“Freedom”

 

Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina has a special program called World of Work. Provided through a generous donation, WOW allows each eligible youth to have a campus related job. WOW teaches them interview skills, job skills, responsibility with wages and savings among other things.

There are several teams; those who learn housekeeping, hospitality, those in the administrative office, on the ground crew as well as culinary, farm crew, equine, and charter school. As a part of WOW, I have the honor of leading a Chapel team.

The Chapel team begins each day with a devotion and prayer. Each team member rotates in leading our daily devotion. One young lady led a devotion titled “Freedom.”  I received her permission to share it with you.

I realize that when we read or hear the word “freedom,” many images, faces flood our mind. For some, the face of those fallen in defense of our country. For others, those marching along a highway from Selma. For others, Jesus on the cross, an empty tomb. For others, a new land, a fresh start.

For this young girl, Freedom was escape from the bondage of sexual abuse.

“I realize that most in this group have experienced sexual abuse,” she started. “For a long time, I couldn’t close my eyes without reliving the horror of the things done to me. I honestly wanted to die. However, as God became real to me I began to move away from that darkness, depression and defeat and into a light of hope and joy.”

“Please open your Bibles to Genesis 6:11”

“Now the Earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with wickedness.”

She told us of the stories of Dinah in Genesis, the concubine account in Judges, and Tamar in II Samuel. She shared how it helped her realize that she was not alone. This was something that had happened even to people in the Bible.

“But that’s not the way it should be,” she explained as she led us to Ephesians 5:28 “In the same way, husbands are to love their wives as their own bodies.

“Deuteronomy 22:25-28 helped me to realize that I am not the one who has done wrong, that I need not be ashamed,” sshe shared. “But if the man encounters a woman in the open country and he seizes and rapes her, only the man who raped her must die. Do nothing to the young woman, because she is not guilty of an offense deserving death.”

And even those times I felt alone I discovered Psalms 141: 4-6, ‘Look to the right and see, no one stands up for me; there is no refuge for me; no one cares about me. I cry to you Lord. I say you are my shelter, my portion in the land of the living.’ And Matthew 11:28 ‘Come to me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.’ Luke 12:2 ‘There is nothing covered that won’t be uncovered and nothing hidden that won’t be made know.’”

Matthew 25:40  “And the King will answer them, ‘What you did for the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ I think that it also means that whatever we do ‘TO’ the least of us, that God sees it as being done to Him.”

Ephesians 4:32  “And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.

Colossians 3:13 “ Just as the Lord has forgiven you, you must forgive.”

“This one, I’m not finished with. ‘Forgiveness doesn’t mean it’s okay it happened.’ Forgiveness is about me letting go of the pain and hate that consumed me.”

She smiles.

By God’s blessing and speaking to me through these scriptures, I have found the face of Freedom.”

What is your face of freedom?

Pastor Joe Kennedy is our Director of Pastoral Care and Chaplain of Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina.

 

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