For her privacy, I won't post a pic of her, but here are pics of my daughters at 11. As you are reading this, I want you to imagine their faces when you think of this mom.
Do you have daughters? Do you remember what they were thinking about when they were 11? Or better yet, can you remember what YOU were doing at 11? I had just moved to a new school and was playing tetherball and foursquare and swimming and passing notes to my friends.
Oasis is a refuge of sorts for girls who have been sexually abused. Many of them by their father, brother or neighbor. The girls are brought into the home while charges are filed and the men are prosecuted. They are given a safe place to sleep, eat, play, go to school and in some cases, raise their babies. The ministry itself is amazing. Currently, there are over 50 girls living there and they are being cared for by some amazing people.
Sadly, Brittany isn't the only one in her position. There are several other girls who live at Oasis with their babies and toddlers. And there are more coming. The day Brian was leaving, they had a girl arriving who is 23 weeks pregnant--over halfway to delivering her baby. SHE IS 10!!! My girls were enjoying waterslides and going to soccer games with their friends when they were 10.
And me? I was in 4th grade. Reading books that my favorite teacher recommended to me. Going to state UIL competitions. Yelling at my sister for keeping her side of the room so messy. Trying my best to be teacher's pet.
So, even though I did not physically travel to Guatemala, it feels like my heart did. I have so many feelings and emotions going on inside of me--rage, sadness, grief, wonder, anxiousness, fear, compassion and even LOVE for girls I don't know and have only seen in a few pictures. I found myself sobbing at a video one of Brian's teammates made with pics from their trip. AND I WASNT EVEN THERE!
I remember feeling like this before. It was the year before Lovepacs began when I felt God stirring inside of me, but I didn't know what to do. He was giving me information every time I turned my head and I felt like I was seeing things I'd never taken time to open my eyes to before. I was outraged and confused and searching for what I was supposed to do with this knowledge.
It's that same feeling.
I'm excited. I know God is up to something even though I don't know what it is. I'm almost hesitant to say that because what is happening to these girls is TRAGIC. It should NEVER happen to anyone, but even especially to a child. But, I want to be apart of the rest of the story for them. As believers, we know their circumstances don't define them.
I'm reminded over and over of a quote I once heard:
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." -Edmund Burke
So, I'm praying. And dreaming. And planning. And most of all--looking and listening for what God says is next. Will you join me?
*Names have obviously been changed to protect privacy.