Her eyes are this impressive combination of dark brown and creamy caramel. And they're laughing eyes. Her smile isn't one that stays on her lips, it spreads all the way to the pupil of her eyes. As I was sharing her story I couldn't help but think, stay glittering just like this, sweet one. Stay sweet and sure of what you want out of this life.
Because you see, against the backdrop of a culture that is hell-bent on taking what does not belong to it, I can't help but look at the faces of the children I'm serving and not think of all the promise they have and how deeply I want them to be able to carry it through their lives. I want them to be on the cusp of 29, at their dream job, and not have to worry about how damaged they are and wonder if it shows in the cracks of their smiles.
I think about the college student who was raised within the confines of a life that set him up for success and somewhere along the line, he got the misconception that a passing stroke across his back was permission to enter where one must really hear a firm yes on before penetration. I think about the mugshot of his, flashing across news stations and social media outlets and all the ways people are rising up against and on behalf of him.
I am disturbed.
In the midst of this I look up at the pictures on my desk and see a picture of the sweet boy I love that lives in India. There are days when I go before the Lord and I am so speechless with privilege of being able to love him that I just have to say, "Father, help me pray well for this boy, even when I can't find the words." These last days, though, I just lay verbage on a hamster wheel and let it spin and spin and spin - it's still spinning. Dear God, let him choose You. First, last, always. Let him chase you, Jesus. Allow him to be so enraptured by Your love for him and his love for You that he would only ever think and act, say and perform pure kindness.
I am not a parent. But I think about G and his dreams and his capabilities and I want them so desperately for him. I want him to remain good and kind and whole.
Last night I was watching a video on Facebook of a man who decided to attempt kidnapping a young, teen girl from her mother in a grocery store. I go red just typing that out now.
When did we become a race of humans that think everything is up for grabs?
I am a woman who, by the grace of God has never been snatched or stolen, beaten or physically broken. No one has mistaken a pat of friendliness for permission to assault.
Yet I maintain my fury.
I've had just about enough of the taking.
Young man of privilege, from an area of my current city, do you feel remorse? I read her account of what you did to her, the ways you broke what wasn't even intended to be bent. Your forceful approach on something so sacred makes me ill. Are you sorry?
Will she ever go out at night, again? Ever trust another man who looks at her for longer than .2 seconds? Will she ever be able to be intimate with a man who does, actually, love and respect and treasure her?
Why did you feel it necessary to rob her of something never meant for you to begin with?
Man who certainly should know better, what were you thinking when you attempted to snatch a thirteen year old child from her mother?
What made you think a mother, fierce and protective, fiery and in love with her child, wouldn't rip entire limbs off your body before she let you leave with her baby?
When did we become a society that welcomed entitlement in and slid into it like a second skin? Just who do we think we are?
Sweet girl, with the liquid chocolate eyes and dreams of being a chef - keep going. Because you are what you Father says you are. Valuable.
Young woman, recovering from assault of not just the body, but of the heart, soul, spirit - keep fighting. Surely you are one of the most prayed over women in the world right now. Keep fighting. Because you are not what the world says you are - disposable.
Thirteen year old child, doing what I used to love doing with my own momma - try to trust, again. Because you have lions protecting you.
Women - victims and advocates, fighters and frightened, voiceless and pissed off, we have names. And they have nothing to do with our hair color or pant size. Not one thing to do with the tightness of our clothing or the measurement of our cup size. We are not to be identified by our promiscuity or our virginity, by our self-defense skills or our affection. They are not associated with the level of sass we put out or whether or not we take shit from people.
We are not a product of our pasts or what someone else has decided we deserved. We are not an ornament for someone else's enjoyment and our soul's and their sparkle will be what change this world. And if we are going to continue to have to live in a world that is broken and abusive and insists we must listen to whistles and cat calls, "hey baby's" and risk the chance of slaps on the ass, then we better pray high and loud for Jesus to return - because, oh God, we need Jesus' return; we are crippled until His return. And we need to start speaking up for one another. I want to leave this world better, and more in love with the Savior, than I found it; I want to take part in a generation of women who stand on the front lines for each other and know brothers who flank their sisters on all sides. Let's stop slut shaming and name calling and fighting over who gets what, or who, and let's defend. Let's protect. Let us honor one another.
She is not a dog, stop whistling.
She is someone's child. Someone's best friend. Someone's sister. She is someone's future wife. A child's future mother. She is the daughter of a King.