Thursday, April 10, 2008

A Bitter Sweet Moment

This morning I have woken with a bitter sweet taste in my mouth. I had to journey these thoughts to process my own feelings and what is going on within my spirit. This journey to Slay the Giant and end child sex slavery takes me through various paths with many unexpected twists and turns and yet I know that it is He who is charting the course and equipping me and teaching me as I go along with Him.

In many ways, I feel so privileged that God would share His heart with me and I look back at the beginning of this year at the Solemn Assembly at our church when our congregation was repenting about not taking the Great Commission seriously. One of the challenges that we were asked to pray about was investing in the next generation. I found myself drawn to this particular prayer request as God has opened my eyes to see the next generation as my spiritual children. So often my focus has been and continues to be on the spiritual daughters in Cambodia that He has burdened my heart to pray for and to give my life to investing in their restoration and redemption. But God has a funny way of teaching us things close to home. After all, how can we expect to serve Him overseas, if we are not doing the same at home.

Earlier in March, I spoke at a conference here in Toronto and I invited the teenage son of friends of mind to help me. He is gifted in computers and so he was a great help to me in working the powerpoint when I was speaking. In some ways, this young man has become another one of my spiritual sons and so last night it was such a privilege that I could return the favor and help him. God is nurturing his heart to speak up for these who have no voice and last night he was doing a presentation at a youth group. I had given him copies of what I had done and also felt led to go help him run the powerpoint, pray for him, as well as the rest of the youth. I knew he would be showing a movie called Fields of Mudan. This is a movie I often use as part of my presentations because it so accurately displays the terror and trauma that is inflicted on children who are forced in to prostitution and sex slavery. While it is never easy to watch this movie, I know that if people are to really get a glimpse of the pain inflicted by this giant, that we all need to enter into the suffering of these girls. To not do so would be to avoid allowing our hearts to be broken with the things that break God’s heart.

Having said that, a wise friend last fall said to me that when we show the Fields of Mudan movie we need to be mindful of those who themselves have experienced sexual abuse. She reminded me that while this movie is indeed a powerful portrayal of the pain and suffering of child sex slaves, it has the potential of opening up wounds of those in the audience who themselves have been abused and so the importance of offering prayer ministry as part of the presentation is vital And so at each event, I and my armor bearers will pray for God’s protection over hearts and minds of people. I knew it would be just a matter of time when I would have to face this particular issue first hand. Last night, turned out to be such a night. One young teenage girl was visibly and notably broken, shaking uncontrollably and crying out in pain. Her tears were not from physical pain but it came from somewhere deep within her soul; the inner turmoil exposed and visible in all its rawness. At that moment, I just held her in my hands and told her to ‘let it out, let the tears out, let the pain out.’ I am thankful that one of my armor bearers was with me at that time. She reminded her that we were in a safe place. We asked her how we could help her and in the midst of her tears she sobbed ‘stop their pain, stop what is happening to the little girls’-----I believe she was also talking about her own pain. We prayed for her calling out to Jesus knowing that He hears the cries of her hearts, He knows her pain, He knows her suffering, He is close to those who are crushed in spirit, He knows! Jesus, Man of sorrows, well acquainted with grief, who bore our sin and who endured the cross, He knows what it is like to be abused. How I am thankful that we have a Savior in Him who can lift us out of our miry pits and bestow on us a crown of beauty for ashes.

As we continued ministering to this young girl, her mother called on the cell phone and I could hear her voice, filled with anger and rage as she yelled at her daughter to get her (expletive) self outside to the front of the building. Her daughter sobbing on the phone begging her mother to come in and get her because she couldn’t move. She was in some sense paralyzed by the pain deep within her. But her mother did not hear the cries of her daughter’s heart. She had her own agenda and totally disregarded her daughter’s appeal to come. We asked our youth pastor to go and talk to the girl’s mother and explain all that happened in the evening. He did but there was no listening on the mother’s end. She said her daughter was being over dramatic. This image has stayed with me as I drove home last night. How could a mother be so deaf to the cries of her child? I can’t judge but I know what I saw. I saw a young girl in need and desperately asking for help but her mother for whatever reason could not hear the cries of her daughter’s heart. I asked the Lord about this as I was going to bed and I believe He gave me an image of what had happened to this teenager. She may have been a child when she was abused, she may have told her mother about it but her mother dismissed it. The very people who she reached out to ask for help, the ones who love her, dismissed her emotions, her feelings. Her voice silenced until last night, when the memories of her youth were surfaced. It is hard to watch someone be gripped by such pain. I wish I could take it away from her but that is Jesus’s role. I know that God has called us to stand with these. To hold their hand, to let them know that we are a ‘safe person’, to offer His healing words to them, to encourage and build them back up in His love. I am grateful for this special privilege that He has entrusted to us who are in this battle.

This morning, my spirit remains heavy as I continued to pray for this teenager. I know that what God has revealed to her, is part of His journey to bring true and deep healing to her wounds. To set her free, to restore her and repay the years the locusts have eaten from her so that she will never again be shamed. Scripture reminds me that what the Lord has started, He will complete. He doesn’t just open up wounds but He will bind them and heal them with His tender balm. I am praying this for this precious girl. It is not surprising that He would continue to speak to me about all that transpired last night through my quiet time with Him this morning. Psalm 139:1-12 was my meditation and He reminded me that ‘He knows everything about us’---- I am grateful that He knows everything about this teenager. He knows where she had been, what has happened to her. He knows exactly where she needs to be healed. He is familiar with all her ways. He reminded me this morning that He will go before her and follow her and He will place His hand of blessing on her head. I pray indeed that she will experience such deep and permanent freedom and healing from Him in the days and weeks to come.

As I think of her, a song comes to my head that I heard last night. It seems so appropriate. It’s called: He Knows My Name by Tommy Walker. It is my prayer that each child, each person who has ever experienced and endured such violation would encounter this truth in the deepest areas of their soul:

I have a Maker
He formed my heart
Before even time began
My life was in his hands

Chorus

He knows my name
He knows my every thought
He sees each tear that falls
and He hears me when I call

I have a Father
He calls me His own
He’ll never leave me
No matter where I go

Chorus
He knows my name
He knows my every thought
He sees each tear that falls
and He hears me when I call

God is taking me deeper into His heart and the heart of these who are broken at their deepest levels. It is a bitter sweet moment but I am thankful to share in the fellowship of His sufferings (Philippians 3:10) as I share in the sufferings of these whom He brings my way. It is uncanny how this verse that He gave me in 2000 for my first trip to Cambodia has taken on such a huge importance in my life as He leads me forward to slay this giant of child sex slavery.

1 comment:

Sita Henderson said...

This breaks my heart, Lisa. I am praying for this young woman and her mother as well. There is obviously pain from abuse, not necessarily sexual. May God grant you all that you need to minister to the hurting.