I am so excited as I type this that I can barely sit long enough to do it! It doesn't hurt that I have a Clint Brown praise CD playing, but that's not the biggest reason! (I hesitated to share this at first because the Word encourages us to give in secret, but I really feel led to because this is such a "Glory to God" story--I actually had very little to do with it; it was all Him!) Let me start at the beginning...
Some of you know that I have a special burden on my heart for sexually exploited children. I was raised in a very sheltered environment, where adults could be trusted for provision, safety, and love. I really had no idea how cruel the world could be until I left wide-eyed for college, and even there the world's evils were sugar-coated.
When I began teaching college, however, my students' research projects taught me a lot. My eyes were opened to a lot of shocking realities that people face daily, especially women and girls, on a global scale. As I read the harsh, often personal accounts of victims, saw images of their living conditions, or evidence of unimaginable abuse, I would often just crumble and begin to sob at the injustice of it all. How can this kind of stuff happen? How can people be so filled with hate and utter disregard of others?
Anyway, a few months ago, I received my World Vision gift catalog in the mail. I love getting it every year because you can choose very specific donations to make in someone's name—their gift. Every year I think how much I'd like to do it, and every year I don't. It seems so stupid, but I just let it fall by the way-side because the Christmas lists given to me by family don't include things like “a goat for an impoverished family.”
So I'm flipping through the catalog, occasionally throwing observations up to God like, “Oh, Lord, it would be so cool to donate a home for a family in the Honduras” or “Oh, MAN, would I love to help drill a well for this kid in Malawi, Father!”
And then I got to page 27. If it had been there in years past, I hadn't seen it. In bold white letters, against a black and gray background of the silhouettes of three young girls in dresses and high heels, were the words Sold. Trafficked. Abused. Then in smaller black letters underneath, “An estimated 2 million children are enslaved in the global commercial sex trade—most of them girls. You can give them hope.” (You can see the catalog for yourself at http://www.worldvisiongifts.org/).
Friends, the Holy Spirit stirred in me in a way that I can't fully explain. My stomach turned, my heart rate increased so rapidly that I felt pain in my chest. And my eyes filled to overflowing in no time flat. God made it very clear to me right then and there that this would be the best present I get this year—giving hope to girls in this situation, being Him to them.
I shared with a few folks that this was what I wanted for Christmas, but I received traditional gifts instead. So the crisp new C-note my mom gives us “kids” every year was the answer. Usually, that cash is my “fun” money and I dream about the new boots or clothes I'll get with it. But not this year.
I just donated on-line and as I did so, I prayed that God would multiply the donation and use it to bless the precious victims beyond my wildest dreams and to protect them from evil. You know what God did? Just as I finished my prayer, Clint Brown sang, “Satan's defeated. The enemy is under our feet!” AMEN!!! Now, I know that my meager donation won't save them all, and from human perspective will hardly make a dent, but if the enemy is defeated in ONE girl's life..., well, I don't have words for how awesome that would be. And I felt like that's exactly what God promised me as I hit “submit”. What a privilege!!!! What a gift!
A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR, Y'ALL!!! May God's presence rock your world in 2008!