Easter is over. Sunday was Pentecost, and next week we’ll move into Ordinary Time, whose color is green, the color of growth.
For me, a lot of growth took place during this season of Resurrection, mostly because I’ve been reading and writing the stories of girls trapped in the sex trade.
I have to tell you, though, that I almost missed all this growth because I almost didn’t run the Stop Slavery series. Partly that was out of fear: what if I can’t handle the horror? As if I’m the one living the horror. Please. At least I’ve grown out of that in the past seven weeks.
But even deeper than the fear was the realization that my motives weren’t pure, that part of me was hoping that Love 146 and IJM would pick up on this little blogathon I’ve been hosting and tweet it to their followers and then their staff and supporters would come to my blog and be blown away by my brilliant writing (not to mention my generosity of spirit in hosting a fundraiser for children trapped in the sex trade) and they would become fans of my blog and tell all their friends how great it is—how great I am—and my readership base would grow.
Yes, friend, it is true. There were niggling thoughts like that in the back of my mind.
It is humiliating to recognize—even more humiliating to admit—that in shining a light on this darkest of all evils, I was, in the deep recesses of my heart, also hoping to look good in the process, hoping that maybe my blog might grow a little because of this series.
I feel ashamed that even one crumb of me was exploiting these girls and the horror they’ve lived through for my own self-centered ends. It’s sickening.
But even in writing these things, I imagine I can hear you, my readers, imagine I know your thoughts. If you’re not completely disgusted with me, you’re thinking, “Oh that Kimberlee, she is so honest, so authentic, so…” blah blah blah. Oh God. Does it never end?
Crap like this makes me think I should stop blogging, stop writing altogether, until I get over myself.
When I mentioned this to my spiritual director, she said, “But Kimberlee, don’t you see? That’s exactly what the enemy wants. He wants you to be so wrapped up in your own conflicted motives that you stop using your creativity altogether. At least if you’re writing, God can use it, use you, however mixed your motives.”
And this is how it feels, here on my humbled tail end at the end of Easter, like God has used me, my words, in spite of my own egomaniacal tendencies. Many, many people have read the stories of these girls; many—including me—have had their eyes opened to the horror that these girls live in day after day; and many have prayed for their deliverance, have given generously to effect their deliverance, their healing, their restoration.
Because of this series and the generous women who funded it, we raised $1034 to end sex trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children and to care for girls who’ve endured the horror of that shadow-life.
Neither IJM nor Love 146 ever tweeted about my fundraiser or sent a single representative to come check out my blog, and you know what? I am so grateful for that. It makes me feel like less of a schmuck, like I didn’t actually end up exploiting these girls who’ve been so exploited already. It feels like a gift from God that what I secretly and ashamedly hoped would happen didn’t actually happen.
And in doing what I felt nudged to do—get off the porch, read the stories, write the stories, face the grim reality—even with my mixed motives, I have been so blessed. Blessed by each of you who has left a comment. Blessed by the girls whose stories I have retold. Blessed even by the recognition of my own duplicity of heart, which sends me back to Jesus on my knees, crying, “Create in me a pure heart, O God!”
So in spite of me, but also because of me, God has worked. Seeing this, I will continue to write. And continue to pray that God will get me out of my own way, out of His way.
But this Easter, I’ve started to see that I’m not in God’s way. I am God’s way, in all my brokenness and self-deception and need.
And so are you.