Today’s story touches my heart deeply, because I’ve spent the last few years partnering with efforts to end human trafficking. In that journey, God has marked my heart with more than statistics and faraway realities. I have become intimately acquainted with names and faces, with lives full of destiny, and stories full of tragedy that somehow still manage to hold onto glimmers of hope and promise. I’ve met mothers, daughters, sisters, aunties, sons, brothers, fathers, and uncles. And while the details of how they got there are all so very different, their reality remains the same: they are precious in God’s sight, and His plans for them are so much greater.
I didn’t know this was her story when I met this young woman. For years, we crossed paths and I loved her from a distance. But something always drew me to look at her with wonder. There was something about her that sparkled with resilience, and as she came and went, I never would have imagined all she had fought to overcome.
On this side of her testimony, so much makes sense. Her faith is authentic and rooted, even in its infancy. Though she has not had the safety net of older, wiser women to nurture her in the faith, her hunger for such is real, and has driven her to reach for more. She has endured and accomplished enough “on her own” (of course with the acknowledgment of God’s help) that she could justifiably continue on that road of just trying to survive.
But she longs to thrive, and she is marked by an instinctual knowing that God does indeed have so much more for her. She has positioned herself among a community that will help rebuild her life, and thrust her toward the destiny God has for her. And in that process, I have been watching God heal the stains and pains of her broken life. Truly, she shines with the radiance of a life redeemed, and her joy and excitement are contagious.
There is nothing God cannot do. If you’ve ever found yourself at the bottom of your mess, having gone where you thought you would never go, then you will understand her story, and the miracle of being saved out of it. Hers was a messy life, which no doubt the world will judge, but hers has always been a worthy life, which Jesus paid the high price to rescue. May we all, in our pits of despair, reach to Him with the simple faith that says, “God, if you will open the door, I will go through.” Because she dared to pray that prayer, and because she dared to trust the answer He set before her, she has walked into her freedom, which is still unfolding as we speak…
“My name is Stefanie and this is my resurrection story…
I am a daughter, grand-daughter, sister, aunt, niece, friend, and a lover of God.
At the age of 17, I found myself hitting rock bottom: living alone, abandoned and left to the hands of a man I thought loved me. Working in fast food wasn’t enough to make ends meet and left me drowning in a world I didn’t understand. So I listened to the lies of the world and decided to make money using the oldest profession: selling my body. But the questions that plagued my heart were constant. How did I get here? Why did God abandon me? Where was my life headed?
For years, my aunt tried to get me a job at the hospital where she worked, but after a couple of failed attempts it seemed hopeless. In my desperation I cried out to the Lord, ‘God if you get me this job I will do whatever it takes to get out of this life.’
I had been trying for three years, and one day they called me in to do a panel interview. Nervous and afraid of rejection, I went on faith and they hired me! God had shown His favor and kept His promise, so I had to keep mine. With God’s help I slowly began to rid my life of everything that was holding me down (relationships, situations, circumstances), and God began a great work in me.
This is hardly the end of my story; for this was just the beginning! He began to open doors: I went back to school, I bought a house, I rebuilt my relationship with my mother. God was no doubt working. I wanted to reciprocate his love and to help others who were like me, but how could I give back to something that almost took my life?
Ten years later (on the anniversary of my covenant with the Lord), I was invited to pray at a school for victims of human trafficking. Through that experience I was able to share my testimony, and signed up to mentor young women in situations much like what God had taken me out of. (What a way to celebrate his mercy!)
I am so excited to see what else God has instore for me, and how he will use me for His good. God is always true to His promises and His word is evidence of His love.”
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33
“…in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Romans 8:37
“…Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9