Iowa Trafficking Hotline: 800-770-1650 or text "iowahelp" to 20121
National Human Trafficking Hotline: 888-373-7888 or text "Help" to BEFREE (233733)

Blank Canvas

Throughout their participation in our restoration program, women have the opportunity to explore a variety of interests and experiences. One of the favorites is the art room. I love that each survivor has a completely unique journey, but one girl’s journey sticks out to me in particular. She is the epitome of an artist; bold, creative, and vibrant. But it wasn’t always like this.

Upon her arrival in the home, she took to painting like it was her lifeline. She spent hours on end in the art room, radio blasting as she sang at the top of her lungs. Painting was the thing she turned to when she was angry, when she was overjoyed, when she was sorrowful.

I wish I could take all of the paintings she created and hang them along the walls of a museum exhibit, displayed in a dimly lit room with dramatic wall lighting as the timeline of her journey at Wings of Refuge unfolds. The story would progress like your favorite book.

In the very beginning, darkness and despair fills the canvas, resembling the condition within; baring her deepest and darkest pain. As you walk along and the paintings become more and more recent, you would see flutters of hope. Mixed within the black paints, sparks of color and light gradually take over and begin to overshadow the shame of the past.

By the end of the journey, the script has been flipped. Dark colors and desperate themes have become a thing of the past. Hope, joy, and the dream of a new future are vibrantly brushed across the canvas. The last canvas you would see would is a blank one. What story will this canvas tell?

Perhaps this one will not be painted by the artist herself but by the One who holds her future.

I have had the privilege of watching this and similar stories unfold, and I am equally amazed and baffled by the goodness of God that can be seen throughout it all. The journey is not easy, and each day brings its own challenges, but every challenge is an opportunity to triumph.

Every journey paints the story of a sovereign God.

Marissa Price
Development Assistant

She Chose To Believe

Kelly Butcher

One of our participants decided that she was ready to move into her own apartment for the first time. The other staff and I expressed support and concerns because we didn’t think she was ready quite yet to take on independent living, especially since she would now be spending the hardest part of her day – nighttime  – by herself.

She took our comments into consideration, but continued forward with her plans and found an apartment. The night before moving day, she and I packed boxes and hauled them into the living room, all while she made me laugh with her random comments and silly banter. We stopped to take a break and admire how well we had stacked boxes, which made the living room look like a warehouse.

We talked about what excited her most about being in her own place and what led to her decision to leave the Wings’ house. For the first time in the six months that I had known her, she asserted her needs: her own space, her own kitchen to clean, and her own schedule to choose. And looked me in the eyes while doing so. This may not sound like a big deal, but this brave girl avoided eye contact at all costs because she had learned in her exploitation that eye contact led to punishment. She had learned that telling anyone if she needed something – be it food, medical care, or toilet paper – led to punishment.

This simple action indicated to me that she had overcome an element of fear that had lurked beside her for years. This action indicated to me that she was ready to prove to herself that she didn’t have to depend on anyone else to live, which was a lie she heard constantly from her trafficker. If she could disprove that lie, how many more lies about her worth and purpose could she contradict?

This woman dared to look at everything working against her and instead believe that she was capable.

Her First Thanksgiving

Brandi Schleisman

It was the night before Thanksgiving and meal preparations were underway. They were busy chopping, measuring and prepping the food until the wee hours of the morning. There was so much excitement for the meal to come. Thanksgiving morning, we awoke to the savory aroma of collard greens and ham hocks permeating the entire house. The turkey was seasoned and placed in the oven while we worked on making all the other wonderful Thanksgiving fixings. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade was playing in the background while we cooked and enjoyed each other’s company. The table was adorned with beautiful fall decorations and set for a feast fit for a king.

Finally, the time had arrived. The perfectly, golden brown turkey made it’s way out of the oven to be carved. The kitchen was filled with so many delicious foods and pies. The looks of pure satisfaction of the meal they had prepared were priceless. We filled our plates, grabbed our sparkling cider and sat down at the table to give thanks to our amazing God. As we ate our meal and reminisced about different holiday memories, she became quiet. I glanced over just as tears rolled down her cheek. She looked up and said this was the first Thanksgiving she had experienced in many years, and it was good. All the years that had been stolen from her were beginning to be replaced with good memories. She was truly grateful for what she had been given…not just the food, but the atmosphere and community. It was a moment I will never forget and will cherish forever.

Every day she is in our home, it is an opportunity for God to fill her with hope and purpose. Everything the enemy meant for evil and harm, God is turning around for good. Psalm 31:19 says, “How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you, that you bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in you.” My prayer for this Thanksgiving season is that you will experience the goodness that God wants to abundantly lavish upon you, just as our participants get to experience. I thank you for investing in this ministry and the lives of the most amazing women I have ever met! Your giving allows for many wonderful memories to be made and for the goodness of God to be shown each and every day. Give thanks to God, for He is GOOD!

Brandi Schleisman
Direct Care Coach

I Have Learned Her Name

Bev Shipley

This week marks eight months in my journey with Wings of Refuge to “End Exploitation for One More Girl.” I’ve read books, watched videos, attended conferences, and networked with other organizations. I’ve learned much about human trafficking: the scope of the problem, the statistics, and the dark realities of this modern day form of slavery.

But, I’ve learned much more than statistics. I have learned her name.

I’ve cooked with her, walked with her, and prayed with her. I’ve laughed with her, cried with her, and most importantly, I’ve grown with her. She has changed me.

I’ll never forget Easter, 2016. I had the honor of sharing an Easter egg hunt with her. This particular egg hunt was also a scavenger hunt. Her smile grew as she opened each egg and figured out the clues to the location of the next egg. When the final clue led her to a basket full of small gifts, squeals of delight filled the room. It was a special moment for me. It’s one of several moments that have changed my life as I have been privileged to share similar life changing experiences at Wings of Refuge. It isn’t always easy, but she is always worthy!

God is on the move in this house and in this organization. Rest assured that your donations are changing lives, bringing restoration, and spreading God’s love.

And for those of you who still want statistics, let me share this small statistic:
Purchasing an Easter basket filled with small gifts………..….. $14.00
Spending time with an incredible Sister in Christ………….. Priceless
Sharing the real message of Easter ………………..………… Priceless
Witnessing unashamed joy…………………………………..… Priceless

Bev Shipley, Executive Director


Courtney Sowder

There are countless movies about people who go on a trip across the country and chaos ensues. They get into trouble, sometimes fight bad guys, some have the best time of their lives. They are low budget movies done on a tight schedule but they still become popular because the message is so relatable. We’re all on journey and we all want to arrive.

Wings of Refuge is a restoration home. Simple enough sentence right?

Restoration. Easy. Let’s just put some spackle on the wall and repaint. You won’t even be able to tell that it there was water damage. Except, anyone who has every lived in a home or done some remodeling knows that it’s often not that simple. Where is the water coming from? How much water is there? What will it cost to get it fixed? The risk of ignoring the damage could be catastrophic. The cost for finding and repairing the problem can be high. If we do ignore the problem; it will build up, mold will grow, more spots will need to be covered up, until eventually it breaks through and your ceiling collapses, your walls fall in, and your home is nearly uninhabitable.

The lives of survivors who seek restoration have often had years of damage build up. They’ve been beaten, assaulted, abused, manipulated, threatened, injured, ill, and we can’t just ignore the damage. It’s a long and laborious process for the survivor and it takes bravery to enter the rubble. She has to pick up the pieces, throw away the shrapnel from lies she has been told about herself. Each room in the home needs to be evaluated, items need to be examined for their worth. The structure of the building needs to be uncovered. Who is she, what is her layout, what stairs creak and what doors sing. What is her color scheme, the things that make her so uniquely her.

Restoration is not about covering up the pain of survivors. It’s not about making them presentable and mainstreaming them with the public. Our goal will never be to get a pat on the back and a big check for a job well done. She is a heroine in her own right but her journey never ends. There will be points along her timeline where she is victorious and every single one should be celebrated. There will also be marks along the way that show relapse but all that really means in restoration is that she hasn’t remodeled the guest bedroom yet.

Courtney Sowder

Nerve Damage

I imagine most people will agree with me when I say that we all hate pain. We don’t think fondly of it, wish for it, or enjoy it.

Our team attended the Exodus Cry Abolition Summit this month and one of the speakers told this true story:

Once there was a man who was doing ministry in a Leper Colony. One day, when in the dining hall the bell was rung signaling that dinner was ready for everyone, a man in the distance was seen standing on crutches with a broken ankle.

This man wanted to be the first to receive his meal, and so he began to run as fast as he could down the field that separated him from this building. He hobbled along the best that he could, before he became frustrated and threw down the crutches that were slowing him down. He ran on his broken foot the remainder of the way and sure enough, he was the first to arrive at the building. When he stood at the doorway, he looked down to discover that his foot had broken even more, bone exposed and in very bad shape.

The thing about Leprosy is, contrary to common belief, does not cause limbs to fall off of one’s body. Instead, it causes damage to the nerves and in turn, the loss of feeling or sensation. Because of this, pain, injury, or damage may go unnoticed and you may not feel pain that can warn you of harm to your body.

Pain is a necessary alarm system within our body, mind, and spirit that signals to us that something is wrong and that a change or action is required in order to save yourself from further injury or damage.

At Wings of Refuge, when a participant is experiencing pain it can be easy for us as staff members to want to attempt to remedy that pain with distractions or whatever it is we feel she needs in that moment.

After all, that’s our job, isn’t it? Not exactly…

As difficult as it can be to watch someone walk through painful circumstances or deal with painful consequences, and although we can offer advice and suggest changes or solutions, many times, the pain they’re feeling is going to be the motivation for change and transformation.

Part of our role in her restoration is helping her nerve damage heal and repair so that she can recognize it and understand it. The trauma that she has perhaps become numb to as a defense mechanism that still needs to be stitched and bandaged and given the space and time to heal.

You see, although God does not desire pain for us, He will use it if we allow Him to. Our response to pain signals can refine us, mature us, and bring us closer to Christ. In the Bible, Job, who endured unspeakable suffering, said, “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.” God allows us to experience pain in our humanity so that we will turn to the hope that is in His sovereignty.

Marissa Price

What Happened Next?


Luke 7:36-50

The story of the sinful woman who cried her tears


at Jesus feet at the Pharisee party intrigues me in so many ways. It is an intimate account of Jesus loving her at her lowest. I can relate to her. Her passion. Her emotion. Her big move. Her desperation. Her boldness to cry with Jesus.

And I wonder…What got her to the point where bursting in uninvited to a Pharisee party of all things became her best option that evening? I wonder and ponder guessing that she had exhausted doing broken alone. Tears alone. Alone and broken was no longer working. I am guessing that, like me, she had tried every other option. Self talk, self help, will power. Perfectionism; the nice word for pride and being our own God… as if enough good clean action can wipe the soul slate clean. Cleaning up the outside while the inside was a crying shame of aches. I’m curious as to how that night crying her tears in front of judgmental men with Jesus became her best course of action ..I have to guess her thoughts were not completely planned out, was it more of a compelling surge of desperate emotion that led her to Simon’s prestigious party that night. A place of thinking where her town label of the “very sinful woman” no longer kept her separated from the heartbeat of the social agenda in town that evening. She threw off her self-defeated soul play record of you don’t belong, as the needle of the player screeched and scratched the over-played album in her mind and she ran…burst…out of that invisible prison of lies and ran in her desperate moment to Jesus.

She did out of her desperation the thing for Jesus that should have happened as was custom but did not occur that night. No one had washed his feet, no one had given him the customary kiss of greeting, no one had anointed his head with oil as was tradition…Jesus sat at the party being treated less than and without and the woman came in less than and without and provided and met the “without” Jesus had encountered that evening. How ironic…the very thing this sinful woman did in desperation came and fulfilled what was not done for Jesus. She washer his feet with her tears, she wiped them with her hair, she kissed his feet and poured her jar of perfume on them.

Defining intimacy can be said to be known and to know. What a picture of intimacy is happening in front of everyone to know Jesus in this encounter she is having with him at the party..He calls her out as he says, “Simon…Do you see this woman?” He does not reject her as I am guessing so many others had…He allows her to have her moment of crying tears of painful remembrance and of thankful emotion… repentance tears pooling and wiping her hair and pouring her perfume. He uses her act as an example to everyone in this room, “Her sins, which are many are forgiven because she has loved much…”

In this moment of intimacy in a room full of people this desperate woman knows Jesus. She learns his character. Not reactive, but lovingly responding. Humble, in allowing her to meet the unmet actions of the evening for him, a Validator, who sees strength, meaning and purpose in her greatest moment of weakness, the Extender of Forgiveness, He bows low to her and says to her, “Your faith…(your choice in desperation)…has saved you…Go in Peace..”

And I wonder after this death to life, hopelessness to hope filled, unforgiven to forgiven moment to a very sinful woman now washed of her sins…what happens next…

Because the outside remained the same..many think this woman was caught up in prostitution, some commentaries read how some would have described her as a whore, a known sinner… perhaps abandoned… It is certain that she had much to be forgiven, and she had probably passed her life in crime… the town harlot… and in a moment with Jesus she was freed…forgiven…changed…and yet the town was still her town…and the reputation…the mentalities of others… the outcomes of the past were still present…her tricks still lived there and could possibly pursue her or taunt her into believing that her moment of forgiveness with Jesus was counterfeit and mock her moment…did she have home to go to after her evening, did she have someone to process her transformation with after she left the party? My mind wonders to what happened next for her…I don’t know…

This is what we do know of the encounter and the evening and the woman’s future…
Go in peace…Jesus paves her way, her next steps with these three words.

Go…to move from one point to another, begin in motion, contribute to or be put into a whole, pass through a particular time and circumstance…begin motion…change in direction, leave depart one way, make an exit, start out, get underway, make a move, to enter into a specified course of action…turn out, develop, pan out, work out, attempt something, function properly, operate, work, run,be associated in, blend, coordinate, align, match, be regularly kept, put in a particular place, belong…fit in, live…

So many meanings and synonyms of go…Jesus said so much about her next steps with three words..the first being go. When you replace the word go with all of it’s different meanings and synonyms she has many helps for her future…she can change her direction, start new, begin to function properly, align with peace, be kept in peace, fit in with peace, pass through from her chaos into peace.

In…expressing the situation of something that is or appears to be enclosed or surrounded by something else…expressing movement with the result that someone or something becomes enclosed or surrounded by something else.

In tells us that she is no longer alone…her going is now surrounded by and she is enclosed in something…in someone…take in this visual; a woman being enclosed and surrounded by someone and something…Peace.

Peace…freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility. Is the definition of peace yet going deeper in scripture we find Jesus saying that He himself is our Peace who has torn down every wall of hostility.(Ephesians 2:14) He promises to leave us himself, Peace I leave with you , my peace I give to you (John 16:33)..offering a part of himself in the go…In Thessalonians, We she that he is the Lord of Peace…

In this woman’s changed moment and now new life, we don’t see what happens next for her. We do see the direction Jesus pointed her in three simple words. Be kept in and live surrounded and enclosed in me;your Peace.

We too, just like the account of this woman, can take heart that those moments for us; when we weep desperate tears, cry out boldly to Jesus, experience death to life moments of inner soul change, can move forward in our journey of the unchanged around us, the circumstances and people that remain, outcomes of choice that have led to less than perfect consequences…now enclosed in and with Perfect Peace encamped around us, living in and depending on Jesus himself in our going to show up as Peace in every transaction of life that is yet to come.
With this truth what happens in your next?

Let The Screams Out

Let the Screams Out

It was merely a casual dinner date. Yet with a soul wise beyond his years, I knew I would glean a piece of treasure to keep from the conversation that would present itself that evening.

The treasure would come from an unlikely avenue. The painful grain of sand in an oyster kind of moment that would birth a shiny pearl-like gift.

We dined together, my husband, the wise guest, his two young offspring, and I.

I was taking in every minute of these little people since my little people all tower over me now. Dinner finished and the littles were raring to go so we trekked a couple of blocks to the park to play.







Soon, the mosquitos and the expenditure of energy was bringing the play-filled evening to a curtain call. Dad gave the littles the “ two more times down the slide” heads up.

Unexpectedly, one of those slides produced a fall in worn out littlest. She let out a, hold-my-breath-it’s-so-painful-cry, followed by a wailing sound after her little body toppled down the slide. Her Daddy picked her up as her sweaty little body shrieked with screams to let him know her pain.








Then the treasure came.

“Let the screams out,” soothingly spoke her daddy as she rested her head on his chest and he rubbed her tiny back with his strong preschool back sized hand. He repeated it in a calm, confident voice tone a few more times…

“Let the screams out.”
“Let the screams out.”

And treasure came down in this father’s little princesses deep pain.

She was comforted.


Allowed to feel her pain.

Her pain mattered to her father.


My deep and wide heart of passion in that moment did all I could do not be completely overcome in this deep moment of intimacy between a father and his in need daughter.

Did he know what he was doing?

Did he know how many lies he was warding off in his little girl, in that moment, and for all of her moments to come?

Did he know what truth and confidence the simple phrase and the secure hold was doing for the the brain and foundational beliefs about self sprouting and forming inside his little girl?

I saw it.

It was precious.





Soon her high decibel screams turned to quiet whimpers and a few sniffles until the screams had all been let out, the pain subsided, and she was able to move on.



Thank you wise dinner friend for allowing me to share in this moment that you may or may not even be aware of that was so impactful to see.

And then I ponder this up against the young women we support at Wings of Refuge and all of us who have been scammed or told our screams are not to be heard, our pain is not to be known, shown, or told…

All the pent up screams stuffed down deep that were never allowed to be let out.

The lies that instead became a trump to the needed scream;cry…

“Your fine”…

“Knock it off”…

“You’re making a big deal out of nothing”…

“You better stop crying or I will give you something to cry about”…

“You scream I kill you”…

“You scream I will beat you harder”…

“You scream and you will never see your family again”…

“You scream and you will never see you friends again”…

“Stop your crying”…

“Nobody believes your screaming anyway”…


For many the screams have been pushed so far down it’s hard to know the path to them.

I have had the humble and sacred honor of seeing a few of the survivors healing at Wings of Refuge find their stuffed down screams and begin to give their hearts permission to feel the pain and allow the tears to come. In those moments when she has enough courage to let go of numb, let a few brinks from her wall of protection fall down, and connect to her pain even if only for a moment are some of the bravest moments I have seen our participants have.

It is then that our loving staff can say the words just like this Father said…

It’s ok to let the screams out…
It’s ok to cry…
It’s ok to not be ok…
It’s not your fault.

I’ve witnessed a participant say, “It’s not my fault,” as the tears now unlocked came freely out…

That is power.

Sometimes I get angry because she was so little when her screams came. The screams are still from an innocent heart now carried around in a grown up body.  

I would have done anything to have held her in those scary scream filled moments…

Sometimes I become weary because the locked up screams are everywhere…

And yet there is a hope that is so beyond and has nothing to do with me…

For all of the princesses out there who’s screams were…




You need to know it’s ok to let the screams out.

There is a Father who will hold your pain filled heart and body while you wail.

His name is Jesus and he is the savior for all scream stuffers who will call upon his name and let their screams out to him.

Take as long as you need.

He will pick up your tired out, worn down being and hold you in His strong, safe hold.

He will gently, rub your shaking back and calmly and confidently validate you to let your screams out.

All of them.

Until your screams turn to whimpers and a few sniffles and the pain subsides and you are able to move forward.

Your pain matters greatly to him.

He will put everything on hold just to HOLD YOU.(tweet this)

It’s ok sweet girl,







“Let the screams out.”

“Let the screams out.

“Let the screams out”…..

He is the Father of compassion, the God of all comfort. He consoles us as we endure the pain and hardship of life so that we may draw from His comfort and share it with others in their own struggles. -2 Corinthians 1:3-4The Voice (VOICE)

February Fundraiser

Wings of Refuge presents “A Magical Winter’s Night” fundraising event at the Highland Golf Club in Iowa Falls, Saturday, February 28th. Doors open at 5:00 p.m.

Ticket price of $50 includes entertainment, a delicious buffet and a magical evening. Anyone attending will have the opportunity to purchase magical keys to a treasure chest for the chance to win diamonds and collectibles. Comedian and magician David Harris, two-time Midwest Regional Emmy Award Winner, will amaze you with his magic and keep you laughing throughout the evening. This is an event you do not want to miss!

Tickets are available at Highland Golf Club, Green Belt Bank & Trust, Ackley State Bank, Iowa Falls State Bank and Reflections on Riverview.

Wings of Refuge is a Christ-centered organization in Hardin County which provides a restoration home for girls who have been rescued from human trafficking. The average age entering prostitution in the United States is 12-14 years old. Human trafficking is one of the fastest growing crimes in the world. It is second only to drugs and rising quickly. You can help put an end to this injustice! Support Wings of Refuge so exploitation ends for one more girl by attending “A Magical Winter’s Night.”

For more information contact Joy Fopma, Development Director, at or call Donna Robbins at 641-648-3361.

Choosing Up

A slam poetry based on Luke 7:36-50 The Voice (VOICE) 

Terminology to help you out:

  • Choosing up: Going with a new pimp
  • In the life/in the game: being commercially sexually exploited
  • Pimp: Someone who has the control of a human to use them for profit by selling them to others for sex
  • Square: Anyone not in the life/in the game
  • Out of Pocket: Doing something that is not allowed in the life, disobeying your pimp
  • L7: Another way to say square, or close to being square
  • Renegade: Someone who prostitutes their body and is not under the control of a pimp
  • Trick/john: someone that purchases another human for sex

He was there
on a perfectly planned square night
L7 all around
In the accustomed to them way
So foreign to me
Laying on their bellies
Arms propping up their chests
Reclining forward
at the low table
His feet
the first my eyes spotted
the closest access I had
to Him
I still can’t believe I’m here
doing this
It feels reckless
But then it always feels reckless
Reckless is familiar
Not comfortable
So hoe I go, crashing the square party
Tonight I am so done
It’s do or die
I’m out of options
As if they ever existed
For me
or so it seems
I walk in
All eyes are on me
the town b%$#
Some I recognize
So soon as our eyes connect they quickly look away
blood running to cheeks they are
to see me here
playing their square game
I wonder inside
Are they shaking now
the way they have so often made me shake
So much in me hopes so
But that is not why I am here
Barging in
Not this time
I walk
I make my way
Hurdling over the reclined
At the square table
I make my way
To him
And it’s instant
I’m choosing this
I’m choosing Him
Throat swells
I can’ speak
There is a lump cutting off my airway
Felt this before
The squeeze of evil hands
Tightening of rope fibers around my neck
There’s none of that now just the feeling
What is constricting me?
Yet I walk
Unhesitating steps
Eyes focused
Clinging tight to my jar in hand
This jar
So much
The one thing that has kept me alive
To this point
A friend gift
The only friend
He never cheated me
Sold me
Exploited me
Used me
Friend gift
And yet it is the very object
The very thing I fill to entice
My perfume
In my treasured friend gift
The intoxicating aroma
Guides the paper to my hand
Seal the deal
Roll it through
From him to me to him
Different scents have filled
Have aroused
Different aromas
Just like me
Different names
Different ages
Different characters
On point every time
Best actress I know
Am I
Who Am I?
Am I?
True me blurry
Dead sometimes it seems
With still a heartbeat
With still a plastered on smile
To allow you to be OK with me
Cover up
So my pain doesn’t destroy me
So I don’t see my pain written on your face
Because then I too might see it
Feel it
Don’t cry
It’s what I know
I arrive reckless me
In the middle of square
At his feet
Throat constricted
Lump bulging
And instantly
I fall
To my knees
The lump
So quickly
And there is born
Oh God I feel weak
He won’t choose a weak willed B#$$%
I try so hard to stop
The harder I try the worse it becomes
Like a dam broke
It damn broke
I am hear with my enemy tears
That wants to have me
And have me they do right here
In my reckless decision
To choose up with Him
And instinctively I begin
To do what I know
What I am programmed to do
What used to be a fight is not robotic
I am enticing him
His feet
Hopefully faster than my tears are falling
I hate kissing
Cheap pretend
That leads to the same empty dream
Every damn time
Countless times
And yet I kiss
On his feet
And I begin to wipe
Weak tears falling
Off with my hair
My hair
My other enticing tool
How many have touched it
For their gain
Combed through it with selfish hands
Brushed it off my face
To view slit skin
Purple bruises
Now it’s here
Like a linen cloth
To get rid of my flowing tears
Yet here I kneel
Then it clicks
In my head I have one more item
One more enticement
Glaring Piercing
I can feel
Heavy looks
Though I don’t dare look up
So well
To never look up
My hand identifies
The jar
I pick it up and dump every drop
On his feet
I am so out of pocket
Remaining here
Dumping oil
The aroma overtakes the room
Fills the room
And gains the attention of everyone
The scent takes my brain to the place
Where I recall how much it took
How many dates
It took to obtain this now spilled out liquid
Filing through my mind like a film
Of someone’s life
Other than mine
Then I recall why
I purchased the perfume
Someone saw
Someone told
I could choose
Out of the game
Out of the life
No square life
No fake L7
Something real
Something I had nearly given up on
Someone told
About Him
The aroma in the room over takes my memory and I am back in the present
Square party host opens his hot ego mouth
Says something about this daddy being a fraud
Saying if He knew who was touching Him He would have never let me near
Much less touch
Or Kiss
Oh god
I knew it
Too good to be true
Fairy-tale hope
Nightmare ending
That how it goes down
Every time
For me
Could I be so stupid?
I trusted the messenger
Who told me to come tonight?
Another fool choice
Did I make…
I am frozen
And I want to run
Mind battling
He speaks
Not to me
But to square host
And says
“Simon, I want to tell you a story”
Who has time for an f-ing story?
My ears anxiously anticipate
“Two men owe a certain amount of money”
Oh god here we go
In front of all the squares
The choosing fee
I just dumped the choosing fee
On Him!
And all that’s left is the scent of it
Filling up the party
I have nothing else
This is my end
Here tonight
Tricks laughing
daddy owning
Hoe guilty and ashamed
Yet He keeps talking
Continues the story
“One owed 100 weeks wages the other owed 10 weeks wages, both defaulted on their loan, yet the lender forgave them both”
What the?
He speaks
“Here is a question for you. Which one will love the lender more?”
Ego square Simon answers
“I guess the one who had the larger debt.”
And then He moves
Jesus moves
And looks
At me
Or at least I can feel Him looking
At me
Eyes still down
Still locked
In fear
Yet I have to
I must see Him
And my head edges up ever so slightly
Just enough to see his eyes
Oh His eyes
God his eyes
God’s eyes
Frightening as it was
Stilled the rage in me
Filled with wonder
They are staring into all I am
I am
Into all
I am
Intrigued I become
As they fix on my entire being
In the most unfamiliar of ways
Kind eyes
Dancing through me
Where I expected abuse
A tide turning moment
Eyes on me He speaks to Simon
The square party host
And says the line I will never forget
“Do you see this woman?”





He has it all wrong






Eye candy

Body parts for profit



Not woman

Or could it be?

He continues

“Do you see this woman here? It’s kind of funny I entered you home, and you didn’t provide a basin of water for me to wash the road dust off my feet. You did not give me a customary kiss of greeting and welcome. You didn’t offer me the common courtesy of providing oil to brighten my face. But this woman…”

There it is again


Heart captured

“But this woman has wet my feet with her tears, and washed them with her hair. She has not stopped kissing my feet since I came in. And she applied perfumed oil to my feet. This woman has been forgiven much.”

A third time woman

Laced with forgiven

It’s now as if he is the one pouring healing oil

Down into my dead places


“I tell you Simon, her sins; her sorrows are so many-they have ALL been forgiven-

She loves much

But a person, who is forgiven little, loves little.”

I’m trying to take it all in

The fact that Jesus

Just used me

The town eye candy

The town Saturday night satisfaction

The small town toss around

As an example of love


And he keeps going

His eyes still laser focused on me, unaware to the crowd all around

“You’re forgiven”


My heart is leaping

Like it found a rhythm that had long ago been lost

I am alive maybe for the first time

There is a rushing inside

Like a river flowing out

The grime






I chose up tonight

He cancelled my choosing fee

Unfamiliar feels good for the first time

Now I am not the only one astonished

L7 party turned forgiveness session

The rest are also


And asking

“who is this man that goes around forgiving sins?”

He speaks

“Your faith has healed you, freed you; liberated you, go in peace.”

That glimmer of believing in something I could not see


Led me here tonight

To choose up

For the last time

I choose the one

Who chose me first

He freed me

Gave me life




I am chosen

In a right way

Chosen for peace

To go


I am free

I am forgiven

I am chosen

And so I go

Not as a renegade

Not alone


Not without an identity

Not nameless

And YES with a daddy

Identifiable to someone





The God of all creation



Heavenly Father

That promises not to leave



And says to GO

Be free

In His peace

And I will recruit

Those who also have debts

And Lord knows we all have debts


That need to be forgiven

I will go in Peace

To those who need a barge in experience

With Jesus

That allows everything to change

That so desperately needs change

To be chosen

To belong


And to GO

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PO Box 562

Iowa Falls, IA