop.
When I turned 12 years old, my mom sold me to a guy to pay off her debts. She took me to a motel and I became pregnant. I had a beautiful baby boy, a son. I don’t remember much else about his birth except for I knew I had never felt that kind of love before. It was the greatest feeling in the world. I don’t remember anything else. I didn’t get to raise my son or take care of him the way I wanted. He became my brother.
When I turned 14, my aunt sold me to my trafficker. Hollywood (TV) makes leaving trafficking seem so simple and fast. It’s not… It’s hard… Sometimes it’s a “lucky rescue,” if someone else reports it and the building or place gets raided. Sometimes it’s going to jail that gets you out. Sometimes you just gather up the courage and you finally say enough is enough.
But sometimes you never really leave. Even after you physically get out. Sometimes it creeps up on you through flashbacks or nightmares. Sometimes the hurt is just in your heart.
I left about 15 times before I actually left and you know what? I’m still 25% “in.” I still have my days where I miss them. I still have those moments where I scroll through their social media and wonder what I’m missing or if they miss me like I want them to. I even have those days where I miss the fast life and fast money. But I wouldn’t want to go back.
I love being free… I have always been told there was freedom in Christ, but I never really felt free. But now? This journey of questioning everything I’ve ever known has only brought me closer to Jesus. The best thing I’ve ever done was surrender the battle to God! Now I’m free!
I am free to forgive myself, love myself, and love others. I’m free to see myself the way God sees me. It’s hard sometimes, but I try.
FREEDOM. I want that for every survivor out there. I will fight for them and with them, just as others have done for me!!
This difficult journey has taught me FREEDOM IS LOVE… love and hope and loving others well. You’ll know it when you feel it.
We must do the hard work. We must open our eyes to the hard truth. We must listen with our hearts, not just our ears. WE NEED TO FIGHT for those who cannot fight for themselves.
Are you in?