I watched the movie “Precious” last night. I am normally the first to fall asleep in movies but I sat with my knees to my chest and my heart in my throat till 1 a.m. last night, tears streaming down my face for the harsh reality that this movie so accurately portrays. I woke up this morning thanking God for my life, my girls and all of the small blessings that I so often take for granted and praying for the “precious” girls everywhere who feel trapped in their current surroundings, hopeless and desperate.
After ten years in youth ministry, we have had countless opportunities to encounter girls with stories similar to Precious. Carey and I went to bed last night remembering our sweet kids from the bus ministry in West Dallas, missing them, wondering where their lives might be now and grateful for the short moments in time that we were privileged to give a hug and challenge them to be who God made them to be. We thought of a beautiful young girl who at 14 found herself pregnant and her mother forced her to have an abortion and then found herself pregnant again at 16, this time to become a very young mother. We remembered a cold night in Lewisville, Texas when one of our beautiful youth staff girls, with a story of her own, knocked on the door with a young girl who was being beaten by her mothers boyfriend and forced to wear her mothers lingerie for him. She showed us her bruises, we called CPS and offered her the only thing we had, hope in the one who took bruises for us. I remember a young lady who was abused by a teacher, accused of lying, beaten by her parents, forced into the system and pulled out of our reach. I can only hope that one day…she remembers “love” and that the “love” she saw in us is reflective of someone much greater. I could write for hours these stories of the broken, abused and lost and these are only the one’s that I know. There are so many more out there! With human trafficking at an all time high and the average age of entry into child prostitution in the U.S. at age 13, we must recognize that there are “precious” girls everywhere in need of help, hope and love.
What saddens me so much is that it is not just a racial or cultural issue, but young women, grown women all around our world have lost sight of their value. It may be from words spoken over their life, terrible situations that they have been placed in or unfortunate choices on their part; but regardless of what got them to this place…they find themselves trapped and unsure how to pull themselves out the mess of emotions, fears, scars of hurt and pain that have driven their life to this moment. If you have seen the movie “Precious” then perhaps you can relate with some or many of the emotions depicted here. Perhaps you have never seen the movie but you are that precious girl with a story and you associate closely with the feelings of hopelessness, the pain of past choices or inflicted wounds, the lack of value for yourself.
In the movie, when something terrible would happen, Precious would find herself daydreaming of a perfect, star studded life. She would take her mind out of her reality and dream of feeling wanted, accepted, loved. So many girls, women do this daily. We find ourselves overwhelmed in the moment and in effort to cope with the emotions it brings, we dream of a better day and take our mind far from the place we are at. So many justify poor decision with a desperate need to be loved. Others harbor hate and resentment for anyone that might resemble the afflicters of pain. Many settle for less than the best because of a fear of failure, disappointment or rejection. Precious girls all around us…maybe even you…are hurting and longing to know real love, real hope and experience success!
In this story, a teacher sees a need and steps in. She challenges Precious, accepts her, loves her and in the climax of the story when it seems that it could not get any worse and this sweet girl feels like giving up, she pushes her to “write her story.” Her story must be heard so that other girls everywhere can know that they can make it too! I love this part! We all have a story. Much of what has been already written and cannot be changed, but the next chapter can. If women everywhere could find their hope and value and push themselves to achieve their dreams…then their story might just affect the next one. You might be this girl. Or maybe you are like the teacher. We must never forget that everyone has a story and if we look close enough, quit judging and start loving we might inspire the “scene change.” We have a responsibility.
Proverbs 24: 11-12: “Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, Behold, we did not know this, does not He who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?”
We can’t turn a blind eye to the hurting and the broken. We must help them to see the truth and hope and love that is found in the arms of Jesus. This starts in a simple smile, a listening ear a much needed hug. May we never be to busy to see the “precious” girls around us.
And for you, you precious girl! John 3:16 tells you: “For God so loved the world, that he sent his only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” God so loves you…he took delight in creating you…he sees your pain and took stripes on his back for your healing. He can relate to your scars and just like His, they will tell a story. May it be a story of Hope as grand as the hope you can have in HIM. He gave his life that you might find hope and know LOVE.
Isaiah 52:1-3 (paraphrased) : “Awake, awake, O daughter of Zion” (that’s you) Put on your beautiful garments for there shall no more come into you the uncircumcised and the unclean. (Those who have hurt you and controlled you in the past- shall not have a hold on you anymore. This includes the memories, they cannot haunt you.) Shake yourself from the dust and ARISE! (This is your time, to shake off the past that has stained you and defined you and to ARISE to your future.) Loose the bonds from your neck O captive Daughter of Zion. (Don’t let anything, poor decisions, hurtful words, pain or abuse, hold you back any longer.) You were sold for nothing and you will be redeemed without money.” (Jesus paid the price that you might be free! Choose today to experience freedom and know that HE values you enough to have given his life for you!
Precious girls, you are loved. You are accepted. You are valued beyond belief. Take the step and let go of the pain, the past, the fear, the regret and begin to write a new chapter of your life that can inspire the precious girls around you to know the hope and love they have in a Heavenly Father who created them with purpose and destiny.
And to all of us, let’s never forget to see these precious girls, women, mothers, friends. Let us remember that everyone has a story and we have a part to play in it. God gave us hope that we might share it with others. I don’t ever want to miss the opportunity to extend his love. I will never forget that sweet girl in my living room with bruises on her legs and pain in her heart. I will never forget Nancy, who brought her there. I don’t know what happened to that “precious” girl but I can only hope and pray that she saw something in us that will drive her to the arms of Jesus and give her hope to be whom He created her to be.