I sat there beaming with all the pride of a high school teacher’s pet all over again as our trainer asked us to pull out our first assignment we were supposed to have prepared.
Some people let out gasps of forgetfulness as they quickly scrambled for a piece of paper to scribble their name down with a ballpoint pen. I pulled out my thoughtfully prepared name tag with color coordinated words describing who I was and what mattered to me. I was particularly proud since I don’t typically consider myself a visually creative person; my mom and sister were always the ones designing my posters as I ran for student counsel and I never took a single art class since I always opted for drama.
Regardless of my own swelling pride, I was truly excited to learn about the other women in my training course and what drove them to take a 30-hour training on human trafficking to become a mentor to girls enslaved to it.
We were told to pass our nametags up to the front and I was curious how we were going to share about ourselves at that point. Once she had all of them in her hands, she began a profound monologue.
“All of us have values and beliefs that make up the core of who we are. Some of us spend time and effort developing these traits just as some of you put great time and effort into this assignment. Some people don’t give it much thought or forget to do it altogether but we still have things that make up who we are.” She began to shuffle through each one of our nametags.
“Regardless of how important we deem our values, each of us is dealt a certain hand in life. Some of us go through life relatively unscathed.” She took one of our nametags and flung it in the air. “Some of us go through life and get a little bit stomped upon” She took another nametag and crumpled it up into a ball and threw it on the ground as the person who’s name tag it was protested, “Hey, there’s a picture of my daughter in there!”
Suddenly my nametag was on the front of the pile. “Don’t crumple it, don’t crumple it!” I repeated in my head. “Others of us experience situations that tear us apart.” She said casually as she ripped up my nametag and flung the pieces in the air.
As my pieces drifted to the ground, my heart sank. Here I thought this assignment was a great “getting to know you” tool and instead all the time I spent was now ripped into pieces and lying on the floor. That was me on that page, that was everything I stand for. And in that moment, I felt the tiniest glimpse of a life I never knew; one that simply wasn’t fair.
I grew up in the kind of home I would wish upon everyone in this world. I have amazing parents who never dreamed of divorce, raised four kids and always did their best to give us every opportunity that we desired in life.
As we began our training, I was blown away by the amount of pure evil in the world; evil that happens even to children who should know nothing other than the joy of starting school for the first time and learning their abc’s.
As part of our course, we had to take an ACE’s quiz to determine our score, which determines the level of trauma we experienced before the age of 18. The higher your score, the more traumas you experienced. Seeing as some of the situations are rather common, like having parents who were separated or divorced or experiencing humiliation from a parent, over 87% of people who take the test receive at least a score of 1. I received a score of zero and I began to feel guilty.
What right do I have to help others who have been through so much? How could I possibly relate? How could I possibly understand what they are going through?
I wonder how many of us have ever heard those lies and allowed them to stop us from doing something we feel called to. But the bible says something far different than the lies I heard.
“When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.” Luke 12:48
Let me just speak to those like me for a moment; those who have been dealt an amazing hand in life. You were not dealt this hand so you could live the American dream, keep your head above the water and float through life. You were given much and therefore much is required of you.
I have so much respect for the people I see alongside of me who are investing deeply in the lives of people who will likely show little gratitude in return. And even more so because I would say 90% of the people who are investing in this type of work are people who have faced a fair amount of trauma themselves. It takes great courage for them to step into the shoes of someone like them and risk being re-traumatized in the process. But it makes me wonder… Where are the people to whom much was given? Where are the other zero ACE scores?
Don’t buy into the lie that no one who has been torn apart by life wants to hear from someone who was dealt a perfect hand. It simply isn’t true.
The world needs people like you who are strong, people like you who can model the way God intended family, love and even sex to be. The world needs warriors who truly embrace the call that to whom much is given, much is required.
The enemy would love to keep us segregated. He would love to use it to enforce the lie that life can never be full of love, redemption and joy.
Step over the line; join those who are nothing like you. Model the love, redemption and joy they have never known. Let’s be the church we were called to be.