2017 went down as a hard year. Weather-related catastrophes swept across our nation, racial riots took place, senseless shootings shattered communities, history-making political shifts turned the government as we knew it upside-down, and a grassroots movement went viral.
The #MeToo movement, founded by Tarana Burke, encourages survivors of sexual assault to find their voice on social media by posting #MeToo. In just days, 1.7 million women in over 85 countries retweeted #MeToo during October when it went viral.
#MeToo? What compels involvement? Does saying #MeToo change anything? I cannot speak for the masses. I can give voice to my own experience. #MeToo is my story.
During my formative years, I was sexually abused. The secret was kept even though the clues existed; textbook identifiers of exploitation. If you knew me as a child, I was painfully shy and terrified of men. If you knew me as a teen, I was a world of hurt, extremely rebellious, sexually promiscuous, an exhausted perfectionist who could only control what went into her mouth and down her throat and the ability to purge it back up again. I was the rebellious teen who became a teen mom, who grew into a boundaryless young woman. If you knew me as a young adult you wouldn’t have known. I masked it; living behind the attempt at perfection and beating my own demon. If you knew me in my thirties you would have known a broken woman who failed at perfect. It is there where I found my voice. The secret that had been stuffed for decades surfaced and my soul screamed #MeToo. Not to the world, or over a tweet, but to God and my husband.
I spent the coming years doing the grueling work of healing. There was success and failure. A root of confidence began to grow through miracles and the mundane work of telling my heart the truth until it stuck in my brain where the lies of being small, trapped, and helpless existed.
I did the hard work of walking in the trenches of my own abuse to find freedom. The lie of small, trapped, and helpless was abolished. I wept deeply for my little girl heart that lost so much. I wept in a way I didn’t know humans could weep. But it didn’t end there. It didn’t end in suffering. The beauty is that when you find your voice and say #MeToo with the Lord there is resurrection. I began to see how he makes all things new. Not just the good stuff, but the horrible stuff too. The Lord used my brokenness to become a catalyst for His glory — He gave me a voice and a passion for speaking and Wings of Refuge was birthed.
To date, 16 women have made the decision to say “#MeToo” and come live at the Wings of Refuge safe home. Sixteen of the bravest women on the planet have had the opportunity to find their voice, shed tears, gain the truth about their dignity, value, and worth. Sixteen lives have been changed as hope and possibility became theirs.
The #MeToo movement numbers shouldn’t surprise us really. Sacred sex is culturally outdated. Media utilizes women’s skin and body parts to market products and entertain us. Soft pornography can be seen on any screen at any time. Statistically, a boy in America views his first pornographic image at age eight. John Wesley quotes it this way, “What one generation accepts, the next generation embraces.” #MeToo is providing outcomes of lives affected by what we have chosen to accept and now what tragically is being embraced in the hideous acts of selfishness and abuse.
So what will we do?
The two responsive hashtags that formed after #MeToo are #HowIWillChange and #IWill.
The problem is big, dark, and overwhelming. It is easy to choose apathy. I am asking you to not do that. Instead, think about your gifts. Your talents. What makes you come alive? What gives you energy? What do you love? How can you use your craft and channel your passion into the responsive movement by doing what you love to fight what you hate? Do you hate sex trafficking? Do you hate that children in our country are lured into prostitution between the ages of 11-14? Do you hate the fact that every day in America, 3.5 million people are willing to pay for sex, and that hundreds of thousands of victims are raped for someone else’s profit on our watch daily? Will you stop at knowing? Will you stay angry or apathetic OR will you act? Will you be part of the solution?
The 2018 theme for Wings of Refuge is: Do What You Love to Fight What You Hate.
I love speaking and sharing the glory of Jesus. I love the truth that when suffering collides with the message of the cross, restoration is the outcome. I love putting the evil in this world up against the incredible light of Christ. I hate sexual abuse, assault, exploitation, and sex trafficking.
Will you join me and Wings of Refuge in 2018 by doing what you love to fight what you hate? How can you choose action to produce sustainability for Wings of Refuge? How can you help Wings purchase a permanent home and open a transitional living center? How can you speak truth to yourself, your family, your church, your community and see restoration? Do what you love to fight what you hate to bring glory to Jesus in 2018.
Throughout the year, you will see us post videos over social media of individuals who have joined us on mission by doing what they love to fight what they hate. Watch the videos. May they inspire you! Please share, like, and comment on them and then make your own. Post it on social media. Tag Wings of Refuge in your video! Let’s join the responsive movement that validates every woman who has had the courage to say #MeToo with answers of #HowIWillChange and then #DoWhatYouLove.
Do not be overcome by evil, overcome evil with good. -Romans 12:21