I had never raised money for anything before the Thrill of Hope. (I’m not counting my stint in Girl Scouts and the hours of selling cookies.) In the last few years, friends I admire have raised money for “Dressember” for a similar cause. I passively “liked” their photos, but was unwilling or unable to really understand the issue of human trafficking. It’s like my heart just already had too much to handle, I was struggling through some kind of post-partum depression and could barely tend to my household’s needs. But, through grace, I have walked out of that dark and despairing time. It’s like God said, “Now you are ready.” So when Scott asked me to participate, I considered it seriously. It seemed scary and anxiety filled my heart. What if nobody donated? What if my pictures are stupid? What if my photos of candles get redundant or my writing is boring? So many insecurities flooded my mind. But a certain quietness and assurance said, “This is what you will do.” And God gave me ideas for arranging my posts and photos.
On November 30, I had my first post ready. I had told a few friends about the project and I set my goal at $500, but raised it for $1000 on a lark. Pressing “post” every morning left me vulnerable but excited and as the days went on I was genuinely surprised and humbled when anyone donated, whether it was $5 or $100. At the end of the month my goal was reached with a surplus of $1 courtesy of my sweet sister-in-law. The responses to my posts and pictures were very encouraging and many friends shared that my words resonated with them.
Around the middle of the month I read “Snake Oil” by Thistle Farms’ founder Becca Stevens. It was transformative! Her words were healing for my own life and quietly opened my eyes to the plight of so many people caught in the sex trade. These women and men are my sisters and brothers, they are just like me. The humility in Becca’s words was inspiring. My heart especially resonated with these words, “I hate some of the truth about my life and how far I still need to go. What saves me from slipping into the ditch as I start sliding down the hill is the simple revelation that I am not alone. The problem with shame is that it makes you believe you are alone in this world, and that if the truths about your past or your sin were revealed, you would be abandoned or unloved. I remember my failures. I let them humble me sufficiently. And then I start climbing again," (pg 152).
The purpose of the Thrill of Hope fundraiser was obviously to raise needed funds for opening Peoria Home, but the greater purpose was to show that though our individual problems may be different, we have much to offer and learn from one another. I did not expect this revelation! Our sisters and brothers are trapped in slavery, yet I trap myself in slavery every day. I choose to not see the hurting of others and insulate my heart and not see, and not do. Participating in The Thrill of Hope helped to peel off the layers of insulation and be exposed. I am a better servant when I am more aware of my faults and failings.
If you would like to give to Peoria Home donate HERE!