12 Roses For 12 Dollars

Today is the day, that I get to take one tiny step, a tiptoe, into making a difference in the dark world known as human trafficking, where lives become meaningless and greed and wealth turn even the strongest of hearts into the most broken and vulnerable and where girls are simply used and abused until all they believe is the lie that they are worthless. I am venturing with a few others to go and do brothel ministry, to love the girls and simply speak life into their broken and frail hearts which have long since lost their vibrant and joyful beat. My heart is slowly breaking, as I look around me. So often I see broken hearts and people whose souls cry out in anguish as they search for love amidst the darkness and vanity that pulls them deeper and deeper into depression, and yet I know the only answer is Jesus. My mind cannot even begin to comprehend the hurt and heartache, oh if only I could do something to bring joy into their lives. If only I could wipe away the tears that reflect nothing but pain, bitterness and mistrust.

My heart is on the verge of bursting with both compassion and sadness. I stand teetering on a frail bridge as the reality of the darkness and horrors, and hopelessness yell from below trying to pull me down. Yet I know that Jesus is strengthening the very threads of the bridge, making it into a mighty walkway, one that shouts back even louder of love and grace. Jesus tells me that He can use me. That even though I am terrified, and can barely let go of the guardrail, as my emotions swing me back and forth nearly casting me off the side, He can use me. He tells me that He has called me to be a light, a joyful, loving, kind presence for those broken women. As he grabs my hand to help me across the bridge, he reminds me that He will equip me.

My heart quiets down a little bit, and I take a deep breathe, as if I am inhaling all of God’s goodness, love and mercy and exhaling all the nerves and negative thoughts. As the day progresses, I slowly but surely find myself more joyful and happy as I begin to see Jesus amidst the broken and hurting.

It still amazes me, that even in darkness, God is the light beaming down from above. That he sees every tear that slides down hopeless face as it makes root in their hearts. My spirit soars as I remember that he is joy when everything in a situation screams otherwise. Oh, God is so loving, and He truly is a God who rescues the broken hearted, carrying the weight of a heavy heart as if it were as light as a feather. And it is as if the only way to respond is to fully step onto the rickety bridge, trusting my savior to catch me if I fall and choosing to lean on Him for my joy and grace as He teaches me to fly.

Sitting in class, half paying attention and half doodling, God begins to speak to me, ” I want you to buy 12 roses for 12 dollars to hand out to the women you’re going to visit. And when you hand them out, tell them they are loved and people care and that I love them”. He went on to tell me that by taking the roses, I was symbolizing His love being planted in these broken, dreary places. A symbol of life and beauty coming from darkness and transforming them from the inside out. Beauty from ashes, and His goodness overflowing from the brokenness.

I continually prayed into it, choosing to trust Jesus, even though my initial reaction was skepticism. God has truly been teaching me to not question what He says and to simply trust Him.

As I made my way to the nearest grocery store, I glanced at my watch to ensure I was okay on time. One hour to find 12 roses for 12 dollars. Once inside wooleys, the grocery store in the city, I began to look through the flower section. Just as I anticipated, not a great selection and definitely not for that price. I kept hearing God say TRUST. So I walked around to the other side of the display, and my eyes are immediately drawn to a beautiful bouquet of beautiful vibrant roses, planted in a starkly white porcelain bowl. There is no way that it would be 12 dollars, yet I peeked at the price tag. A giant 30 dollars was crossed out, and a small 12 dollars was written next to it. My heart skipped a beat as I counted the roses. Exactly 12 roses. I couldn’t stop smiling as I walked to the register. I really felt God telling me to hand out three of them on my way home, to let people know they are loved and they are beautiful.

One rose went to the cashier, her middle name was rose. Oh, if only I could have captured her surprise and giant smile, seeing her excitement and joy simply made my heart swell even more with God’s joy and happiness. Overflowing with joy as I walked back to base, I handed out two more roses. God told me I would hand out the other 9 roses during the actual brothel outreach.

And as I sit here, the sun shining down, my heart is bursting. The exact number of girls we visited was 9 . And oh I am just so amazed at God’s faithfulness. As I chatted with some of the girls, God just continually calmed me down and I was able to simply be myself and spread His love.

He is reminding me of His faithfulness in the little things. That those 12 oses are just the  beginning. That he has absolutely amazing plans for me. Those 12 roses are a symbol of the beginning of a revolution, of love, of beauty thriving, of Him sparking hearts. How humbled I am to realize God asked me to be a part of this beautiful plan. I cannot wait to see what comes of this and even if nothing does, I can smile, knowing I obeyed and that if anything I made 12 people smile today. And as I look up to the sky, God simply reminds me that he has called me to love always, as a lifestyle. Oh, He wants to use me to love others, to bring life and joy. I can think of no greater privilege than to pour out my savior’s love as I smile and walk with Him every single day. 

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