Potential triggers: Topics about child trafficking and reference to abuse. No explicit events are depicted, but descriptions may still be triggering.
“Now the LORD saw,
And it was displeasing in His sight that there was no justice.
And He saw that there was no man,
And was astonished that there was no one to intercede…”
Do you hear the longing in this verse, the cry echoing through each generation, flowing from the heart of God? Where is a man, a man that bears the resemblance of His Maker, that brings forth justice on behalf of His loved ones? Where is a man walking in his true destiny, manifesting the nature and character of God through the laying down of his life for the weak and vulnerable?
If such a man had existed in my childhood, I would have had a much different story...
A Glance Back
For over twenty years I was trafficked, shuffled here and there based on the reeling tastes of men. I was prepared for this fate as an infant and then handed off to be molded into a delicacy around three years of age. The next four to five years my body was tossed from one man to the next in a never-ending tempest of feral desire. I searched each new face for a father, a protector, but only found the eyes of a hungry predator. I looked for a man.
As my little world spun like a whirling top, it danced the edge of a cliff I saw so many others plummet into. Hopelessness wound its way around my throat, and even as a child I began to see death as the only door left open. For “stability” I was eventually placed with a family in the States and slept on strangers’ floors less and less. But I would have taken a stranger over the man I was made to call 'Daddy.' He went by many names, including 'Pastor,' but never lived up to a single one. When I met him, I thought he was the one… the man I’d been searching for. But he shattered my heart. No, I would not find a man in my childhood.
The next years smeared into adulthood when the concept of companionship began to haunt me. I noticed a force orbiting my life, taunting dormant hopes, yet never drawing near enough to touch. I gazed at the world around me, frozen and confused. Men pursued women, not just to conquer or devour, but transfixed by some mysterious instinct. I witnessed foreign things, like gentleness, kindness… commitment between male and female. All that I encountered birthed a deeper pain inside. To see a thing one has always needed but never known is to awaken a fierce hunger without so much as a shred to satisfy it. A gnawing emptiness and nameless loss colored my perceptions of men and God. Yet, I still looked for a man.
Thirteen years from the day God called me out and gave me the courage to follow, I found freedom. I was hunted. I was wounded and betrayed. But I was free… physically, at least. Shortly after, I found my heart and mind under a grip I couldn’t shake. The past still felt like the present, and trauma bubbled up from a deep reservoir within, flooding my life with the ghost of chaos. Little by little I began to emerge as I learned to fight the right battles.
The biggest breakthroughs came with forgiveness. With my freedom, I forgave. Recklessly, ruthlessly I forgave as if my life depended on it… because it did. With each resentment released another cord snapped, untethering my heart from the past, this world, and bitterness. Where I once saw the faces of men, I began to see an invisible enemy behind them, moving, animating, and seething with hatred. When I released the human, God’s judgement could strike where it needed to – at the entity behind. And somewhere deep within, I realized I was fighting in an unseen war already won. The landscape changed and I began to see the invitation hidden within life’s offering of pain, betrayal, and loss. Like a diamond set within a ring, life’s pain fixes us in the bosom of the Father, if we let it. Suffering can usher us into a mindset of eternal things, a mind of the Spirit. I don’t see it every day, I still get tangled in the mess of life, but I ask God for spiritual eyes.
Where Are the Men?
“…Then His own arm brought salvation to Him,
And His righteousness upheld Him.”
God did not find a man, so He gave His Son. Neither was I rescued by men, but I was found by this man, Jesus, and He has caused my heart to bloom. That is what true manhood does to femininity – it provides a safe place, a garden for a precious life to come into bloom. In doing so, a woman in full-bloom provides a fruit back to a man that meets a profound heart-longing placed in him by God. And somehow this union reflects the heart of God, Christ and His Bride, the church. Alone, neither gender can fully display the wonder of God.
I believe this thread of verses beautifully depicts the interconnectedness of male and female, husband and wife, reflecting the beauty of God’s Person:
“God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. …Husbands love your wives just as Christ loved the church, and gave Himself up for her… For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I am speaking in reference to Christ and the church.”
Genesis 1:27, Ephesians 5:25,31-32
I now have the incredible honor of working with women that have a similar history to mine. But so often, I look around me and my heart still cries, “Where is a man?” Yes, men have caused immense damage. Yes, the more power a man is given, the more it tends to corrupt him and tempt him to waste it on himself. Yes, even after I have come so far, I have been betrayed by men… again. But where is the man of God? I see so many anti-trafficking organizations and safe houses run by women for women, and God bless them. BUT WHERE ARE THE MEN?
Restoration is not the absence of damage; it is the giving back of all that was lost…and more. If true femininity flourishes within the covering of true masculinity, then why do we as women convince ourselves that we don’t need it? Even more, why do we tell the most shattered women, most in need of a safe place, that they can heal outside the presence of a man? Please hear me, I’m not negating the process or the time it takes to work through trauma and triggers, but if we sell ourselves short of true, God-given vision for reflecting His nature (both male and female), then we settle for far less than we realize.
And so, may I share a heart secret with you? As much as I care for these dear women, my heart is drawn to a different population – a generation of men drowning in their own lusts. Where are the men? Lost at sea, the same sea that tried to swallow me whole. From the time men are boys, they are pummeled with sexual images and messaging, misconstruing the image of masculinity. In the absence of true fathering, they are raised by a perverse culture and the internet, unhinging the moral boundaries of their minds, and degrading their spirit. Then as they grow, religion sees their thrashing and gasping for air and instead of a life preserver, it throws weighted expectations of self-derived chastity upon them. Or worse, it tells them, “Don’t worry, everyone fails here. If fact, you’re not drowning, you’re just living out your natural instincts. You can’t help it.”
I often ask God what a true revival looks like – where all hidden sins can come out of the closet, and no one gets hung on the gallows or stoned, where the mercy of God touches even the most perverse, secret sin and through confession and repentance, we are restored to Him and one another. How far does the forgiveness of God go? Where do you place a boundary on the love of God in the face of true repentance? Can it save a pedophile? A rapist? A pimp?
YES. I have held the hand of one of my perpetrators as they wept. I have seen Christ love His enemies through a life when it is laid down. I have seen Him love me. He hunted me down, even more ferociously than the evil I eventually embraced, and loved me through to the purity my heart thirsted for. Forgiveness, true heart-forgiveness opens a door for eternity to kiss the face of impossible. It is born of God and offers the recipient an invitation back to Him. It heals the shattered soul and restores one to dignity, to God-reflecting humanity.
Fighting For Something Greater
There are still consequences to life’s choices, but I ache to love my enemies the way Christ loved me and let God be the avenger of wrong. Men, even those that harmed me, are not my enemies. They are pawns in the hands of a far greater enemy, trapped by lies and slaves to their lust. I’d like to see that enemy plundered of all His pawns, wouldn’t you? More than vengeance, I want to see men restored to their place in Christ, free to live as real men. Without them, we in the Body of Christ are incomplete. If there had been a man of God in my little world, my life would have been so different. If there had been a real man in the lives of my perpetrators when they were children, their lives would have been different. Change begins now.
Where is the generation of women that will fight for men so that our children and grand-children will have a different future – one with a father, a protector, a picture of true masculinity? I believe it starts with forgiveness, first from God to our hearts, then to men. The deeper we receive, the deeper He can give through us. Then we fight – on our knees, with love, with forgiveness, with an unshakeable hope in the Word of God and a firm stance in our position in Christ. We wage war against all that will not stand in eternity, even if it looks like our own wants and desires, our “rights.” And we let our lives be a pleasing offering to our King.
God is still searching for a Man. Does He find Him in you and I? When He looks into your eyes, does He see His Man – Christ? When those that hate peer into my face, I pray they will one day see only Jesus, not pain or shame, but a loving Savior. Then they will know that no evil can conquer the love of Christ. Eternity is just a breath away, but while there is life there is hope.
Let us offer this hope to the world.
If you’d like to read more about true masculinity and femininity,
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