Thursday, October 13, 2016

I Will Not Look Away

{Thoughts on my very first Walk for Freedom}

"Today I wore black. 
Today I walked through the center of Guadalajara, Mexico with my hands behind my back and a red X over my mouth. 
Single file in a line of nearly 500 women.
Today my arms were sore from carrying signs. 
I didn't want to look anywhere but at the ground. 
I felt everyone staring. Looking me up and down. 
Wondering about the red tape on my mouth. 
Reading the words. 
I could feel thousands of eyes going all the way through me. 

Today  I was uncomfortable. 

But only for a little while.

With guys surrounding us and protecting us on every side. 
Other women to carry the signs when they saw that I couldn't any longer but couldn't open my mouth to tell them. 
Today I prayed prayers from the deepest parts of my heart. 
Because today I felt the darkness, the heaviness, the brokenness and hopelessness like never before. 
Today we walked through streets in our city that are most certainly active areas for prostitution and human trafficking.
My eyes wandered upwards to windows.
I couldn't help but wonder how many were trapped above. 

My heart broke to realize we are surrounded by them everyday. 
In such easily accessible places. 
Separated only by glass and wooden doors. 
But to look at it-really look at it- and imagine what could be happening inside is too frightening and uncomfortable and overwhelming. 
So instead we just look away. 
How many of those men we passed were pimps and traffickers?

I kept waiting to look up and find a pair of eyes. 
But none. 

Praying hope. 
Praying light. 
Praying life. 
Into hopeless, dark, dead places and faces. 
That You would reveal Yourself. Give them something to cling to and hope in and to keep living for. 
Prayers that they would hear us or see us and know that they are not forgotten. 
That someone is fighting for them and speaking up for them because they cannot fight or speak up for themselves. 
That today they would know in the deepest parts of them that You see them and You know them and You have not forgotten them.
You do not look away. 
You heal . 
You restore. 
You love. 
You hear. 
They are worth fighting for.
They are worth rescuing and saving and healing and restoring. 
You do not notice the dirt and the impurities and brokenness. 
You see who they will be in the light of Your grace. 

To see how many people watched. Shop owners and people staring. Reading all of the signs with facts and figures. Taking photos and videos. Just to know people saw today. Thought about it. Had some conversations about it. 
That's a start. 
Parents having conversations with kids that might save them from this fate. 
Men who might have called prostitutes before or who have thought about it, who won't anymore because they saw it in a new light and You began to convict their hearts...

And for me. 
To feel so exploited. Judged. On display. Helpless. Voiceless. Dark and heavy. 
I begged You to move me. To break my heart. 
And You have. 
Started to. 
Tears with each step. 
When I think about their desperation. How afraid and alone and worthless and broken and hopeless they must feel.
My heart aches. 
And begs the questions...
What can I do!?

The end. 
Standing in El Centro in front of my favorite cathedral here. With so many other brave, passionate women. 
Finding our voices and using them to speak freedom over this city. 
One of the coolest moments in my life so far. 
So honored and moved to be a part of that moment. 

How symbolic. 
A line of women in black and high heels walking the streets on display. 
For everyone to look at and think what they want of. 
With no voice. No way to speak up. 
I kept my eyes down most of the time. 
But I love that we found our voice together. 
It was all of us standing together that gave them a voice. 
I just hope they felt that today. 
That hope crept into their dark places. 

The whole time I just needed a pen and a piece of paper. 
So many thoughts and prayers. So much to process. 
I feel like this is something I've been passionate about for so long, but I'veneer had an outlet or a way to get involved. I love that I have found that here. 
When I watched that film last month, I decided before I did anything, I needed to be faithful to pray. To do what I could with prayer. 
I have prayed passionately and whole heartedly almost every day for a month and today only intensified that passion. 

Thank You that because of you and only with You, 
El fin es posible."
"It is estimated that more than 30 MILLION slaves exist in the world."

It has been almost exactly one year sine I participated in the A21 Campaign's Walk for Freedom here in Guadalajara, Mexico. God has continued to burden my heart for those without a voice. My heart aches more than it did one year ago, but I also feel more confident than ever before that I am going to be a part of ending slavery in my generation.

I will not be quiet. 
I will not be passive. 
I will not look away. 

I will fight. 
I will pray. 
I will act. 
I will continue to be a voice for those who have none. 
I will see freedom and hope and light and restoration in my lifetime. 

The Walk for Freedom happens in cities all over the world this coming Saturday, October 15! Check out their website to find a walk near you and for tons of information about Human Trafficking and how YOU can have a part in ending slavery in our generation :) 

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