True Love

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!  I just had to write a brief post because I woke up today with the heaviest burden.  Obviously, today is the day we focus on the mushy-gushy-ness of relationships… although this area isn’t my forte, I do try to pause and take a thankful moment for those I care about.  Doing this though, I can’t help but think of all the thousand of girls looking for love in all the wrong places.

A quick definition of a sex trafficking victim is a person who is forced, tricked or coerced into working for the sex industry (or any person under the age of 18 who trades sexual favors for anything of monetary value).  So, so many girls end up in pornography or prostitution not because some mean guy literally kidnapped them.  More often it’s a (fake) boyfriend who convinced her that she should do him a favor if “she really loves him.”  This might sound foolish, but to a child desperate for affection and care, or desperate for a way to financially provide for their loved ones at home, this is seems anything but foolish… this seems to make perfect sense.

Imagine that at the age of 14 you were still waiting to feel your first real hug.  Imagine that you can’t remember the last time someone in your household said “I love you.”  Imagine that mom’s new boyfriend has started to redirect his attention for her, now to you.  Imagine that all you can think about is a new, safe life for you and your little sister.  You’ll do anything to protect her, to provide for her.  Now imagine that a very handsome, successful looking guy around 20 waltzes into your world promising you everything you’ve ever dreamed of, buying you lavish gifts along the way to prove that the dream is possible.  He promises you hope, love and a way out.  This must be “true love”, your Price Charming at last.  Of course it seems crazy, but everyone has always remarked how love is crazy (and blind), haven’t they?

My heart aches for these girls, all hundreds of thousand of them in our country alone… not to mentions the other millions around the world.  Please pause with me today – be thankful for the love you have in your life (no matter how small) and say a prayer for each of the girls looking for love in all the wrong places.

May this blog serve as an education to those who do not yet know or understand the atrocities of trafficking and may it serve as an encouragement to those who understand it all too well.

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Medically Unable to Love?

I have a lot of friends who are having problems with allergic reactions, intolerances to medication and autoimmune diseases. What’s supposed to be normal or good for their bodies is backfiring and causing them great trouble.  Recently I’ve seen my community pour love into my life in a larger than normal way, and it’s left my terrified.  I’m now realizing that I have something in common with my friend’s medical issues, but my issue is with love … or care, or affection, or pretty much anything else that’s warm and fuzzy.

This is a loose metaphor so bare with me… I used to say to myself that I was allergic to LOVE, but I think the category of autoimmune is more accurate.  Now I’m no doctor, but with an allergy your system is usually reacting to an external substance that enters your body and causes an irritation.  Your body is on hyper alert to kick the bad back outside to the curb where it belongs.  With autoimmune though your system attacks healthy cells that naturally occur inside your body. It marks the obvious good as a threat and sets out to destroy vital biological systems that allow the person to function and live.

I thought I was allergic to love because instead of feeling pleasure when it’s expressed towards me, I feel pain.  Anytime I experience a sincere endearment it physically feels like I’ve been punched in the stomach.  The knots that build up in most people’s guts when they have to give a speech – I feel those when I receive a compliment or someone tries to do my a favor.  I become fearful, and protective and sometimes even angry, very angry.

My problem though is autoimmune.  Whether I like it or not, love is already inside of me.  It’s a naturally occurring part of my system and is necessary to the overall function of my life.   However, it is being treated like the ultimate enemy.  Like many survivors of trafficking, people who were supposed to be safe were the ones who actually harmed me.  So, like your body would with an autoimmune disease, my experiences cause my spirit to overrule my desire for love as it says, “Oh no! You’ve been deceived!  You don’t need that– that’s the enemy in disguise!  We must destroy it.”  My experiences have told me over and over that love is really pain and so I must reject love.

The most frustrating part about all of this is that deep down I have a desperate desire for love.  The hope comes in realizing that it’s not other people’s acts of kindness that harm me.  The issue isn’t with the well-meaning doers in my circle.  I must learn to take the power back from other people because the issue is with myself.  I will continue to reject love until I recognize that what’s inside of me is good.  The love that God placed there when He created me is good.  I am good.  If I can’t see this than I’m done for.  If I can’t see this than love from healthy people in my life will remain painful.

May this blog serve as education to those who do not yet know or understand the atrocities of trafficking and may it serve as encouragement to those who understand it all too well.

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