Why We Love "Hope"
Sometimes her story may seem too hard to believe, too unimaginable to be true — Stories of her horrific life of trafficking that started at age 8 and how she was purchased for sex by men who appeared to be upstanding citizens in their communities - men who at times paid her trafficker up to $10,000 a day - stories of being sold at Superbowls, stories of abuse, and stories of the deaths of her own children. I don't know that God created us to be able to imagine what she has lived, but her stories are true, and they are important. It happens every day to children across the globe.
We came alongside Hope last December but only this summer have we really gotten to know, and love, her and her beautiful children. One of the qualities I find so inspiring about Hope is that she wants to be better. She wants to move past the trauma of her life whereas some people say they want better or different but really aren't willing to do the hard work to get there.
Hope is very brave and inspiring. Here, edited a bit, is what she wanted to share:
"As I began on my path of healing I thought God was punishing me. I was struggling so much that I wanted to end my own life. But then I began to hear God "speak" to my heart and it brought a lot of healing, specifically from Isaiah 35. It's a promise...Isaiah records a stunning vision of God's presence. God "showed up" and everything changed. At the center is a key demonstration of God's character and values, and what it looks like when God shows up. People were being healed and restored. I wanted that! So I began praying and talking with God about being completely healed and asked Him to help me stop believing the lies that I had lived with for so long. Lies like: I'm worthless, no good, dirty, that I will never be loved...lies that were holding me back from living life fully. Scientifically, and with as much trauma that has been done in my life, I should be dead. Dissociative Identity Disorder is incurable in the secular world. Scientists don't believe there is a cure and according to the secular doctors and counselors I saw, it's "20+ years of counseling to just begin to be normal".
But with God's help, after less than 2 years of praying and seeking healing, I began to stop dissociating. Once I began recognizing the lies I began to "take every thought captive". God gave me to fight the lies with the truth of the Bible. As I continued I gained so much freedom in very little time.
My counselor, as well as my friends and "family" have noticed a huge change in my behavior. I too am feeling the changes. I'm able to think clearly when before my brain was always in crisis mode. I'm learning that I can choose to feel angry, happy, sad, anxious.
I'm so thankful for how many people truly love me and my children. I never would've imagined my life to be this amazing! Growing up I didn't know true freedom and happiness existed because I never experienced it until now. I know there is still much healing to be done and I will fail, but with God, I can do all things and I am not afraid because I am His, and He is mine."
Hope is right. When I saw her just recently, her face had a joy that I hadn't seen before. She is reclaiming things that were taken from her. She has flown a kite and ridden a bike now. She's been able to celebrate her birthday and do agirlssleepover. As she spent time with us, I was blessed when she asked me to tuck her in at night in order to reclaim those nights when she went to bed alone and scared.
As we saw the potential Hope has in a certain field of work we were concerned about her lack of a working computer. We are excited to share that, because of a couple of special Java Relief donors and our loyal coffee drinkers, Java Relief was able to provide a very nice, new (used) Apple computer for her! Thank you so much!
Finally, Hope wants you to be encouraged! If God can do such an amazing work of healing and forgiveness in her, He can do it for you!