I spend a few hours each week with women and girls that have survived the horror of being sold, and of being exploited for someone else’s gain. I’m not a psychologist, and I’m not a trauma counselor. Those are not my roles in the lives of these women and girls. I simply try my best to be a truth-speaker, a supporter, and a friend.
Every Thursday I have a small group discussion with some of them on a topic related to God. Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, so this week, love seemed like the natural thing to discuss.
How on earth could I begin to talk to these girls about love? They’ve lived through trauma and pain that I couldn’t find in my darkest nightmares. Life has not brought much love to them. Yet, I felt a small voice inside telling me to talk about love.
So we discussed what love isn’t, and what love is. We talked about God’s sacrifice, and how anything the world thinks is “love” pales in comparison. But mostly I talked about how God did that because He loves them, He values them. They are loved and important. Because of what God did they can hope for healing and healthy relationships in their futures.
I made sure that they know that we love them too, and there are others who care for them, and there are even people they may never meet who are praying for them.
I copied a few verses in Spanish on the board about love, and wrote “Happy Valentine’s Day” in English for them to see and then we made some heart-themed crafts. They made cards for each other, I made cards for the ones who were hanging back, and a few made cards for family members.
But one girl was intent on copying the verses from the board. She made a few beautiful note cards and then carefully penned these verses from I John 4:
“This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him.”
“This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us.”
“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love.”
As I looked at her beautifully decorated card, and her carefully written words I struggled to hold back the tears. All I could think in my head was, thank you God for love. Because without the life-giving, hope-bringing love of God I simply have nothing to share and all the people who have been exploited and abused and traumatized in our world are without hope.
But I do have a few things to bring…love and friendship and the truth. The road to wholeness is a long one, but we can count on God’s love. We can trust Him to do the healing, and we can believe that He will do justice in these broken lives.
Thank you God for love.