The Free2BMe Project had the opportunity this past week to go to Lansing, MI to partner with Eve's Angels for a night of testimony and love! We had the privilege of loving on some awesome women who have big dreams for their lives and love Jesus! I've posted a blog already, but wanted to share some pictures!
Last night I sat with two fabulous women in a strip club in Lansing, MI. The scene was one that I'm all too familiar with, but as we sat watching the surroundings and getting a feel for the place, all three of us at the same time were capture by the dancer on the stage. It wasn't her body, or anything sexual. What captivated us was the look of hopelessness and disconnect that pierced through the dark room. It caused all three of us to perk up and watch this beautiful woman as she paraded herself despairingly from pole to pole. Sadly, we all saw it and even commented on it. How long had she been there? How did she get there? Did she have any hope? And then the lyrics...
Music speaks to me in a way that I have never been able to explain. Last night, Anny said “Music is the entrance to the spiritual realm.” And she’s so right. As a dancer, in case you didn’t know, you choose your music. And I'd like to say that you chose what would make the most money, what was most popular, but honestly, 90% of the songs are songs that spoke to you. Songs that expressed what the deepest part of your soul was feeling. You'd never admit that but really it was.
So as I began to become attune to this girl’s looks and feelings, the lyrics of the song that played began to pierce my soul. So much so that I began to scribble them on the clubs promo card that was lying on the table. I've added a picture of what I was able to scratch down. I didn't know the song, but as the words poured over me, I felt for a moment as if this girl on the stage was speaking through the words. The look of hopelessness and despair that, I'm sure she unintentionally gave off, suddenly had words and real meaning...
I'm broken down inside
Livin' with myself nothing but lies
I always thought I'd make it
But never knew I'd let it get so bad
Livin' with myself is all I have
I feel numb
I can't come to life
I feel like I'm frozen in time
Livin' in a world so cold, wasting away
Livin' in a shell with no soul
I'm too young to lose my soul
I'm too young to feel this old
So long, I'm left behind
I feel like I'm losing my mind
Do you ever feel me?
Do you ever look deep down inside
Starin' at your life, paralyzed?
In that instant, my heart broke for her and I began to pray that God would give the hope that he gave me. That he would give sight to this blind woman, to this hurting soul. That he envelope her with his love in a very real way.
The Free2BMe Project partnered with Eve’s Angels last night, that’s what we were doing there. And the setting above is how we ended our night. Before this there were 18 of us, current dancers, ex-dancers, pastors, prophets, children, women with no past and women still living in the pasts that some of us had left behind. We were one in a small room in a Methodist church on the corner of a college campus. God moved through that room. His love permeated each word that was spoken and I saw a glimpse of heaven here on earth. A place of healing, restoration and redemption, a place of unconditional love and forgiveness!
The God of the universes loves…the God of the universe is love…the God of the universe…oh the God of the universe… He is mighty and He alone is worthy of praise!
My prayer is that that girl on the stage would find her way to that room in a Methodist Church on the corner of a college campus…not so she can find us…but so that she can encounter and experience the love of the God of the universe that created her for so much more than hopelessness and despair…
On February 10, The Free2BMe Project is going to be beginning a new resource for women in the adult entertainment industry. On the 2nd Thursdays of each month, we will be gathering at the Summit YMCA in the Multi-purpose room. These meetings will be a place that women will find support and encouragement no matter where life finds them. If you attend, you will find a safe place to explore your faith and your relationship with the God of the Universe who loves you more than you could ever imagine; a safe place to ask questions, find prayer and most definitely
We are excited about the possibilities and the journey that we are starting! There's no need to RSVP, you can just show up! There will be coffee, tea and light snacks! We are praying for these meetings now! Knowing and expecting that God will move and that He will speak to us all in mighty ways!
I have some great friends! You know, those type of friends that love me for who I am today and are able to do that knowing who I was. One of them sent me a link to a blog called Jamie The Very Worst Missionary the other day. The particular post was called "Missionaries probably shouldn't be jealous of strippers. But sometimes they are." I was completely moved by what Jamie had to say about an encounter she had with a "Stripper" on an airplane! I loved her honesty and the transparency that came through in the post. Anyways, I contacted her and asked her permission to share this blog post with you. She said yes! So here I am sharing this story with you....
So, the other day I boarded a plane from Reno to San Francisco, and I was stoked because there was no one else in my row, and I wanted to read my new People magazine, but I would never want anyone to see me reading People magazine because I have a serious aversion to freaks who carry on weird, one-sided relationships with famous people. (What!? People mag is the fastest way for me to see how out-of date my clothes are. That’s all. That’s why I read it. Sheesh, let it go...) So, ANYWAY. You can imagine my dismay (and also how quickly I shoved Sandra Bullock’s tragic smile back in my bag and pulled out Sedaris’ Me Talk Pretty One Day) when someone stopped at the end of my row. She was wearing one of those tight black velour matching sweatsuits, with fake Uggs. And when she turned around to put her crap in the overhead, her butt said “Juicy” which, in my opinion, has about the same sexual appeal as having the word “Pfffffft” stamped across your rump. But what do I know.
Despite her stupid getup, the truth is, she. was. gorgeous. GOR-geous! Like, twenty years old, with perfect skin and teeth and hair, and glossy, fake nails on soft, smooth hands. And her body was long and lean and seemingly flawless.
And I immediately did not like her.
Now, I’m not generally a jealous person. Seriously. I don’t really get jealous. I more, like...covet, but I don’t really get jealous as in envious. I want for things that other people may have. I want more money, I want a smaller butt, I want to be 5’9”, Iwant to have influence, I really, really want a maid, and an admin, and a personal masseuse. And if you possess those things, I will probably covet them. But I usually don’t harbor feelings of hostility or rivalry toward people that have what I want, and that’s what I mean by jealous. It’s just not one of my go-to character flaws. Or maybe it’s just not as well developed as my other junk. Either way, it’s not my thing.
But this time... I was having these wild, crazy, JEALOUS thoughts. Mean thoughts. Cruel thoughts. Thoughts that were turning this girl, whom I had never even spoken to, into my mortal enemy.
So, I turned on my overhead light and opened my book, and as the plane started to taxi toward the runway, my stupid light burned out. The girl (you know, the one I was busy hating) looked over and offered a sympathetic smile with perfect, plump lips, and teeth like gleaming white chiclets. Then we both reached up and started pushing buttons and twisting knobs, trying to get that stupid light to flicker back on, but she yanked on something and the whole plastic casing came off in her hand. We looked at each other like “Oooh damn!” and then we both started snickering like third graders in the principals office. Snickering became giggling, and giggling made way for laughter, and by the time we were in the air, we were howling as if it was the funniest thing that had ever happened in the history of the world.
Looking back, it wasn’t that funny, but that’s how I became instant BFF’s with a stripper from Reno.
Our conversation was mostly stupid and boring and, occasionally, intensely personal. And yes, she really is a stripper...I mean, ”dancer”. She was on her way to California to visit her sugar-daddy. (Which, technically, I think makes her something other than a stripper, er, dancer, but whatever.) We both pulled out our trashy magazines, and poured over the clothes of the rich and famous. We talked about our lives, as different as they are. And we talked about God. And when we didn’t talk, she pulled out her Sudoku book, and I thought, “Oh, awesome. She’s prettier AND smarter.” But, I noticed (because, apparently, I’m kind of a creeper) that when she got bored with her puzzle, she would scrawl her name in cursive, again and again, along the edges of the book. Practicing her autograph? Signing her first name with some guy’s last name? Trying out a slutty new stage name? I really don’t know. All I know is that she was daydreaming as she wrote that name, all fat and swirly, over and over and over again.
I was struck by how sweet and girlish it was. And it reminded me of how I used to do the very same thing when I was younger. (My friends and I used this stripper name formula: first family pet + street you grew up on = your stripper name. Mine was Heidi Oaklawn.)
Maybe it sounds weird, I mean, since I’m a missionary and everything, but I could totally relate to this stripper, with her Juicy pants and spray tan. El Chupacabra and I have a little running joke that if our lives hadn’t turned a certain direction at a certain time, he would be in jail and I would be in a nightclub. We laugh about it, but we know that it’s really not that funny...and it may not be far from the truth. Who knows?! You could be reading the blog of Heidi Oaklawn, the Very Worst Stripper, right now. Or maybe you wouldn’t be. Or maybe you would....
Anyway, when we parted ways in San Francisco, it was clear to us both that we shared some sort of connection. Call it stripper’s intuition, but there was something there, between us. We hugged and quickly said goodbye....*sigh*
Juicy disappeared into the crowd, and as soon as she was gone, I realized that all of my envy had melted away, and only one thing remained; A wish that I had told her something before we'd gone our separate ways. I wanted her to know that God is jealous for her.
And that I was jealous for her, too. Not jealous of her, andnot the envious kind of jealousy that makes a missionary act like a bitch on an airplane when a stripper sits next to her. But jealous for her, in a different way, with a longing, loving, hope filled kind of jealousy.
I was jealous for her to know that she’s worth more than the dollar she gets for swinging around a pole in clear, plastic stilettos, or the thousand that she’ll get for spending a weekend in San Francisco. Jealous for her to feel love apart from sex. Jealous for her to daydream about her own name in a way that didn't have to include fame, or fortune, or dancing naked for men. Jealous for her to know that if she can do Sudoku, she can do anything...
This kind of jealousy begs for a change in direction. God is jealous for us to turn away from the distractions of this world and turn toward him. He’s jealous for us to let go of the false identities we hold onto so tightly, and to align ourselves with Him. He’s jealous for us to relinquish the things we allow to define our worth, and grab tightly to our value in Him.
Our God is jealous for her... and for you... and for me......
So, the obvious question is.... what would your stripper name be?