“The Broken Way” at the Christian Worldview Film Festival

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CWVFF_Pic“I’m not going down there, Christina.  I’m telling Phillip that I can’t come and speak. Why am I even a speaker? I made one feature film and it didn’t do well because we didn’t make our money back, which means no money to make another film.  I can’t look at these people and tell them that for the second year in a row Disciples in the Moonlight is not being filmed this year. What am I doing?  I’m a failure.  Everything I touch dies. I get a lead on project after project and they are taken away or pushed.  Maybe this is not my calling.”

Tears are streaming down my face as Brett stands vulnerable before me. I put the weights down and sit on the ottoman because clearly my workout can wait.  This man before me, the one who is strong for me, fights to protect me, prays over me and takes on spiritual oppression when I’m under attack by Satan’s lies and fears, is baring his naked soul to me.  Through the blurriness of my tears, I look him in the eyes. Those same eyes that I have looked into a million times since 16 years old. It is one of the features that I love most about him because even as we age, his eyes and that look of unconditional love he gives me will never change. I can see his soul, and in this moment, there is fear. Insecurity. Worry. Failure. Lies. Bitterness. Betrayal. Hopelessness.   This is not the man I know. Because that man I know is who Christ says he is, not these lies from Satan.

This was only one of a few broken moments that Brett had in the past several months.  I asked the Spirit to tell me what to say or do.  I have told Brett over and over in past occurrences that those are lies. I’ve spoken truth into his ears. Laid my hands on him and prayed warrior prayers over him when I have found him paralyzed on the floor of our bedroom unable to get up because the fears and lies had overtaken him.   But now, I use my exercise shirt to wipe away my tears and honestly don’t know what to do anymore to help him.  I wanted to yell, “Shut up!”  Yet instead, my own fears and worries rose up.  How can I be a helpmate to my husband when I myself am battling my own insecurities, shame of sin, fears of the future?  I didn’t say anything. We were both broken. I just let the tears come. I nodded my head to say I understand.  We went our separate ways.  I don’t even remember if I finished my weight lifting.

Now, I’m on a plane flying back home to Indianapolis from San Antonio. We went “down there,” way down south in Texas.  The place that only a few weeks ago Brett was dreading to go.  And now tears are ready to burst from the overwhelming joy of what took place this past week at the Christian Worldview Film Festival (CWVFF).   Last night after a wonderful time at the festival’s ceremony and after-party with so many friends, I looked into Brett’s eyes.  And this time I see joy. Hope. Encouragement. Peace. Security. Surrender.  That didn’t come from news that his film projects are funded and off and running. Or that he got a role as lead actor for a feature film. Or that he took home a prestigious award…because all those things didn’t happen.  This is how it happened…

Brokenness. Vulnerability. Surrender. Community.

The past few years, God has been breaking Brett and me. We asked for revival a couple of years ago, and God has been answering. But that revival could only start in our hearts. A quote I read on the plane down to San Antonio spoke loudly where we are at: “Before God can use you greatly, He will wound you deeply.  Are you ready to be pruned by the Master?”*  We have been wounded in different ways, separate from each other and together. Oh and how the pruning hurts.  But it is necessary.   A week before our trip to the CWVFF, I devoured the book The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp.  This book is one that I will buy and put on my shelf, and that says a lot for an avid book reader who doesn’t buy books unless they impact my life, and I will read over and over for the years to come.  The Spirit spoke through Ann right to my heart and where I am at on this broken journey myself.

In my previous post, My Friend, You Are Not Alone, I wrote about loneliness and how relationships and discipleship is crucial in this life.  In The Broken Way, Ann expanded on this concept, specifically how brokenness and suffering in community are the way to heal our broken hearts. I have experienced “the broken way” this past year with my three discipling relationships and even other relationships I did not mention.  Through my suffering I fought to isolate myself but instead became vulnerable. I poured out my heart, confessed my sin, and opened my hands to give to others.    And because of it I have known this to be true:  “The way through brokenness is, and always has been, to break the sufferer free from the aloneness of the suffering by choosing to participate in the suffering with them – [community] – choosing to stand with the suffering, stay with the suffering, and let it all be shaped into meaning that transcends the suffering.”  (I give you permission to read that again and let it sink in! It’s pretty deep!)

Brett and I went down to the CWVFF not knowing what to expect. We prayed and asked the Lord to use us. Use our brokenness. Vulnerability. No answers for our future. Open hands ready to give. Humbled hearts surrendered.  I walked into that place and it honestly felt like I was given oxygen to breathe.  The veil of loneliness and fear disappeared from surrounding Brett as the week went on. When someone asked how we were doing, we didn’t say “great” and a bunch of fake comments to appease the person. We were honest. “It’s been a really hard year, but this is what God is doing…”  On Friday night, the Spirit spoke through Brett as he gave a powerful message on how a wrong identity leads us to fear and worry, distracts us from the mission, and makes us question God.    He shared his journey through the past couple of years of having a wrong identity. He was completely vulnerable and even the end wasn’t tied up with a pretty bow, since we still don’t have answers for our future. (Click here to listen and watch a short video clip from his speech.)

We found “the broken way” right there at the CWVFF.  As our walls came down, others’ walls came down too. My heart wanted to burst with gratitude for every person that came up to him and told their own story of fear and loneliness.  Others suffering alongside Brett in the filmmaking world. We are not alone. There is no judgment. This is community: Those who prayed with him. Hugged him. Cried with him. Gave written and audible words of encouragement.  And all those who engaged with me in conversations that touched me deeply, whether sitting at a table, the couch in the hallway, on the floor, mealtimes, crammed in our rental car, and even the bathroom. Talking to other filmmaker wives who really do understand me. Laughing with friends like we’ve known each other for years. You will never know how desperately I needed to hear your words: “Thank you for all you do for your husband. You probably are behind the scenes but your role as his wife is most important.” “Thank you for your vulnerability. You are a warrior princess. We need to be mentoring more warrior princesses.”  “Listening to how you have supported Brett has inspired me to find a wife like you.” (Didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at that one! I had to fight to shut up Satan from reminding me of all the ways I have failed Brett through this journey.)

Many filmmakers went “down there” to the CWVFF hoping to bring back an award. Yes, some did, yet most all of us went home Spirit-filled, encouraged, and rejuvenated to continue the mission God has called us to in filmmaking.  If you want to find Jesus in filmmaking…come to the Christian Worldview Film Festival and Filmmaker’s Guild next year.  That is where revival is. That is where suffering happens together in community to bring about a purpose far greater than we expected.

As I was leaving the after-party to get to bed since we had an early flight home, I said goodbye to the founder’s wife. She told me what spoke to her the most this week was experiencing blessing through others’ suffering, which doesn’t seem right! I hugged her and said, “Oh I know. I really do know. It’s the broken way.” And Ann says it better than I can: “The fellowship of the broken believe that suffering is a gift He entrusts to us and He can be trusted to make this suffering into a gift.”

Flashback to a few weeks ago, I sat on that ottoman and at one point couldn’t look Brett in the eyes anymore because it was too painful. I stared at my weights feeling the weight of the world on his shoulders questioning, what was God doing?  We’ve been waiting for answers for a couple of years now. What more does He want with our brokenness?   Now, I know. I really do know. God has turned our suffering into a gift.  If God allowed us to suffer all this time so that Brett would share his vulnerable heart to all who heard him this past week so that lives could be impacted…then it was worth it all.  And now we come home still unsure if God will or will not allow answers for our future to come soon. Regardless, we will remain….

Broken. Vulnerable. Surrendered. Suffering with Community. A Gift.

Follow CWVFF on Facebook and check out more pics and videos from last week’s guild and festival: https://www.facebook.com/cwvff/

*From the book, The Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Romance

My Friend, You are not alone

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“No one understands you, Christina. You’ve always been different.  If other women really knew your heart and struggles they would reject you. Just stuff it down, put on a good face, and keep going through life. It’s better to be alone anyways. You survived high school, college, and all the years up to this point with only a couple of close friends.  Stay hiding. Again, no one really understands.”

Sadly, those are real thoughts.  The oxymoron is that in the moments I listened and believed those thoughts, I felt so alone when reality is that I was the farthest from being alone in those thoughts.  Have you ever heard yourself say something similar?  Maybe different words but the same conclusion: I. Am. Alone.  And in a twisted way my loneliness drags me down to further isolation rather than reaching out to someone. If this is you, my friend, pull up a chair.

I was drowning in those thoughts a little less than a year ago. I felt like no one could relate to me as a filmmaker’s wife and watching my husband wrestle with God’s will and waiting on His timing to fulfill his calling as a “missionary who makes movies.” There is no other woman in my church that is a wife to a filmmaker so of course no one understands, right?  In addition, there are sins and idols in my heart that I’m always dealing with and who likes to confess sin, especially to other women who appear to have it all together, right?  So it’s easy to just try to deal with it alone. Fake it until you make it somehow. Isolate. Yet choosing to isolate myself kept me in bondage to the lies.  And worse, in my loneliness, fears, and a wrong identity of who I am in Christ, I was keeping the door of my heart wide open, resorting to my idols for a sense of comfort and control.

But my God is good and gracious, and He opened my eyes and did something miraculous. The Bible says, For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15-16)   So I cried out to Jesus in my loneliness, since He of all people understands what it is like to be alone and misunderstood. I prayed many of David’s Psalms, and He answered by bringing 3 very different yet life-impacting relationships into my life.  Let me share how these relationships have changed me and brought me from isolation to extending my arms out and loving others even more without fear of rejection.


The Friend: One day I got on Facebook and had a new message from a woman I knew of but never met.  Her message was short and simple. She told me that God had laid me heavily on her heart and that she was praying for me. Completely unexpected and it touched me significantly in that moment when I needed someone to show compassion. I thanked her and told her how much her prayers meant to me.  As our conversation continued, we shared more about ourselves and we soon realized that we are very similar in our personality and struggles as wives, mothers, and even ministry callings for our families. Our friendship deepened as we encouraged each other in our faith and pursuit of Jesus, held each other accountable to our idols in life, and even vented or laughed about our daily grind as moms.

Fast forward: it’s been 7 months and this girl has become an anchor in my life holding me down with Truth.  I don’t know where I’d be without her. Our friendship has displayed Proverbs 27:17, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”  And man is she sharp!  She calls me out when she perceives my heart wandering, she listens to the Spirit when praying for me and tells me exactly what I need to hear, and she encourages me to keep pursuing Jesus no matter the cost. I pray I do the same for her.  God heard my cry of loneliness, the Spirit spoke to this woman to send a simple message to tell me that she cares, and my life has been changed because of our friendship.


The Older: I’ve always desired an older, wiser woman to mentor me. Someone to take me under her wing, teach me from her life experiences, and pour Truth into my life as a young wife and mother. I didn’t know how to go about finding this mentor.  I prayed occasionally that God would just send someone to me. That this woman will walk right up to me and say, “I’m going to disciple you.” Well, it wasn’t happening.  Last year Brett and I started attending a church whose mission is “to make disciples who make disciples.”  It only increased my desire for someone to come alongside me that has already walked in my shoes as a wife and mom.  Again, in my loneliness I begged God to send someone who could disciple me.

One Sunday morning I was praying as I got ready for church. I asked God to show me that morning the woman who could disciple me.  With faith, I walked into the church building and my eyes started scanning like a hawk looking for food. A few women caught my attention yet I didn’t feel the Spirit tug. Brett and I dropped the kids off in their classrooms and we found a seat. We were early that day, so I kept scanning as women came and sat down.  Then I saw a man standing in the back that caught my attention. I faced forward again and spoke this man’s wife’s name to God. Within 5 seconds, Brett turns to me and says, “What about _____” It was the woman I had just spoke to God.  I had overwhelming peace from the Spirit.

The service couldn’t get over soon enough.  Brett went to get the kids and I eagerly sought out this woman. She was speaking to someone else, so I anxiously waited off to the side trying to still figure out what I was even going to say. She acknowledged me, finished her conversation, and smiled brightly as she made her way to me. It didn’t take long; I was babbling and crying like a baby as I told her, “I desperately need someone to help me!”  Her compassion was overwhelming as she hugged me and said, “Yes. Let’s meet up as soon as possible. I am very available.”

We started meeting up every other week. I talked, I cried, I confessed sin and struggles as she listened and constantly took me to Scripture. The Truth of God’s Word filled me as she shared exactly what I needed. I would leave my time with her energized, satisfied by the Word of God, and encouraged. She never judged me. She listened. She understood. She was used by the Spirit to speak to me right where I was in that moment.  Here is the best part:  Within the first couple of times together, she opened up and shared what God was teaching her. God had been telling her to stop being afraid and reach out to more women.  The very day that I walked into church by faith looking for her to disciple me, she walked into church with her hands held out asking God, “Who Lord? My hands are held out to serve someone. Show me who.”  Like me, she was scanning the women who came and went. Then when I walked up to her, both our prayers were answered.  I just got the chills writing that out.  Again, God heard me. God heard her. He doesn’t want us alone.

For several months now we have met on and off. Our relationship has displayed Titus 2:3-5, Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.”   This woman is not only older than I am, but more importantly, she is much wiser and has been teaching me through her own life experiences.  The humbling part is that God has also used me to encourage her and her pursuit of Jesus. 


The Younger: Around the same time these two women came into my life, God still wasn’t done answering my cry for help and was stretching my heart even more.  This time though, I became the “older woman” to a high school-aged girl.  Like my desire for an older woman to disciple me, I have prayed for a younger woman to disciple, but the same frustrations came with pursuing this relationship. Just like I was waiting for someone to come up to me and announce boldly that she will be my mentor, the thought of me picking some girl out of a crowd was frightening and just plain awkward.

However, it wasn’t needed because this girl came to me first for nutrition advice.  What started out as dietitian-to-patient relationship blossomed into a deeper discipleship relationship.   As this girl shared her heart with me, I looked across the picnic table and could see myself, 13 years ago. Many of her struggles were similar to mine at that age. I am excited for the opportunity to share with her what I wish I would have known when I was 18 years old. We met recently and she updated me on a significant idol she had overcome which has drawn her closer to Jesus. She eagerly asked me questions and sought more of my advice. I cherish our conversations and walk away greatly humbled that even in the midst of my own struggles, God is using my life experiences, successes, failures, and the lessons that He has taught me to impact someone else.


My friend, we need each other. Stop isolating yourself. Stop telling yourself that you are alone and no one understands.  Since there is nothing new under the sun, I guarantee you that there is another woman going through a very similar experience or battling a particular sin or idol like you are right now.  Pray and beg God like I did to send you a friend and/or someone to disciple you. He will listen because He made us for relationships. He doesn’t want you fighting alone.

Let’s also stop making assumptions.  That woman at church or in the moms’ group that appears to have it all together? She is struggling in some way too.  Don’t be afraid to go to someone like I did. Be honest and confess sin, and I promise instead of more pain you will find immense healing take place. “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” (James 5:16). We also need to stop judging other women, leading to gossip. (“Oh! We should pray for so-and-so! Did you hear…?”)  No wonder we are afraid to open up and be real about our burdens and sins; it may be next on the “prayer request” chain. And just because we don’t struggle with a particular sin doesn’t mean that we are better than that other woman struggling with her sin. Let’s get the plank out of our eyes and see that we are all sinners in need of the gospel daily, no matter what the sin.

Since we are flawed humans we cannot expect perfection in each other.  I have regretfully made my share of mistakes in relationships, and also have been on the receiving end of being hurt.  In my own failures and rejection by others, I have a tendency to go back to isolation. I don’t want to cause or receive any more pain. In fact, I wrestled with the Spirit on publishing this post. Those lies crept in again telling me to isolate myself and not be vulnerable.  However, I instantly realized they were lies from Satan trying to shut me up because he knows the spiritual impact of discipleship and doesn’t want you to experience it.  These women in my life have taught me that blessing only comes when I come out from hiding. And that the most wonderful thing about friendship and discipleship is when we pour into each other, we can continue to pour out more to others.  It’s a beautiful cycle.  It’s a God-ordained cycle, and He wants you to be a part of it.

You are not alone in your feelings of being alone. You really are not that different. You are understood. You are not rejected. Now get up off your chair, get out of hiding, and ask God to bring a woman you can open up your heart to. And if you are an “older” woman, go reach out your hands to a “younger” woman who desperately needs the Spirit working through you. It’s better to do life together, I promise.

bcv_6174tonedsun

Moms: Stop the lie. You do have time for Jesus.

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“Mommy, I’m going to sit and read my Bible in peace. I’m going to do my devotions and talk to Jesus.”

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So she sat down in front of the door (she was waiting for a friend to come over) and “read” her Bible. This post is not a “look at me and how well I am doing as a mom” post.  If we want to grab coffee sometime, I could tell you all the mistakes and things I’m not doing well.  Yet, my hope is that you can learn something that took me almost 5 years to learn as a mom.

Note: for those of you that do not know me, this is from the perspective of a stay-at-home mom with two children.  You may have a different perspective based on your home, work, children, spouse situation. But one thing is true that we all have in common as moms: we are commanded to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Matthew 22:37).   And this common goal is what this post is focusing on.

As a mom, I have struggled in the past with finding time to spend with Jesus, studying His Word and praying. The Christianese word is “devotions,” as you read my daughter calling it.   When my daughter was born, my life was consumed with her.  Many first time moms experience this: life revolves around your child, you are afraid of doing anything wrong, and are convinced that one error is going to ruin your child forever!   I confess that my daughter became my idol pretty quickly.   I can confidently say that because she summed up this definition by Tim Keller: “An idol has such a controlling position in your heart that you can spend most of your passion and energy, your emotional and financial resources, on it without a second thought.”

Then the second born came along. After how I was idolizing my first born, God needed to teach me that my children are gifts from Him and ultimately belong to Him.  Damon was born with duodenal atresia and had surgery less than 72 hours after birth.  Leading up to his birth and even after, fears of the worst case scenarios flooded our minds. Through this experience the Spirit taught us that God is in control of every breath our child takes. Yet, still in our unbelief we tend to hold on even tighter when we cannot control our children’s lives, resulting in idolatry.

Every additional child is a transition yet gives you a different perspective.  I roll my eyes at myself when I look back and think about all the things I stressed over with Kherington.  Or how I really did believe I didn’t have time to do anything!  I totally had time to take a 10 minute shower!  I try to remember what DID I do when she slept so much?  Somehow, when more children come along we still make it work, even if the meals aren’t from scratch and your toddler is wearing the same pajamas for a couple days. Mmhmm…sorry Damon!

Shortly after having Damon, I read blogs on how to schedule your mornings so that your days can run smoothly based on priorities and goals for the day.  Spending time with the Lord (aka devotions), always was on that morning to-do list. As I made my morning time table, my goal was to wake up an hour before the kids to read my Bible and pray.  I am a morning person so I thought it was very doable. However, my hubby is a night owl.  When we got married, I was convinced I would change him to be a morning person. Ha!  I gave up after…oh…6 years of marriage that it ain’t ever happening.  In fact, he turned me more into a night owl!!! So be careful what you say you want to change about your husband; you may be the one that changes!

Some days I was successful at getting up early while others I was not, especially if I stayed up too late the night before to spend time with Brett. However, on the days that I did not get up in time and I woke up to Kherington’s face staring at me with her wide eyes, I never took time later in the day to spend with Jesus.  I lived each day with the perspective that if I didn’t wake up early, I wasn’t going to have time to do it the rest of the day.  In essence, I was telling Jesus, “You only have from 7-8 am every day. If I miss it, sorry, I’ll try again tomorrow. You really weren’t as important as _________. ”  Yikes. Writing that out makes me cringe since it was my heart attitude, and oh, how it pained Jesus!  I viewed my devotional time as an item on my morning to-do list that needed to be checked off so I can go about my day, rather than desperately pursuing my Savior and passionately worshiping Him.

Also, I was deceived by Satan in believing that I didn’t have time the rest of the day. After all, I have to get to my never-ending to-do list.  Then I’m too tired at night to focus and just want to sit and relax with Brett.  I believed the lies we all say to ourselves: “I just don’t have time.” Or “Ok. I do have a little time but not 15, 30, 60 consecutive minutes to read and pray!” Or “I’ll get to it later, I promise!” Or “I will make time when my children finally _________.”    And this is right where Satan wants us, because if we fill our days with stuff that we think is beneficial but….let’s be honest…much doesn’t count for eternity…then we are exhausting ourselves silly trying to gain the whole Pinterest-perfect-how-many-likes-can-I-get-on-Facebook world and the end result could be losing our souls, and worse, our children’s souls (Matthew 16:26).

I finally stopped the lies and believed truth: I do have time. I have 24 hours. If God thought we needed more time, He would have given it to us.  It’s all a matter of priority. We make time for the things we love or want to do.  Saying, “I don’t have time for you, Jesus” is not loving Him with all my heart, soul, and mind.  Instead, I’m saying, “I don’t love you right now, I love someone or something else more.”   And as moms it is usually our kids, and we easily justify that we are obeying God by sacrificing and loving them, when in fact it’s disobedience since the first and greatest commandment is to love Him FIRST then your neighbor. Our children fit into this “neighbor” category, in which the SECOND greatest commandment Jesus gives is to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:39).

The past year has been a difficult time for Brett and me as we have been waiting on God’s timing for the next steps in our lives.  God has been humbling us like never before. I have been desperate for Jesus and His Word, hungering and thirsting after Him. In the trial, I have finally made Jesus a priority in my life and stopped forcing myself at my “perfect” time to do my devotions, as long as I get filled by Him at some point that day. During this season of my life, some days I get up early before the kids but most days I don’t.  Brett or I will make coffee while getting the kids breakfast. Once the kids are done, they find or I give them something to do.  They know that Mommy will be in her room with her coffee reading her Bible and talking to Jesus.

I thought that I had to do my devotions only when the kids were sleeping so I wouldn’t be distracted.  Another stupid lie.  My kids are 5 and 2 years old and in the last year my time with Jesus has been deeper, closer, and more intimate than ever before, and it was when I have been seeking Jesus when they were awake!  Do I have to break up fights? Of course. Do they run in and out of my room? Definitely.  But they have learned that this is Mommy and Jesus time.  Kherington doesn’t ask me to come help her anymore. Instead, she says, “Mommy, when you are done reading your Bible, can you….”  “Yes honey. I am almost done talking to Jesus.”  Yet some days my time is cut short and doesn’t go as planned.  I give myself grace, and remember that Jesus is always beside me throughout the day to talk to Him no matter what I’m doing.

The best part….No. More. Guilt.  More lies from Satan: “You should be spending time with them! You are neglecting them right now!  You need to be doing x, y, z!”    No, Satan.  When my kids are watching me spend time reading God’s Word and praying, it’s actually one of the MOST loving things I can do for them.  Brett recalls his dad studying the Bible consistently when he was growing up.  Brett became curious as to what and why his dad was so passionate about God’s Word, causing him to spend time reading it to find out for himself.  Most importantly, when I put my to-do list down and yes, even say no to my child at that moment to spend time at Jesus’ feet, it’s the MOST loving thing I can do for Him.

Francis Chan writes in his amazing book, You and Me Forever, “Lisa and I want to raise children who love Jesus far more than they love us. We want them to trust Him more than us, to enjoy Him more than us, to find more security in Him than in us. And we are convinced that the best way to teach this is to demonstrate it. We have to make it clear to our children that we love God more than we love them.”

Wow!  Convicting right!?   This is my goal too and that my children will know that I love Jesus. Then when I hear Kherington tell me that she needs to go read her Bible and talk to Jesus…or on some days crawls up in my bed with her Bible too, I fight tears as I praise and give glory to God.

Moms, you do have time for Jesus. It is only a matter of how desperate you are for a deeper relationship with God.  Does your daily life show that you are loving your children (or yourself) more than Him?  Stop trying to fit Him in your perfect schedule like I was trying and failing.  Instead, put Him anywhere in your day, even if it seems inconvenient and the kids are running in and out of your room. I dare you to try it, and I’m convinced that He will put everything else in its proper place as your perspective changes how you view your time spent on this earth.  And someday you may find your child, whether 5 or 15, reading her Bible and praying because you demonstrated to her that Jesus is most important.

 

 

The “Horrible Normal” of sex trafficking in the U.S. – don’t read unless you can handle it

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Reader Discretion is Advised: What I’m about to share with you may make you uncomfortable. It may shock you. You may not believe it. You may weep.  Honestly, I hope you do.

That beautiful 6 year old girl who lives on your street?

That 12 year old boy in youth group who doesn’t seem to fit in?

That 13 year old student at school that seems to be addicted to her phone?

Those 14 year old girls hanging out at Starbucks talking about how desperately they wish they had boyfriends?

That 15 year old girl you see alone swinging on the park swing?

That 16 year old girl who seems happy living in suburban, upper class Indianapolis?

You would never know it. You would never believe it. But these are our kids in America who are being targeted for sexual exploitation. The fancy terms?  Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST) and Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC).   “Yeah yeah yeah, we’ve been hearing more and more about this and know it is here in America. ” Stop.  I don’t think you know this…

  • There are 8,900-10,500 teens aged 13-17 years old that are identified as victims sold for sex each year in the United States, according to a U.S. Department of Justice-funded study last year.  That number alone should make you shiver.  But it doesn’t stop there.
  • The study concluded that a 25% identification rate is the best case in the US.  Experts believe that the actual number of unidentified children and teens in sex exploitation could be 100,000-300,000.
  • We aren’t talking about only girls. 30% are boys, yet rarely identified.
  • Let’s stick with the identified teens for now.  Those 8,900-10,500 teens are being purchased on average 5.4 times each day.    Your blood boiling yet?
  • When you do the math, a conservative estimate is that our children…the child down the street, the student in your classroom, the girls at the mall, and yes, even possibly your own teenager under your roof, are being bought for sex 2,500,000 – 2,900,000 times each year.*
  • For you math nerds: 8,900 – 10,500 teens x 5.4x/week x 52 weeks/year. This is conservative since it’s looking at 5.4 times in a week when the normal is 5.4 times/day, and these are only the identified teens, aged 13-17! Only God knows the actual number of times each year all children and teens are being sold and it would be too high for me to type out because I’d be vomiting instead.

This is what columnist Tim Swarens, Opinion Director of the Indianapolis Star says is the “horrible normal.”   This is THE NORMAL?!  And it’s more than horrible, it’s hellish.  This is an industry that is making 9.8 billion dollars in the U.S.**  It’s catching up to the 13 billion dollars the NFL made the 2015 season.

Who are the buyers you ask?  They aren’t only the creepy guys in black trench coats. They aren’t only the weirdos we tell our kids not to talk to or to stay away from vans with no windows in Target parking lots. They aren’t only porn addicts, rapists, and sex addicts that we naturally assume….

  • 10% of men in the United States alone will buy sex at least once in their lifetime.
  • That’s 12 million men.
  • 5% of men will buy more than 1x/week.  Obviously, since 12 million men are purchasing sex at the very least 2,500,000 – 2,900,000 times each year. *

The #1 buyer in Boston….. attorneys.*

They are lawyers, doctors, businessmen, teachers, your kid’s basketball coach…  These are the men we respect and trust.  How can they justify it?   These buyers see children and teens as property. “I bought them, so I can use them.”

Who’s the seller then?  He’s roaming like a lion looking to devour.  Take in this scenario:

Three girls are sitting at Starbucks drinking coffee.  The first girl is very pretty, popular, has had many boyfriends or at least gets asked often on dates.  The second girl is the wallflower; she shyly sips her coffee in silence.  The third girl adores the first girl, lingering on everything she does and says because she so desperately wants to be popular and have a boyfriend.**

Who do you think the “lion” is going to devour?   If an older guy comes up to the first girl (the popular one), she shrugs it off because it happens a lot and is confident in who she is.  The second girl (the wallflower) wouldn’t believe it. There’s no way an older good-looking guy would be interested in her. The third girl? Bingo. She’s flattered, and all it takes is some attention, expensive gifts, and words of “you are beautiful, I love you, I’ll take care of you,” and she’s sold. Pun intended.  Next thing she knows she’s being made a fake ID and persuaded to make some fast cash at a strip club.  Then she’s being told she has to give sex so that they can earn more money to run off and “be together forever.”  She finally feels accepted, adored, fits in. She even has power for once in her life. She likes the idea of having this secret boyfriend.  Then once trauma bonding and Stockholm Syndrome has occurred, it is even harder to break her free. In fact, it’s common for girls to return to their “boyfriends” 4-6 times before finding freedom. **

After awhile, some girls start realizing there is no “being together forever”. Besides, there are other girls. She’s tired of being beaten, tased, and given more drugs so that she can keep performing without feeling.  But she can’t get out. Her “boyfriend” reminds her of the pictures and videos that will be splashed all over social media with the touch of a button. Everyone in her high school will know. Her parents won’t want her back.  Or if she tells someone, he will go after her younger sister.  He will kill her brother.** (Note: this example is not every norm, but definitely a common scenario).

This is reality, not another Taken movie by Liam Neeson. This is the “horrible normal.” And it’s happening right under our noses. It’s in our neighborhoods, schools, parks, and even our homes.  And Satan doesn’t want me telling you the truth because it’s a part of his plan to blind us from the destruction right in front of us to keep us living apathetic lives.  He wasn’t too happy that I told you my experience with spiritual warfare. The response of that post was overwhelming and encouraging. Some people thought they were alone in this spiritual oppression. And Satan wants to continue to cripple me and shut me up.  In fact, a few nights ago I was oppressed again. This time I felt calm knowing exactly what was happening, even though Brett woke up from a deep sleep because the bed was shaking from me convulsing and breathing fast.  I tried to call out Jesus’ name again, and this time instead of panicking, I was at peace waiting for Jesus to touch me so the demon would run. Sure enough, Jesus touched me when Brett pulled me into his arms since His Spirit lives in Brett.

Sorry Satan. I won’t stop.  I’m calling Christians out. I’m calling them out of their Christian bubble. I have lived it in far too long.  I thought that it was safe, but truly following Jesus is never safe.  Not until I met a girl who told me her story of being sold for sex by her mom for drug money starting at 6 years old, then growing up in continued sex exploitation. My life was forever changed by this girl, and I praise God for bringing her into my life.  She wasn’t being sold in a brothel in a third world country.  She went to 1st grade like every other kid in a US town, dreading coming home to what awaited her.  And that was 25 years ago. By God’s grace she is still alive and a restored Child of God. Many youth involved in sex exploitation don’t survive due to drug overdose or suicide.

Because of the deep impact that this girl had on Brett and me, God started a deep passion that has been growing this past year for children and teens in DMST.  I have written about my ministry involvement with Unconditional, where we love on woman in the sex entertainment industry in Indianapolis.  But that wasn’t enough. I was hungering for more, so Brett and I went to a sex-trafficking awareness event the other week.  From there, we signed up for a life-changing event this past weekend.  We went on a “prayer journey” with an organization called Ascent 121, which “provides a full continuum of care for survivors of human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation” here in Indianapolis.

We took a physical, emotional, and spiritual journey through the story of a survivor, starting at 6 years old.  We drove to the Department of Child Services where this young girl was taken because her mom’s boyfriend raped her. We then stopped at the detention center where she was housed because she kept running away from foster homes and getting in trouble with the law.  The next stop was a specific park in Indianapolis that has made headlines for teen violence, kidnapping, murder, and trafficking. We drove to an inner city high school where many trafficked teens seem to live “normal” lives and then go out that night to be sold. We sat outside a strip club where as many as 95% of dancers are exploited as young girls. Oh, but then the hope of driving to Ascent 121’s residential facility where they provide a recovery program (last year they serviced 110 girls). We ended at a popular gas station in downtown Indy that is a hot spot for prostitution and picking up vulnerable teens.

After 2 hours of driving and praying at each of these stops, Brett and I were bawling in the parking lot of the gas station. This isn’t just something we were reading from another Facebook article (yes, I’m including my blog in this)!  We felt like we were actually living out the horror of sex exploitation. It was tangible. We even saw 2 men on each corner of the street scouting. God has opened up our eyes to the tragedy and hope of DMST. His compassion is flowing out of us as we have popped our Christian bubble and literally drove within minutes to the other side of our town.  We know God is calling us in some way to bring awareness and hope to trafficked individuals. We don’t even have to go to another country; it’s in our town.  Brett and I spoke to the director about becoming speakers to raise awareness.

This is our story of the Spirit’s leading. And we cannot ignore the tug on our hearts.  In fact, the demonic oppression I wrote about above happened the night before the prayer journey.  I couldn’t help but leave that experience joyfully laughing and spitting in Satan’s face because he cannot touch me nor scare me because “He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world!” (1 John 4:4)

Are you weeping?  Are you bothered by this? If not, ask yourself why.  Even if God is not calling you to be hands on in solving this problem doesn’t mean that you cannot do something, anything:

  1. If you live close to Indianapolis, I strongly encourage you to take time the third Saturday of the month to experience Ascent 121’s prayer journey. Here is more info.
  2. Become educated and share awareness of DMST.  January is actually Human Trafficking Awareness month.  Check out events from Ascent 121. Like their page on FB, or find programs and advocacy groups in your area. Restored, Inc. is another restoration program in Indy.  Share this blog post, so that more people can hear about the “horrible normal.”
  3. Give financially if the Lord has blessed you.  Recovery programs can only do so much and even have to turn down trafficked individuals when money is not sufficient to meet needs.
  4. Consider becoming a foster parent.  There are so many children and teens who need stable, loving homes that display the unconditional love of Jesus, to pull them out of this world of DMST.
  5. Pray – the greatest thing that everyone can do that has the most impact.  When you drive through your neighborhood, pray for the kids. When you drive by a school, pray for the students to be unafraid to report suspicious behavior and for the teachers to be educated and take necessary steps.  As you pass a strip club, don’t judge; instead pray for the customers and the dancers that they will experience God’s grace and seek Him for satisfaction. Pray as you pass a park.  Pray when you walk into Starbucks and see teen girls laughing on their phones.  Oh, and hit your knees hard in fervent prayer for your own children still living under your roof.

The solution is that every seller, buyer, and victim needs Jesus.  Without Jesus, this problem of “exploitation of vulnerability”** will never go away.  Yet find hope in this: He has called us to be His hands and feet.  Our Shepherd left 99 sheep to find the one lost sheep. And there are possibly hundreds of thousands of lost sheep scattered in our own home towns hiding in plain sight. I want to keep finding that one…..one at at time.

 

  • *Statistics are from ongoing research by Tim Swarens, as of January 2017. For more info, read his latest article here.
  • ** Info from Ascent 121

Do the Demons Know Your Name?

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I can’t breathe.  My throat is constricted like hands grasped around my neck.

I can’t move. What’s holding me down?

I can’t see. Heavy darkness surrounds me.

I can’t speak. I’m yelling and nothing is coming out because the hands are too strong around my throat.

“In….the….name….of….Jesus…” I try to scream out but there’s no voice. I try again. Again. Silence. Suffocation.

“BRETT!” I try instead, forcing my arm to try and hit it him as I lie paralyzed in bed.

Finally after fighting, I feel him. He moves but rolls over.

Then I’m released. I sit up exhausted. Confused. I lie back down and fall asleep.

Yes, this happened to me one night last year.  When I woke up in the morning, I asked Brett if he felt me grab him. He said no.  I told a close friend of my experience and she said it was similar to what she experienced in her life from her past: demonic physical oppression.

The next night, Brett and I prayed over our bedroom asking God to remove any spiritual darkness and protect us.  However, for whatever reason it happened to Brett.  I woke up to him screaming, “Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!” over and over again, which released the demon’s hold on him.  Prior to the oppression, Brett was dreaming about the calling God has given him to be a missionary who makes movies.

Some people may read this and be skeptical or think it was just a dream. Or wonder why we would be spiritually oppressed like this. It was real, and here is why. Let me start from the beginning.

Brett became very active on Facebook at the beginning of 2016 using it as an avenue to share the gospel and minister to people. Brett led a girl to Jesus, whose powerful transformation by the Spirit was a domino affect to leading others to accepting Jesus into their life as well.  However, this new daughter of God had a horrific past of abuse, and specifically to this topic, demonic oppression.  Let’s just say, Satan was not happy that he was losing more and more people from his grasp as they were found by the Savior.  And if Satan can’t have our souls, he will try to ruin us in any way possible by distracting us from our mission on this earth and forgetting that he is the real enemy.  He causes as much confusion and disunity among believers as he possible can to deter us from our calling and winning more souls for Jesus.

Facebook can be a great tool for Christians to use to share the gospel; however, more often than not Satan is in the background playing his games of destruction.  Brett, this girl, and others were being attacked by satanists on Facebook.  Yes, you can block and report, but it won’t stop Satan’s work.  Then one February night, Brett was messaged by a satanist.  Over the course of 2 days, Brett talked to him. He could feel the presence and weight of darkness through his computer screen.  He responded with the only thing that has power over the darkness: the Word of God. The man was demon possessed at times throughout their conversations and the Word penetrated making him physically sick and blurring his vision, until Brett told him to cry out to God and ask if He was real.  Immediately he was made well. Sadly, he still did not choose Jesus in fear of what his cult would do to him.  He ended his conversation with Brett by telling him he failed his mission to distract Brett from serving God.  Then the words that I try not to let haunt me, “Just know that the demons now know your name.”

Brett and my physical oppression is one evidence from this past year that the demons know our names. The satanist told Brett that since Satan and demons are not omnipresent like God, they do not know every Christian. They know only the ones who are a threat to their mission to keep souls from Jesus.  This is not bragging rights; this is the reality that we are in war.  This may be changing very soon, but here in America we have not been in war against other people for our faith. Yes, you may get criticized, rejected by a friend, unfriended on Facebook, laughed at, questioned, etc.  However, unlike our brothers and sisters over seas, we are not getting tortured, shot, burned, beheaded.  It may only be a matter of time, but at least right now, Brett and I are not being thrown in jail or threatened for being missionaries who make movies.  No one is stopping us. Except….Satan and his demons.

The year of 2016 has been a year of waiting. God has made his mission for us known, yet like David, Joseph, and even Jesus, we must wait for His timing to live it out. And in the wait, Satan has been working behind the scenes trying to distract with sin, plant seeds of fears and insecurities that have grown to paralyzing mountains, discourage us from our calling, doubt who God really says He is and who we are in Christ, destroy relationships….all to hold us back from obeying God even in the wait.

Satan is the real enemy.  Even for other believers who face persecution from people, Satan is still the enemy behind it all.  This sounds pretty discouraging and even haunting, especially since our culture has its own ideas of the spiritual forces around us.  My response can be to fear him and be intimidated by him.  Honestly, that is has been my initial response and I’m still battling it. And I can tell you by experience, that’s exactly what he wants. It gives him more power; he knows my weaknesses and can shoot his flaming arrows right where my armor his down.  He sets up camp in my territory and whispers that lie. That thought of doubt or insecurity. That tempting fruit of desire that if I don’t take captive it will lead to sin. He also likes to give me the club and I beat myself over and over with it while he sits back and enjoys the show.  Many times I think I came up with the thought or lie, and because “there is a way that seems right to a man (Proverbs 16:25),” I don’t instantly shove it out. I easily think it could be truth.   Where as if I focus that my enemy, the devil, who is prowling around like a lion looking to devour me (1 Peter 5:8), spoke that lie, doubt, tempting desire, it’s easy to fight back! To face him and chase him out of my territory.  To speak the truth of God’s Word to shine the light which scatters the darkness (1 John 2:8).

Not only do I need to remember that Satan is the enemy, but that people are not the enemy. Even people who do not have the Spirit inside them are not the enemy. They have been blinded by Satan from the truth of Jesus Christ and his saving gift of grace that He offers them (2 Corinthians 4:4).  I was once lost and blinded; yet in God’s grace I have been found and forgiven.  This past year I have understood the grace of God more than ever before.  And because of that, the Spirit has enabled me to show more grace to others and look at them differently, no matter who they are and what they have done.  I have been living my life with fuzzy blinders over my eyes.  Now, God’s grace, unconditional love, and forgiveness towards me overflows even more to others.   Whether it’s someone from a completely different walk of life or someone who has sinned against me, they are never the enemy.  I can love with open arms. I can be rejected and know that I’m still a daughter of the King and no one can change that.  I can forgive completely when someone has hurt me.

Instead Satan wants division, arguing, unforgiveness towards one another.  When we see people as the enemy, it is so easy to do this!   Someone hurts us or someone we love, and we want to fight back and get revenge.  We feel unloved or unwanted by someone who should love or want us, so we start to believe we are unloved and desperately try to find love in the wrong places. Or we stuff down pain from the past and put up a wall from those who do love us, causing bondage rather freedom.   We fight over the meaning of a Scripture passage and churches are split into two.  Our spouse sins and we add it to the list of wrongs, and even bring it up in a later argument.  Our children are acting like little demons (can I get a raised hand!?) and we yell, become impatient, and frustrated that they are not obeying every word we say.  We even can struggle to forgive ourselves for hurting the people we love.

And Satan loves it.  He is the master of disguise. He is not the devil with the red suit and pitchfork. He’s beautiful; he even twisted our minds in our culture to think that beauty is to strive for and without it, you are not worthy. Another deception.  So he is weaving himself unnoticed throughout our minds and our relationships, and without realizing it you are believing that you (beating myself with the club example) are the enemy, or your spouse, children, friend, coworker, annoying Facebooker who won’t shut up about the election, the persecutor, yes, even the ISIS leader who has been brainwashed by THE enemy.

My friend who is reading this, there is hope.  Satan is a wimp.  It doesn’t sound like it from what I wrote above.  And as I said, I struggle with seeing him for who he really is: a punk with cheap parlor tricks as Brett tells me.  But the only way I put him in his rightful place (um…hell), is to look to the One who is on the Throne.  When I see Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, in His rightful place, everything changes. I remember that the Spirit of God lives in me!  He’s not in a tabernacle where I go worship.  He’s not here in flesh and bone like Jesus walked on the earth 2000 years ago. He is here with me. In me.  And that blows my mind. That God the Creator, the powerful I AM would come live inside me.  I have the same power to defeat Satan and my sin as Jesus had to raise from the dead!   I do not live like this every moment of every day.  What would my days look like if I did?  Satan’s doubts, lies, deceptions, luring temptations would have no place in my mind.

Oh but if only it was easy. This is war. It’s a daily battle. Some days the struggle is so real and I feel so weak. I have sat in my shower crying out to God to take the battle away because I don’t want to fight anymore.  I have 2 choices in that moment:

1. Allow Satan to stay in my territory, giving in to despair while focusing on my fears, doubts, insecurities, and temptations of sin. Which then paralyzes me and weakens my effectiveness in the mission God has called me on this earth. Causing me to miss out on receiving and giving blessings. Wondering through life without joy or peace.

-OR-

2. Ask God to fight for me, to give me the strength I need when I am weak. Take his grace that is sufficient for this day (2 Corinthians 12:9).  Give up control. Close my eyes and see Him as John did:  “…like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.” (Revelation 1:13-16)  Then I stand up and be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that I am ready to take my stand against the devil’s schemes. (Ephesians 6:10-11)

The best part: we already know who wins the war. And it surely is not Satan. He will be thrown into the lake of fire for all eternity (Revelation 20:10).  Meanwhile….

“I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: king of kings and lord of lords.” (Revelation 19:11-16)

This rider called Faithful and True is on my side.  I have nothing to fear when I trust the Word of God.  What about you? Do you see the war around you? Is the king of kings and lord of lords on your side?  If so, are you allowing Satan to devour you or are you standing firm in the strength of the Word of God?  Do you think the demons know your name?

The battle has been won. The victory is ours. Let’s live with this Truth in mind.

Fruit that is Good and Pleasing to the Eye – Part 2

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img_3260In Part 1, I touched on ministry and social media.  Here are two more fruits that are good and pleasing to the eye that can turn into the bitter fruit of disobedience.

Food:  I’m going to be blunt and just say it. We have made food a major sin problem.  Food was one of the things that God created for Adam and Eve to enjoy in the Garden of Eden. And they most likely did not need to eat the fruit since their source of life was God.  However, since sin came into the world, food is one of the necessities of life.

God gave us food not only to live but also to enjoy.  Yet if you haven’t noticed, we enjoy it a little too much.  40.4% of women, 35% of men, 29.5% of girls, and 29.7% of boys in the US are obese. (stats from World Obesity Federation 2013-14).  We don’t eat because we are hungry.  We eat because we are bored, stressed, and highly addicted to the taste.  Eating is a major part of celebrations and holidays, culture traditions, and social events. And we have all heard, “eat your plate because children are starving in Africa.”  What? Who even started that phrase?  Eat everything regardless if you are full because some child won’t get any food. It’s almost an insult when you really think about it.  Waste the food by shoving it down your own throat just so you don’t feel guilty that someone somewhere won’t have a meal tonight. C’mon.

Oh and speaking of wasting food…..do you know that we waste 50% of food grown, prepared, served?   50%. I’m guilty myself; we all are.  But I wanted to puke after hearing that and then listening to an agriculture company (which I will not name) explain why they believe genetically-modifying food is absolutely necessary: because we won’t have enough food to feed the 9.7 billion people by 2050, according to the UN.

I’m not here to give you my opinion on GMO foods. (although it is a little “trying to be God” when you watch how they extract the DNA from strawberries or change the DNA of corn so that worms won’t eat it).  My point here is that at this conference I attended, basically in the same sentence I heard how much food is wasted, there’s too many people in this world, and therefore, we need to create more food. Ok. But how about making strides to re-purpose or prevent food waste so that we can take that 50% and feed the kids who are starving in Africa.    We either over stuff our faces….or we waste it.   This is a problem.  And honestly, we can try to do everything right, but it won’t ever go away until Jesus Christ comes back and redeems this earth.

My question to you then is this: what can you personally do about this problem of stuffing or wasting? It would be an interesting challenge to calculate how much money we personally waste in food. That would include both the amount we eat more than our bodies physically need (stuffing) and and the amount thrown out that we bought but didn’t eat (wasting). Then give that estimated amount to our local homeless shelter.

Or is food a source of sin to you in another way?  I could go on and on with several other examples of how Satan uses food to destroy us instead of bring blessing.  Enjoy the wonderful and delicious food that God has given you but ask the Spirit to show you if food is an idol and/or is destroying your health because of personal choices.

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Sex: “Really, Christina?” Yep. I’m on a soap box roll, so I might as well keep going.  This topic is an awkward one and no one wants to talk about it.  I grew up in the generation where no one talked about the s-e-x word.  But it needs to be talked about because Satan has taken the shiny fruit of beautiful, God-given gift of sex and DESTROYED it.  And I know that you have noticed this apple being a major source of sin outside marriage and how God intended it to be.

I have recently been so burdened by how destructive sex has become in our world. I literally wept and wept the other week crying out to God regarding this issue.  If I could have washed Jesus’ feet with my tears, they would have been clean over and over again. I cried out for..

…my dear friends who have been sexually abused, used, raped.

….my husband who has to daily fight temptation when he goes to the store or is on his computer and an ad pops up when he is researching film equipment.

….the thousands of women and children who are forced into sex slavery all over the world, and maybe right in your neighborhood.

….my little boy who has to grow up and face his own temptations.

….my beautiful little girl who is becoming not so little anymore and is growing up to be looked upon as a sex object.

…my new friends who dance at the strip club where I minister.

Since I have a growing intense compassion for anyone a part of Satan’s destruction of sex, this past year I became involved with a local ministry at a church in Indianapolis called, Unconditional.  Once a month, we divide up into teams and head out to 7 different clubs in Indy bringing gifts to all the employees, specifically reaching the dancers.  Our mission: “to unconditionally love women in the sex industry with the love of Christ, to empower and encourage them on their journey, and equip them for a full and healthy life.”   Jesus went to the sick who needed a Savior.  Many of these girls will not step foot in a church, so we, the Church, are going to them. I have been so blessed and humbled by this ministry. God is moving in the Indianapolis strip clubs!

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When I was weeping, I thought abut how sex is a gift that God gave us to enjoy only here on earth.  I mentioned this to Brett and this was his response: Everything about marriage is a beautiful picture of Christ (the Groom) and the Church (the Bride). That includes God’s gift of sex. The enjoyment that a husband and wife experience during sex is a foretaste of the heavenly bliss, the ultimate ecstasy that the Church will experience in heaven. So why wouldn’t Satan attack and seek to destroy one of the most beautiful moments that God has given us to experience?

And Satan has done exactly that.  And this is why I will fight to preserve this gift by waging war on my knees in prayer, teaching my children biblical truth over the world’s lies, showing love to a dancer, and sponsoring a child to meet his needs and rescue him from the evils of sex slavery.

Food and sex: 2 necessities of life. 2 choices. Obey God and take a bite that brings life and blessing or follow the ways of Satan and take a bite which will steal, kill, and destroy.