Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I need thee every breath

There is much for me to learn about Lent. Growing up in a more protestant tradition, Lent was a practice in which we rarely engaged.

At All Souls, I have learned to pay attention to this time of introspection, repentance and anticipation of healing.

Tonight, I'm playing my violin in the Ash Wednesday service. The hymn I Need the Every Hour.

What a lovely thought.

This morning, I opened my Nook to read today's entry in Jesus Calling. It is written from the perspective of Jesus, his words of love to the author.

The first sentence this morning?

"You need me every moment."

There ya go.

I'm not sure how or why, but this will be my meditation this season of Lent.

I need thee every breath.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Isn't 500,000 Alarming?

I saw a photo online today. It was a picture of male celebrities holding a sign that reads "Real Men Don't Buy Girls."

One immensely tragic element of the human trafficking epidemic around the world is the practice of kidnapping young children and selling them into sex slavery. "Sex slavery" is a nice way of saying these children are raped, repeatedly, each night so someone else can make a profit.

The issues of the men who purchase these children is, to me, a raging symptom of the brokenness of this world. It is one of countless reasons we need the redemptive power of Jesus Christ.

(Ahhh, redemption. That's another blog post. A beautiful word, the meaning of which is just now breaking free in my own life.)

So, back to this photo. There were nearly a hundred comments about this photo. I didn't read all of them. But scanning them, one caught my eye. In effect, the author was accusing the poster of the photo of creating unnecessary hysteria around the issue of child sex trafficking. Arguing against the suggestion that there are 1.5 million child sex slaves in the world today, the author posted a link to an organization and said something to the effect of, "Its ridiculous to think that this number is in the millions. See, this reputable organization says there are only 500,000 child sex slaves in the world."

I almost started to cry.

Her argument was that since there were only a half million child sex slaves, we shouldn't panic.

I'm sorry. But even if you're right, shouldn't FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND CHILD SEX SLAVES make us hysterical?

For a moment it made me realize the fight we're up against here.

We live in a time where most of us (me, too!) think about ourselves--feeding, clothing, entertaining, protecting, serving, etc. We live in a place where the value of ME far, far outweighs the value of YOU.

This paradigm must shift for us to eradicate modern day human slavery.

But I believe it can and we will!

Getting actual numbers on human slavery is tricky. The experts land, typically, around twenty seven million slaves worldwide. But that's the thing with slaves, its not like they are being reported to the IRS. There could be many, many more of them.

Before you get overwhelmed, let me assure you, that whether that number is 5 million, 27 million or 50 million, there are amazing people in this world fighting on their behalf.

And as Gary Haugen, from the International Justice Mission (IJM) once said:
While there are millions of girls and women victimized every day, our work will always be about the one. The one girl deceived. The one girl kidnapped. The one girl raped. The one girl infected with AIDS. The one girl needing a rescuer. To succumb to the enormity of the problem is to fail the one. And more is required of us.

So here we are

I have a family blog. It is full of beautiful photos of my husband, our precious son and my beloved family and friends in Virginia, Texas, all over the place. There were a few times that I interrupted the picture-perfect series of blogs with a story of the sleepless nights we had with an infant or the tragic news of the death of a friend. But for the most part, it is a happily ever after blog.

I was living the dream, trying to love Jesus and my neighbor the best I could.

And then God brought the issue of human trafficking into my conscience. It took several tries, but finally I paid attention.

And it has turned my life upside down.

I read about it constantly. Every penny I spend I think about how organizations like IJM or Word Made Flesh could use that money to save one more person. I think about it all the time. All the time.

And I pray that doesn't change.

I am sure I'm the most "hidden" friend on Facebook. I post about human trafficking constantly. Sometimes its an article that I hope brings the issue to my friends' attention. Sometimes it's an article of a rescue. Those are my favorite.

I've realized that Facebook probably isn't the best soapbox. I'm not sure what that social media outlet is supposed to be. But pushing an agenda doesn't seem appropriate. (Although to my fantastic friends' credit, their encouragement has been a blessing to keep sharing the story of this issue!).

The happily-ever-after blog isn't the right place either. My son's sweet grandparents deserve ridiculously cute photos and videos of their precious treasure.

So, I find myself here. A place to write. To share. To get out of my head the zillion thoughts I have.