One night, since this and this and also this, I read and researched before bed. I quickly finished a great book exhorting us: Let’s All Be Brave: Living Life with Everything You Have, before delving into the hard stuff–research on sexual and domestic abuse. (There. I have officially said the words.)
I could not sleep after that. Not a wink. Not even a quick fifteen minutes. I could not turn away and close my eyes to the fact that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men will be sexually assaulted (and that’s knowng this is the most unreported crime). I turned into the coolness of my pillow and could not find solace. God and I talked for a long time but I did not sleep.
I know I said I am not the biggest fan of statistics and I’m not. I think a HUGE part of that is because I don’t want to be a statistic and yet I am one. I cannot deny it, especially after telling my story. And yet, after so many women coming forward privately and publicly after my post, those numbers wore your faces.
And I could not turn away from you. Or even my own sometimes haunted reflection.
Someone asked me: what is the right response when someone confides in you about something so raw and painful? Is there a right thing to say?
I don’t know, I replied. But I know there are wrong things to say. (a whole other post.)
This is what I do. I look you in the eye. If you’ve typed your message to me across computer screens, I type your name. I tell you how sorry I am, because oh, God, I am. I tell you it is not okay–this horrible, awful thing that happened to you. Because if it happened to you, those words–it is not okay–can never be said too often.
I talk to God about it, most especially lately. I have never longed for His voice and direction like I have these past few weeks. I ask him: what can I do? and He says: Today follow me. So, I do that. With all your stories in my heart, I do that. I feel the tension of a gathering wave for something coming and I prepare with my books and research and tough questions and hard conversations with my people and make difficult decisions.
I’ve made so many mistakes in my life and I am sure that I will make many more. But I am committed that this next chapter be written by God, that I will seek to honor Him in all my choices as He writes this chapter, that I be held accountable by the people who really love me and know my walk, others who want to honor Him, especially in this. And you, my friends, my sisters in arms, you are a part of it too. You are the reason for this new chapter, though it does not have a name yet. It is dedicated to you.
I see God’s work in you and it makes me brave. So I pray crazy prayers and I do crazy things and no matter what others think I know this: my head is down, my eyes on the path in front of me. I can’t see very far ahead but I prayerfully place my foot where His has only just been and I trust Him in a way it is still impossible for me trust others and even if I am called foolhardy, wrong, even if others claim I do not honor Him, I know the way I walk and I know that I want to honor him with all I have.
Let’s be Frank…Check out Jenni’s blog!
I am in the middle of putting together a bunch of resources which will accompany these posts but it is still a process I have yet to finish.