I cringe every time I hear her words on the recording.
With the red creeping up my neck as she tells the detailed story of the sexual abuse that started when she was just 3 years old. I can feel the pit in my stomach when she tells of being passed around to the men in her community without the protection of her parents.
I have watched the video of her rescue from her hell and wiped away the tears more times than I count.
The world has broken her and it’s hard not to run away from a story like this.
But we can’t look away. Because if we do, we will miss her redemption.
For the past couple of weeks, Maureen and I have visited the homes of friends and we have asked them to listen to Lillian’s story. Three years ago, Mercy House rescued Lillian who was pregnant and only 12 years old.
I know Lillian. I have cupped her face in my hands. I have lifted her chin that looked away in shame and dared her to see the love there. I have laughed as she played soccer with my children.
I have watched her practice her pedicure techniques on my little girl’s toes. I have walked beside her on the sewage filled, littered path to her home while men who used to abuse her called out her name.
I have wept with her over everything she has lost. I have held her child, conceived in hate and lust and thanked God for the beauty in her ashes.
I have been led to the edge of myself and have cried out to God, “I cannot do this. I want to look away.” He draws me closer and says look closely child so that you can truly see. Me.
And when I look at the brokenness in the world, it’s there that I understand Ann Voskamp’s words in her newest and most beautiful book, The Broken Way, “What I’d give to have known: accept the tension of feeling yourself led to the edge of yourself. In the raw experience of “I cannot do this,” you experience how He remakes you into someone who can. And our broken hearts are called to the impossible, because what is who He, He who is in us, makes us: the impossables.
Love is really love–when we are loving the unlovable. Forgiveness is really forgiveness–when we are forgiving the unforgivable. Repentance is really repentance –when we let our wrong loves be broken by the rightness of His unbreakable love. Faith is really faith–when we believe God for the unbelievable. Because with our God, nothing is impossible and our God is able, and with our God in us, all our broken efforts become possable and we are the impossables doing the newly possable,” Ann Voskamp, The Broken Way.
The brokenness is difficult to hear, but it’s the hope that keeps you on the edge of your seat.
[Click to hear Lillian’s testimony of brokenness and hope in her own words. Please note: it is rated PG-13 and not suitable for children to hear]
God can do anything. Even allow a broken girl from Texas help broken girls in Kenya and heal us all.