Not 4 Sale

Yesterday was Freedom Sunday, and in honor of this protest against human trafficking, I proudly wore the words “NOT 4 SALE” on my arm. I’ve always been passionate about this issue, and after my trip to India with Bombay Teen Challenge, both the horrors and hope have become even more real to me. So here I am, championing this cause until I wake up this morning and stumble across a passage of scripture that makes me feel like a hypocrite.

“But you have lived as a prostitute with many lovers –
would you now return to me?” -Jeremiah 3:1

The words stung my heart this morning because they reminded me of an important truth I had allowed myself to forget. There I was with the words “NOT 4 SALE” tattooed across my arm while I was selling myself short of God’s best for me. Somewhere along the way, I had allowed myself to get caught up in the little things – the petty distractions of life – when all the while God has been standing by the wayside saying, “Hey Rebekah, I have something so much better waiting for you if you’d only take the time to notice.”

It’s amazing how easy it is to stray from God’s perfect will. Even more amazing how difficult it is to see that you’re slowly slipping away from Him. Like I said, it’s the little things that make the biggest difference. Once you allow your life to get so filled up with little things, there’s no room for the truly important things.

Yet all along, God stands by the wayside with open arms, begging us to return to Him. Loving us when we are undeserving. He opens Himself up and gives us the opportunity to bring Him joy… or to break His heart once again by turning our backs on His desperate plea.

Let me make this clear: You are not for sale, so stop selling yourself short. God has something amazing in store for you, so stop chasing fantasies and let Him restore you to His wonderful reality. He doesn’t care what you’ve done or where you’ve been; He misses His little girl. He is begging you to return to Him, but ultimately, the choice is yours. Will you retreat into the shadows or run into His open arms?

As for me, I choose life.

The Beauty of Redemption

I returned to the United States with India temporarily tattooed on my hand, but permanently ingrained on my heart.

Meeting up with my brothers in Mumbai was definitely a highlight of my trip, but the real miracle happened when our team left the city. After spending a few days amidst the poverty and pain of Mumbai, the lush, green haven called Ashagram washed over me. I sensed immediately what one of the former street boys confirmed only a few hours later: “This is a healing place.”

I know that it’s a healing place for those who were rescued from the darkness of the streets of Mumbai, but I also believe that each one of my team members experienced that healing in one way or another.

The term “beauty from ashes” has never meant so much to me. The hungry street boys I saw in Mumbai… I met them at Ashagram. Their eyes were aglow with the saving power of Jesus’ love. The prostitutes I saw lingering outside the brothels… I met them too. They smiled, they laughed, they praised the God who rescued them from darkness. And as I entered into a beautiful night of worship while a young man named Sunil played his guitar,  I discovered the true meaning of the word redemption. How was it possible that this extravagant worshiper could be the drug addict he claimed he once was?

Just when I was wondering if the hand of God was so clearly seen in my own life, one of the boys slipped me a note that read:

Do you know that you are my very close friend i ever have. Friendship is like love. and love never end. an love not take record of rong. you are love.

Though I wished I could have stayed much longer, I’m content to leave on that note. I figure that if that was the conclusion Santosh came to after my nine-day stay at Ashagram, I did what I went there to do. And I experienced the beauty of redemption in a way I never knew that I could.