For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
:: Galatians 5:1 ::
(Warning: This blog post contains content that is highly tourist-oriented.
The author is not responsible for any eye rolling or feelings of “Did she really?” that result herein.)
This past weekend, my work sent my supervisor (read: friend) and I to an anti-trafficking conference in D.C. hosted by Shared Hope International.
The conference was an overflow of information and sharing of strategies, theories and stories. Oh the stories….
Those were the most powerful. Survivors who have become champions over the horrors they have endured, spoke on what their experiences have taught them. Some with Master degrees in Social Work and some with PhD’s in theology…they spoke out of their hearts.
One of these women in particular, Minh Dang, who is writing her thesis to complete her Masters at U.C. Berkley, spoke about social change. Her theory has several components, but one is that we, the free, have a responsibility to exemplify freedom in our lives. She spoke of how the worst type of confinement, in her experience, of being trafficked for commercial sex, were the psychological chains she had to break. The mind control – “tyranny over the mind” as Thomas Jefferson puts it... She spoke of how those who work with survivors should remember that speaking about freedom is not enough. We have to live it. Being “slaves to our job” to fear or to anxiety or any other thing is not the way to lead others to liberation.
I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal
hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.
:: Thomas Jefferson ::
If Minh and Jefferson aren’t enough for you to buy in, Paul speaks of this same call to action in his letter to the church in Corinth…
We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God,
and take every thought captive to obey Christ.
:: 2 Corinthians 10:5 ::
We take our thoughts captive in order to obey Christ.
We make this effort, by His strength, to take every thought captive so those thoughts don’t hold us captive.
When we live with minds full of freedom, we honor those who have been robbed of such liberty.
As I stood in this place rooted in the past, I thought about how it’s focused so intently on the future, how history is not supposed to repeat itself. I thought about there being so much to learn and to look forward to, while there’s also so much to do be DOING and SEEING now – in the present.
All of this remembering the past, the troubled slavery-ridden past, led to a focus on the helpers who saw a light in the midst of such profound darkness. And in the midst of this present pain of modern-day slavery, I know there are helpers – and One Helper in particular to lean on (John 14:16). There was Light then and there is Light now.
A good friend of mine, a sister, keeps me grounded. She keeps me grounded by speaking truth to me like,
“One of the best things to do sometimes in the dark is to write down the things we remember about His faithfulness. Remember specific times when we saw His goodness. Because we need to remember that not only is He all of the omni’s – omni-powerful, omniscient and omnipresent – He is also good!”
She helps me stay grounded in the mystery of “How do such bad things happen?” by showing me how to give thanks.
Thanksgiving in all things accepts the deep mystery of God through everything.
:: Anne Voskamp ::
I give thanks for miraculous healing, both physically and spiritually speaking, in the lives of women I love.
I give thanks for the provision of a job in which my passion is accounted for.
I give thanks for a dad who refers to me (even in front of other church men) as “a teacher of the Word”.
I give thanks for conferences, organizations, nonprofits and individual souls who come together for freedom’s sake.
I give thanks because I know freedom. I live it and breath it and glorify my Maker through it.
I give thanks for a future where true freedom will be realized in a forever home.
I give thanks for the Liberator who makes this possible.