"Thank you for believing in me, despite my own beliefs, for so long that I can finally open my eyes and see myself."
-New Friends New Life Survivor Leader
Every Wednesday evening for the last 18 years, New Friends New Life has provided dinner, bible studies, life skills classes, tutorials, therapy, budget counseling sessions, and more for formerly trafficked and exploited women, teens and their children. Of course, it could never be done alone. Through incredible community and church partnerships, faithful volunteers and committed staff members, the doors have continued to open and re-open, time and time again to invite new and seasoned survivors into the life for which they were created.
These nights, they're special. They're set apart for survivors to be with one another, to commune, to share, to ask difficult questions and wade through uncertainty and fear, to celebrate victories like new jobs or another month clean and sober, to laugh in elation or scream in frustration. They're made so children can be tutored, counseled and mentored, so they can share about their days and weeks, so they can run and play and laugh and learn.
And as the children learn so do their moms.
They learn about who God is and who He says they are- beloved, beautiful & created in His very image. They learn they are seen, they are known, and they are heard. They learn that they don't have to attain or obtain because Christ has already done that. They learn about their "somebodiness."
After last Wednesday evening's programs, one survivor wrote this:
"I realized on the way home: I have always yearned to be "seen" to be "known" and "acknowledged." Tonight, after my musings, it dawned on me: I've spent my life refusing to "see, know, acknowledge" myself. My lack of knowing my worth, based on just being-just existing (not based on my plan or potential), has prevented others from ever getting through. Even when they were doing exactly what I was yearning for. Truly believing in my own value as a person, no matter what I do, say or look like, has been a completely liberating experience for me. Thank you for believing in me, despite my own beliefs, for so long that I can finally open my eyes and see myself."
They learn they are somebody who is dearly loved.
They learn they are somebody who is entirely beautiful.
They learn they are somebody worth knowing.
They learn they are somebody.