Not Unredeemed

… living the beautiful tension between what is, and what will be …


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Not Just a Rose

It’s just a far off social justice cause until you witness it happening right in front of you. They are just nameless faces and statistics until you meet them and hear their stories. Human Trafficking. It happens. Here in the US.

Her name was Wanda*, she called out to me as I walked past her at the Underground Mall in ATL, asking if I had any money I could give her for food. After buying her a meal in the food court I asked her if she would mind if I joined her while she ate.  Her story it seems was a common one – in a fight with her boyfriend (who also sells her when he’s short on money) she hits the streets looking for a homeless shelter to take her in for the night. She has no money to spend on food, but only money given to her for specific beauty products – she faces a beating if she comes back without them.  Homeless without him, Wanda stays with her boyfriend to scared to stay or to leave. But it could be worse, she’s not a prostitute really, he only sells her once in a while.

Scared but wondering how we could help her, Wanda came back with me to the Dream Center (where I was spending the week on a short term missions trip). Newly clothed and fed, we offered Wanda a chance to come off the street – she declined, she wasn’t ready yet. Faced with a controlling boyfriend she knew or the unknown of a new life and facing the confines of a recovery house, she choose the familiar even while it kept her enslaved to her identity of little value.

Later that evening I hit the streets partnering with Princess Night Ministries, to simply show the love of the Lord to these girls by giving them a rose with a card.

You are loved. Tonight I give you a rose whose beauty fades, but there is a Rose that never dies. (<— click to tweet )The Rose of Sharon (Sharon meaning a straight path, peace, leading to good things.) Jesus is the rose of Sharon. He loves you for who you are…..            Princess Night hotline ##########

Finding these princesses of the King, who were kidnapped by the prince of darkness – on the street we told them they are beautiful, loved and of great value. If we got a chance before the pimps stopped us, we would pray with the girls and offer them a chance to come off the street. Katrina* saw our van coming and ran over – tonight was the night – she was ready for a change. Broken and excited all at once she entered the van to hushed prayers of thanksgiving and for protection as we maneuvered her to safety out of the neighborhood and into a new life.

In Atlanta (and in all major US cities) human trafficking and prostitution aren’t small problems – they are an epidemic as sexual perversion becomes apart of the norm in our culture. During my time at the Atlanta Dream Center I heard and saw many parts of these girls (and guys) stories. This coming Friday (August 24, 2012) is National Princess Night. Will you join me (and hundreds of others) in praying against the human trafficking in our county? Pray for Katrina as she faces the challenges of a whole new life and learning who she truly is in Christ? Pray for Wanda, that the Lord will protect her and free her, as He draws her to himself?  Pray for the Dream Center staff who daily face danger because of what they stand for and for how the minister on the streets.

For more information on Princess Night – Princess Night – find them on Facebook

For more information on Human Trafficking – Exodus Cry and Love 146

Do you have a ministry you work with, or a website with more information on human trafficking? Share in the comments.

*Names changed for protection.

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Rhythms of Grace

Grace. It’s so much more than just undeserved favor or merit and pardon from sin.  Grace is the ability to abide in Christ. It’s the strength to walk through painful circumstances.

Grace is the promise of humility. “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Pride says “I’ve got this, I can do this, or I’m in control”. Humility is having God’s view of the situation, and with His perspective comes grace, and freedom. Freedom from expectations of others, freedom from sin and freedom from ourselves.

“Grace isn’t leniency when we have sinned.  Grace is the enabling gift of God, not to sin.  Grace is power, not just pardon.” -John Piper

Grace is power. Power to live 1 John, and be “in Christ”.

I need grace. I need lots of grace. When I began to pray to understand grace I had no idea the road the Lord would take me down to understand ‘grace in it’s various forms’. I assumed I would mess up and sin, and I would come to understand grace. But grace is oh so much more! Grace grows from humility, so God went for the root – pride.

The circumstances that are teaching me grace are also humbling me in their simplicity. I’m tripping over health issues and changes in several significant relationships in my life. Things I thought I could handle, things that aren’t a big deal to anyone else. Simple things are leaving me begging for grace and desolate for His presence.

It’s not the size of the issue that brings you to your knees, but that fact that you get to your knees that matters. That humbles me. And there is where the grace begins.  Continue reading


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Letters

Dear L—,

I miss you! I see you everyday. I walk past you in the hallways. You are present in every meeting I have all day long. I ask to see you and hear you as you really are in those meetings and I do. You are faithful and cannot deny who you are, so when I call – you come. We discuss questions my girls ask me and you show me your wisdom – yet I miss you, L—.  I tell you about the struggles I see all around me, and in turn you show me your heart. I plead for a friend and you listen and intervene. Yet I miss you.

I’m reading your biography everyday, your words – learning about you. Yet I miss you. We don’t talk, just the two us for no reason anymore. I don’t ask you what your thinking, what’s on your heart, unless someone asks me to ask you these days. How can I miss you when I see you everyday? We do great business together, but I miss the romance. More than that – I miss you. 

Forgive me.

-Me

*********************************************************************

Several hours later while going through papers, an old letter is found. Continue reading


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Call it Out

Several months ago I met a man named Jason*. He made a lasting impact and drew out the best in me without trying. Jason was a gentleman to the core; with full hands he opened doors and I never walked behind him – always in front or beside him. His respect for others and love for Jesus emanated in everything he did. Yes, Jason’s words reflected his love for the Lord, but his actions made the impact because he was living out who the Lord made him to be .

By the end of the evening, I wanted to be more feminine and I desired to have a greater love for the Lord.  Why? Because in walking rightly before the Lord, Jason couldn’t help but call out the best in me. A brother in Christ without trying, called out and challenged this sister in Christ simply by the way he lived.

A question has been haunting me since that night; what if I reversed this situation? Am I living in such away that calls out the best in my brothers and sisters in Christ? I throw the question to you: Are you living in such a way that inspires people around you to want to love and know the Lord more? More specifically – ladies, are you living in a way that encourages the men in your lives to be godly leaders? I’ve been blessed to have other brothers in Christ encourage me too, but do I encourage them? Does our personal model of femininity, call out or squash a man’s masculinity? Continue reading


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Call It What It Is – When Friends Know too Much – Part 2

In my last post I talked about close guy/girl friendships and how I’ve come to believe that close cross-gender friendships ultimately don’t work.  So what should healthy guy/girl friendships look like?

First – Call it what it is.  Be honest with yourself. If you’re in a close friendship with someone of the opposite gender, do you desire for it to be more? Does he or she?  Do you tell everyone you’re like brother and sister?

Brothers and sisters don’t necessarily text, chat, talk or see each other every day. They don’t flirt (By the way – if you’re just “teasing or flirting” as friends – you’re in a very dangerous spot). Brothers and sisters rarely do things alone together (or at least not as a habit). Brothers and sisters are also never exclusive (most of the time there is always one cross-gender friendship that is ‘exclusive’ or deeper than the others). Jealousy with the interactions the other person has is never present in healthy sibling relationships.

If your relationship falls into one of these – call it what it is – you’re dating.  I encourage you to stop and think – even more so if you just tried to justify “oh that’s not me” to yourself after reading that last sentence. Continue reading


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Of Mountains and Passion

In my last blog, I brought attention to the seemingly obvious lack of godly men in the church and in our homes.  But what to do about it is the most important question. More specifically, what can we as women, do about it?  In asking the godly men in my life what I could do to help inspire the men around me to live courageously for the Lord, the answers were almost universal and seem almost too simplistic to be true! Yet I know it works and is true because I have lived it!

The there were a couple of things that came up when I talked to the men. The main thing was: Prayer

Sounds pretty simple, huh? Even easy? I thought so at first! Come on, prayer? It’s gotta be a little more complicated than that!

It is, but at the same time it is not.  When we pray – truly pray – the Lord changes things.  He says that the ‘fervent effective prayer of a righteous man avails much’ (James 5:16b). Even in the Old Testament, look how many times the Lord determines to bring judgment on Israel, and they repent, pray and the Lord shows mercy.

I said I knew that the Lord works and moves when we pray for our men because I have lived it. Several years ago, the Lord brought a young man into my life and after being friends for a while we started dating. During that time and for a while after, the Lord taught me what it meant to really pray for someone. I knew this man could be so much more than he was living.  But what could I do? Continue reading


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Where Have all the Cowboys Gone?

Whether it’s Paula Cole singing it, a pastor preaching it, or girlfriends chatting about it in a coffee shop, we all want to know where the cowboys have gone.

Photo Compliments of Kasper Photography

And unlike the song lyrics, I’m not talking about the ‘Marlboro man’ who does what he wants, when he wants and rides off into the sunset without looking back to whom or what he leaves behind. I’m talking about men who treat women, their families, God and country with respect. Who willingly and sacrificially do everything it takes to protect and honor those they lead and care for.  Men after God’s heart. Sold out, on fire men; who love and passionately seek after the Lord above all else. They lead and provide for their families and future families. They live intentionally and courageously. Where are these men today?

I’m not in any way trying to bash or disrespect the men around me! On the contrary! The Lord has blessed me abundantly by giving me a father, brothers and some friends who strive to be men of God in a culture that shoots them down at every turn. Because I have met real men, I now look around and my heart breaks at everything the media and culture projects as manhood. Even in the church, we let the culture rather than scriptures dictate how we view masculinity. Continue reading