Saturday, July 15, 2006

Silent heroes

It's been a little over a week since the press releases went out about Grace Bay House. Since that time, we've had 3 more Knitting Angels volunteer to help knit prayer shawls and several more people have contacted me about sending donations of yarn. Several bloggers have shared our story and posted links back to the website to help spread the word. Donations have started coming in as well. I am so grateful to everyone who is helping in any way.

But what's amazed me most is the outpouring of love and gratitude that I've been receiving from women whose lives have been scarred by sexual violence. It's been difficult to get used to the realization that nearly every women that I've talked to about Grace Bay House has had some personal experience with rape or molestation and in many cases, the victimization has been rampant in their families. It breaks my heart.

Women who've read an article in their local newspaper have called, not only to thank us for what we're doing, but to share their stories. In some cases, women have been sharing things with me, a total stranger, that they've never been able to tell another soul, not even after 30 or 40 years! They talk about trying to tell people that were close to them, but people just don't want to hear about it... It's too depressing, it wasn't really that bad, it's in the past, just let it go.

Every day I'm hearing stories of how these women (and in some cases young women) have had to suck it up, hold it in, smile on the outside when they want to scream on the inside, face their molester and pretend that everything's fine, go to school, go to work, raise their children, have a relationship with their husbands or significant others, all the while feeling like they are competely and utterly alone in their pain. These women are the true heroes. The ones who on a daily basis sacrifice their own needs in order to spare others the discomfort of knowing what really lies inside. What these women seem to need so desperately is simply someone to listen to their story and to empathize with their pain. Many know that despite everything that's happened to them, that God has not forgotten them.

I'm just beginning to understand why one of my dearest friends recently sent me a book which she said she hoped would help me as this ministry grows. It's called "Night Shift" by Dave Shive. It deals with the special challenges and opportunities inherent in being called to a ministry that deals with some of life's darkest moments. The title reminds me of how most people don't want to work the "graveyard shift". It's dark when you go to work and usually dark when you leave, there aren't as many people there, it's lonely to know that you're working when most of the world is sleep. But there are rewards. I believe that God does some of His best work on the night shift. It's so much easier to see the light when you're surrounded by darkness. I don't know why God called me for the night shift, but I will do my best to be obedient.

Yesterday I saw a beautiful example of God's hand in this ministry at work. I went to get my hair done. Because my hair dresser's car wouldn't start, she was an hour late getting there. I usually take a book with me in case I have to wait, but this time, I took a prayer shawl I was knitting. Since the shop had just opened, things were pretty quiet and during the time I was waiting, I had the opportunity to talk to 2 other stylists who were curious about what I was knitting. I explained to them the significance of the shawls and about Grace Bay House. One at a time, they both shared with me their stories of the sexual abuse they had lived through as children and the tragic impact it had had on them and their families.

About an hour later, while one of the stylists was doing another person's hair, I happened to be looking at her when she shivered. She stopped, turned around towards me and said "Oh my goodness. God just gave me a song to give you." She showed me the goosebumps on her arm. She asked her customer to excuse her for a few minutes and she went to her car and came back with a CD. She dragged a tv/dvd from the back of the salon, plugged it in, and then played "The Real Me" by Natalie Grant. While the song was playing, she sang along, with the voice of an angel. There wasn't a dry eye around.

I'd never heard of the song, or Natalie Grant for that matter, but the minute I heard the song, I knew why God wanted me to hear it. Here are the lyrics from

foolish heart looks like we're here again
same old game of plastic smile
don't let anybody in
hiding my heartache, will this glass house break
how much will they take before i'm empty
do i even let it show, does
anybody know?

but you see the real me
hiding in my skin,
broken from within
unveil me completely
i'm loosening my grasp
there's no need to mask my frailty
cause you see the real me

painted on, life is behind the mask
self-inflicted circus clown
i'm tired of the song and dance
living a charade, always on parade
what a mess i've made of my existence
but you love me even now
still i see somehow


wonderful, beautiful is what you see
when you look at me
you're turning the tattered fabric of my life into
a perfect tapestry
i just wanna be me


and you
love me just as i am

wonderful, beautiful is what you see
when you
look at me

I bought the CD and will play this song during every rape recovery workshop at Grace Bay House.

Have a blessed day.

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