Tuesday, May 3, 2005

Experiencing God

Experiencing God’s Heart

By Carol Wiley, Director
A Way Out
Citizens for Community Values’ Victim Assistance Program

Most of the clientele who seek help from “A Way Out” are employed in topless clubs, but a few months ago the Lord literally dropped a precious young woman in our lap, challenging us with an opportunity to expand our ministry to victims who work in other sex-oriented businesses.

This young woman, who will remain anonymous, is nineteen years old; she was homeless and working on the streets to make money to eat. She shared that she had been in trouble and a ward of the state or on the streets since she was twelve years old. This was disturbing enough, but as her saga unfolded it became more and more evident that she was terribly neglected as a child. It started when her mother, a drug addict, abandoned her at birth. She was dropped off at her grandmother and great grandmother’s home. Her grandfather lived close by.

She remembers her grandmother and great-grandmother fondly stating that they tried to raise her and love her, but they were old and sick and very poor. The great grandmother died when this girl was twelve and the grandmother died when she was fifteen. She carries a dark horrifying memory of her grandfather sexually abusing her from age eight until age fifteen. To add to this, her physically abusive father was in and out of her life. She remembers him yelling and even beating her with a bullwhip when she was only eight years old.

She summarizes her story this way, “It was going pretty good till about eight, then it felt like it was all just took away from me. I didn’t have no childhood. At twelve I grew up before my time. I was in and out of trouble since great-grandmamma died.”

It didn’t take long for us to know we could not turn this wounded young girl away. The woman who first met her became her mentor and helped her get into the Salvation Army. The mentor picked up her new friend daily and brought her to our office where another volunteer began to tutor her while she was waiting to get into Job Corps. Her mentor, now affectionately know as “mama”, took her into her home for a few weeks before the opening at Job Corps became available. Using our victim assistance funds we were able to help her with food, clothing, medical needs, and attorney fees. We also sent her to a psychologist for assessment.

For the first time in her nineteen years this girl experienced God’s heart of love for her through a healthy support system. “Sing to God, sing praise to his name, extol him who rides on the clouds—his name is the Lord—and rejoice before him. A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families; he leads forth the prisoners with singing…” (Psalm 68: 4-6)

This precious young lady is still is absorbing all the love and hugs her new family and support system wants to give. A Way Out has never had a victim who is more compliant and appreciative. Her eyes light up and her whole countenance shines each time she accomplishes another step toward putting her life on the right track.

She is now at Job Corps in a two-year program. Her goal is to get her GED and train as she says “for a career not a job.” I know God is smiling as He watches her experience more and more of his love. She has been a Christian about three months now.

As the Christmas and the New Year are approaching we would love for many to experience the joy of sharing Christ’s love with the hurting. If you are interested call Carol at 685-1493 or email her at carol@ccvmemphis.org.

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