The car sputtered, jerked and shook before it completely stalled just outside my neighborhood. The "check gauges" and oil icons came on. Oh no! The engine's seized for lack of oil, I thought to myself! Speed dialed hubby, who didn't answer. I was late for work.
So I did what anyone else would have done. Rather than hit redial, sit and wait for husband to pick up, I got out of the car, jay-walked the highway, hopped the chain link fence, machete-ed my way through the hedges, emerging with spider webs trailing from my black slacks and twigs jutting from my hair, walked through strangers' backyards and made it home in 5 minutes.
Hubby hadn't left. I briefed him on my vehicle mis-hap and we were planning our repair when he smacked his forehead with palm of hand and said, It's the gas! You ran out of gas! I forgot to fill up for you last night. I'm sorry. I let you down.
For the first time in my life, I didn't want to wring his neck. He constantly drives on empty and leaves nothing but fumes for me to drive on, usually late to my next appointment.
This time I was elated. After all it wasn't a seized engine! We just ran out of gas! Nonetheless, I was late for work. We found the gas can, filled up the car and I was off, even later than ever. I pulled in and walked in with another latecomer whose car I noticed as one of those cute VW beetles. I wanted to ask her how she liked her car, because we are in the market for one, but she was busy talking on her cell phone all the way into the class I was coordinating. Thank God for dependable volunteers.
Coincidentally, after class the very same girl lingered by the coffee pot as I was clearing it. I asked her how she liked her VW beetle. Wow, was she ever ready to tell someone that answer! A waterfall of words gushed out about complaints with dealers and manufacturers because the body was falling apart on her newish car.
Then the conversation turned to her personal life: how she has 6 yr old twins with an absent dad. How she works in the 'entertainment' industry, but was debating showing up today. She puts her kids in Christian school while she works in a gentleman's (what an oxymoron) club and can't seem to find a nanny to take care of the twins at night.
Age 2 is too young to encounter the adult body. But that was when she was first physically violated.
Then it was a string of violations. No relatives or church members dared to expose the perpetrators. Nor did they come to her defense. Yes, she admitted to rebelling later, and took responsibility for part of her situation.
Her name is not Candy or Star or any of the typical names those girls have.
Her name is FAITH.
I realize I never would have met her if I hadn't run out of gas as she sits in front of me at a table in church and tells me she is a trained beautician, but hates the field and really wants to be a therapist, but can't afford school and needs the money from her current occupation, which made her $1400 just yesterday.
Then I tell her my story of having an unwanted pregnancy at 17 and how I adopted out. How God redeemed my mess and allowed me to reunite with my adult daughter recently. And how He can redeem anyone, no matter what.
I am reminded of what I read that morning by Oswald Chambers:
Watch the kind of people God brings around you and you will be humiliated to find that this is His way of revealing to you the kind of person you have been to him. Now, He says, exhibit to that one exactly what I have shown to you.
A second (3rd, 4th, 5th) chance.
A clean slate.
No remembrance of wrongs.
That's what we give to those who come to us sitting in the midst of their shredded lives. We see them whole again. Pure again. Lovely again.
No labels and stigmas. Not that kind of girl.
Still, how do Faith and the sex industry co-exist? Like oil and water, they cannot mix for long before the molecules will vehemently repel and separate. How many of us in the church are just like her? How many men partake and wrestle with their contradictory lives. How many Faith's sit among us?
She says she feels better after attending bible study and wants to skip work.
And could I get her in touch with our human trafficking rescue ministry director for her, she asks? Sure I will. She says goodbye and
Oh, don't forget, if you know anyone,
I still am looking for a night-time nanny.
Faith misses class next week and the next and doesn't show up to meet the director.
Will Faith have enough faith to trust God to make a different occupation? Will she have enough faith to believe she can be a different person? Do self-hate, guilt, and the inner turmoil of knowing what is right, and not believing there is an escape, keep her away?
It's a fact that Faith and the Sex Industry will never co-habitate peacefully.