Sunday, April 1, 2012

Just a mom...Part 1

As you may or may not know, I serve on the board of Five Stones International, which is an anti-human trafficking organization.  This may seem like an unlikely role for a stay at home mom that homeschool's and is a pastors wife.  Some might assume I'd be more apt at churning butter or milking cows or sewing a quilt - I assure you, I do those things too (obviously!  What else do stay at home moms that homeschool and are married to pastors do?  Watch The Office? Psh, stereotypes).  But honestly, I am coming to find that mothers are the perfect candidates to combat human trafficking!


I have heard the "but I'm just a mom" bit several times (and have said it myself!)  For a while there I felt that the only thing I could change in this world was a dirty diaper! But through the grace of God and this journey of motherhood, I have learned that  being "just a mom" is such a powerful, wonderful and high calling!


We moms are (for the most part) in charge of  teaching our children everything from tying their shoes and wiping their butts to teaching our kids how to read and how to cook.  As moms, we spend more time than anyone with those little people who will one day be tying our shoes and wiping our butts!  We multi-task better than anyone - who else can cook dinner, fold laundry and talk to their mother in law on the phone, while also breaking up a fight, finding a missing shoe and cleaning up the play room?  NOBODY!  only a mom can do that!


We have super powers no one else possesses.  Our kisses heal boo-boos, our mac and cheese is the only one edible to our kids.  Only we can scare away robots in our 3 year old daughters room at 2 in the morning. We have band-aids in our wallets, and fruit snacks in our purse.  And when our kids are sick, only our hugs can comfort them.


But how does all this relate to fighting human trafficking?  Well, I am glad you asked!


First off, we are moms, and because of that, we can have a tendency to mother everyone we meet.


Because my husband is a pastor, I get to interact with a lot of different people.  For the past year and a half, he has been the youth pastor at our church and I have had the privilege or serving along side him.  At first I was worried that I was too uncool and out of touch and too "mini-van driving, not enough skinny jean wearing" to be of any real use.  And I was.  But me being a mom, turned out to be my biggest asset.  You would be amazed at how even teenage boys need some motherly advice, or just a hug.  I'm not  the best at giving fashion advice or the go to person for tips to gauge out ears, but I have had the opportunity to comfort, to love, and be that listening ear and shoulder to cry on -all because because I am a mom.  I don't think I would have been able to form the relationships that I have with these kids had I not been a mom!


As moms, our hearts are tender to the pains of others.  We hear about the atrocities around the world - the orphans, the victims of natural disasters, kidnappings, childhood cancer,  child soldiers, homeless youth - and as a mother, it's hard not to picture your child in that situation, and it breaks our heart.  When you are a mom, you react to situations with a mothers heart.  That's reason number one why a mom is a perfect candidate for combating human trafficking - you are hard wired for compassion!


Another reason is, you are around young people.  Even though we are a homeschooling family, we are not anti-social or Amish.  Our kids are involved in a homeschool co-op, church, dance class and AWANA's.  I see kids that are not my own practically every day of the week!  I get to talk with these kids, play with these kids, teach these kids and watch these kids on a weekly basis.


 Did you know that the average age of entry into the sex trade for a girl here in America is 12-13 years old?  12-13!  Now, what would happen if we got to that young girl before the pimp did?  If we took notice to that girl at our kids school that was standoffish?  If we talked to that young girl at church who came alone?  Like it our not, as moms, we come in contact with kids that are at risk of being sexually exploited probably every week - the question is, what do we do about it.  As Sunday school teachers, library helpers, class moms, girl scout leaders or whatever it is that we do with our kids - we can make a difference in the lives of those around us.


I want to encourage you to look at your sphere of influence.  I know as moms our time is tight, our resources small.  Sometimes it is hard enough to invest in our own kids lives, let alone in the lives of others.


And I want to emphasize that investing in your kids IS combating human trafficking.  Teaching them respect for others, compassion, love... it is all essential for raising up a generation that loves others as Christ has called us to love. But we can also teach them by example and reach out to others we already know. What about your babysitter?  What about your kids friends?  What about your friends?  What can you do in your everyday life to make an impact?  To educate others?  To raise awareness and prevention to the lives in your sphere of influence.


Read a book that is trafficking related in your book club.  Have a bible study for girls at your house.  Teach your kids about internet safety and be aware of their activity online. PRAY, PRAY, PRAY!  Pray on your morning walk with your neighborhood friend, pray as you are folding that 17th load of laundry.  We can be fooled into thinking prayer is the "least we can do, but I am reminded of the story of Anna in the book of Luke chapter 2.  In verse 37 it says: 
 " and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day." 
Prayer is THE most powerful tool we have, so use it and pray on behalf of the broken.

 As you can see, I am not talking about packing up and going to India and bust down brothels, there are probably things you are already doing that have an anti-trafficking element.  There is more to fighting human trafficking than just busting Johns and taking down the pimps - one of the most powerful things we can do is prevention - and get to these kids before the bad guys so.


So go ahead.  Be a mom!  Use those superpowers and compassion for the world around you.