Thursday, November 11, 2010

Angel and a Princess

Today, my heart was heavy for Shaniya Davis. This 5 year old angel died 1 year ago today. She died at the hands of the man who bought her for the purpose of having sex with her. Yes. Her mother sold her 5 year old daughter into sex slavery. 5 years old. I still remember seeing her picture on the morning news, all dressed in white, looking like my 4 year old niece's twin. I thought I saw my niece Kameron staring back at me, kidnap victim, alone, scared, young. I still remember thinking about Shaniya all morning and all afternoon. I remember follow the news reports and any tips from the AP wire I could find about whether or not she was found. I remember praying for this little girl. I remember reading on that her body had been found along the side of a North Carolina highway. My heart literally broke into pieces.

I admit I was absolutely on fire about what happened to that little girl but I didn't know what I could do to help the cause. A few weeks later, I contacted Innocence Atlanta, who connected me to Redeemed Ministries, where I took the Hands that Heal training. My eyes were opened wide to the issue and I was astounded by the stats and lack of resources. Hundreds of girls on the streets every night and only a hand full of beds available in all of Georgia, if they wanted to escape the life. Crazy I know. Where is the justice?

Fast forward to June and it's Princess Night for Sunday to Sunday. My life would be forever changed by a young 19 year old girl named Sabrina. A girl who had been a prostitute for 3 years. Her rescue was something out of the movies, the sheer volume of time coordinating schedules for her care was mind numbing but the nights I spent in her presence were priceless. She shared about areas of her life freely and was almost like a kid again. Though Sabrina eventually went back to that life after coming and going a few times, I will never forget her face. I will never forget her love for Starburst and Vitamin Water. I will never forget her stories, or her nightmares as she slept. She will forever be our Princess.

I was that girl. I was the poster child for broken homes, generational curses, low self esteem as a child, lack of self worth, lack of direction, lack of God. Raised by a single mom, low income, mom's boyfriends in and out, no father of my own, abused for years. Raised in church but never knew God. I was that girl. I look back and I promise it was by the sheer GRACE of God that I didn't end up being pimped out by some grown man as a kid. Yeah I was smart in school and had friends, but I had more inner turmoil, more dark secrets and shame than anyone ever imagined. I needed love, I needed someone to notice me, I needed someone to love me and take care of me. I was always one "hey pretty girl" away from being lead completely astray. I was that girl. I guess that's why my heart aches for girls that become victims because that truly could have been me. I fit the profile of the 12 year old girl being forced into sex slavery. I was that girl.

When I think of all that God saved me from, even when I didn't know He was working in my favor, I can't imagine my life not speaking up for those whose life mirrored mine years ago. Pastor D always says there is purpose rooted in pain. God can use something bad in your life and use it for good. I am allowing Him to use me, mold and stretch me anyway He sees fit. I cannot even begin to show God my gratitude for redeeming me, for His perfect love that has cast out fear, for His amazing power that I cannot fathom with my natural mind, for rescuing me from a life that would lead me straight to Hell, for calling me His Beloved. I was that girl, bound and broken, but I have been set free and made whole again.

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